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Saison #4 (Summer Spiced Saison) Recipe & Tasting

I’ve brewed quite a few saisons over the last eight months or so, but I had yet to try brewing a saison with spices as the predominant flavor and aroma. Being close to the end of summer, I wanted to have something light, dry, and slightly acidic. Inspired by Sam Adams’ Lemon Pepper Saison, I decided to use lemon zest as the primary spice, combined with the more traditional combo of coriander and grains of paradise. I also added 5% Acid malt for a dash of tartness. I think this is a solid recipe, but a bit of adjustment needs to be made to the spicing regimen.

 

2011-030 Saison #4 (Summer Spiced Saison)

 

Brewed: 08/11/11

Racked to secondary: n/a

Kegged/Bottled: 08/17/11

Ready: 08/20/11

Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: ~65%

OG: 1.042

FG: 1.006

IBU: 28

SRM: 4.7

Boil Length: 90 minutes

Grain Bill

————

German Pilsner: 3lb 8oz (70%)

US White Wheat Malt: 1lb (20%)

German Acid Malt: 4oz (5%)

Belgian Cara-Wheat: 4oz (5%)

Hop Bill

———–

German Perle (6.5%AA): 10g @ 90 min

US Willamette (4.5%AA): 7g @ 30 min

US Willamette (4.5%AA): 7g @ 15 min

Other

——–

Whirlfloc: 1 tablet @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes

Seeds of Paradise: 2g @ 0 min

Coriander: 5g @ 0 min

Fresh Lemon Zest: 14g @ 0 min

Water

———

Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water

Yeast

———

White Labs WLP566 Saison II

Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 152F for 60 minutes

Fly Sparge

Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 76F, freerise for 10 days

Carbonation

—————

Hi-pressure Slow Carb: 30psi for ~60 hours.

Notes

——–

1. First time fly sparging with my 2.5 gallon system.

Tasting

———-

Appearance: Very pale. Thick white 3-finger head. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Lemon peel right up front. The pepper notes and coriander follow closely behind. Lots of fruity esters. A bit plastic-y.

Taste: Lemon and coriander dominate. Some spicy pepper, but more phenolic than from the seeds of paradise. Some stone fruity esters.

Mouthfeel: Very dry. The lemon peel  and acid malt add a nice light tartness that adds to the drying effect. Bitterness is soft, but present.

Thoughts: I think the spices are in the right balance, but are a bit too much as a whole, which reduces drinkability. I also want to try this with 3711 French Saison yeast to see if I like it as much. All in all, though, I’d call it a success.

Categories: Belgian, recipe, saison, tasting

Saison #11 (#fml Saison) Recipe and Tasting

The #fml Saison was originally designed to be my entry in New Brew Thursday’s homebrew contest. My brewday ended up being a trainwreck, but to my great pleasure and surprise, the guys from NBT asked me to be on the show! I naturally had to drop out of the contest, but being a part of NBT is a pretty fair trade-off, I’d say.

One reason I’m glad I had to drop out of the competition was the horror of the brewday I had. Well, maybe horror is a strong word, but it was one of the worst brewdays I’ve had in a long time, at least. The day was going fine (I even had the audacity to say “wow, this brewday is going so smoothly!”), until all of a sudden, one of the anti-siphon valves on our sprinkler system decided to burst. Naturally, because we don’t have a way to shut off the water to the sprinkler system without shutting off the water to the house, this happened right as it was time to start chilling my wort. This was intended to be a hop-forward saison, so with the big charge of hops at the end of the boil sitting hot for as long as it did (It was about an hour and a half before I could get my water back on), my IBUs ended up being closer to 70-80 instead of the desired 50. Also, the hop aromatics were likely seriously hampered.

Twitter users now know why this batch was titled #fml.

I think this is a solid recipe, and the beer was drinkable in the end. I think a little tweaking and a better brewday could produce something really tasty.

2011-023 Saison #11 (#fml Saison)

Brewed: 06/09/11

Racked to secondary: n/a

Kegged/Bottled: 06/16/11

Ready: 06/20/11

Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: 78%

OG: 1.067

FG: 1.006

IBU: ~70-80

SRM: 5.5

Boil Length: 90 minutes (~90 minute hot whirlpool

Grain Bill

————

Organic German Pilsner: 9lb (75%)

Organic German Munich Malt: 1lb         8oz (12.5%)

Organic German Carahell: 8oz (4.2%)

Organic Turbinado Sugar: 1lb (8.3%)

Hop Bill

———–

NZ Rakau (12.7%AA): 14g @ 90 minutes

NZ Rakau (12.7%AA): 14g @ 30 minutes

NZ Rakau (12.7%AA): 14g @ 15 minutes

NZ Rakau (12.7%AA): 56g @ 0 minutes

Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes

Water

———

Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water

Yeast

———

Wyeast 3711 French Saison

Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 152F for 60 minutes

Fly Sparge

Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 75F, freerise for 7 days

Carbonation

—————

Slow Carb: 30psi for ~3 days

Notes

——–

1. Water to the house being off changed the 15 minute whirlpool to a 90 minute whirlpool.

2. First time using the hi-pressure slow carb method.

Tasting

———-

Appearance: Orange. Fluffy white head leaves some nice sticky lacing.

Aroma: Spicy and floral. Some malt breadyness. Some wine-like fruitiness in the back, if you look for it. A dash of citrus peel.

Taste: Much fruitier than the nose, almost tropical. Citrus peel, herbs (basil?) spice and a touch of heat.

Mouthfeel: Bone dry, well carbonated. Too bitter, for sure. The bitterness bites hard and lingers. Not too much to make it undrinkable, but much more than desired.

Thoughts: The bitterness is an obvious flaw, as is the lack of hop nose I was after. All in all, a solid recipe diminished by a train wreck brewday.

Categories: Belgian, recipe, saison, tasting

>Double IPA #2 (Item 9 IPA) Recipe & Tasting

>


Item 9 is my base Double (or Imperial, or whatever) IPA recipe that I’ve been refining for a while now. The grist is similar to my other pale ale/IPA recipes, but with the crystal brought down to help reduce excess sweetness, and the rye boosted to provide some extra complexity (I’m not sure if 6% of the grist is enough to accurately call it a “rye IPA”.) Citra has always been one of my favorite IPA hops, and I thought its big stone fruit/tropical fruit profile would be great in an IPA of this size. This recipe is very close to being exactly how I want it, but I still need to toy with the hop bill a bit to get it just right.

2011-021 Double IPA #2 (Item 9 IPA)


Brewed: 04/28/11

Racked to secondary: 05/07/11

Kegged/Bottled: 05/12/11

Ready: 05/15/11


Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: ~65%

OG: 1.068

FG: 1.012

IBU: 83

SRM: 7.6

Boil Length: 90 minutes


Grain Bill

————

US Rahr 2-Row: 6lb 8oz (81%)

US Carapils: 8oz (8%)

US Rye Malt: 8oz (8%)

US Caramel 40: 4oz (3%)

Belgian Cara-Vienna: 4oz (3%)


Hop Bill

———–

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 14g @ 90 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Citra (11.1%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Citra (11.1%AA): 7g @ 15 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

US Citra (11.1%AA): 14g @ 0 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 14g @ Dry Hop

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 14g @ Dry Hop

US Citra (11.1%AA): 14g @ Dry Hop


Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes


Water

———

Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water


Yeast

———

White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale


Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 150F for 60 minutes

Batch Sparge


Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 68F, freerise for 10 days


Carbonation

—————

Quick Carb: 35psi, shake for 60 seconds


Notes

——–


Tasting

———-

Appearance: Dark copper. Thick eggshell head leaves some pretty mean lacing. Some dry-hop haze.


Aroma: Huge tropical fruit and citrus. White flowers. Caramel. Grapefruit zest. Mango. A dash of pine and dank.


Taste: Grapefruit, orange, pineapple and mango. Piney resin. A nice caramel malt balance, with the rye spiciness poking out a touch in the back. Firm bitterness.


Mouthfeel: Medium body. Carbonation is spot on. Dry, but leaves a good sticky coat on the tongue.


Thoughts: Just as hoppy as I wanted it to be. The base recipe is solid, but I’m still unsure about what other hops I want to go with the Citras. The Amarillos work, but the pine resin and dankness of the Columbus doesn’t quite go with the bright stone fruit and citrus flavors coming from the other two.

>Sour #3 (Cheater Berliner Weisse) Recipe & Tasting

>

As there are more and more commercial examples of Berliner Weisse becoming available in recent years (with one of the best – The Bruery’s Hottenroth Berliner Weisse – available very close to me), a homebrewer’s natural inclination is to try their hand at the style. With White Labs’ WLP630 Berliner Weisse Blend made available on the last round of Platinum Series releases, so doing a Small Batch was a no-brainer.


Coincidentally, my personal favorite homebrewing podcast, Basic Brewing Radio, did an episode on brewing Berliner Weisse about two months after I brewed mine. Naturally The Mad Fermentationist was on hand to go over his production method, a no-boil double decocted mash-hopped take on the style. I took a decidedly different route with mine, using a simple single infusion mash and 15 minute boil. Awesomely, I sent James Spencer an email about my take on it, and I got a mention on the 04-14-11 episode! Sweet! I definitely credit Mr. Spencer and BBR for a nice bump in my readership, so thanks so much!


2011-007 Sour #3 (Cheater Berliner Weisse)


Brewed: 01/26/11

Racked to secondary: 04/03/11

Kegged/Bottled: 04/27/11

Ready: 04/27/11


Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: 77%

OG: 1.035

FG: 1.004

IBU: 4

SRM: 2.4

Boil Length: 15 minutes


Grain Bill

————

German Pilsner Malt: 1lb 12oz (54%)

US White Wheat Malt: 1lb 8oz (46%)


Hop Bill

———–

German Hallertau Hersbrucker (3.8%AA): 14g @ 15 minutes


Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes


Water

———

Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water


Yeast

———

White Labs WLP630 Berliner Weisse Blend


Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 156F for 90 minutes

Batch Sparge


Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 68F, freerise for 10 days


Carbonation

—————

Quick Carb: 35psi, shake for 45 seconds


Notes

——–

A quickie beer to test WLP630. Not too bad!


Tasting

———-

Appearance: Pale straw. About as light as you can get. One-finger soda-like head, with little staying power.


Aroma: Lemons and stone fruit. Perfumy. Pretty simple.


Taste: Lemons and fruit. Some grassy herbal character. A nice, mild tartness.


Mouthfeel: as dry as you would expect, bolstered by spritzy carbonation.


Thoughts: for being as simple as it was, not too dang bad! One of the few times I’m sad I didn’t make a full 5 gallons. Although I do have another vial….

Categories: German, recipe, sour, tasting, wheat

>Pale Ale #1 (House Pale Ale) Recipe & Tasting

>

This is another recipe I’ve been trying to refine over time. To me, a good pale ale is a way to really measure the skill of a brewer; if a brewer can make a pale ale that really stands out, you know he/she has talent. I’ve had a lot of success with variations on this recipe in the past, and I’ve been edging ever closer to my ideal pale. This rendition of the recipe is closer to what I want, but a flawed fermentation with a new yeast strain made this an overall unsuccessful batch. Drinkable, but unsuccessful.

This was the last in my series of batches made with strains from East Coast Yeast, and as with the others, pitching the entire vial (cube?) of yeast resulted in an overpitch. With previous batches, the only harm that came from overpitching was an underwhelming ester profile. This batch was hampered by the fact that ECY10 is an English-style yeast, which produces considerably more diacetyl (perceived as a buttery or butterscotch flavor) than American or Belgian yeasts. Normally, when an appropriate pitching rate is used, diacetyl is reabsorbed by the yeast at the end of the fermentation cycle. When overpitched, according to Chris White of White Labs,

“yeast do not grow though a complete growth cycle. This results in few new yeast cells, which makes for unhealthy yeast and low viability by the end of fermentation”


This batch Is the perfect example of this. Another reason to make SURE you use proper pitching rates!

My other issue is the hopping. I wanted this to be in between an american (fruity, resiny hops) and English (biscuity, caramelly malt, more body) pale ale, but it ended up leaning much more English than I would’ve liked. I also designed this recipe for maximum turnaround speed, so I opted for a big charge of hops at flameout to avoid dry-hopping. I still think that’s a good plan, but I still need more if I’m going to get that nice hop aroma I’m after.


2011-015 Pale Ale #1 (House Pale Ale)

Brewed: 03/25/11

Racked to secondary: n/a

Kegged/Bottled: 03/21/11

Ready: 03/26/11

Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: 82%

OG: 1.052

FG: 1.013

IBU: 25

SRM: 7.3

Boil Length: 90 minutes

Grain Bill

————

UK Maris Otter: 4lb (82%)

US Caramel 40: 4oz (5%)

Belgian Cara-Vienna: 4oz (5%)

US Carapils: 4oz (5%)

US Rye Malt: 2oz (2.5%)

Hop Bill

———–

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 2g @ 90 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 3g @ 30 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 3g @ 15 minutes

US Amarillo (9.4%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

US Columbus (14.4%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

US Centennial (8.7%AA): 7g @ 0 minutes

Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes

Water

———

75% Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water

25% RO Water

Yeast

———

East Coast Yeast ECY10 Old Newark Ale

Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 154F for 90 minutes

Batch Sparge

Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 66F, freerise for 10 days

Carbonation

—————

Quick Carb: 35psi, shake for 60 seconds

Notes

——–

Pitched an entire vial (cube?) of ECY10 Old Newark, therefore overpitching.

Tasting

———-

Appearance: Copper, bordering on amber. A nice one-finger white head has solid staying power. Good clarity after just over two weeks in the keg.

Aroma: Biscuity malt and caramel. Butterscotch (uh oh….). Some floral hop, but not a lot. Very malt-forward.

Taste: More toasty and caramel malt. Some resiny/piney hop in the middle. More diacetyl. Some tart green

apple. Firm bitterness, but well balanced.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body. Proper carbonation. Medium-dry finish.

Thoughts: Unfortunately, it’s obvious the yeast didn’t finish the job at the end of fermentation. A proper pitching rate would definitely solve this. A bigger charge of hops at flameout is also necessary if I’m gonna avoid dry hopping.

>Saison #5A (Saison Royale) Tasting & Recipe

>This recipe was an attempt to formulate a jumping-off point for playing with the Saison style. Saison has an enormous amount of flexibility flavor-wise, and I wanted to have a standard recipe that I could experiment with and build upon progressively, in order to explore the possibilities. It definitely needs some work, especially when it comes to yeast and fermentation (the essential ingredient in all beers, especially Saison), but it shows enough potential to be something to play with.

2011-013 Saison #5 (Saison Royale)



Brewed: 03/11/11

Racked to secondary: n/a

Kegged/Bottled: 03/21/11

Ready: 03/26/11

Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 5 Gallons (split)

Extraction Efficiency: 80%

OG: 1.058

FG: 1.003 (wow!)

IBU: 32

SRM: 4.7

Boil Length: 90 minutes


Grain Bill

————

German Pilsner Malt: 8lb (80%)

US Wheat Malt: 1lb (10%)

Belgian Cara-Wheat: 8oz (5%)

US Rye Malt: 8oz (5%)


Hop Bill

———–

German Perle (6.5%AA): 28g @ 90 minutes

French Strisselspalt (2.9%AA): 14g @ 30 minutes

French Strisselspalt (2.9%AA): 14g @ 0 minutes


Other

——–

Whirlfloc: 1 tablet @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes


Water

———

75% Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water

25% RO Water


Yeast

———

Fermenter A: East Coast Yeast ECY08 Saison Brassiere Blend

Fermenter B: East Coast Yeast ECY03 Farmhouse Brett


Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 150F for 90 minutes

Fly Sparge


Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 68F, freerise for 10 days


Carbonation

—————

Quick Carb: 35psi, shake for 60 seconds




Tasting

———

Appearance – Gold, a shade below copper. Three inch pillowy white head. Some staying power, with some fine lacing.

Smell – Fruit, biscuit and spice. Herbal. On the citrusy side. Earthy. Some funkiness. Taste – Big fruitiness up front, almost tropical. The herbal and spice notes blossom more in the back palate, with a light funkiness throughout. Slightly tart. Bitterness is pretty assertive, right where I like it.

Mouthfeel – A light sweetness from the crystal, with a quick and bone-dry finish. Very nice.

Thoughts – The mouthfeel, color and bitterness are spot-on where I’d like them, but I wanted more out of the yeast. I overpitched, so I’m sure the proper pitching rate would help considerably. I think the right pitching rate and a warmer fermentation temp would really add complexity and more of the spicy character I’m after. I also think upping the finishing hops would help add some extra dimension. I also am very much looking forward to tasting the Brettanomyces-spiked version called, what else, the Royale with Cheese.

>Sour #4 (Flemish Red) Recipe and Progress

>Rodenbach is the beer that turned me on not only to Flemish-style sours, but sour beers in general. I’ve been wanting to do a Flemish sour for a long time, and after a vial (cube?) of East Coast Yeast‘s ECY02 Flemish Ale became available, I jumped on the chance.

Then I thought, why stop there?

I’ve heard of people making excellent Flemish Reds with Wyeast’s 3763 Roeselare Blend, And I wanted to compare the two side-by-side to see which I would use for future batches. I could have done my usual Small Batches, or split a 5 gallon batch into two 3 gallon carboys, but this time I decided on a different route. I try to maximize my mileage when it comes to sours; 2.5 gallons is perfect for experiments and the like, but if something is going to sit for 12-18 months, I’m simply going to want more volume. I had two 15 gallon kettles from my dad’s old brewing setup, and I could fit a mid-to-low gravity 10 gallon batch in my 10 gallon cooler, so I said F it, I’m gonna go for it!

My last post
is how said brewday went. In short, it kinda sucked.

But I did end up with 10 gallons of red wort! So I suppose this batch has been successful so far. We’ll see how the souring/aging part goes…

The recipe I used was very much inspired by the recipes in Jeff Sparrow’s excellent Wild Brews. It’s a bible of wild beer production, and I highly suggest it to anyone looking to learn more about sour/brett beers.

2011-014A/B Sour #4 (Flemish Red)

Brewed: 03/16/11

Racked to secondary: 03/23/11

Kegged/Bottled: eventually

Ready: even later than that

Batch Info

————

Batch Size: 10 Gallons

Extraction Efficiency: 75%

OG: 1.055

FG: dry!

IBU: 18

SRM: 15

Boil Length: 90 minutes

Grain Bill

————

German Pilsner Malt: 12lb (55.8%)

German Vienna Malt: 4lb (18.6%)

US Flaked Maize: 2lb (9.3%)

Belgian Special B: 2lb (9.3%)

US Flaked Wheat: 1lb 8oz (7.0%)

Hop Bill

———–

German Perle (6.5%AA): 35g @ 90 minutes

Other

——–

Irish Moss: 1 tsp @ 15 minutes

Servomyces: 1 gelcap @ 15 minutes

French Oak Cubes (Medium Toast): 2oz (In Fermenter)

Water

———

75% Carbon Filtered San Bernardino Ground Water

25% RO Water

Yeast

———

Fermenter A: East Coast Yeast ECY02 Flemish Ale

Fermenter B: Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Blend

Mash Schedule

——————-

Sacch Rest: 158F for 90 minutes

Fly Sparge

Fermentation Schedule

—————————-

Pitch @ 68F, hold for 7 days

Rack onto 1oz oak cubes per carboy, let age until ready.

I had some pics from the brewday, but I destroyed them out of spite. Here’s a few from the racking day:

The two beers, just before racking:

The Roeselare is on the left, the East Coast Yeast on the right. Interestingly, the Roeselare batch racked brilliantly clear, while the ECY was much more turbid.

An ounce of tasty oak, waiting to be steamed:

I use a stove-top vegetable steamer to steam my cubes. It removes a bit of the tannin and sanitizes them a bit:

Racking into secondary:

Happy sours chugging along in the closet: