Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pink Muscat Sour Blonde

This is a beer that has been on my list for at least 2 years now.  Unfortunately I really was never able to find a source of fresh pink muscat grapes.  Somehow though a blog I follow just was talking about something similar, but with only brett.  I sent him a message wondering where he came across muscat grapes, and it turned out he used muscat juice from a winery.  Well that exchange must have been good luck for me, because the same day I was at a local natural foods store, who just happened to have gotten in a shipment of pink muscats!

Pink muscat is probably my favorite eating grape.  It is very light, has a nice acidity and a fairly strong citrus, grapefruit-like flavor which I hope finds its way into the finished beer. So I picked up 5lbs of them, slightly more than is going into this beer (I just can keep my hands off of them).  I plan on adding them fairly soon after fermentation has died down a bit, along with the skins.  I'm hoping that some of the tannin in the skin will help to balance an otherwise very very low IBU beer.  

I kept the malt bill fairly simple, but I wanted it nice and creamy so I used one of my favorite unmalted grains, spelt.  It should not only add a great creamy texture to the beer, but a nice golden hue.  I don't really want this to be too sour (hoping for more of a Table sour) so I plan on adding yeast rather quickly after the souring culture goes in.  I also don't want it too funky so I added a couple racking cane fills of the bugfarm lambic from a couple years ago.  Hopefully the culture isn't too far gone and cane wake up and give me some acidity in the beer. 

One last thing, because of the small amount of grapes I bought I decided on only doing a half batch to make sure that the grapes played a large role in the flavor of the beer.

Serendipity Table Sour
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
1.0Spelt Berries
~5.0Pink Muscat Grapes
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.25EKG (5.1%)60
Mash Schedule
170F1.8qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastAl's Bugfarm Batch 3 Cake
81% effIBU8
3.5gal BoilFG

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Millet Table Beer - Review

Appearance - Pale golden white beer, one finger head that leaves substantial lacing in the glass all the way down to the bottom. Slightly hazy, but not too much.

Aroma - Earthy and herbal, with a strong sweet pils aroma, subdued fruitiness with a subtle hint of black pepper

Taste - Strong bready pils sweetness upfront, followed by a strong herbal-like bitterness, fruity yeast phenolics,  with a restrained hop taste.  The millet seems to lend a very strong herbal bitterness to the beer that meshes well with the sweetness from the pilsner malt

Mouthfeel - Medium body, not quite as milkshake thick as the original Table Beer, but surprisingly full.  I had expected the millet to thin the body not maintain it.  Medium carbonation, that I feel could be dialed down a bit to let the yeast and malt flavors dominate a bit more.

Drinkability - One of the better examples of table beers Ive brewed.  The millet adds an interesting bitterness that I wasn't prepared for.  Googling around it seems that like quinoa its best to rinse the grain before using it, as this will get rid of the bitterness.  However because I wanted to toast it I avoided this, perhaps I could roast it in the oven after soaking? Another day I guess........

Brewday - Recipe & Notes - 2/24/2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chocolate Saison

After playing around a bit with boricha in a grain bill I was amazed at the strong dark chocolate flavor and aroma that it lent to the beer.  Unfortunately my tap leaked and I was unable to do a formal tasting of the Boricha porter, but trust me when I say it was the chocolatiest tasting beer I have ever tasted.

Now I was thinking about different styles I would really like to showcase this flavor in and while thinking about it, I realized that some of my homemade candy syrup would be a great way to highlight the chocolate flavors of both the syrup and the boricha.  I really didn't want another porter (I don't like roasty beers in the summer months) so there wasn't many styles that I felt could lend themselves to both chocolate flavors and candy syrup.

Then I had sort of an ah ha moment, where I remembered that Fantôme put out a chocolate saison (which Ive never tasted), luckily I had some saison yeast laying around from my petite raspberry saison that I brewed up recently.

The flavor combination seems to get better and better the more I think about it.  Strong dark chocolate aromas, peppery spicy yeast, and strong toasty chocolate flavors from the syrup.  Hopefully I can recreate the strong chocolate flavors I got the last time I made some syrup (having trouble with water chemistry recently - getting more dark toffee flavors now).

One thing that I learned from the boricha porter was that I think a little bit of sweetness could have really set off the chocolate flavor quite a bit.  So in this beer I decided to add some 30L crystal to add some sweetness and light caramel flavors. I'm not worried about too much sweetness in the beer, the saison yeast and the simple sugars should still leave this beer quite dry tasting even with a pound of crystal malt. One last thing that  I also decided to do was give the beer a big aroma hop charge to add some nice earthy tones that I think should pair well with chocolate (some of my favorite chocolate bars and very dark and have earthy undertones)

Chocolate Saison
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
1.0Boricha Roasted Barley Tea
1.0C 30L
Amt (oz)TypeTime
1.0EKG (5.1%)60
2.0EKG (5.1%)KO <170F
Mash Schedule
170F1.8qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastBelgian Saison WY 3724 - Slurry
90% effIBU17
6.5gal BoilFG

Review - 1/5/2013 - Notes & Thoughts

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jaggery Pale Ale - Review

Ok so that's is a pretty terrible picture, but the keg tapped before I had any idea it was even close to finishing.  I was lucky to fill that little 2-3oz glass to get anything.

Appearance - Slightly hazy golden with orange highlights, a long lasting head that leaves a nice amount of lacing as you drink the beer.  Haze seems to be mostly yeast related, I'm thinking I pushed the yeast a bit too far (too many batches)

Aroma - Subtle yet noticeable jaggery nose, its almost butter-like with hints of coconut. Sweet malty finish that is quite bready. Unfortunately hops are no where to be seen

Taste - Sweetish and malty, but with a light toffee and caramel flavor.  The beer tastes very creamy and smooth, again no site of the hops. Nicely bitter and even slightly tipped towards the bitterness rather than the malt, but its all in the finish.  The beer starts sweeter and malty but finishes with a lingering bitterness

Mouthfeel - Slick and full, but somehow still very light feeling.  All that sugar did thin the body out quite a bit from what I'd expect from an all MO beer, but there is a slickness that I don't know what to attribute it to other than the sugar.  Medium-Low carbonation that highlights the subtle earthy tones of the nearly non-existent hops and more importantly allows the subtle jaggery flavors to be a bit more apparent than if it were more fizzy

Drinkablity - Nice beer, could use some tweaks. Number 1 of which is more of a hop presence.  I used some new EKG's from hopsdirect that I wasn't enthusiastic about (no cones all broken up) but that shouldn't surprise me since Ive never really ever been happy with the aromatic characteristics of their hops.  Bittering seems to work Ok, but they can seem to hold a candle to Freshops when it comes to flavor/aroma.  Anyway this beer was enjoyed by all.  The jaggery was fairly subtle, something I'm attributing to the type of jaggery. I usually get a different brand and this one was quite as potent tasting.

Brewday - Recipe & Notes - 5/4/2012

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