Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring Time in the Rockies!

Last weekend the crew of Wild Brewing got together and with the help of some friends and family bottled the remaining 3 barrels of sour beer. It took almost an entire afternoon but by the end of the day we had a pile of freshly labeled sour beer. In case anyone is curious about how we bottled our sour beer I have included the directions at the bottom.


The three beers that we bottled were a Flanders Red, Flanders Sour Pale, and a Cherry Saison. Early on I noticed that the Saison had some kind of bacterial growth in the barrel and based on how ropey the growth was I guessed that it was pediococcus. I had read somewhere that Brett can break down some of the proteins that are produced by pedio. I inoculated the barrel with several strains of Brett and within 2 months the ropey layer on the top of the beer had disappeared. What could have been a very unpleasant barrel of beer turned into a very tasty sour.I will post reviews of how the beers taste as they finish their bottle conditioning period.

Bottling Sour Beer:

I have now used this method for 5 batches of beer and it has worked out very well each time. I would like to note that the beer that I use this for is almost completely flat and has no fermentable sugars left. I use freshly cultured champagne yeast because it is both acid and alcohol tolerant. It may produce a tiny amount of fruity aroma but I have not noticed it in the bottles. For 5 gallons I dissolve 3.5 ounces of table sugar in 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil. I then add the sugar water to the bottling bucket along with about 5 milliliters of Champagne yeast slurry (the slurry is fairly liquid). After a quick and gentle stir it is ready to bottle!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Home Brew Competition

My local home brew store recently had a homebrewing competition. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that two of my entries had placed. The first, a Flanders Red that I brewed well over a year ago came in 3rd with a final score of 40 (Excellent). The other beer, a Farmhouse Ale, placed second with a score of 39. Both of the beers moved onto the mini best of show.

I thought I would share the judges comments so that if anyone wanted to brew either of these beers they would know what a judge thinks of them. The recipes for both can be found using the above links.

Flanders Red:

Aroma: "Great Nose" "Tart Fruit, Berries, Currant"

Appearance: "Copper-red, Clear, poor head retention. Bubbly" "Nice color a little light"

Flavor: "Nice Tartness. Not Overwhelming - or underwhelming" "Tart balanced, fruity overtones - well balanced. Tart Aftertaste. Food phenolic balance"

Mouthfeel: "Medium body, moderate carbonation, tart." "Nice and Dry. Good carb level."

Overall Impression: "I enjoyed this beer!" "Very nice beer! Well balanced, tart, and refreshing with good complexity."

Farmhouse Ale:

Aroma: "Pleasantly sweet, wheat malt dominates, a subtle tartness of hay is perceived, a light fruit (pear) is noticed, something almost spicy as it warms." "4-ethyl phenol is good, nice spicy character, sweet smell."

Appearance: "Pale straw, hazy and had mild head that faded quickly" "Hazy, golden in color, minimal carbonation"

Flavor: "Wheat malt balanced with refreshing carboxylic sting, hops have a balancing and excellent bittering effect, finishes pleasantly dry with a little hint of phenolic (pepper and clove)." "Nice barnyard flavor, good grainy taste with a little citrus pop in it as it warms also pepper flavors."

Mouthfeel: "Medium body )appears very light because of high carbonation) no warmth, no astringency" "Nice body, needs more carbonation"

Overall Impression: "A very pleasant wheat based beer, It had all the right characteristics of saison. I do not perceive individual accessory spices but I can taste something different. Try colder bottling procedures and keep transfers as cold as possible." "Really enjoy this beer, really good for the style, love the spicy character in this but feel it could use more carbonation"