Thursday, September 27, 2012

Batch 002 Sour

This is my kitchen
during brewing
Batch 001 Sour Ale is finished. The blueberry sour blond ale turned out as well as I could have hoped. I was initially torn between re-brewing Batch 001 for bottling or trying something new, and something new won out. So in the spirit of something new while building on  Batch 001 I started with that base recipe and built. I want to emulate some of the great sour browns I have had, while preserving an essence of my original recipe. I also wanted to try to emulate more of a lactic sourness. I believe this lactic sourness to be the key to creating the flavors I want.

(please read more after the break.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Culturing Dregs

Sour Starter
You can culture up dregs into a usable pitch of critters. I did this to great success in Batch 001 Sour Ale. I will do it again in Batch 002 Sour Ale with the dregs of a Cascade sour ale (Sang Noir). I have chosen a Cascade sour ale because it has a sharp lactic sourness from some very aggressive lactic bugs. This can also be done to clone a brettanomyces character as in Orval or The Bruery's Grand Funk Aleroad. This can be done to clone a funk character such as Russian River's Beatification or most Belgian Lambics. Whatever you're after where there is a will there is a way.

(please read more after the break.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I am not dead!

I'm just in a dry spell in my brewing schedule, not much is ready for review, and it's busy season part duex. I'll be back in force soon with posts on keg cleaning and maintenance, Batch 002 Sour Ale, Imperial Porter II, and my Batch 001 Blueberry Sour Blond review. So while I know you're super sad this was a bum week for postings, this next couple weeks should be dynamite.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fresh Hops Year One

This spring I ordered hop rhizomes. I ordered some fresh cuttings, and some yearling cuttings. I ordered four varieties of hops and you can read more about it here. This has given me a good cross section of hops that thrive under different conditions. My girlfriend's mother volunteered to tend the hops as a covering for a fence in their yard. This worked well for me because in my small place I don't have a garden. The yearling hops grew vigorously covering large sections of fence. While the fresh cuttings struggled to grow producing weak bines. None of my hops produced cones for a wet hopped beer this year. I am hoping that next year the two year old plants produce some cones, otherwise we're talking about 2014 for a wet hopped ale. No one wants that.

(more pictures after the break.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Quick Flanders Red

Quick Flanders Red

You might remember that this beer was inspired by the quick souring method from Mar/Apr 2011's Zymurgy Magazine. I used the quick souring method presented there to make this sour ale in about three weeks. For Three weeks time the flavors were suprising, but for the style I found the whole thing to lack some of the depth of flavor offered by traditional methods. My sour red wasn't as good as any top tier commercial example. It was good for what it was, but I am hoping that the long soured and blended American Wild Red turns out better.

Appearance: Orangish red with a thin thick white cap. Active carbonation greets me in the glass. Translucent appearance looks good.

Aroma: The aroma is jam-like. Rich bramble fruits greet my nose, no sourness or funk. Other than the Jam there isn't much going on.

Taste: The taste is fruity while cold, the sourness grows as it warms. When it gets closer to room temperature the fruit disappears into a green apple sourness.

Mouth: Prickly from the combination of sourness and carbonation, Light on the tongue. Without the sourness I don't know it would work.

Overall: This seems like an alright technique. I enjoyed the beer, and I would have drank more of it if I was in the mood to drink a sour green apple. I will have to attempt more batches in this manner to be able to issue a full report on the results.

Friday, September 7, 2012

'Rustic' Rye Saison

An Ear of Rye
What is Rye? Rye is a cereal grain similar to other cereal grains but it differentiates itself by growing more more heartily. Rye can grow in much poorer soil and grows vigorously even over the winter. Rye is mostly grown in Europe although it is cultivated on at least three other continents. Why add rye to my beers? Because it has a delicious if not elusive flavor. Straight from Briess's webpage: "Rye has a spicy rye flavor." I learned in school that if your definition for a word includes that word than it's a poor definition. Briess has told me nothing about rye. Looking at other sources yielded little to nothing else; the answer just kept coming back to 'rye is rye'. If I had to describe it I would say that it has a stronger flavor than other grains; A sharp, crisp, earthen flavor, with bark and nut spices mixed in. I think the best way to characterize rye is that you know when it's there, and you know when it's not. Nothing can replace it.

This isn't my first rye beer; there was last winter's ginger in the fields saison. It was nice and had a great flavor. It was enjoyed by all. This time rather than making another beer that focused as heavily on the ginger I wanted to make a nice saison with rye. This isn't my first saison either, but because my apartment is quite hot during the day I wanted to work with a more temperature tolerant yeast. After looking at the suggested fermentation temperatures of 75-85° for ECY 08 Saison Brasserie I believe that I will be okay.

(please read more after the break.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Color of Your Beer

SRM chart
In reference to cooking I have often heard it said that presentation is 25% of a meal. At first I thought that flavor was 100% of the experience. As my ideas have matured I have realized the importance of presentation, and how the overall experience of a meal is shaped by plating. Flavor is still king but we first eat with our eyes before tasting with our mouths. This is no different for beers, girly drinks, or sodas.

(please read more after the break.)