Sunday, June 20, 2010

Farmhouse Pale

This beer came to me as I read a recent posting on The Mad Fermentationist's blog. I wanted to brew something I had never heard of prior, while still paying homage to the classic style of the Belgian Pale Ale. I chose to use Oat Malt as the base for this beer since I felt it would create a grainy and rustic flavor that would translate well with the dry/earthy/farmhouse flavors with the yeast and hop selections.

To ensure the oat malt converted, I added Amylase Enzyme to the mash, since this is not a naturally occurring component of oat as it is in barley. I think this addition is what created such a fermentable wort. The efficiency for this beer was much higher than my usually predictable 72-74%, but while it is not stylistically perfect, the higher alcohol may hide well behind the other flavors and esters going on in this beer.

For the mash, I went low, like 146-7* - this also helped create a more fermentable wort. To encourage some degree of souring (and to allow me to split the brew day in half) I did an overnight mash, and added acid malt to the grist.

Once boiled and chilled, I aerated, and pitched a big slug of Brett C and a starter of WLPP530 (Abbey Ale) and fermentation took off like crazy in my basement at 68*. Once the ferment dropped to about 80% expected attenuation, I moved to my garage, in the 90's to promote funky and bretty flavors. After a few weeks, I sampled, and found this beer to be very one dimensional, and not quite what I was looking for, so I decided to dry hop with Willamette.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Brett'd Biere de Mars

It was a disaster brew day, and I have people to prove it. This was the first beer brewed as part of a double brew day. I had several friends over to brew with, and most showed up around flame out for the Biere de Mars. I followed a process used several times prior, but I believe the mainly pellet hop addition was my downfall. The hops almost immediately clogged my pickup tube strainer, yielding my brewing toolbox pump essentially screwed. With no means to pump out the wort, I thought I wold auto siphon it, which just melted the auto siphon. Then I decided to pour from the keggle into my better bottle. I used a basic winter glove as a hot pad, not only did the better bottle melt, but so did the glove. At this point I was embarrassed and frustrated, so I did what any self respecting homebrewer would do, I put the remains of the hot keggle into a snow bank and let it sit for several hours covered.

I figured this batch had to be riddled with off flavors and perhaps infected, but I decided to put it in a fermenter, and let it go. It fermented out fairly quickly with the WLP3711

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Lambic Summit Tasting Notes

I was lucky enough to be notified by my friend Stefen of a very rare lambic tasting being put on as part of the Philly Beer Week. The event was amazing, truly lived up to the hype put out by the coordinators, however the execution could have been tightened up a little; there seemed to be bickering between the moderator and several audience members, and the microphone setup was 2 steps beyond annoying. It was as distracting as the vuvuzela's at the World Cup. Annoyances aside, I can honestly say this was a once in a lifetime event that I was happy to attend.

Below are the tasting notes I scribbled as I went:

Wednesday 6/9/10
The Penn Museum

Panel: Armand Debelder (Drie Fonteinen), Jean Van Roy (Cantillon), and Frank Boon (Brewery Boon)

Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze (1999)
Beer originally brewed for the Millennium celebration in 2000. This is one of Armand’s favorite beers. Blend of 1, 2 and 3 year old lambics. Appearance is straw like, with a lasting head, and a nice cascading carbonation. Aroma is floral and funky. Dry and sour, acid flavor on the tongue.