Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hoppy Witbier - An IPA crossed with a Wit

So, after tasting a sample of the fermented wort of my most recent witbier, I knew that 5gal wasn't going to be enough. Yet Ive really been craving something hoppy and bitter lately, but I really haven't had much time to brew full batches recently. For the most part I tend to shy away from hoppy/bitter Belgian beers, and haven't found a Belgian IPA that really hit the spot for me (most are too phenolic for my tastes) And actually this is a large reason that Im hesitant to call this a belgian IPA.

Witbier yeast tends to be a bit less aggressive producers of spicy phenolic compounds compared to some other Belgian yeasts, so I thought this combination might make something that better suits my tastes. I also really wanted to make sure that the base beer wasn't masked by all the hops. Most importantly I wanted the traditional witbier character to be fairly evident. So, I took my go-to wit malt bill and ramped it up to IPA levels. I then decided to have a fairly light hand with bitterness so as not to overpower the yeast, so I decided to hopburst the beer.

The IBU's are a tad on the low side for an IPA, but this isn't really to any style in particular. I really just wanted to take what I feel are the best parts of either style and mash them together hopefully to produce something tasty. I also almost forgot, I did add some coriander to the boil to help keep it more wit-like. This beer will also most likely get dry hopped with at least another 2-3 ounces of hops. Im not really sure what to use yet though, I used up all my citra in the boil as well as my amarillo, maybe some simcoe?

Hop Wit

Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
3.0Flaked Wheat
1.0Flaked Oats
Amt (oz)TypeTime
1.0Citra (11%)15min
1.5Amarillo (9.3%)15min
1.0Amarillo (9.3%)5min
1.4Amarillo (9.3%)<170f
1.0Citra (11%)<170f
Mash Schedule
170F1.9qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastBelgian Witbier WY3944 (Slurry)
86% effIBU38
7gal BoilFG-
Notes: ~0.5oz of coriander was added at KO to help keep the beer very wit-like; beer was feremented at ~70-74F

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gosebier - Fermented with a Sauerkraut Culture?

So awhile back I was writing up a post about fermented pickles, when a something popped into my head. Gosebier. Well at first thought you might think that was kind of a weird connection, but the more you ponder the connection the more it seems to grow.

Gosebier is a very old German style beer that is a bit out of the ordinary. Its a sour beer, which there is another German example (Berliner Weiss) but this beer has additions of both coriander and salt, and sometime oats! None of which was allowed under reinheitsgebot, but Gose developed outside Bavaria, so the law wasn't an issue until the unification of Germany in the late 1800's. It was even bottled with an extremely long think neck which allowed for a natural plug of yeast and bacteria to stopper the bottle allowing for a soft carbonation! If you ask me this is quite an interesting beer.

Ok, so fast forward back to pickle making. When I make pickles to speed the process and keep things more consistent I use some of the juice from an old batch to kick start the fermentation of a new batch. Sort of like pitching a yeast cake into some new wort. That process got me thinking about both pickles and gosebier, both of which were made in the same parts of Germany. Would it have been possible that a mix up occurred and some of the lees from a pickle or sauerkraut fermentation found their way into a beer barrel by accident? If they did it might explain how both coriander and salt are used in brewing gosebier (both are common pickling spices)

Well I really liked this idea and have been planning on trying it out for quite some time. The more I thought about it though, the more it seemed that sauerkraut brine would more likely be a better source of bugs for the gose. The juice in sauerkraut doesn't have all the additional spices like dill and garlic that wouldn't taste right in a gosebier, so I waited until I had eaten several jars of sauerkraut I had made. I then poured off much of the juice leaving a layer of bacteria and yeast in the bottom to add to my wort.

Well that's pretty much where I'm at right now. I brewed up a ~1gal batch using wheat DME, coriander, and a small amount of hops. I added the and within 24hrs its happily bubbling away. I keep sneaking sniffs of the fermenting beer and it has a similar smell to a B-weiss I brewed last year with yeast from Al on BBB, so I'm really hoping this turns out, at the very least it will be interesting.......

Gosebier - Fermented with Sauerkraut sauerkraut dregs culture
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
0.75Wheat DME
Amt TypeTime
4 conesWillamette (4.5%)20
1 pinchSaltKO
YeastFermented Sauerkraut Culture
0.85gal boilIBU<5?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bitter Brown Ale - Review

Appearance: A beautiful amber brown with some burnt orange highlights when held up to to the light, a very dense tan head that lingers till half the glass is gone leaving sticky lacing up and down the glass

Aroma: Subdued aroma at this point, when it was younger an earthy hoppiness was a bit more pronounced, as it stands now a strong caramel aroma is rounded out by a sweet yet subtle breadiness

Taste: When the beer first hits your tongue it is very malt forward, there are layers or caramel, bread, toffee, and an amazing tanginess hits your just before the bitter finish; for how malt oriented it seems initially it is soundly bitter in the finish, and the bitterness lingers on the tongue until the next sip; I'm a bit surprised how much I enjoy the tangy sourdough like character this beer has, definitely from the special roast; chocolatey flavors are subdued but add an interesting layer to the beer overall

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium high body from using Marris Otter and special roast, a lower amount of carbonation definitely suits this beer best (over carbed a bit to start with), the lower carbonation gives the beer a nice chewy yet not over the top mouthfeel, something like if you blended a pale ale with an oatmeal stout

Drinkability: A pretty good beer, its a pretty easy drinker although I think it would be a bit more suited towards the cooler months of the year and not August! In the future Ill have this one ready for Thanksgiving time....

Notes/Thoughts: I definitely like the tangy sourdough character of the beer, it adds a very unique and flavorful dimension and it offsets some of the sweetness of the Marris otter; the pale chocolate malt lent a very soft chocolate/roast character that tied all the other elements together, I definitely think that malt has a place in softer less roasty beers and lends a much smoother character than regular chocolate malt; Again the Mt Rainier was a bit disappointing in the aroma department, yet it lends a very smooth bitterness to the beer, in the future I think Ill limit its role to bittering

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lambic Update

Well, I thought I'd do a bit of an update on the lambic I made last summer. It has come along very nicely, and about ~4mos ago or so, I split the batch into 3 x 3gal carboys. In one I added about 4# or so of blackberries, in another 5-6# of cherries to another, and decided on leaving the last portion for additional aging. I hope to use it to blend a gueuze in the next few months.

Its been awhile now since I last tasted the batch, but last time the acidity was showing yet it was still fairly soft and the funk was very subdued. Overall the batch was very bright and citrus-like. This was a big reason I decided to blend it with 2 different fruits, as I thought the developing flavor profile could accentuate the flavor and aroma of the fruit. Well, I decided to take a sample the other day (I am hoping to bottle to open up the fermenters for other batches) and I was surprised by the two fruited portions

The flavor has changed considerably on both. The blackberry actually had become a bit too tart for my liking (I prefer a softer character with fruit), but otherwise the flavor was great. So to cut the sourness a bit, I decided to blend in about 1.5L of a blonde ale that I brewed up earlier this summer (recipe to come) that I thought would blend in well, and wouldn't offer too much for the bugs to eat. I would have added some of another lambic, but I really didn't feel like having to do all the work siphoning from a carboy, and after all I had the blond on tap. Fermentation did kick up slightly which is a good sign, hopefully Ill be able to bottle this up in the next month or so.

The other fruited portion, didn't have quite as strong of an acid bite, so I didn't blend anything in...yet. But it displayed that graininess in the finish that Ive come to find in lots of my sours. I really don't like the flavor, luckily it usually fades with time, unfortunately its usually lots of time. I was also a bit disappointed with the cherry flavor, and decided to add a bit of black cherry juice to top off the batch and add a bit more flavor.

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