2021-11-10

28A - Brett Beer (Belgian Pale Ale)


BJCP Styles: 28A - Brett Beer, 24B - Belgian Pale Ale (base beer)

When I did the Belgian Pale Ale earlier in this project I had wanted to do a full on Orval clone, or as close as possible, but decided to put off the conditioned on brett part for a later brew. And at the same time knock out the "American Wild" section (even though it's a Belgian style and there's a damn good commercial example but whatever). 

I did this as a double batch. One will go straight to the keezer as a standard Belgian pale ale, and the other will go in a keg with brett yeast for a couple of months. 

I'm keeping the grain bill about the same as last time: pilsner base with a bit of Special B. Though this time I'm adding a touch of chocolate malt for color. 

Yeast is different however, and hopefully not too expressive for the style: Lallemand's Abbaye Ale. I have used this for the entire trappist series and was very happy with the results. 

Then there's the Brettanomyces. For that I'm using White Labs WLP650 and in the description it says: A historic brewery in Belgium uses this yeast in secondary fermentation and bottling to produce the signature flavor of its beer. Wonder what that historic brewery is? I guess we'll never know

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR:

  • Brew day: 2021-11-9
  • Malts: Rahr Premium Pilsner, Special B, Chocolate
  • Hops: [Magnum] (Styrian Goldings)
  • Yeasts: Lallemand Abbaye, WLP650 Brettanomyces bruxellensis
  • OG: 12.2°P, FG: 2.8°P; ABV: 5% (base beer, pre-brett)
  • 2021-11-13 (+4): transferred to keg secondary with brett (Batch 2)
  • 2021-11-20 (+11): base beer to keezer (Batch 1)
Chocolate, Pils, Special B 

Floor Manager Steve: stop messing around in here I need DINNER

Mash temp

Recirculating wort in a full mash tun

Brew session beer and Mash Timer Cigar™

Mash complete

Yada-yada, boil/hops/chill and into the fermenter...

OG looking good at 12.2°P

Old packaging, same yeast (old pic). I used the packet for a Belgian Blond ale last week and the yeast cake got split for this double batch. 

Away we go

After a week in primary one of the lucky batches will get to spend a couple of months in a keg with this stuff:

2021-11-13 (+4): Fermentation on these finished fast and final - actually started to get negative pressure in the airlock. FG came out to 1.011/2.8°P which puts the base beer at 5% ABV. Batch 2 was transferred to keg secondary with the brett. 


Just going to park this here for a while...

2021-11-27 (+18): Base beer tapped a week ago (11/20) and is tasting good. It's surprisingly clean for trappist yeast. Still a bit cloudy but shaping up. Brett version is... doing things. It has had airlock activity the whole time. Batch 2/base beer:

Batch 1/brett:

2021-09-30

30B - Autumn Seasonal: PSB

I've been putting off the PSB but now's the time. Chill is in the air, the Halloween gear is showing up in grocery stores and the pumpkins are ripening up. 

This is a British Strong Ale base made with 1L of maple syrup and 1.8kg of pumpkin goop from cans in the boil. Really getting fancy over here. I'll finish it with spices and an oak spiral soaked in bourbon because why not?  

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR

  • 2021-9-29: brew day
  • Malts/Fermentables: Rahr Pils, c60 and 120, maple syrup, pumpkin
  • Hops: [Apollo] (Centennial)
  • Yeast: Verdant IPA (London III) 
  • OG: 14°P; FG: 1.8°P; ABV: 6.5%
  • 2021-10-5 (+6): kegged
  • 2021-10-10 (+11): tapped
I used up the last of 2 bags of c60 and c120. About 250g of 120 and the rest is c60 

Mash complete

Bag out

Floor Manager Steve having some outside time

3g/L (72g) Centennial for the late addition

Pumpkin goop and maple syrup

All combined in a bucket for the late boil

This was actually super tasty!

Brew session beer: Station 26 Fresh Hop Juicy Banger. This is the best time of year. I realize I'm making a pumpkin spice beer but my favorite Fall beers are fresh hopped and German Festbier and Märzen. 

Boil calming down after going a bit bonkers (I got distracted and it went full blast for a bit once it hit temp before I turned down the heat)

All chilled and into the fermenter

Away we go. Starting this with a blowoff because the last batch exploded out the airlock like Ripley's Alien... 

2021-9-30 (+1): Oak spirals and spices added to some bourbon for a fancy tincture


2021-10-5 (+6): kegged with the oak and bourbon, strained out the spices. FG looking like 1.007 or 1.8°P putting this at 6.5% ABV.


2021-10-10 (+11): tapped. still pretty orange and murky. Tasting like it should at this point though lots of spice coming through and a sharp cider character from the pumpkin puree. 

2021-10-19 (+20): Clearing up but still a bit cloudy. The weird cider taste from the pumpkin is all but gone and this is cleaning up nicely. Still spicy but there's some c-malt sweetness coming through to balance. Not the worst pumpkin spice beer I've had... 

2021-11-18 (+51): This came out way better than expected. The spices dropped off a bit, in a good way. The pumpkin actually came through adding body and mouthfeel to an otherwise dry beer. The bourbon and oak provided a subtle background layer. All of these things worked together and I actually found myself saying something I never thought I would: "That's a rather tasty pumpkin spice beer!" 

 

2021-08-27

23F - Fruit Lambic


BJCP Style: 23F - Fruit Lambic; "MFP": Mixed Fermentation Peach

Timeline:

  1. 2021-8-27: Assembled - peaches added to mix-fermentation/wild
  2. 2021-9-30 (+35): blended in keg with 30% base beer (batch 2, not soured)
  3. 2021-10-10 (+45): tapped

For the base beer see: American Wild/Lambic from March 2021 

If you have a mixed fermentation/lambic sitting around on tap and peach trees outside what do you do? A fruited lambic of course!

I am using about 600g of sliced peaches right off the tree in 4L of mixed fermentation from the tap. This will be the 3rd fermentation.

Peaches! 

Decent size. These are ripening on the tree currently. As in, we've been pulling soft and juicy peaches off the tree and they're delicious. 

Slice and Dice

I forgot to weigh the peaches and added a little bit of beer but not too much. Going with 600g-ish.

Away we go. I'll give this a month or so and see where it goes.

2021-9-30 (+35): Peach "Lambic" blended with about 1/3 of the base beer from batch 2 which mellowed out the sourness a bit while still leaving some good peach flavor. This is now resting in a 1.5G keg. 

2021-10-10 (+45): tapped. Light sourness with lots of peach. I'm liking this a lot and looking forward to some chilled and carbonated pours. The blend is just right I think. Sadly there's only 6L of it so I'll package some up and enjoy what's left in small sampler glasses to make it last. 

2021-10-19 (+54): Mostly carbonated and I'll be packaging this up soon. Very happy with the sour and peach balance. All peach on the nose. Taste is bright and crisp with light sourness up front then fades into peachy goodness. 




2021-07-15

27A - Sahti


BJCP Style: 27A (Historical) - Sahti

More information on Sahti: Article 1, Article 2 
Brewing with Olavi the champion

This was the absolute worst brewday I've had yet. I had the idea that I would recirculate the mash at the step temperatures and be able to let it go for the allotted time. This was not the case. Because of the fine mesh of my brew bag it would not allow the pump to pull wort through consistently without running out of liquid at the bottom before more could drain through the bag. 

This was 100% an equipment "failure" - or rather not having the necessary flow rate to do a constant recirculating step mash. How did this translate to a shitty brewday? Well I had to sit there and babysit the damn thing for about 2.5hrs. Running the pump, stopping the pump, stirring mash, checking temp so it didn't get too hot at the bottom and cool at the top. Turning on pump again, etc. On top of it all, the cheap clamps I bought off Amazon a while ago turned out to be hugely irritating pieces of shit that compounded the frustration of an already hectic brew. 

After all the chaos and annoyance of doing the step mash with a not-very-flowy brew bag, I did end up hitting the expected OG of 17.6°P right on so there's that. Pitching Voss Kveik yeast for the first time at 37°C was fun in a weird way - especially how it started kicking out bubbles in about 30 minutes. 

NOTE: The Brew Bag has an option for a 400 micron bag for recirculating wort. Yes I ordered one. 

Full Recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR

  • 2021-7-14: brewday
  • Malts: Pilsner, Munich, CaraRye
  • Other: 20g of crushed Juniper berries 
  • Hop: Whole leaf Cascade in a short hop stand <75°C
  • Yeast: Lallemand Voss Kveik
  • OG: 17.6°P; FG: 4°P; ABV: 7.4%
  • 2021-7-20 (+6): racked to keg-secondary
  • 2021-7-21 (+7): tapped
I didn't have any branches so Juniper Berries it is 

Weighed out 20g of Juniper Berries

All milled up

There was some back and forth on which false bottom to use

I went with the full coverage option, but did use some shorter feet to maximize the liquid to grain ratio.

Heating up for the first step in the mash process. Grains ready to go.

Brew session beer: Dry-hopped pilsner from Cannonball Creek

Pils/Munich and CaraRye malts

All the milled things: grains and juniper berries

Giving the Kveik a go. Nice to be able to pitch at up to 40°C!

Not typically a hopped or hoppy beer, but in the Brewing with Olavi post, the brewer did throw in a handful of hops at the end of the process as a dry-hop. These local Cascade hops will go in as a hop stand below 75°C just before chilling down to 40°C.

Floor Manager Steve napping on the job

Grains in, so far so good (until the pump runs out of liquid at the bottom)

Clamps everywhere. Bag is a mess. Wort not flowing through the 200 micron fabric fast enough for the pump to do its thing. 

Mash step temp #1: 60°C for 45 min.

Flowing ok here. I spent some time moving the tube around for even distribution of the heated wort over the cooler liquid at the top. 

Moving on to step #2: 70°C for 45 min (I ended up cutting this short and ramping up to 80)

Crushed juniper is in

These. Clamps. Suck. Donkey. Balls. Do not buy. Ever. You have been warned. 

Sucky clamps pic 2. The orange 'feet' will flip out then pop off when the pressure is released. Seriously, don't ever buy these. 

The temperature of the Beast. Ramping up to 70°C

There it is.

I kept pulling the bag away from the kettle to check the water level. Once it got too low the pump would stop circulating and just suck air. which... sucked. Also here I am attempting to keep the lower liquid up by running the output on the same side as the pump is pulling. This helped a bit, but wasn't reliable enough to walk away. 

Ok let's end this. Kicking up to 80°C. Actually the temp here is turned up to 90 as it was taking a while to get up to 80. 

Almost... there..

Pulling the bag up and getting ready to transfer to the cooling vessel (which is usually the mash tun). 

More slow flow from the bag during transfer. I have ordered a new bag with 400 micron mesh that is better suited for recirculation. Or as I would say: better for basically everything. 200 micron is ridiculously small and unnecessary. 

Fuck these clamps. Smashing these gave me a small bit of gratification. 

Hop stand with 60g of Cascade harvested from a neighbor's yard a few years ago. 

Sometimes wort looks like brains.

Finally: into the fermenter. 

Hit the expected volume. 

And expected OG of 17.6°P

Away we go. Kveik yeast started fast and I was seeing airlock activity after 30 minutes

2021-7-20 (+6): Transferred to keg-secondary and SG check which is looking like 1.016 or 4°P. High but not out of range for the style (BJCP range is 7-11% ABV). Taste is... not bad at all. Cleaner than expected and not too Junipery. We'll see how it does once chilled and rested a bit, but Sahti is served young and this should be ready to go in a couple of days.  

2021-7-22 (+8): Sample pour from keg. Taste is clean. There's a bit of fruit character that reminds me of muscadine grapes which is not a bad thing. Very little yeast coming through in the flavor. 

There is still some yeast sediment in the sample pour so this needs to rest a bit longer. 

2021-8-25 (+42): well it's been well over the 2 weeks recommended ideal serving time for sahti. But this has been hanging out in the fridge since packaging and is tasting really good. It has not developed anything weird or gone sour. The jug has cleared a bit faster than the keg, but otherwise they are tasting the same.