Friday, January 22, 2010

Flanders Red

I finally found my scrawled out notes for the Flanders Red influenced beer I brewed recently. As mentioned in an earlier post, Al B of the Burgundian Babble Belt forums sent me an awesome vial of his Bugfarm III concoction which I put to work on this one.This bug mix includes the following:

Brettanomyces Drie Fontenein Oude Gueuze
Brettanomyces Fantome Black Ghost
Brettanomyces Russian River Beatification
Brettanomyces Vinnie's Oak Chips (RR)
Brettanomyces Anomulus (WYeast)
Brettanomyces Allagash Confluence
Brettanomyces (2) Cantillon St. Lamvinus
Pediococcus Cantillon St. Lamvinus
Pediococcus Rodenbach Foederbier
Saccharomyces fermentati Flor Sherry Yeast
Saccaromyces cerevisae Saison Dupont
LF1 / LF2 New Belgium La Folie
Lactobacilli Sourdough / WL / WY
and. . .
Kombucha Yeast!

Needless to say, I'm very excited about fermenting a few batches with this Bugfarm mix! I hope to get a few generations out of it before it gets too acidic. The initial batch I pitched this into was inspired by the Flanders Red recipe in Wild Brews, but I added some raw Demerera sugar to it as well. Here's the recipe:

Flanders Red(ish)
brewed on: 12/27/09
8.1 lbs Vienna malt
1.5 lbs Carahell malt
1.5 lbs CaraVienna malt
1.5 Aromatic malt
8 oz Special "B"
3.24 lbs Maize
2 lbs raw sugar

12 IBUs Styrian Goldings (I think I went a little higher than this due to homebrew store error. That's ok though. Some of my favorite sour/funky beers have been hopped significantly heavier than the accepted style norms.)

mash at 154F w/ 170F mashout
OG 1.060 (Need to fix the mash tun. My efficiency is terrible for now.)
fermentation temp - ambient (66-68F)
yeast: AlB's Bugfarm III vial!

I've got some medium & medium-dark toast French and Hungarian Oak which I may add to this down the road. For now though, I'm just going to let it age away in the secondary and see if it needs anything towards Spring/Summer.

3/11/10 - Added Cuvee René dregs.
3/23 - SG @ 1.003. Sample was mildly sour. Not much funk yet, but this will be a good, if restrained sour beer. I took samples of my Dark Night, Sour Brown, and this back to back and made the mistake of going in reverse order of how they were brewed, from the third generation bugs to first, so my perception of mild sourness was certainly distorted by the stronger acidity of the beers I tried first. The bitterness is still very high, but not ridiculous. Nonetheless, this will be a good beer.
4/20 - Moved to basement. (62F)
5/18 SG @ 1.004(seems odd that it'd go up. . . Temp change?) - Mild acidity, background complexity comes through, but delicate; good aroma.
8/22/10 - SG 1.001 Light pit fruit & alcohol. slight butterscoth in nose? Astringent.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sour English Brown

Yesterday was the first time in months that I brewed an extract batch. It was also the inaugural brew in our new house! When we bought the house in mid-November I was convinced that the first thing to get replaced was going to be the early-50s electric stovetop built into the counter. This thing has the old blender style rectangular buttons built into the counter to control each burner, and the elements are apparently not removable, so I can't use my nice high-wattage canning element that I got specifically for brewing. That said, our stove is apparently awesome. We found out right away that the thing goes hotter than any electric stove I've ever come across. Not only does it go hotter than my canning element, but I can fit my 15-gallon kettle across three of the burners and get a full 5+ gallon boil going in about 20 minutes! (I can't wait to see the electric bill on this one. . .)

Having brewed a few brett/sour batches lately I've been meaning to get a "normal" brew in lately before I run out of bottles of homebrew to share with my less adventurous friends. I put together a recipe for an English-style brown ale, picked up the ingredients along with a vial of Irish Ale yeast, and promptly got busy for the last couple weeks.

So, I found myself coming into this weekend with ingredients for an English brown, and a primary bucket full of Flanders Red(-ish) beer (recipe post to follow shortly if I can still come up with my scrawled out notes) that has been waiting patiently to get racked to a carboy for long term aging. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact that this particular brew was using the vial of Bugfarm III bugs & yeasts that was generously shipped to me by Al B of the Burgundian Babblebelt forums. This being the case, I definitely want to reuse the bugs for a few generations if possible.

No problem! Why not go for a Sour English Brown? Maybe it's not the first recipe I'd think of to try with these bugs, but it certainly has potential. Plus, considering it came in at a modest 1.047 and was an extract (w/ additional grain) recipe, I'm not opposed to either blending in a small batch of something all-grain later or adding some sugar, depending on how it comes along and if the bugs/brett seem like they want something else to chew on.

So, sorry all you less-adventurous drinkers out there, but you'll have to wait another week or two until I get around to picking up another batch of extract & grain to do the English brown w/ the Irish ale yeast the way I originally intended. Here's the recipe:

Sour English Brown

brewed on: 1/16/10
OG: 1.047

12 oz Special Roast Malt
8 oz Crystal 40L Malt
8 oz Victory Malt
4 oz Pale Chocolate Malt
6.6 lbs Extra Light liquid extract

1.2 oz Kent Golding @ 5.1% - 60 minutes
.5 oz German Tettnang @ 3% - 5 minutes

Al B's Bugfarm III yeast cake

Steep grains in 1 gallon for 3 minutes at 154F.
Sparge with gallon or so.
Bring 5.5-6 gallons (enough to end up with just over 5 gallons) of water to boil, add extract & hops as scheduled.

Ferment at ambient temp (mid-60s F)

12/14/10 - Racked to secondary. Current SG: 1.009. Tastes delicious! Already extremely sour (acidity has a zing similar to kombucha.) Earthy hop notes come through in the aftertaste.
2/23 - SG @ still at 1.009. Sourness didn't taste as extreme on this sample, but I tasted it right after my Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura-inspired crazy-sour sample, so that probably tempered my perception a bit. So far, this is the most delicious sour beer I have going and I can't wait to get some oak in it and taste it in a year!
2/18 - Moved to basement (62F)
8/22/10 - SG 1.007. nose: acid & alcohol. flavor: caramel, dried fruit. Blend w/ Leuven pale ale?

All Brett L w/ cherries

After spending some time on the Burgundian Babblebelt homebrewing forums, I delved into the world of all-brett beers late this past year with a clone recipe from a magazine for Tomme Arthur (of Pizza Port/Lost Abbey)'s Mo' Betta Bretta. Considering the wide range of reported results people have been getting using Brettanomyces as a primary yeast, I didn't really expect the recipe to turn out the same as MBB, but it seemed as good a starting place as any. Seeing as I followed someone else's recipe for that one, I won't go into brewing details on it.

My second all-Brett beer followed closely on its heels. I started with a grain bill inspired by Jeff Sparrow's wonderful Wild Brews book. Having tried Brett C, I moved on to 2 vials of White labs 653 Brett Lambicus for this one.

Once it had finished it's initial fermentation, rather than bottle it, I added 4 pounds of slightly sweetened dried sour cherries. It was tougher than I expected to find decent unsweetened, preservative-free dried cherries. In the end, I settled for a batch from one of the local health food stores which was slightly sweetened with natural sugar. A little extra sugar in a beer like this never hurt anybody!

The cherries were rehydrated in a bottle of Pinot Noir before adding, followed shortly after by a vial of White Labs 650 Brett bruxellensis. When I brewed this, I intended it to be a straight single strain fermentation with no fruit or anything, but I tasted it while moving it to the secondary and it was almost begging for more something. This is not to say it was a bad beer at that point, but I saw potential for something with even more depth.

Anyway, here's the recipe:

All-brett #2 (until I come up with an appropriate name for this one, anyway)

9 lbs Pilsener malt
1 lb Wheat malt
8 oz Acidulated malt

25 IBUs Styrian Goldings @ 60 minutes

2 vials of WLP 653 Brett L.
fermented at 70-72 degrees F.

After primary fermentation:

4 lbs dried sour cherries, rehydrated in a bottle of Pinot Noir
1 vial WLP 650 Brett B.
age @ 66F

3/26/10 - added dregs of 'Saison Rue' from The Bruery
3/29/10 - SG @ 1.005. Racked off cherries & purged carboy w/ CO2. Acidity is quite pronouced, but not too strong. (Slightly less than La Folie, I think.)
4/20/10 - Moved to basement (62F)
5/18- SG @ 1.004 - Nice bold acidity, nose similar to a Flanders (acid & fruit?), fruit comes through, several layers to the flavor.
8/22/10 - SG 1.003 - nose: honey. Flavor: sour, cherries. Warming w/ full wine-like body

Since this was brewed in the midst of moving into a new house and Christmas travels, I didn't get an OG reading on this one. (Thus my need for a place to keep records like this page. . .)