Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aramis - An Oud Bruin

Well Ive been sitting on this recipe for a while now. This being another one of my Dumas inspired beers, I started first with the character and worked backwards to get a style and finally a recipe. This one though didn't take much time, but the recipe did....

Aramis is definitely a dark, complex, and somewhat sour character. After today's brewing session I think I'm pretty sour and dark too! Just like Aramis, this beer had quite a disasters along the road, and things ended up being a bit different than he or I expected. I originally intended this beer to have a grist of entirely Dark Munich with a pound of Caramunich and an ounce of Carafa for color. Somehow though I seem to have misplaced/used 2lbs more of my Dark Munich than I thought. So I had to supplement the malt bill with what I had on hand, Marris Otter. Not a big deal, and it should help the maltiness of the beer a bit.

The big problem came though as I'm outside in the middle of the mash with my dog. I was around the corner when I heard a CRASH! Slush slush slush.......Somehow Zoey (my dog) had tipped over my mashtun and it was pouring out onto my patio. Luckily I save nearly all of the grain, but a good deal of my mash liquor drained out. Crap! To make up for all the lost sugars I ran inside and milled another 1.5lbs of Marris Otter to supplement the mash.

Now for yeast selection I had been thinking along time about brewing up another Brett L beer. Especially since I recently did a formal review of one I brewed a couple years back. But I also really wanted a nice level of acidity in the final beer, something that would really accentuate the fruitiness of the Brett L and the cherry nose. Originally I had intended to use some Jolly Pumpkin dregs, but all I could find was an overcarbonated bottle of Oro de Calabaza. After the bottle foamed up like a bottle of coke with mentos in it I threw in the towel on that front. Luckily though I recently came across a couple bottles of a lambic from Odell (Friek). Its a fruit lambic with raspberries and cherries, it was pretty good although the acidity was a bit too soft for me. None the less, it was a really good source of souring bugs! I built up a starter over a week or so, and its nicely sour (much more than the beer itself) and very clean! Both things I was really looking for.

I'm planning on adding in the Brett L by itself for a day or so, so it can really take hold and eat up some of the sugars before I add the Friek culture. I want this beer to be sour, but like Aramis not too sour.

In the end, even though there were a lot of problems along the way for Aramis, and things didn't turn out exactly the way he or I hoped, everything worked out for the better in the end....

Aramis - An Oud Bruin
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
8.0Dark Munich 10L (Global)
3.5Marris Otter
1.0ozCarafa III
Amt (oz)TypeTime
1.0Mt Rainier (6.8%)60
Mash Schedule
170F1.7qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastBrett Lambicus - 4L Starter + 2days
Odell Friek Culture - 2L Starter
73% eff??IBU20
7gal BoilFG-
Notes: Brett Lambicus was cultured up from a bottle of Brett L Malty Brown and was grown using a stirplate ~2.5wks: Friek Culture was started ~10days prior to brewing and did not use a stirplate: I added the Brett L 2days before the Friek culture to let the L get a crack at most of the sugars to limit the sourness a bit

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Smoked Ale - Two Years Later.......

I was rearranging my beer closet to be able to stuff in a beer I recently bottled and as luck would have it I came across a beer I thought had long ago been drank. Last time I had a bottle of my Smoked Ale was at least 6mos ago, and now I have two 22oz bottles! I figured it would be a good time to do another review and see how its held up over the past 2 years.......

Appearance - Ruby brown, crystal clear, thin 1 finger head that dissipates fairly quickly leaving small amounts of lacing

Aroma - Subtly smokey with some phenolics, and a hint of malt

Taste - Sweetish upfront, smoke all the way through, its a bit more restrained than last time although it hasn't dropped off much from 2 years ago, the peatiness shows through a bit more now

Mouthfeel - medium body, with medium carbonation just like the last review!

Drinkability - Good beer, smoke level is really nice peatiness is shining through a bit more which is nice

Notes/Thoughts - This beer has held up remarkably well over the past 2 years. When I popped the bottle I was expecting a phenolic oxidized mess, and I got something exactly opposite of that. The other smoked beer I brewed relatively recently (Cherry Smoked) came out far too smokey, I was hoping that would fade with some time, but tasting this beer hasn't left me very hopeful.......

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blended Brett L Malty Brown - Review

Appearance - Brownish-red, very clear like the unblended portion, Next to no head formation, ruby highlights although a tad darker than the other version

Aroma - Malty, but a tart nose with a wisp of acetic acid, fruity although it doesn't display the black cherry that the unblended portion did

Taste - Still surprisingly malty, phenolic bretty presence comes across a bit stronger in this version. Very fruity, but still non-destinct, reminiscent of eating fruit cocktail all at once with a bit of emphasis on the cherries. Finish has a bit more bite to it with some subtle tart notes, not quite as sour as I had hoped it would be, but it does help to emphasize the fruity flavors a bit

Mouthfeel - Very slick feeling, even though the carbonation is very low relative to the other version. Id gauge it somewhere around 1.5-1.8vols of CO2

Drinkability - Good beer, really highlights the fruitiness of the Brett L from the small addition of aged acid beer, although it isnt quite as tart as I would have hoped. Due to the combination of the lower than hoped for acid character and the low carbonation I prefer the other beer over this one. If the carbonation was a bit higher it would help to release some of the aromatic character of the beer and I think it would make it seem a bit more tart than it is. Lesson from this beer is to always make sure its sour enough!

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