#26 Continuous IPA

Better later than never. This is the last recipe from the old days (2011). With this recipe, each and every recipe up to batch #50 will be published on my blog. I know there are some tasting notes missing for some of the recipes which I try to add at some point. This recipe was all about the continuous hop addition method used by Dogfish Head Brewery in the US for their IPAs. I started writing this post in July 2012 (yes, I have a lot of unfinished posts in my draft folder) and never had any of Dogfish Head’s min IPAs at this point nor was it easy to get some Simcoe, Amarillo and Columbus hops back then. In fact, my brother and I had to travel to London in Summer of 2011 to get our hands on some of the Dogfish Head beers such as Palo Santo Maron, Indian Brown Ale and Festina Peche. All really enjoyable. We further attended the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF), visited the Meantime Brewery and Fullers and some other non-beer related sight-seeing. I really like London and it is definitely worth a visit. Enough of story telling. The recipe below is a straight forward IPA recipe to put the continuous hop addition method to a test.

Recipe: Continuous IPA
Numbers: Volume [L] 22 (5.8 gal)
Original gravity 14.6°P (1.058)
Terminal gravity 5.2°P (1.020)
Color Around 15 EBC
IBU 50 IBU
ABV 6% (v/v)
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 5.2 kg
Cara Amber (70 EBC) 1 kg
Hops: Columbus (14.4% AA) 15 g and continuously added over 60 min
Simcoe (12.9% AA) 15 g and continuously added over 60 min
Amarillo (8.5%) 15 g and continuously added over 60 min
Amarillo (8.5%) 30 g added at flame out
Amarillo (8.5%) 30 g as dry hops
Simcoe (12.9% AA) 15 g as dry hops
Yeast: Danstar Nottingham
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 16 L (4.2 gal), sparge: 25 L (6.6 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @66°C (151°F), 60 min @66°C (151°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 7 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary 14 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter with addition of dry hops (see above)
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3 with sugar addition
Maturation time > 3 weeks

04/16/2011: Brew day. This batch was actually brewed by my brother. We originally planned to use Wyeast’s 1187 Ringwood but the starter got contaminated and that’s why we went with a dry yeast instead. All the hops for the boil were blended and every 2 min 1.5 g of the hop blend was added to the kettle. 30 g of Amarillo went into the wort at knock out and the primary fermentation was performed at 20°C (68°F).

04/23/2011: Racked the beer into a secondary fermenter and added the dry hop additions.

05/02/2011: Bottled the beer to a carbonation level of roughly 3 vol of carbon dioxide with some fresh unfermented wort.

06/18/2011: First tasting (beer six weeks in the bottle).

Aroma: Lots of mango and slight grass character.

Appearance: Amber, white creamy head with nice bubbles rising to the top. Clear.

Flavor: Very grassy, bitter and mango notes.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, average carbonation level, finishes with a grassy bitterness and a solid malt backbone.

Overall Impression: Not bad after all. However, not only is the grassy character really not what we are looking for in an IPA nor having a solid malt structure in the finish. The maltyness in the aftertaste makes this beer rather hard to drink. On the other hand, we did not use the freshest hops since we could not buy Simcoe, Columbus nor Amarillo on a regular basis back then. Once we could get our hands on some of these hops we basically ordered a whole bunch of it and stored them in the freezer. Luckily, this changed and we can now buy Amarillo and Simcoe on a regular basis at our local homebrew stores.

Any changes on the recipe? I would go with a normal caramel malt such as Caramunich or Crystal malt instead of the Cara Amber. Second, use fresh hops and maybe increase the dry hop additions. At least double the amount. And reduce the carbonation level to 2 vol.

Is it a clone recipe for Dogfish Head’s 60 min IPA? I can’t tell as I had my first 60 min IPA in late September 2013. And the bottle I got was not the freshest example as well. We brewed various IPAs and Pale Ales since and in your opinion there are better and easier ways to get hop aroma and bitterness into a beer rather than using the continuous addition approach. First wort hopping, hop bursting or using Blichmann’s Hop Rocket (TM) incorporates the hop aroma very well in your opinion. That’s it for today.

#82 Nelson Sauvined Berliner Weisse

Eureka, it’s time for another recipe. I would like to apologize for the few posts lately. I am currently in the last months of my Master’s degree and try to get as much out of my lab and grid time before sitting down and writing up my thesis (and a publication). I hope to find more time to brew and write afterwards. Back to the recipe, another Berliner Weisse recipe. I did two (more or less traditional) Berliner Weisse before and let the mash turn sour by adding some grains in one case (#44 Berliner Weisse) and one where I used Wyeast’s 3191 Berliner Weisse blend (#61 Berliner Weisse 2) without sour mashing. Comparing the two batches, the one with the sour mash turned out way better than the second one. I even did a dark Berliner in the meantime (using a sourmash) which turned out pretty well. I will therefore never, ever skip the sour mashing step again. And adding Brettanomyces is another must have as well. This recipe is actually more or less the same in terms of grist composition and the process as my very first Berliner Weisse. The only difference here is the dry hopping step with Nelson Sauvin. A dry hopped Berliner Weisse. Lets find out how good hops actually work in sour beers.

Recipe: Nelson Sauvined Berliner Weisse
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 8.5°P (1.033)
Terminal gravity 1.7°P (1.006)
Color Around 4 EBC
IBU N/A
ABV 3.6% (v/v)
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 1.9 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 1.4 kg
Hops: Nelson Sauvin (12.3% AA) 12 g and added at mash in (mash hops)
Nelson Sauvin (12.3% AA) Twice 75 g for dry hopping
Yeast: Wyeast #1056 American Ale
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 8.5 L (2.2 gal), sparge: 18 L (4.8 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @66°C (151°F), 60 min @66°C (151°F), 15 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: No boil
Fermentation: Primary Close to 1 month @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary 2 weeks @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 with sugar addition
Maturation time Weeks to months at 15°C (59°F)

06/08/2013: Brew day. Crushed malts, mashed in at 66°C (151°F) and left the mash rest for one hour. Then let the mash cool down to 38°C (100°F) and left it there for 4 days. Then added the Nelson Sauvin hops and heated up to 78°C (172°F), sparged, cooled the wort down to roughly 20°C (68°F) and added an added some WY1056 and left the fermenter untouched for nearly 1 month.

07/07/2013: Racked the beer off the yeast and added the first 75 g of Nelson Sauvin hops.

07/14/2013: Added another 75 g of Nelson Sauvin hops.

07/21/2013: Bottled the beer with a sugar addition to a carbonation level of 2 vol of carbon dioxide and added EBY020 B. jurassienne I or EBY021 B. bruery I to the bottles. I store the bottles at 15°C (59°F) since.

10/27/2013: Beer now 3 months in bottle. Its time for a first official tasting.

NelsonSauvinedBerlinerWeisseVersion with B. bruery I (EBY021, glass on the right):

Aroma: Lots of white grapes and citrus character, some faint funk in the background. Very impressive aroma. Some H2S in the nose (foul eggs) as one swirls the glass.

Appearance: Straw yellow, hazy, nice bubbles rise to the top and form a two finger white head

Flavor: White grapes, citrus character, light Pilsner malt character (something between honey, corn and bread), some barnyard funk and light level of sourness in the finish. Very damn tasty!

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level (for the style), dry finish, hint of funk and sourness in the aftertaste

Overall Impression: There are a lot of the typical Berliner Weisse aroma and taste characteristics present in this beer with one exception: the sourness. It is far from what I would expect from a Berliner Weisse. I don’t know if the sourness will increase by further maturating the beer. We will see. Anyway, this is a very neat beer: light, fruity with a hint of sourness.

Version with B. jurassienne I (EBY020, glass on the left):

Aroma: Subtle fruit character compared to the EBY021 version. This one is more funky and is driven by leather, horse blanket and a hint of citrus in the back. Some H2S in the nose (foul eggs) and a hint of musty, cellar-funk in there as well. By all means not clean… In one word: funky! Gets more approachable as it warms up.

Appearance: Straw yellow, clear, nice bubbles rise to the top and form a two finger white head

Flavor: White grapes and citrus character. Very dry and not a lot of the backbone shines through. Light level of sourness in the finish however more prominent than in the EBY021 example.

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level (for the style), dry finish. This example finishes with a funk-fest in the mouth (leather, clove, barnyard and some tartness)

Overall Impression: Completely different from the EBY021 version. A very funky example where the hops kind of play in the background. Gets kind of cleaner as it warms up as all the really annoying flavors (H2S, mustiness) kind of disappear.

I actually prefer the EBY020 version because it is so refreshing, fruity and light. The EBY021 leads to a rather funky beer which makes it a bit less refreshing in my opinion. It seems to me that the EBY020 Brett strain is not as powerful as EBY021. EBY020 is more on the fruit side where EBY021 really hits you in the face with its funk. Well, EBY021 will get into my next Berliner Weisse again. And the next Weisse will be dry hopped as well. The Nelson Sauvin hops match perfectly with the profile of the Weisse. As both EBY020 and EBY021 are tested in the BBA/EBY Brettanomyces experiment, I am really looking forward how these two strains perform. I haven’t actually brewed my share of the experiment yet as I am way behind my brewing schedule already. However, I will brew the batch for the experiment before the end of the year.

#83 Grätzer/Grodziskie

Eureka, its time for another recipe publication. Not only am I fascinated about the new arising beer styles in the world but really like to look back as well. One of the rediscovered beer styles is a Polish wheat beer called Grätzer or Grodziskie named after the place where it was originally brewed. This beer style is made with oak smoked wheat malt and with a healthy dose of hops. The result is a clear, smoky and very refreshing beer. Because this beer style heavily depends on the malt and no such malt was easily available up to know, only the ones willing to smoke their own malt had the ingredients to make a real Grätzer. This all changed as soon as the German maltster Weyermann revived the oak smoked wheat malt which is now available again. With this, the most important ingredient for this kind of beer is yet again commercially available.

I came across this beer style a while ago and got really excited as I encountered Eichenrauchmalz (= oak smoked wheat malt) at my local homebrew store. I instantly ordered a small quantity of this particular malt to give this beer style a go. And below is my recipe.

Recipe: Grätzer
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 7.8°P (1.030)
Terminal gravity 2.6°P (1.010)
Color Around 5 EBC
IBU 20 IBU
ABV 2.7% (v/v)
Grains: Smoked wheat malt (4 EBC) 3 kg (5.5 lbs)
Hops: Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 25 g and boiled for 60 min
Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 10 g and boiled for 30 min
Yeast: Wyeast 1 part WY1338 European Ale and 2 parts WY1007 German Ale
Water: Mash: 8 L (2.1 gal), sparge: 12 L (3.2 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @38°C (100°F), 30 min @38°C (100°F), 30 min @52°C (126°F), 10 min @66°C (151°F), 30 min @70°C (158°F), sparge at 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Boil for 60 min
Fermentation: Primary 8 days at 20°C (68°F)
Secondary 10 days at 20°C (68°F)
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3.6
Maturation time 2 weeks, cold

06/29/13: Brew day as normal. Mashed in as stated in the recipe, rested at the given temperatures and sparged as usual. I did not add any kind of rice hulls or barley to facilitate the lautering. The lautering went as smooth as ever. I am aware that a lot of people say that it is not possible to sparge a 100% wheat malt mash. Well, I kind of experienced different things in the past and don’t care about any other experiences. I use a perforated metal plate as a filter (see picture below) and this is maybe on of the best investments in my homebrewing career. Since then, the lautering is not a pain any more. However, I encounter difficulties with this plate when I sparge the soured Berliner Weisse mash. Then the mash gets very easily stuck because the entire mash is very mushy.

IMAG07992

Fig 1:Mash kettle with perforated metal plate at bottom

After sparging and collecting the wort in my boiling kettle, I boiled the wort with the additions of the Hallertauer hops, cooled down the wort and pitched a yeast blend of two commercial yeasts (WY1008 German Ale and WY1338 European Ale). Before I cooled down the wort, I filled a 2 L growler with hot, boiled wort for the carbonation step later on. The reason for using two yeast strains is to get the WY1008 out of suspension (low flocculent) with a highly flocculent yeast strain (WY1338 in this example). This is very important because the beer has to be very clear in the end. Primary fermentation at 20°C (68°F).

07/07/13: Racked beer after 8 days to a secondary fermenter.

07/17/13: Bottled beer with addition of wort to a carbonation level of 3.6 vol of carbon dioxide. Added 2 L of unfermented wort to 18 L of green beer.

Now the most interesting part, what about the taste?

83_gratzerAroma: Smoke is dominant aroma with character of smoked bacon, bonfire. Thanks to Anna who describes this aroma in “one” word: “dried green beans”. Spot on in my opinion

Appearance: Yellow, clear, fluffy, white head with lots of bubbles rising to the top (see picture)

Flavor: Pretty much the same as in the aroma: bonfire, ash, some wood flavors as well. Nice level of bitterness and well integrated

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level, rather dry, light smoky finish. Very easy drinkable

Overall Impression: Very refreshing and surprisingly not too thin for the 2.7 vol alcohol. I am quite intrigued how this batch turned out. Even after three months in the bottles, the beer still has a very prominent smoky, ashy character. This experiment is yet another successful one.

#68 Dark Berliner Sour

Eureka, its time for another recipe. Actually this one is not as straight forward as you might expect from my previous recipes and might be hard to reproduce. The idea for this beer came up during the lautering process of my #67 Koschei Imperial Stout batch. Brewed 51 L (13.5 gal) of Imperial Stout and could not throw away the second runnings which still had a gravity of 12°P (1.048). I therefore used the runnings as a base for this recipe and went from there.

I collected the runnings up to a total volume of 10 L (2.6 gal) and added a package of Wyeast’s Lactobacillus delbrueckii to the unboiled mash as the mash reached a temperature of 40°C (104°F) and let the mash sit at 40°C for a three days until the sourness was at a good level. I then let the wort cool down to around 20°C (68°F) and added the unboiled, per-soured wort on top of a Wyeast’s 3191 Berliner Weisse cake. I left the beer on the Berliner Blend for nearly two months and kegged the soured Stout into a small keg. Kegged the beer on the 9th of December 2012 and left the keg at a relatively warm place to mature. I then forgot about this beer for a while…

This changed in late Spring of 2013. I re-discovered this particular keg in my cellar during an inventory and was quite excited to try a first sip of this beer. The ABV for this one is around 5 %. For a style, it should be something like a dark Berliner Weisse. Since Weisse originates from white in German, it would not much sense to call it a Dark Berliner Weisse. I therefore simply call it a Dark Berliner Sour. Or maybe there is already a suitable beer style for this kind of beer. Let me know if there is a matching beer style for my beer.

DarkBerlinerWeisseAroma: Smells like a cold brewed coffee gone sour with a touch of lemon, dark chocolate and bonfire smoke. Can even detect a hint of gingerbread. Impressive aroma profile and really interesting aroma combination.

Appearance: Deep black color, clear with lots of bubbles rising to the top. Not very long-lasting off-white head

Flavor: Hint of dark chocolate, very subtle roast character and a nice level of sourness. Even some red grape and wood character like in certain wines. Tobacco is there as well. The sourness and the flavors from the roasted barley really go along really nice.

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level, very dry but not too thin, silky and lightly sour finish. Detectable astringency. Very refreshing. Leaves a smoky impression on the tongue like you get after smoking a cigar.

Overall Impression: Quite impressed how this one turned out. Despite the roast character, this beer has a lot of flavors common in red wines. Not only that, it reminds me of Jolly Pumpkin’s Madrugada Obscura. With the exception that this one is not really funky. I am further surprised how the sourness plays with the roasty, astringency characters. The play along really nicely.

I expected to get a huge mess of a beer. Simply because the grist of the Imperial Stout was not really destined to turn into a sour beer. Nevertheless, the beer turned out to be way more complex than expected and is a very interesting one. Maybe not the kind I would drink for a whole evening but I have others that drink this one in pints. I might brew another batch of this one in the future and mature it in my Whisky barrel to see how this one turns out after some time in a wooden barrel. Cheers and thanks for reading

#78 Shishiga Universal Stout

Eureka, I would like to publish another dark and evil recipe. The recipe of today is for a massive Imperial Stout (OG 1.146) and a measured/calculated ABV of 17.6%. 17.6% is my current record in terms of ABV (but it won’t be the record holder for long). Because this beer doesn’t fit the BJCP 13F category for Russian Imperial Stouts, I call it a Universal Stout.

The recipe below should get you a wort of roughly 24°P (1.099). Don’t try to get higher original gravities than 1.100 or you might stress the yeasts too much. Let the yeast start the fermentation at lower gravities and increase the gravity step-by-step during the active fermentation by adding further fermentable sugars. Second, use a yeast strain that is able to deal with higher alcohol levels. I chose White Labs WLP099 Super High Gravity yeast strain for this purpose. According to White Labs, this strain should be able to deal with alcohol levels of up to 25% (White Labs WLP099).

Recipe: Shishiga Universal Stout
Numbers: Volume [L] 16 (4.2 gal)
Original gravity 34.5°P (1.146) (measured, see text)
Terminal gravity 6.2°P (1.024)
Color Around 200 EBC
IBU 120 IBU
ABV 17.6% (v/v)
Grains: Pale malt (6.5 EBC) 6 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 0.9 kg
Roasted barley (1150 EBC) 1.1 kg
Carafa 1 (900 EBC) 1.1 kg
Caramunich 2 (120 EBC) 0.4 kg
Toasted oats (around 100 EBC) 2 kg
Whisky malt (20 EBC) 1 kg
Hops: Northern Brewer (10% AA) 100 g and boiled for 60 min
Magnum (15% AA) 63 g and boiled for 60 min
East Kent Goldings (6.7% AA) 50 g and boiled for 10 min
East Kent Goldings (6.7% AA) 10 g and boiled for 1 min
Yeast: Wyeast #1098 British Ale
White Labs WLP099 Super High Gravity Ale
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 31 L (8.2 gal), sparge: 30 L (7.9 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @66°C (151°F), 90 min @66°C (151°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Boiled for 60 min
Fermentation: Primary 4 weeks @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter, starting gravity of 24.2°P– 4 days into fermentation: Added WLP099 and yeast nutrients– 6-14 days into fermentation: Added 0.9 kg of candy syrup, 0.5 kg cane sugar, 1 kg cane sugar, yeast nutrients in daily small additions
Secondary 3 weeks @15°C (59°F) in plastic fermenter on Rum soaked wood chips (50 g medium toasted French oak chips, 50 g medium toasted US oak)
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 (force carbonated in keg)
Maturation time Years

03.29.2013: Toasted some oak flakes in my oven at 120°C (248°F) for 20-30 min until the flakes had a brownish color and smelled like popcorn. In then crushed all the malts and mashed everything in at 66°C (151°F). I then left the mash rest for 90 min. Then sparged at 78°C (172°F), collected the wort and added the hops according to the recipe. I further on collected the second runnings for a smaller 12°P (1.048) Stout. I cooled the wort down to 20°C (68°F) and added a massive amount of WY1098 British Ale yeast according to the common pitching rates. The fermentation took off within a couple of hours.

04.02.2013: Four days into the fermentation. Added 200 billion WLP099 yeast cells with a small yeast nutrient addition. Gravity was already down to 8.7°P (1.034). Well done British Ale yeast.

04.06.2013: Added 0.9 kg of homemade candy syrup, 0.5 kg cane sugar, 1 kg of white table sugar, yeast nutrients over the next four days in small, quarter-daily additions.

04.10.2013: Last sugar additions.

04.27.2013: Racked beer of the yeast cake into a secondary fermenter. Added 100 g of a 50:50 blend of medium toasted French and US oak chips that have been sitting in some rum for a couple of months.

06.19.2013: Kegged the beer and force carbonated it to a carbonation level of 2 vol of carbon dioxide. And now its time to wait for the first tasting. Concerning the alcohol measurement. I calculated an original gravity of 34°P. One way do evaluate the ABVs is to measure the beer’s terminal gravity with a hydrometer (6.2°P in this case) and measure the Brix using a refractometer (18°Brix in this case). From these two values, one can calculate the actual original gravity. I use “Die Kleine Bieranalyse” for that purpose. In my case, the original gravity was 34.5°P I calculated an ABV of 17.5% from these two values.

I am really happy how this batch turned out. Luckily, it was no problem to ferment this beast and the terminal gravity is not too low nor too high. Judging from the first preliminary tasting, the wood character is way better than the beer I matured in an actual Whisky barrel. Will see how this beer develops over the next couple of months. Cheers and stay tuned!

#72 Belgian-Brett Ale

Eureka, sharing another recipe with the world. All started with the need to get rid of some ingredients such as leftover hops, malts and yeast. My goal was to brew a hop-forward not too bitter Amber Ale. Something for a general public. On the other hand to use Wyeast’s 3789 Trappist Blend. According to Wyeast, this blend consists of Saccharomyces and some Brettanomyces strain(s). Some say this blend consists of the yeasts used by Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval. I chose this blend to be suitable for such a beer because of three reasons. First, serving the fresh beer will not have too much of Brettanomyces character and be more accessible for a general public. Second, the Brettanomyces might help to decreases the body of this rather malty beer and improve the hop aroma. Third, further maturation should give the Bretts enough time to put their fingerprint on the beer aroma/flavor and maybe be more for the Brett lovers.

Recipe: Belgian-Brett Ale
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 14°P (1.056)
Terminal gravity 2.7°P (1.010)
Color Around 20 EBC
IBU 30 IBU
ABV > 6% (v/v)
Grains: Abbey malt (45 EBC) 1 kg
Munich malt (15 EBC) 1.2 kg
Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 2.7 kg
Carabelge (35 EBC) 0.2 kg
Cara Munich 3 (150 EBC) 0.2 kg
Hops: Amarillo (10% AA) 5 g and boiled for 60 min
Columbus (15% AA) 5 g and boiled for 60 min
Simcoe (14% AA) 5 g and boiled for 60 min
Cascade (5.9% AA) 30 g at flame out
Amarillo (7.8% AA) 15 g at flame out
Simcoe (12.9% AA) 30 g at flame out
Dry hops 50 g Simcoe (12.9%), 50 g Amarillo (8.5%) and
50 g Cascade (5.9%)
Yeast: Wyeast #3789 Trappist Blend
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 13 L (3.4 gal), sparge: 21 L (5.5 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @66°C (151°F), 60 min @66°C (151°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Boiled for 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 13 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary 14 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter with the addition of dry hops
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 with sugar addition
Maturation time Weeks to months

02/10/2013: Brew day! Nothing special to add here. Basically followed the recipe above.

03/05/2013: Tasting:

batch72Aroma: Very, very fruity (mango and lots of oranges). Reminds me of a certain local fruit juice. No Brett funk yet. Very nice aroma! (Tasting in July: Aroma very similar to Orval with a certain Brett character)

Appearance: Amber-brown, clear, 1 finger white head with nice bubbles rising to the top

Flavor: Very fruity (tropical fruits) with mango, oranges and some citrus character. Subtle maltyness and very well-balanced (malt and hop). (Tasting July: Fruit character not as prominent anymore. But a bit of Brett twang is definitely there now, balance is now more on the hop/bitter side, malt character vanished).

Mouthfeel: Medium body, average carbonation level, no bitter finish. (Tasting July: Rather dry and slightly bitter finish).

Overall Impression: This is a very nice brew. It is not overly bitter but has a huge tropical fruit aroma. And I am not the only one that likes this beer. I shared some bottles with friends and they loved it. On feedback I got was like “get this brew on tap”. The character of this beer changed over the last weeks and you definitely get a certain Brett character now. I will further mature the beer and see how much of Brett it will get.

I already re-used the base recipe for another batch. Left the Carabelge aside and used a different kind of yeast (Wyeast’s American Ale strain) to see, how much the beer depends on Wyeast’s Trappist Blend. Sure the Brett character will not be there but I currently have way enough beer to mature anyway (and a lot of stuff that will require maturation is still fermenting). By the end of 2012, I had 508 bottles of beer stocked in my maturation cellar (equal to 269 L of beer). This number might be even higher now because I mature some beers in kegs. Anyway, this batch was a complete success: Got rid of some ingredients, was fun to brew, got a nice beer in the end and my friends liked it as well. Cheers and thanks for reading

#63 Manneken Pis Saison

Eureka, its time for a relatively recent batch. The recipe below is for a pretty standard Saison beer dry hopped with some Saazer hops. My goal was to brew a dry, low alcohol Saison with a lot of hop character. In my opinion, the most important parts for a Saison beer is the right yeast and the right fermentation temperature to get a high attenuation level and the dryness in the beer. I chose Wyeast’s private collection strain #3726 Farmhouse Ale but any other year around Saison strain should work as well. To get the Saison yeast running, warm fermentation temperatures of approximately 28°C (82°F) are necessary. I brewed the beer last Summer and left a big vat filled with water in my shed and submerged the fermentation vessel in the vat. During the day the water temperature increased to approximately 30 – 35°C (86 – 95°F) and the temperature stayed warm during the night as well. I guess this is not a very sophisticated method to keep your fermentation vessel warm since the temperature is not stable and might influence the yeast. Lets go through the recipe first. Oh, I forgot to mention that I bottled half of the Saison with some raspberries…

Recipe: Manneken Pis Saison
Numbers: Volume [L] 19 (5 gal)
Original gravity 9°P (1.035)
Terminal gravity 1.7 – 2.3°P (1.006 – 1.008)
Color Around 6 EBC
IBU 28 IBU
ABV 3.5 – 3.9% (v/v)
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 3.4 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 0.23 kg
Hops: Saazer (3.2% AA) 52.5 g and boil for 60 min
Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 26.7 g and boil for 10 min
Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 26.7 g and boil for 0 min
Saazer (3.2% AA) 52.5 g and boil for 0 min
Saazer (3.2% AA) 32 g for dry hopping
Yeast: Wyeast’s #3726 Farmhouse Ale
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 9 L (2.4 gal), sparge: 15 L (4 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @64°C (147°F), 90 min @64°C (147°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 12 days @28°C (82°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary 1 month @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3 with sugar addition
Maturation time > 21 days

08/11/2012: Brew day number 63. Crushed the grains, mashed in at 64°C and left the mash convert for 90 min. Then sparged and boiled the wort for 90 min with the hop additions mentioned in the protocol above. Then cooled down the wort and pitched fresh Farmhouse Ale yeast and submerged the fermentation vessel in the vat in my shed.

08/23/2012: Racked to secondary fermenter after 12 days of primary fermentation. Gravity down to 2.1°P already. Did the secondary at 20°C (68°F).

08/24/2012: Removed 10 L of the secondary fermenter, transferred into a smaller fermenter and added 2 kg of frozen raspberries:

raspberries09/15/2012: Bottled the raspberry version to a carbon dioxide level of 3 vol and added the Saaz hops to the version without the raspberries.

09/22/2012: Bottled the Saison without the raspberries to a carbon dioxide level of 3 vol. I then left the bottles carbonate for approximately three weeks at ambient temperatures and store the bottles at lower temperatures (not in a refrigerator) since.

Manneken Pis Saison sensory evaluation (after 7 months in bottle):

63Saison_1Aroma: Lots of phenolic and pepper. Smells really nice. Hint of Saazer hops in the nose as well.

Appearance: Yellow, frothy white, long- lasting head, clear (with some grain chunks)

Flavor: Phenolic and spicy driven beer with some lavender and ginger. Really nice!

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation, dry finish

Overall Impression: Really refreshing with its ABV of 4.5%. Nice phenolic, spicy character.

Manneken Pis Saison sensory evaluation (after 7 months in bottle) with B. lambicus addition at bottling:

Aroma: Phenolic, pepper in the front and leathery in the back. Definitely picking up some Brett funk in the nose. Even some urine smell…

Appearance: Yellow, frothy white, long-lasting head, clear (with some grain chunks). Looks the same as the non-Brett Saison.

Flavor: Again phenolic and spicy notes dominate on the palate. No Brett funk detectable.

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level, grassy finish with light funky tang (tart and astringent).

Overall Impression: Flavor profile is close to no Brett Saison. The Brett only contributes to additional components in the smell and the tart, astringent finish. To be honest, I prefer the Brett infused Saison over the clean one. It kind of makes this beer a bit bolder and down-to-earth and reminds me of the original Saison setting (barnyard, refreshing beer). Really looking forward what will happen to this beer in the future.

Raspberry infused Manneken Pis Saison sensory evaluation (after 8 months in bottle):

IMG_1670Aroma: Dry raspberry smell with some grassy-herbal background notes. No hops or any phenolic, pepper aroma

Appearance: Red, clear with some fruit debris, nice pink head

Flavor: Very light raspberry flavor. Very dry

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level, dry fruity, grassy finish

Overall Impression: Fresher examples had more raspberry on the palate. Nevertheless, this is a very nice beer. Really enjoying this. And not sweet like many other fruit beers. Really interesting!

Really happy how all these beers turned out differently. I will do another batch of this recipe soon (without the raspberries) and play around with some different Brettanomyces strains. The raspberries were just a small experiment to see how much raspberries are necessary to get some of the fruit flavor into the beer. I will focus on some Berliner Weisse recipes soon and one share will be made with some raspberries. 200 g fruits per Liter of beer seem to work very well. Cheers!