Posts Tagged 'belgian ale'

AG#44 – Little Divil Belgian Blond

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I really enjoyed every bottles of this beer the last time I made it. It’s strong, but still very drinkable. It’s a very simple recipe, with the coriander adding a very nice citrus and spice note to the Belgian yeast. A good percentage of wheat malt partnered with some high carbonation gives the beer a great head. Given that it’s very strong, I’m planning on bottling as much as I can into 330ml bottles. I’m also planning on doing a “cork and cage” presentation on a few bottles, to test out the technique.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.068 SG
Estimated Color: 10.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 73.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

5.500 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (3.9 EBC), 84.6 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 4.6 %
0.200 kg Aromatic Malt (51.2 EBC), 3.1 %
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0, 8.6 IBUs
19 g East Kent Goldings [5.70 %] – Boil 60.0, 15.5 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
25 g Saaz [4.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 3.4 IBUs
0.500 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 10 min], 7.7 %
10.00 g Coriander Seed (Boil 5.0 mins)
1.0 pkg Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500)
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.500 kg
Mash In Add 16.80 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 17.61l) of 77.0 C water

25/09/2015 Mash Day – After all the disasters I’ve had lately, I was watching every step of this process like a hawk. Mashed at around 66C. The run off was quite slow, but I got a nice light coloured wort.
26/09/2015 Brew Day – Early rise to kick off the boil. Lots of hot break, but I only skimmed off a little of the darker stuff before it came to the boil. No boil overs, thankfully, because I was watching the boiler like a hawk for 90 mins. Got a bit more cold break into the fermenter than I wanted. Pitched about 400ml of slurry from the Bastogne Pale Ale. I set the fermenter in the cold room. Fermentation still not started by night time, so I moved the fermenter into the kitchen.
27/09/2015 – Fermentation under way when I got up this morning. About 1cm of kreusen. However, I could see the kreusen had double after a couple of hours. Went out for the day and when I came back I could see the kreusen had hit the lid and then died down considerably.
28/09/2015 – Fermentation still going strong.
29/09/2015 – The airlock is still pretty active, particularly when the heating is on in the kitchen. I lifted the lid to see what was happening. The kreusen has fallen completely, but there’s still very active fizzing going on at the surface of the beer. I plan on giving this 2 weeks in total to finish fermenting, then I’ll move the fermenter somewhere cool

10/10/2015 – Took a sample from the fermenter. First taste was pretty alcoholic and very hazy. A bit alarming. The gravity reading was even more alarming at 1.006! I was thinking something had gone wrong with the fermentation until I checked the recipe notes of the last brew of this beer. I was pleased to see that I got the same FG that time too. Will leave another week or so in the fermenter before bottling.

18/10/2015 – Followed the same bottling regimen that I used the last time I brewed this beer. Batch primed with 181g of corn sugar (17.5 litres @ 3.5 vol). 15 x 500ml bottles, 12 x 750ml bottles. 2 of the 750ml bottles are ex-Champagne bottled which I corked and caged. Hopefully the corks stay where they’re meant to be and there’s no beer fountains!

23/11/2015 – A bit disappointed with the first opening of this beer. Although it tastes really nice already, the head retention is zero. My notes from the last brew of this recipe show that it was already holding a good head at this stage. Will give it another 2 weeks before opening another 330ml bottle. Very pleased with the flavour and aroma though.

24/11/2015 – So much for waiting two weeks! I was interested to see if the head retention problem is there in a different bottle, poured into a different glass. Head is marginally better, less than a centimetre a few minutes after pouring. Great honey-like flavours, candy like sweetness. Dry finisg with light body. Pear drops and bubblegum in the flavour. Alcohol needs to mellow for another month. Hopefully in that time, the bubbles will reduce in size and the head will become tighter and more mousse-like.

16/12/2015 – The head has improved quite a bit, but I’m picking up some acetone in the flavour, which may have been caused by the beer I drank before this one, which was the amber saison.

24/03/2015 – I opened one of the corked champagne bottles at a meet. I discovered that the cages are prone to over-tightening when I was bottling the beer. Tonight I discovered that a slight tip off the cage can break it, and loosen the cork. Thankfully the cork only came out partially. The carbonation is pretty spritzy. I’m happy with the cork and cage packaging, a technique that will come in handy when it’s time to bottle some sour and funky beers. The beer itself is a bit of a loss. But it’s a learning experience. I re-pitched yeast from a fermentation that was stressed, and I won’t be doing this again.

AG#43 – Bastogne Belgian Pale Ale

Franciscan Well IPA

The last time I did a Belgian Pale Ale was partial mash recipe, and although I recall it was drinkable, I never bowled me over. I suspect that I’m more a fan of pale Belgian beers, than dark ones. This brew is an attempt to make a darker Belgian beer that I actually enjoy, and to make a Belgian beer that is relatively low in alcohol. I also want to grow up yeast to do my Little Divil Belgian Blonde.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 16.0 EBC
Estimated IBU: 25.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

4.444 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EB Grain 1 80.0 %
0.444 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 2 8.0 %
0.222 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC) Grain 3 4.0 %
0.222 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC) Grain 4 4.0 %
0.222 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 5 4.0 %
19 g East Kent Goldings [5.70 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 6 15.8 IBUs
18 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi Hop 7 7.9 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 8 –
15 g Saaz [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 1.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500) [35.49 Yeast 10 –
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.555 kg

Mash In Add 15.55 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.41l) of 77.0 C water

24/09/2015 – Bottled with 115g glucose (17.5 litres at 2.5 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 16 x 500ml bottles.

12/11/2015 – Quite a few bottles of this sampled now. I’m reasonably pleased with it. I think the bitterness is a little overwhelming. Some caramel sweetness there to balance some of that bitterness. Got a bit of a musty/sweaty flavour when I sampled it at a recent meet, but that could be down to the beer I’d had immediately before it. I’m not sure how I would improve this. More character malts like munich or vienna perhaps.

17/12/2015 – This scored extremely poorly at a recent pre-competition meet, but the bottle I’m tasting right now is pretty decent.

29/09/2015 – I got a shock this evening to see kreusen around the neck of one of the bottles I left on the kitchen counter. It looked pretty dense and I immediately thought of the film yeast I saw before I bottled the beer. I checked the rest of the bottles and they were all the same. I panicked and opened a bottle which tasted just fine. Pretty good actually, for a beer that’s only been bottled for 5 days. The colour is a touch lighter than I wanted, but I think it will condition into a very nice beer, provided it isn’t infected. I did some searching on the web and it seems a common enough issue, but a lot of people say it can accompany a bacterial infection. But I’m hoping it’s just the re-fermentation in the bottle. The beer was extremely clear when I bottled it, so maybe the yeast had to grow up a little before it could complete the job? Only time will tell, but I’m now a little more worried about the Belgian blond that I am currently fermenting with the same yeast cake.

02/02/2016 – If there are off flavours in this beer, I was having a little trouble finding them this evening. Flavour is pretty clean, and I finished every drop. Lovely yeast character,and nice dry finish.

AG#42 – Bastogne Amber Saison

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Here’s proof that disastrous brew days can often result in great beer.
Last autumn, I remember regaling a few of the SDB lads with tales of bad luck that I’d been having with my brewing. It seemed like every brew day had some kind of disaster. Forgotten ingredients, careless monitoring of temperatures, boil overs, infected fermenters, you name it..
The one that really pissed me off was during last summer, when a tiny fruit fly got underneath the foil I had placed on top of Trappist ale yeast starter. I was planning on making a Belgian Pale Ale during the weekend. The starter had been whizzing away on the stir plate for a day or so. I fished the fly out and called emergency services, or Rossa O’Neill, as he’s sometimes called. “Would you use it, knowing there had been a fly in it?”, I asked him. His response was not unexpected. “No, I’d be too worried about infecting an entire batch of beer”. Foolishly, I made a decision the night before brewing to use the starter.
I completed the mash and the boil and was really happy with the flavour and appearance of the wort. Time to pitch the yeasties. It was only at this point that I decided to actually taste the yeast starter. My first thought was “lambic”. That’s not good. Yeast starters never taste great, but this was decidedly tart. The funny thing is, it actually tasted quite nice. I stood sipping it for ten minutes while agonizing whether to pitch the starter or not. In the end, I chucked it down the sink, as I thought it was too risky.
Before I chucked the starter, I realised that I had a yeast cake from a saison available. It wouldn’t be a Belgian Pale Ale after all, but an amber saison instead. Though commercial dark saisons exist, the classic examples tend to be golden-orange in colour. The only problem was that there was a golden saison still gently fermenting on top of it. So I racked the saison into a corny, praying that it had reached final gravity and if not, that there would be enough yeast in there to finish the job.
So anyway, I racked the golden saison into a corny and opened the vial of brett. This was my first time using a vial of brett and I was surprised by how little yeast there was in there compared to the vials of saccharomyces I’m used to. I pitched the brett into the corny and, like an idiot, I rinsed the brett vial with some of the beer left in the fermenter. Yep, I had dunked a brett vial into a yeast cake that I wanted to re-use. Cursing myself, I pitched the potentially “infected” yeast slurry into my amber saison wort and hoped for the best. I also sealed up the corny keg containing the brett inocculated version.
Three or four weeks later, I ended up bottling the amber saison. Once it was fully conditioned, I had a taste and thought it was a decent saison with a bit more toast and caramel character. But on subsequent tastings I could taste the beginnings of something funky in there. With each bottle I opened, the brett character had intensified slightly to a level where it was unmistakably a “brett” beer. There was a little more pineapple character, more spicy phenols and a tiny hint of barnyard poking through. But, it was absolutely delicious. Easily one of the most complex beers I had produced in over 5 years as a home brewer.
Fast forward six months. The “accidental” amber saison won a silver medal in the 2016 Nationals. I’m currently still enjoying it, but I’m wary of the fact that there was some crystal malt in the Belgian Pale Ale grist and that the critters in the bottle haven’t finished snacking yet. My plan is to work my way through the remainder of the batch before the weather gets warmer and the bottles become bottle bombs.
And the moral of the story? Disastrous brew days happen, but they can produce the most delicious results. For me, it’s also a reminder that I should experiment more with new ingredients and processes.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Estimated Color: 19.0 EBC
Estimated IBU: 25.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

4.444 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EBC), 79.6 %
0.444 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 8.0 %
0.222 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 4.0 %
0.222 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 4.0 %
0.222 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 4.0 %
0.030 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (591.0 EBC), 0.5 %
19 g East Kent Goldings [5.70 %] – Boil 60.0, 15.8 IBUs
18 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0, 7.9 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
15 g Saaz [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 1.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.585 kg
Mash In Add 15.64 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.35l) of 77.0 C water

23/08/2015 – Total disaster of a brew day. I went to pitch the yeast and I tasted the starter which was really sour and funky. I couldn’t think about pitching that into the wort I’d just made, so I pitched the yeast cake off the jasmine saison instead. Got knows what this will turn out like. It’s a pity, despite another boilover, the wort looked and smelled great. I’m planning on doing another starter of WLP500 next weekend, so might even do a re-brew of this.

14/09/2015 – Took a gravity sample. With the lack of simple sugars in there and the small percentage of crystal malt I wasn’t expecting a low finishing gravity of 1.002. Alcohol a little overwhelming, but definitely a decent saison flavour. Sample from the trial jar wasn’t as dark as I was expecting. Will go ahead and bottle in a few days.

17/09/2015 – Bottled with 146g of glucose (17 litres at 3 vol). Got 12 x 750ml bottles and 14 x 500ml bottles. Taste was okay, but I wouldn’t be getting too excited. Not surprising, really. This beer is a bit of a runt. Right, time to brew something that isn’t a saison.

12/11/2015 – I’ve drank quite a few bottles if this now, and it’s a decent saison. Amber coloured, bit maltier than a regular saison, but not at all sweet. Like other saisons I’ve done, it’s got that tart flavour. I also occasionally pick up a bit of funkiness in it, but I’m not sure if I’m imagining that.

23/11/2015 – I’m getting that brett character in this still. I can’t be sure if this beer was fermented with yeast where I accidentally placed a brett vial into the yeast cake to wash out the vial and then subsequently pitches this yeast. The dates on my blog don’t seems to add up, but I think this is the beer. It’s actually really tasty, I wish the brett character was stronger, so that I could decide whether it is a brett beer or not. It’s just very subtle. Quite tart, from the saison yeast. I just hope I haven’t contaminated my equipment.

20/12/2015 – It has been unseasonally warm over the last couple of days and I’m not sure if the weather caused this to happen, but there is a small pellicle in all of the remaining bottles of this. I opened a bottle this eveing only to find that it was completely undercarbonated. I ended up chucking the dud bottle.

23/01/2016 – Lovely brett nose, plenty of fruit and bags of Belgian yeast character. There isn’t a huge amount of follow through of the brett in the flavour. Big malt flavour, but not overly sweet. Still bone dry. Complex, but not funky, as brett beers go. Very, very drinkable.

AG#41 – Saison au Jasmine

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This is probably the last saison I’m going to do for the rest of the year. I’ve done a fair few at this stage and while I wanted to get some value out of the two vials of yeast that went into all of these saisons, it’s now time to mix things up a bit.

I’ve always liked the aroma of jasmine – it reminds me of long holidays in Thailand. I figured a floral, fruity, spicy saison would be a great base beer to put jasmine into.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 19.12 l
Post Boil Volume: 16.12 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 13.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Estimated Color: 11.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 12.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 45.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 46.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

2.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent 1 –
4.700 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EB Grain 2 85.5 %
0.300 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 3 5.5 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 5.5 %
0.200 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC) Sugar 5 3.6 %
15 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi Hop 6 9.5 IBUs
0.32 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 7 –
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 mi Hop 8 2.5 IBUs
11.00 g Jasmine Flowers (Boil 0.0 mins) Flavor 9 –
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565 Yeast 10 –
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP Yeast 11 –

Mash Schedule: Bubbles Small Batch BIAB Mash
Total Grain Weight: 5.500 kg
Saccharification Add 22.36 l of water at 74.9 C 68.0 C 60 min

16/08/2015 – Not the best brew day I’ve ever had. It was a bit spur of the moment, and I didn’t really bother with a recipe, just winging it by using the Lemon Saison recipe as a guide. I replaced the Sorachi Ace hops in that recipe, which have a high alpha rating, with Styrian Goldings, which are a very low alpha hop. I’m going to do a hop tea of Sorachi Ace to try to bring the IBUs up from 12! I also had much higher efficiency than expected, 1.066 versus 1.055. This is because I never adjusted my brewhouse efficiency after the last time I did a BIAB brew. Plus I had lots of spills and the brew day was just a drag in general. I’m not sure how much jasmine flavour I got out of 11g of flowers added at flameout, but I might have to do a jasmine tea when I rack this to secondary.

23/08/2015 – Disaster with this, I was racking it to secondary because I need the yeast cake for another diaster of a brew, and there’s a serious bang of fusels off it. Though I’ve just realised writing this that it’s only been in the fermenter a week. However, I did notice that the fermentation was far too fast on it, with the yeast having dropped after 24-36 hours. There might be enough residual job to finish the job in secondary, but I think this might be a lost batch. I’ll leave it a week or two and then have a taste.

30/08/2015 – Dumped. Still tastes shitty. Could be the jasmine giving the off flavours or could be the hop tea I added. Whatever the cause, I’m not wasting bottles or my time on this batch. A thankfully rare occurrence for me to dump a batch.

AG#40 – Funkytown Brett Saison

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The intended purpose for this brew was something to age with Brett over the next few months. But I got such a low FG on my last saison (1.002), that I decided to have another crack at the same recipe. This time I omitted the simple sugar in the hopes of leaving a little more body in the beer. I also plan on using a slightly higher mash temperature to leave some more residual sugar in the beer. I’ll need something left in there for the brettanomyces.

I’m planning on bottling 6 or so bottles with just plain sugar and the rest of the batch will be racked to corny for aging with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, available as WhiteLabs’ WLP650.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Estimated Color: 9.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

3.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent 1 –
5.175 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EB Grain 2 87.0 %
0.476 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 3 8.0 %
0.297 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 5.0 %
20 g East Kent Goldings [5.80 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 5 17.0 IBUs
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi Hop 6 8.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 7 –
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 mi Hop 8 1.8 IBUs
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 9 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565 Yeast 10 –
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP Yeast 11 –

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.948 kg
Mash In Add 16.65 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 17.70l) of 77.0 C water

25/07/2015 – Mash temperature of 65.5C. Thankfully, an uneventful brew day, though chilling the wort took an absolute age, probably because I was chilling in the afternoon. OG was 1.056. Used hop bags for all additions and got over 20 litres into the fermenter.

02/08/2015 – Fermentation has been going pretty strong, but still the odd bubble coming from the airlock. Will leave another few days before racking. I want to get rid of as much yeast as possible before it goes into the keg for brett ageing. I’m keen to see what the higher mash temperature and the lack of simple sugar has done for the FG.

14/08/2015 – Racked to corny keg today and pitched a vial of Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. I mis-calculated on the amount of trub in the fermenter and bottled 5 x 500ml bottles, thinking I had more than enough left to fill the corny. A lapse in concentration while siphoning also resulted in me losing a bit more beer than intended. I’d say I only got about 16 litres into the keg. Seated the lid with some gas and left in the shed. Will probably leave this about 6-9 months before having a taste.

14/11/2015 – Comparison tasting between the “La Deluge” saison and one of the few bottles of the unbretted “Funkytown” saison. In comparison to the Funkytown, the Deluge is tart and fiercely alcoholic. But the most striking difference between the two is the clarity. The Funkytown is absolutely sparkling, whereas the Deluge is extremely hazy, though you’d expect that for a saison. The Funkytown has an alcohol presence, but it’s not as hot. I can’t explain the difference in the clarity – both beers got the same dose of Whirlfoc. The hotter alcohol in the Deluge can surely be attributed to the fact that there’s no simple sugar in the recipe. The Funkytown recipe has a slightly lower OG but it’s an all-malt beer. The Deluge has a considerable portion of corn sugar in the recipe. I will definitely be rebrewing the Deluge beer without corn sugar next summer.

23/01/2016 – The ‘clean’ version of this is absolutely wonderful. It hits so many of the descriptors in the BJCP style guidelines, it’s uncanny. Dry, fruity, spicy, malty, hoppy, highly carbonated. Sweet malt aroma but the flavour and mouthfeel confirms this beer as absolutely bone dry. Alcohol is prominent but perfectly balanced. This is one of the special, and all too rare, beers where I wonder at how lucky I was to have made something as good as this. I’m very excited about the brett aged portion of this batch.

08/10/2016 – I applied some gas to the corny in order to have a taste before I wasted a lot of time preparing bottles, priming sugar etc. I was extremely surprised to taste considerable tartness, in addition to the familiar brett funk. Though the sample was extremely cloudy so I figured it might just be the yeast that I was tasting. Had a nightmare with racking to the bottling bucket. I hadn’t figured on the beer already being quite carbonated. I kept losing suction the the siphon because there was so much foam in the keg, so I had to hastily sanitise my large auto siphon and use that. It wasn’t much good though, as I basically had to “pump” the beer to the bottling bucket. It might end up oxidised as a result. I got all my bottles filled, along with fresh yeast in the form of approximately 2g of US-05, but I’m worried about bottle bombs on this one. Particularly with the 4 regular 500ml bottles that I filled. I have the bottles in crates in the kitchen, and they’re well covered. If the hold out over the next week, I’ll be happy enough. Bottled with 131g of corn sugar (14 litres @ 3.2 vol). Got 1 x 1.5l, 4 x 500ml, 9 x 750ml champagne and 10 x 0.375 geuze bottle from the batch.

AG#39 – Saison au Citron

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After my last disastrous attempt at a fruit beer (the Raspberry Porter), I wanted to try another one, this time based on a Belgian Saison. I want something as pale as possible, so I’m using a large percentage of wheat malt. “Farmhouse Ales” suggests a maximum percentage of 30% wheat malt for saisons.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 19.12 l
Post Boil Volume: 16.12 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 13.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated Color: 10.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 24.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 45.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 46.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

2.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins
3.580 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EBC), 63.0 %
1.705 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 30.0 %
0.170 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 3.0 %
0.227 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC), 4.0 %
15 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mins, 9.5 IBUs
0.32 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
30 g Sorachi Ace [14.10 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 15.0 IBUs
3.00 Items Lemon Peel (Boil 5.0 mins)
0.6 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565
0.6 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP566

Mash Schedule: Bubbles Small Batch BIAB Mash
Total Grain Weight: 5.683 kg
Saccharification Add 22.46 l of water at 75.0 C 68.0 C 60 min

12/07/2015 – rrr

03/08/2015 – Bottled with 120g corn sugar (14 litres at 3 vol). Added lemon juice to most of the bottles – 7 x 500ml with 5ml juice, 7 with 2.5ml and 7 with no juice. Also did 8 x 330ml bottles with 2.5ml.

23/01/2016 – I’m astounded that I haven’t posted any updates for this recipe, but I’ve been merrily sampling bottle of ths for several months now. It’s simply amazing. The lemon character is perfectly integrated with the citrus flavours from the saison yeast. Delightfully sharp and lemony, but underpinned by the sweet and malty backbone provided by the pilsner and Munich malts. Full batch next year.

AG#38 – La Deluge Saison

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This beer was going to be called “Saison du Maison” but a couple of disasters later, probably caused by drinking while brewing, I hastily renamed it to “La Deluge”. The new name really sums up the beer. “Apres moi, la deluge..”, as they say in France.. Read on..

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Estimated Color: 8.6 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 73.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

3.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent 1 –
4.500 kg Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Weyermann (4.0 EB Grain 2 79.6 %
0.350 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 3 6.2 %
0.350 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 6.2 %
0.450 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC) Sugar 5 8.0 %
20 g East Kent Goldings [5.80 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 6 17.0 IBUs
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi Hop 7 8.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 8 –
20 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 10.0 mi Hop 9 1.8 IBUs
20 g Saaz [4.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565 Yeast 11 –
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison II Yeast (White Labs #WLP Yeast 12 –
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.650 kg

Mash In Add 14.56 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 19.05l) of 77.0 C water

04/07/2015 – This is what I hope will be my house saison recipe. The mash was going perfectly, treated the water with a little gypsum, hit a good mash temperature (64-64.5C), did a 90 minute mash to account for the lower temperature. I’d poured a pint of cider off the keg during the mash as I was going out for dinner later. All going well, drained off the first runnings and set aside. When I was draining off the second runnings into the boiler I had failed to notice that the tap on the boiler had been left open. After a quick run to the toilet I walked back into the kitchen to find the kitchen floor flooded. I closed the tap and started with the long and dirty job of cleaning that mess up. The wort had went under the washing machine and behind the kickboards. They all had to be removed in order to clean. Never has a brew day taken so long to clean up after. I don’t normally have a beer when I’m brewing, and now I remember why. It causes lapses in concentration and brewing can be pretty unforgiving. One simple mistake can drastically alter the final result. An absolute disaster! I now have a new rule – no beers until both runnings are done. I estimate that I lost about two litres of wort. It’s positive that it was the second runnings that I lost where there is less concentration of sugar and flavour. I’m also getting a good percentage of fermentables from simple sugars on this brew, so that’s a positive also. Given the disaster, I decided to rename this beer to “La Deluge”, not realising what was going to come next..

05/07/2015 – I still wanted to do a full boil so I decided to replace the lost sugars with some dry malt extract. I figured that since I lost around 2 litres of wort and that the wort would be around 1.040 (though I didn’t bother checking this) that 200g of malt extract should suffice. It turned out to be a pretty good hunch, as I hit my OG perfectly in the end (1.060) and got 19 litres into the fermenter. My renaming of the beer was especially ironic as during the chilling phase, the weather turned extremely sour. Huge downpours of rain that not even the patio parasol could hold. I had to put the lid back on the boiler while the wort was chilling because the rain was coming through the parasol. Felt like another disaster and a huge disappointment after yesterday’s fiasco. However, I was delighted to see that I’d hit my numbers, produced a very clear wort, and got the full amount into the FV. During chilling, I racked my spelt saison off the yeast and pitched about two thirds of the yeast into this saison. I reserved a flask of yeast to do a small batch with during the week.

18/07/2015 – The bubbling has only just stopped on this. This yeast combo really is a beast. Will cold crash for a few days to drop the yeast before bottling.

24/07/2015 – Bottled with 169g corn sugar (18 litres at 3.2 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 16 x 500ml bottles from the batch.

17/09/2015 – I thought this was going to take a long time to condition but this is tasting fantastic already. The alcohol is prominent, you know it’s a strong beer you’re tasting, but it isn’t hot in any way. Lovely colour, perfectly judged bitterness, can’t wait to see what another few months aging does for this beer.

14/11/2015 – Comparison tasting between the “La Deluge” saison and one of the few bottles of the unbretted “Funkytown” saison. In comparison to the Funkytown, the Deluge is tart and fiercely alcoholic. Nut the most striking difference between the two is the clarity. The Funkytown is absolutely sparkling, whereas the Deluge is extremely hazy, though you’d expect that for a saison. The Funkytown has an alcohol presence, but it’s not as hot. I can’t explain the difference in the clarity – both beers got the same dose of Whirlfoc. The hotter alcohol in the Deluge can surely be attributed to the fact that there’s no simple sugar in the recipe. The Funkytown recipe has a slightly lower OG but it’s an all-malt beer. The Deluge has a considerable portion of corn sugar in the recipe. I will definitely be rebrewing the Deluge beer without corn sugar next summer.

20/12/2015 – I think the alcohol has faded quite a bit in this. Tasting pretty good, perhaps a bit drier than Saison Dupont, I’m not sure if would pass as a clone. Very dry, very highly carbonated. Still has a satisfying body though.


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