Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tasting Notes: Boat Bitter

Well that didn't last long, it's been 6 weeks from the Boat Bitter brew day and all 10 gallons are gone (save for a 4 pack I Beergun'ed). Now, I didn't drink my way through 4 cases of beer in a month and a half, a keg each were poured at a friends wedding and my block party. At each event I got some great feedback, comments like "very session-able , "nutty, and malty", and my favorite "Reminds me of Cask Ale from when I was in London". 


Fining with Gelatin results in some crystal clear beer.

I don't brew for events terribly often, maybe 2-4 times per year, but I really enjoy sharing my beer with people and talking about it a bit. Even after just one batch I think this will be a staple I bring to events along with my FitR, depending on the crowd. 

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Light copper in color, fluffy white head that dissipates to about half a finger and lingers there throughout the glass. Moderate lacing on the glass. No noticeable carbonation bubble, looks to be very soft carb. Great clarity.


Aroma: Some fruity esters on the nose, no noticeable hop aroma, earthy, malty and nutty.


Taste: Soft carbonation, to style. Light bodied beer that starts with a smooth mouthfeel, low bitterness but balances the malt really well in the middle of the mouth. Finish is all malt, nutty, biscuity. The malt is more prevalent as it warms, certainly has that cask conditioned feel to it.


Overall: I am really happy with this beer, it's easy drinking, light but complex despite it's subtlety. Next batch I would like to up the bitterness just a little bit but the beer is balanced well but leans slightly to the malt. I would love to get this in a Firkin for an event at some point.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Farmhouse Festbier: A Fall beer without Pumpkins or spices?

As of this posting its officially Fall, maybe it wasn't on brewday but you have to think ahead you know? For alot of craft beer drinkers that means Pumpkin beers, and lots of them, the more the better some might say. I guess I'm not "some", sure I'll have one or two when the leaves start to change but most of them just don't do it for me. 

It's not that I don't like Pumpkin, I am actually a fan I love Pumpkin pie, what I don't like is the heavy handed spicing so many brewers tend to use, and don't get me started on Pumpkin beers released before Pumpkins are even harvested. Libby's canned Pumpkin is actually made with Squash (Dickinson's Pumpkins). I'm sure Dickinson's are good, but most people are picturing their jack-o-lantern Pumpkins in their beer. It really boils down to Spiced beers in general for me, they come off as a muddled mess to me, and believe me I have tried brewing them and tasting many, I prefer my spice to be yeast driven.

So no Pumpkin beer being brewed, and no Holiday spiced beers, what to brew for the fall weather? My goals for this batch were, something yeast driven, Saison/Farmhouse-y, something earthy with a slight malt presence and a deeper amber color, some funkiness from the yeast (without Brett, although I may bottle dose a 6-pack) and a citrus component to tie it all together. 

I have been playing with a method some are calling "Capping the mash", meaning saving your dark roasted malts and adding them prior to vorlaufing. The idea here is that you will get the color you're looking for without all of the roast flavors/aromas which is exactly what I am going for with this beer. This method its perfect for Dark Saisons or Black IPAs in my experience.



Dark runnings after capping the mash.

This will also be my first time trying out WLP585 Belgian Saison III, It sounds like an interesting strain that may bring out some of the biscuity flavors of the Victory malt to go along with some tartness that the yeast apparently throws off. Other than I just wanted to try a new Platinum strain for the hell of it. 




To help dry the beer out, and hopefully add a more Rustic feel to the beer, I added a boiled mixture of the Golden Blossom honey (a blend of White Clover, Orange Blossom, and Sage Buckwheat) 48 hours into fermentation. I do my sugar additions in all of my Saisons in the fermenter to ensure the yeast ferment the complex malt sugars before they feast on the easy to ferment simple sugars. In addition to that, when I add the sugar I am usually at the point that I want to ramp the fermentation up a little higher and adding the sugar tends to do so.



Farmhouse Festbier



Brew day: 8/18/2013
Kegged: 9/7/2013


Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 13.25 gal
Post Boil Volume: 11.50 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 11.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 10.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Measured OG: 1.060 SG
Measured FG: 1.012 SG
ABV: 7.2%
Estimated Color: 7.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 37.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.60 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 70.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain:
65.6% - 16 lbs Pilsner
12.3% - 3lbs Munich
12.3% - 3lbs Wheat
  4.1% - 1lb Victory
  1.5% - 6oz Chocolate Wheat (Capped the mash)
  4.1% - Golden Blossom Honey (Added during Primary Fermentation)

Hops:
Boil: 60min - 1.00 oz Magnum [14.20 %] - 25.2 IBUs
Boil: 15min - 2 Whirlfloc Tablets + 2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient

Boil: 10min - 2.50 oz Saaz [3.60 %] - 5.8 IBUs
Boil: 00min - 2.00 oz Cascade [6.20 %] - 0.0 IBUs

Yeast
WLP585 Belgian Saison III

Mash:
Sacch rest - 60 min @ 148 F

Sparge:
Fly Sparge 8.75 gallons of 170f

Misc: 60 seconds of pure O2. Philadelphia filtered tap water, no salt additions. 



Notes: 
--------
12-16-13 Tasting Notes from the can.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dawson's Boat Bitter

I've spent all summer brewing Saisons almost exclusively, its what I wanted to drink and have been dragging my feet on temp control for the big 60L Spiedel fermenter. Needless to say, the kegerator could use some variety in its portfolio and something session-able for watching football in the fall wouldn't hurt either. Friends of ours also asked if I would brew a batch for their fall wedding so something that a wide range of people would enjoy, and enjoy a few of, was in need.

As fate would have it Michael Dawson posted the recipe for, what he calls, his Boat Bitter. The beer certainly piqued my interest, simple grist, single hopped, interesting yeast strain all things I like to play with. Despite the fact that I don't brew many English beers, I was very interested, but it was posted mid-summer and there was Saison to brew. A few weeks later Chip posted the episode for this beer on Chop and Brew, and with the wedding (and Eagles football) coming up it was time to give it a try. There was so much great info in the brewday episode, and the beer looked fantastic, its a must watch Dawson is a wealth of knowledge.


I had about 15 pounds of Marris Otter laying around so I did not use the Floor Malted version as Dawson did in his recipe, I also had plenty of Crystal 60L on hand so I adjusted to use that instead of the 80L, and the LHBS did not have First Gold so I subbed Challenger, per Dawson's recommendation. So, after all of that I suppose its not true to what Dawson envisioned but it should get us in the ballpark.

Cask Ale Starter.

Kegging the beer 10 days later, biscuity maltiness, really nice. Pre-post kettle finings.



So this is how my version looks...

Brew day: 9/7/2013
Kegged: 9/17/2013


Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 13.25 gal
Post Boil Volume: 11.50 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 11.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 10.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.036 SG
Measured OG: 1.040 SG
Measured FG: 1.012 SG
ABV: 3.8%
Estimated Color: 7.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 37.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 79.10 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 70.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain:
97.3% - 14 lbs 10oz Marris Otter
2.7% - 6.5oz Crystal 60L

Hops:
Boil: 60min - 2.00 oz Challenger [6.90 %] - 28.1 IBUs
Boil: 15min - 1.00 oz Challenger [6.90 %] - 7.0 IBUs
Boil: 15min - 2 Whirlfloc Tablets + 2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
Boil: 00min - 1.00 oz Challenger [6.90 %] - 0.0 IBUs

Yeast:
Wyeast 1026 British Cask Ale

Mash:
Sacch rest - 60 min @ 153 F

Sparge:
Fly Sparge 10.5 gallons of 170f

Misc: 60 seconds of pure O2. Philadelphia filtered tap water, no salt additions. Ferment at 67f for 10 days, or until terminal gravity is reached.

*I used half a packet of Knox gelatin to fine the beer in the keg.

**I boiled off more then expected, post boil was 9.5 gallons at 1.045, I added a gallon of boiled and cooled filtered water to dilute to 10.5 gallons at 1.040.

10/26/13 - Tasting Notes