Sunday, January 27, 2013


As I mentioned in my post about Essens Wheat I brewed 5 different beers for Christmas. For the 4th and 5th beers I wanted to play around with yeast a bit more. I had two strains that I wanted to compare, the Dupont Saison strain (White Labs 565) and a strain from the Brewing Science Institute labeled "S-26 Farmhouse Ale".

The plan was to brew one 5 gallon batch of beers and split it into two equal parts. I could then add 565 to one carboy and S-26 to the second. The recipe was very basic...

11 # Malted 2-Row (Rahr)
1 # Malted White Wheat
1/2 # Unmalted Wheat

Mashed at 148 F for 1 hour at a grist to water ratio of 1/3 (pounds)
Sparged with 3.5 gallons of water at 178 F.

First runnings 1.082
Second runnings 1.038

60 minutes 3/4 oz Challenger 8.8%
25 minutes 1 oz German Hallertau 3.3% (2011 crop)
5 minutes 1/2 oz Hallertau 5.5% (2012 crop)

Original Gravity was 1.055 (14 Plato)
Oxygenated with aeration stone

12/6 Brewer
12/12 Moved to Seconday (Both beers at 1.010 (2.5 plato))
12/16 Bottled S-26 portion (1.010) with 40 grams sugar. Moved 565 to keg to force carbonate (gravity still falling and now at 1.008)

As you can see the 565 portion finished a little drier than the farmhouse portion. Now onto a tasting of the two.

1/27 Farmhouse S-26
Appearance: The beer is very hazy. A lot of yeast is in suspension along with some haze from the unmalted wheat. The beer is impossible to see through despite being very light in color. A wonderful head sits atop the beer for the entire tasting and just refuses to go anywhere.

Aroma: The aroma is a mixture of so many different flavors. There is banana, strawberry, bubble gum, some clove, wheat, yeast, bread, and ripe fruit. Very pleasant.

Taste: The beer starts of sweet, like a wheat beer. The finish is dry but not bitter. The beer tastes mostly of bread and yeast.

Mouthfeel: Medium, and medium in body. Not cloying or silky. Fairly typical.

Overall: I am very pleased with how this beer turned out. The aroma is just wonderful and makes for a very pleasant drinking experience.

1/27 Saison

Appearance: At first glance the Saison is not near as hazy as the farmhouse ale. The head retention is also not as strong. It does form lace around the glass which the farmhouse did not.

Aroma: The aroma is very different. There is still some bread but the beer is more spicy. Some fruit aromas are present but they are subdued.

Taste: The beer is fairly similar. Sweet to start but with a more bitter finish. The spice of the hops come through better in this version.

Mouthfeel: A little more crisp and refreshing than the farmhouse, maybe due to a lower terminal gravity.

Overall: This is certainly a saison. It is crisp, refreshing, and the hops come through. Still a very tasty beer.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Flanders Red
I recently attempted my first beer blending. About two years ago New Belgium released a beer called Clutch. It was an awesome combination of sour and stout. It was a tasty combination of chocolate, coffee, and something lying just at the edge of sour. I decided to save a gallon of my Flanders Red to try to recreate this beer.
I had two hurdles to overcome 1) create a base beer that would include the flavors that would transform the Flanders Red into Clutch without conflicting with it and 2) find a way to keep the bugs in the Flanders Red from turning the stout part of the blend into a bomb as they slowly ate all the sugars that the primary stout yeast left behind.

I decided to use a tame stout recipe to create the base beer using a yeast strain (scottish ale) that would create few esters and leave the beer malty. Here is the recipe I used...

4.5 gallons

OG 1.075

72.5% Belgian Pilsner
10 % Cara Vienna
10% Cara Munich
2 % Caramel 80 L
5 % Chocolate Malt

Mashed at 155 F

Bittered to 50 IBU with 60 minute boil of zeus hops.

Used 1056 yeast

Flanders Red in pot with blanket of CO2
I then took the gallon of flanders red that I had and purged a 1.5 gallon pot with CO2. I added the flanders red to the pot and then added more CO2 over the top. I heated it to 170 F for 30 minutes to try to kill all the bacteria in the beer.

A weird foam formed over the beer as I heated it

After the brown ale finished I added the two beers together and bottled them.


Beer pours a very hazy brown color with amber highlights. A strong fluffy head sits atop the beer for the entire tasting session, never falling back into the glass.

The aroma is a mix of the fruit, funk, and sour of the Flanders Red with a little bit of roast from the Stout half. No notes of chocolate of coffee as I anticipated.

The beer is sweet, malty, and sour in the finish. I can pick out some chocolate and roast at the end but the sour kind of overtakes them.

The mouthfeel is wonderfully full and very creamy.

Overall the beer is a curious creation. It is certainly tasty but it was not what I was going for. The sour seems a little over the top and I am suprised that at 20% it is able to dominate the finish.

Note: I have had a couple of bottles since the original tasting and they are continuing to develop more sourness, so I am not sure I held the beer at a high enough temp for long enough to kill all of the bugs. That being said the malt and sweetness is still present so at least the desired affect has been achieved. I have moved all the bottles to the fridge to prevent much further change in the beer.