Sunday, July 22, 2012

Flanders Red Ale


Today we plan on finishing the second 15 gallon batch of our Flanders Red Ale. This style started my sour craze and I am very excited to attempt to reproduce it. The recipe that we are using is a little complex...

Vienna 50 %
Carahell 9 %
CaraVienna 9 %
Aromatic 9 %
Special "B" 3 %
Maize 20 %

OG: 1.050

12 IBUs of Hallertau boiled for 1 hour

Yeast: A repitch of Roselare (Wyeast 3763)

Allow for Primary fermentation 2 wees at 68F. Place in an French Oak Red Wine Barrel 1 year.

To make maters more complicated we are using a decoction mash of sorts for the Maize. We start by mashing all the grain at 120 F and taking off about 4 gallons of the thin mash and bringing it slowly to a boil with the maize mixed in. This should allow the rolled maize some time with the enzymes while still boiling it to gelatinize it. We then add this decoction back into the mash to bring the temp up to 148 F. We mash out as usual.

The first part of the brew day went very well, although out gravity was a little lower than we would have liked. That is easily corrected for when you are adding two worts together. We just need to overshot our gravity today and plan on making that happen with a larger amount of grain than we used last time.

We also started adding sponsor's names to out barrel. Here is a nice picture of what that looks like.

Noble Wood Burning Names Into a Barrel

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rochefort 10 Clone

My favorite beer is Rochefort 10. So much so that I hoard it in my fridge for special occasions. The mix of dark fruit, yeast esters, malt flavors, and alcohol combine into a beer that is beyond words. I decided to do my best to recreate this beer. If end up with anything even a tenth as tasty it will be well worth it.

Grain Bill
1 pound Table Sugar
1 pound Dark Candi Sugar
4.75 pounds Maris-Otter
4.75 pounds Pilsner Malt
1.25 pounds Honey Malt
1.5 pounds CaraMunich
0.5 pounds Special "B"
0.15 pounds Carafa # 1

Mashed with 2 quarts/pound at 154 F for 1 hour
Sparged with 3 gallons of water at 178 F

First Runnings 1.070

1/2 oz Goldings 60 minutes   6.6% AA
1/2 oz Goldings 45 minutes    6.6% AA
1/4 oz Fuggle 30 minutes       6.7% AA
1/4 oz Mt Hood 5 minutes     7.5% AA
3.5 grams crushed coriander 5 minutes

pitched White Labs 500 WLP

Total 4 gallons at 1.090 gravity

6/8 Gravity 1.022 moved to secondary

6/21 Bottled

7/20 Tasting

Appearance: Deep dark brown, maybe a little bit darker than the original. The carbonation is also a little low but hopefully will increase at least a little bit more. A nice lace does form around the rim.

Aroma: Dark malt, dark druits (plum and fig) and alcohol. My nose is a little off today and I can hardly smell anything so I am sure that I am not doing justice to any hidden aromas.

Taste: The beer is malty to start and moves into a nice dark plum before finishing with a bit of an alcohol bite. I can also taste molasses, sugar, rum, and dark fruits.

Overall: I am very pleased with how this beer turned out. I would like to get it a little bit lower for a final gravity and will aerate with an aeration stone the next time that I brew it. Other than that one item I think this turned out awesome. I will be entering it in the Colorado State Fair if I can manage to hold onto a couple of bottles (you have to enter 3 which is a little ridiculous).

8/30 Results from the Colorado State Fair:
Beer scored a 36/50 which is a ranking of excellent

Judges notes:

Aroma: (1) Dark malt, chocolate, coffee. Nice light spicy character, hint of grass hops clash a bit. (2) Malty sweetness, Dark Caramel, Hint of Alcohol, Bready, Nutty (3) Dried cherry estery maltyness-rich

Appearance: (1) Dark brown, good clarity, moderate head, missing huge rocky head for style. (2) Deep brown, clarity good for a beer this dark, head retention low but present (3) Black, opaque, no head retention

Flavor: (1) Rich and complex malt - toffee, raisin, chocolate, Good attenuation, balance on finis is malt forward but not cloying. Yeast character adds a nice spiciness and hint of fruit. (2) Malty-sweetness-moderately complex, but complexity could be higher - dark, toasty, caramel flavor. Might be a bit underattenuated, sweetness lingers to finish. (3) Full rich fruity maltyness, some complexity in grain bill.

Mouthfeel: (1) Rich and full bodied, a bit more attentuation would be more a classic belgian example, good creaminess mid palatte. (2) Medium body, good carbonation, some warming alcohol. (3) Warming, full body, easy to drink.

Overall Impression: (1) Really nice beer, has great malt complexity, the finish has a hint of harshness, but its not overwhelming. No flaws, well made, thanks! (2) Underattenuation is my big nit - Its not bad, but the malt profile is good and a dryer finish would bring it out more: try making a starter or using a couple of yeasts. (3) Very good, clean brew with some complexity in body, lacking carbonation but not a sig flaw.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

All Brett Brown Beer

Brettanomyces, many view it as the black sheep of the yeast family. It is often considered a contaminate or at best added to a beer to make it a little peculiar and unique. Few people give Brett the opportunity to hold the center stage. For those few that are willing to give Brett a shot I promise that you will not be disappointed.

A Pellicile which is normally associated with Brett
Now before I launch into this I want to make a couple of disclaimers....
1st this is more of an experiment than a beer. I used a couple of second runnings to make this beer so I do not have a set recipe that I can give for it. I used wort from both my Rochefort 10 and my Pirate Lager beers to make this creation. In both cases I boiled the second runnings down to a gravity of 1.040 and added hops to about 20 IBU.
2nd I do not have a normal strain of Brett. What I do have is Brett cultured from New Belgium and from Russian River. They are two separate strains that I pitch together in equal proportion.

Now that I have made my disclaimer I want to touch on another subject with Brett. In order for optimal growth and alcohol production Brett needs oxygen ( at least according to Yeast by White). I thought I would give this a shot and let Brett ferment without an air lock. In order to do this I simple covered the top of the fermenter with tin foil and let the Brett go.

Before you write this off as a ramble or a shotty experiment due to lack of controls, records, or what have you at least take a look at how the beer turned out. I want to make it clear that this beer does not have any of the nasty characteristics that are associated with Brett but instead turned out rather enjoyable. It also at no point formed a pellicile which is normally associated with Brett. In addition, the beer finished at 1.005, which is be no means ultra attenuative, another myth often associated with Brett.

Appearance-  A nice strong head on the beer, but not gushing. This goes to show that Brett does not always eat every sugar it can get and can be used as the only organism in a fermentation.

Aroma- Malt aromas are pretty strong. I do not detect very much of anything added by the brett except maybe some earth like aromas, similar to dirt that is wet.

Taste- Not much added by the brett, a little funky fruit aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- pretty middle of the road

Overall- I am very pleased with my Brett. I now know that it can ferment well in the presence of oxygen without the beer turning into an oxidized mess (but very little hops are in the beer which I am sure helps) I think from here I will design a beer that is meant to be fermented with just Brett.

Pirate Lager

One of the best parts about brewing at home is that you can make whatever you want. I mean anything. I decided that I wanted to make a Black Lager that is pirate themed. I had read somewhere that Guinness makes a special export stout for the Caribbean and since pirates lived in the Caribbean I would use that for my jumping off point. In order to spice the beer up a bit I also wanted to spike it with some black strap rum to try to give it a little more pirate feel.

This is what I came up with.

3.25 pounds Pale Malt
1.25 pounds Flaked Barley
0.25 pounds Black Patent Malt
0.25 pounds Acidulated Malt

Mashed at 150 F with 2 quarts/pounds and sparged at 178 F

Boiled 0.5 oz of Perle hops (as in the Black Pearl) for 60 minutes

Total volume was 3 gallons with an OG of 1.045

Pitched dry lager yeast

Bottled beer with rum to taste


Aroma- Malt predominates with a nice coffee and chocolate background. The aroma is very sweet if that is possible. There is also some roasted smells present.

Appearance- This beer is black with a wonderful fluffy white head that lasts.

Taste- Beer is very sweet, maybe should have tried to get the gravity a little lower before I bottled it. I also taste some toast and roasted coffee. Rum does not come through very well.

Mouthfeel- Nice and silky, coats the mouth well and goes down very smooth.

Overall- For a beer that is not trying to be anything other than itself I am rather please. It is a little too sweet but that is something that will be easy to fix the next time that I brew this beer.