Monday, May 5, 2014

Blending my first Kriek

The last of the blended sample
Last Summer I got started on my first Kriek by blending a sour blond ale with cherries. On it's own the sour blonde was dynamite. So mixed with 10 pounds of sour cherries I was expecting unicorns and rainbows. When I sampled it the first time I was how bad it was
Sanctification on tart cherries:
Aroma: Cherries, Medicinal, Band-aid
Flavor: Cherries, Cough Syrup
It was the gut kick that started my spiral towards questioning the whole fruited sours project. I was in a bad place after that tasting. Who wants to go on when all your results are bad? Where do you go from rock bottom? Just when I had abandoned all hope something magical happened: the beer turned.

What do I mean "turned"? It morphed from something terrible to something better than that. Gone was the medicinal aroma which lead to the strong flavor of cough syrup. Gone too were the phenols which made my beer smell like a band aid. What was left was a beer with a modest amount of funk, some sourness, and a cherry bliss. My only rational was that something needed a little O2 to begin it's fermentation and time to do so.

(Read more about my blending session after the break.)

The beer had a redish hue
even in the green bottles
This blending day started out poorly. I was ill prepared. I misplaced some hooded cages I had. So I ran out to the store to buy more, and of course they were out. So I got some plastic corks to work with the open wire cages I had. Those didn't fit the Belgian beer bottles I had ready. I reused some old hooded wires and made it work. Additionally I didn't even set out to blend a kriek. I had wanted to blend a Flanders Red but the second sample I pulled was from a very red looking lambic which I had errantly placed with the flanders after my last tasting. So I had the lambic out and wanted to try the cherry one with the flanders to see how much acid it would take to remove the medicinal smell. As you read above this beer smelled great. and I knew that plambic #2 which I had pulled the sample from was coming along nicely so I mixed the two. The sample was so good that I abandoned my samples of flanders reds and set about blending a kriek.

American Kriek #1:
1 Gallon Sanctification on Tart Cherries
2 Gallons pLambic #2
Carbonated with 4.6 oz of priming sugar to 4.0 volumes of CO2

This is a dream several years in the making, I am glad it finally happened. If it turns out it will be a true accomplishment.

Updated: title change.

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