I transferred the Belgian dark(ish) earlier. I am finding more and more that the Belgian styles I am working on currently are not readily revealing their secrets to me. This one is not as dark as I would like it to be. At this point it has a color similar to a ripe orange and amazingly enough it also carries a orange citrusy flavor. So, I find it isn’t what I intended, but in the process of it taking a leap in a different direction, I have now created something else entirely that is still possibly quite tasty.
I am pretty sure that my biggest challenge lately has been the malts I am using. Later this week I will be working on my first decoction mash. Perchance that will give a better showing than the multi step infusions I have been working on. I almost want to keep pushing for this beer until I manage to figure out the key to perfecting it. The best part of brewing, at least my problems are still drinkable.
Later this week I will brew the Saison. My current plan is to follow a similar pattern to what I have been doing recently, I will even be making some caramel for this beer. I will do the decoction instead of the multi-step though. Hopefully, this will give results closer to what I am seeking. If it comes out ok I will most likely attempt the Dark strong again to see where the path leads. Which now brings us to the next step in brewery improvement.
I have been thinking of making some sours for a while now. The issue I run into though, I don’t like to just mess around with stuff in the brewery. I like planned messing around. So shortly I plan to pick up a bit more equipment that I can dedicate to the sour process. With that in place I will have a bit more freedom to not only avoid cross contamination, but also have a bit more space to allow stuff to age a bit longer.
I will keep you posted as it all progresses. Now it’s time for a beer…
I will be transferring the Dark Belgian in just a little bit today. As always, I am met with the excitement of not really knowing what to expect from the first tasting. Considering the differing techniques and such I have been playing with, everything is up in the air now.
For my next brew day, I will be brewing a Saison. I am not yet certain of the final recipe for this one yet, but I will be doing a decoction mash for it. I am still not happy with the results I have been getting from the Lager malts. I hope that this in turn produces a higher yield than what I have been getting. The bonus is adding more to my brewing repertoire.
And now for the big news of the day. The results are in from the Michigan Ren Faire. Dirty Rotten Scoundrel won a gold in the European Amber Lager category. And then in the best of festival categories it took third in the Amber beer category. Pretty good wins to end my contest season with I think.
I think it might be time for a pint…
I am brewing what could turn into a Belgian Strong ale as we speak (or I am at least pretending like I know what I am doing). The candi sugar I made for this brew had a taste that around my house we are referring to burnt marshmallow (you know, like when you sit around the camp fire and your marshmallow catches on fire … that’s the taste). This has the potential to be a really cool beer.
Of course, at one point, while doing the multi rest infusion I splashed the boil kettle a bit too much and burned my arm with boiling hot water. Yay, brewing is a contact sport with possibility of bodily damage… Luckily, I am used to burns. We keep a bottle of burn cream in the fridge for just such emergencies.
Belgian Strong recipe
10 lbs Vienna Malt
5 lbs Pilsner Malt
1.5 lbs dark candi sugar
1 oz Mt hood hops 5.5 aa 60 min
1 oz Styrian Goldings 3.5 aa 20 min
1 oz Styrian Goldings 3.5 aa 5 min
I used a multi step infusion as follows:
10 min at 110 degrees
30 min at 148 degrees
50 min at 155 degrees
I make my own candi sugar for the Belgian style beers. Pretty simple to do as long as you have a candy thermometer. Put the amount of sugar you will need in a pot and just cover with water. Cook on medium heat, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush and water. Do not stir or the sugar will crystalize. Basically you just let it go till it hits the temp you want. When it hits temp you pour it out onto a foil lined sheet pan. On brew day break up the chunks and work them into your boil. The flavor this brings to the beer is amazing. Way better than anything you can buy.
And now, its time for a pint…
I don’t know about anyone else, but I grew up in a world of big three breweries and foreign beers. No one really knew how to care for beer and heaven forbid … beers were happily bottled in green glass without a thought to the affect it would have on the finished product. I grew up with the assumption that certain beers were meant to have a certain amount of skunkiness to them.
It wasn’t until we came into this new renaissance that we find out there are certain ways to care for beer to protect the flavors that the brewers intended. Ya know the sad part of this… certain beers are now so ingrained in our taste memory that to find them properly cared for actually takes away from the taste experience.
I have had Grolsch properly cared for. And sadly, I find it lacks a certain something that a well skunked Grolsch brings to the table. I remember the same thing with Moosehead out of Canada.
Possibly in a few years we will find that there are people who do not know the effects of a properly skunked beer. At the same time, there will be those of us who tend to miss the old days when it was ok to drink a beer that may not be exactly what was intended but the poor handling created something that went beyond anything originally intended….
Lets find a pint and commence to drinking…
I poured an ESB and a half tonight. Yes, the moment I have been patiently waiting for finally happened. It was in the middle of pouring my second ESB that the keg finally blew. This in turn opens up some space to put the Kolsch on to carbonate. Guess what I will be doing tomorrow…
In kegerator news, I gained some insight to a few snags I have encountered on the build-out. I spent a few minutes talking to a refridgeration specialist recently and confirmed my suspicions that a problem I already knew existed is actually a bigger (though easily fixed) problem than I thought.
I knew the door seal on the freezer was bad when I picked up the fridge. But I did not realize that the bad seal would cause the fridge itself to maintain a constant temperature poorly. My current concern is that the kolsch turns out. The past few weeks I don’t think it maintained a good temp throughout the conditioning process. The beer should be ok, but I don’t think it will have gained as much of the lagerlike qualities that I originally hoped it would. Once the kolsch is out of the new fridge and carbing in the current kegerator, I will be unplugging the new one to save wear and tear on the motor. At least until I can get the new door seal.
I will be brewing a modified version of the Belgian double this weekend. Some changes will be made and the new recipe will be posted when I brew again. I am anxious to get this one going. I am hoping to end up with a darker, richer beer than the original double.
Now then, I think this all calls for a pint. I have mine, do you have yours?
My sister and her husband Matt were up from Texas this weekend for a Marathon that Matt ran in up north. I needed to make a Grand Rapids run yesterday so Matt and I spent some time hitting a few places to do some sampling.
Beers of note:
At Hopcat, Matt had both the Cali-Belgique from Stone and the Crème Brulee stout from Southern Tier. Neither beer were ones that Matt had ever tried before (they don’t get Southern Tier and the Stone was a new one to me as well). As always very good beers. I was surprised to find the Stone to be very Belgian inspired. The nose was filled with notes of fresh baked bread and was flowery. The flavor itself seemed to fit well into a Belgian style double as well.
As luck would have it the Black Mamba (Hopcat’s shwarzbier) blew when the bartender was pouring it for me (meant I got a bit over a half a beer out of the deal). I ended up ordering the Hoppopotamus (Hopcat’s American IPA). Both beers were quite tasty. The Hoppo had enough resiny hop to make its presence known for a bit, but just enough malt to balance.
At Brewery Vivant the beer that stood out the most was the Sgt. Peppercorn Rye. As always, pepper and rye go so well in a beer it really is hard to pass such a combo up whenever I run across it.
Mind you the trip itself lasted roughly 9 hours (counting the time we spent in my own pub) so it would seem there is more beer in their that didn’t stand out quite as much (and my stuff I talk about in other spots here). But in the end it was a good day for beer and the only major casualties were my sunglasses that broke and the parking ticket I picked up while at the Hopcat.
Enough of this, it’s time for a pint…
Yep, I still haven’t kegged the Kolsch. I should be getting that done in the next couple of days. I did manage to bottle a case each of the Belgian double and the Dirty Rotten Scoundrel.
I will say that the double is growing on me but I can see some changes I want to play around with on it. The first and foremost will be to caramelize the sugar to a darker color. I sampled Brewery Vivant’s Abbey Ale (in a can no less) recently. I can see a number of similarities between theirs and my double but at the same time they had a darker beer with some flavor notes to go along with the richer color. Makes me want to play around and see what I can come up with.
My store of agave nectar is growing. Tequila Sunset isn’t on the brew docket for a bit yet, but I have been considering a mead based on agave and honey. This could be an interesting combo. I also realized recently that I am getting closer to bottle time for the current mead. I should pick up a corker soonish. This just means yet another thing the brewery needs.
Time for a pint…