Saturday, 28 March 2015

Solera Top-off Wort

Next week is my solera's birthday, and I'm looking forward to it! With my sour beers it's like I get to celebrate my (beer) child's 1st birthday every year! It's funny to think that I have some beers that are older than my friend's children.. I guess it's kind of morbid to think of it this way since I consume them for my enjoyment, but I digress..

I know very well that you can make a pretty damn good sour beer without using traditional methods, but I like the romanticism of doing "Ye olde brooing" once or twice a year. I typically do one in October for my yearly spontaneous fermentation, and the second in April for my solera (of course last year that meant "ye olde brooing" 3 days in a row (60L)). I've found that after enough time doing brewing, the brew days can seem a little repetitive, so it's nice to refresh the joy in brewing by playing with new ingredients or new techniques. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Oude Bruin (Roeselare) Microscopy

I've brewed a lot of lighter sour beers, and I have a 60L carboy with a lambic-style solera, so I wanted some sours with...moooore... I wanted toast, roast even, and caramel, and malt behind the sour and funk characters! I found La Folie from New Belgium brewing to be a little ridiculous sour with not enough funk or malt flavor getting past that puckering. I will release the recipe and full tasting notes probably much later this year after bottling, but when I took a sample it was deliciously toasty and had a decent tartness for the fact that it's only 5 months old, but I can tell you for sure that it is fermented with Roeselare, as well as Tart of Darkness dregs from The Bruery (Fucking amazing beer, so sour!). 

So, through my forgetfulness I let the airlock on the oude bruin dry out a bit too much and I think that a bit too much oxygen got in because the pellicle was starting to get pretty thick even after just 5 months. I was really paranoid about acetobacter, so I took the sample to taste (no vinegar), and took a sample into the lab to take some images.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Brettanomyces and Oak Old Ale Brewday

I've been wanting to brew this beer for a really long time. Now that I have a nice pipeline of sours lined up for every few months, I wanted to make something funky but not so sour. As much as I like Orval, I find the belgian yeast character kind of distracting, so I would like to make an English stock ale with some brettanomyces character and some oak. The grainbill for this beer is very simple with just some base malt and a bit of crystal malts thrown in for colour and complexity. I'll be doing primary fermentation with Wyeast Scottish ale, but adding a few bottles worth of Orval dregs once the primary is slowing a bit.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Tonka Bean Beer II - Tonka Bean Stout

I am admittedly irresponsible. In the middle of the crunchiest of crunch times for the semester with midterms looming over me I decide it's a good time to plan to brew every week. I have the Spanish Cedar IIPA aging on 2.5 oz of cubed wood, but after 2 weeks of aging I'm still not getting any flavors from the wood. That beer is an experiment though, so I'll let it age up to 6 weeks before really deciding how to proceed with the next spanish cedar beer.

I've already done one other tonka bean beer, but it was also coupled with a bunch of spice additions and I overdid the cinnamon in that recipe which made it tiresome to drink. I still had my jar of tonka beans about 3/4 full after that batch and I wasn't using it for anything else so I decided to do another beer with tonka beans. This recipe uses my base oatmeal stout recipe which I call "Gato muy negro". As seen in the picture above, I took 15 tonka beans and crushed them well with the mortar and pestle before transferring them to a jar with some whiskey to pull the flavors out of the beans.
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