#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!

#61 Berliner Weisse the Second

Eureka, it’s time for another recipe blog entry. Another Berliner Weisse recipe. I finally found some spare time to write-up the following post. I did a Berliner Weisse before and let the mash turn sour by adding some grains (#44 Berliner Weisse). I added some Brettanomyces to one share of the batch and I am very happy how this beer turned out. You can find the tasting notes of my first batch here.

Because I am very inquisitive and got a package of Wyeast’s 3191 Berliner Weisse Blend, I could not resist to try the blend on pretty much the same Berliner Weisse recipe as mentioned above. The only difference was to leave the sour mashing aside because there should be some lactic acid bacteria in the blend to turn the beer sour. Lets go through the recipe and lets find out what Wyeast’s Berliner Weisse Blend can make out of the wort.

Recipe: Berliner Weisse 2
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 8.2°P (1.032)
Terminal gravity 1°P (1.003)
Color Around 4 EBC
IBU N/A
ABV 3.8% (v/v)
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 1.9 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 1.4 kg
Hops: Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 26.6 g and added at mash in (mash hops)
Yeast: Wyeast #3191 Berliner Weisse Blend
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 6 months @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary N/A
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 with sugar addition
Maturation time Weeks to months at 15°C (59°F)

08.01.2012: Brew day. Crushed malts, mashed in at 66°C (151°F) including adding the Hallertauer hops and left the mash rest for one hour. Then heated up to 78°C (172°F), sparged, cooled the wort down to roughly 20°C (68°F) and added a package of Wyeast’s 3191 Berliner Weisse Blend and left the fermenter untouched for nearly 6 months. I did not even rack the beer into a secondary fermenter.

10.20.2012: Bottled the beer with a sugar addition to a carbonation level of 2 vol of carbon dioxide and store the bottles at 15°C (59°F) since.

02.05.2013: Beer now 3.5 months in bottle. Its time for a first official tasting.

Aroma: Citrus character, some metallic notes as well and maybe some DMS (not sure)

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

Flavor: Some citrus character, light Pilsner malt character (something between honey, corn and bread), no funk or even a hint of sourness…

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level (for the style), dry finish, hint of 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.

61BerlinerWeisse2_1_104.14.2013: Six months in the bottle:

Aroma: Smells like a ripe apple. Very Champagne like aroma. No sourness, no funk, no hops or yeast character in the nose

Appearance: Straw yellow, light haze (got some of the sediment in the glass), white head and lots of bubbles

Flavor: Some cereal character, no hops or any yeast specific character such as esters. Hint of lactic acid sourness

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level, dry finish, some sourness in the finish

Overall Impression: Beside the cereal flavor, this beer is very much like a Champagne or a carbonated white wine. Compared to the previous tasting, the sourness level increased a bit. But still not at the level where I want it to be. I brought this beer to a party recently and described the beer as a Champagne-beer. And you know what? The tasters brave enough to taste it totally agreed and where really astonished that a beer can even taste like a Champagne.

Compared to the first version (#44 Berliner Weisse) where I used a spontaneous mashing technique, this beer’s taste is not even close to the first version. In my experience, the sour mashing step introduced a lot of the funk character (sourness, lactic acid smell, lemons) I would like to have in my version of a Berliner Weisse. In addition, the Brettanomyces I added back then did a very good job and added a very funky layer to the Weisse. We will see how this beer evolves. Cheers!

#19P Heidelberger Kellerbier Clone

Eureka, yet another recipe from the old days (2010). There is one recipe left to publish and afterwards all my recipes up to batch number 50 will be on this blog. The recipe below is basically a recipe clone to re-create a Kellerbier (link to ratebeer) I tasted during a study trip to Heidelberg, Germany. Originally brewed by the Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg. We even visited the brewery for a tour which was quite interesting as well. Was quite a nice study trip. Our goal was to find the best beer in Heidelberg… In the end, the group decided Heidelberger Export (link to ratebeer) to be the best. Anyway… Lets get back to the Kellerbier. I really enjoyed this beer, bought myself a bottle and isolated the yeast from it. And this recipe was the first (and last) attempt to brew a Kellerbier clone using the isolated yeast.

Recipe: Heidelberger Kellerbier Clone
Numbers: Volume [L] 5 (1.3 gal)
Original gravity 13.5°P (1.054)
Terminal gravity 4°P (1.016)
Color Around 20 EBC
IBU 19 IBU
ABV 5.2% (v/v)
Grains: Munich malt (14.5 EBC) 0.65 kg
Caramunich II (120 EBC) 0.075 kg
Acidified malt (5 EBC) 0.025 kg
Vienna (8 EBC) 0.3 kg
Hops: Hallertauer Tradition (4% AA) 8.2 g and boil for 90 min
Saazer (5% AA) 5 g and boil for 1 min
Yeast: Wyeast’s Yeast isolated from
Heidelberger Kulturbrauerei
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 4 L (1.1 gal), sparge: 5 L (1.3 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @55°C (131°F),
15 min @55°C (131°F),
35 min @64°C (147°F),
20 min @72°C (162°F),
20 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 14 days @8°C (46°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary N/A
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3 with sugar addition
Maturation time > 3 weeks

August 2010: (Don’t know the exact date anymore). Small batch brew day. Crushed all the grains, mashed in at 35°C (95°F) and increased the temperature to 55°C (131°F) and followed the mash schedule as mentioned in the recipe above. Then sparged at 78°C (172°F) and boiled the wort with the mentioned hops. Cooled down to 20°C (68°F) and stored the fermenter (no yeast added yet) in my refrigerator at 8°C (46°F) over night. I then added the yeast in the morning, aerated by shaking and left the fermentation go for 14 days. Gravity was down to 4°P. Left the fermenter sit at room temperature for two days (diacetyl rest). Then bottled with an addition of sugar.

Tasting: (beer nearly 2 months in the bottles):

Aroma: Very malty. Nothing else.

Appearance: Brilliant clear, amber color, white head with very small bubbles.

Flavor: Malty, caramel, sweet, not bitter and slightly dry nevertheless

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, average carbonation level, finishes with a malty medium lasting aftertaste.

Overall Impression: Unfortunately, I could not compare this batch with the original brew since I had to drink the only bottle I got to get to the yeast sediment. However, this is a very neat malt-caramel driven beer like one would expect from a Kellerbier.

I lost the isolated yeast strain in the meantime and this is why I can’t brew another batch. Honestly, I am not sure if I would have brewed a second batch anyway. Anyway, it turned out great, was fun to brew and cool to use an isolated yeast as a primary strain. Cheers!

#25P Decoction Wheat

Eureka, yet another post about a recipe from the old days. April 2011 in this case. This time about my first decoction batch I conducted. Decoction is basically a technique where one heats up only a small part of the mash in a separate kettle and pours it back to the main mash to raise the temperature. Therefore a different technique to raise the temperature of your mash instead of direct heat. Decoction mashes are very common in wheat breweries and some say that it has a major impact on the flavor of a beer.

I did a decoction mash on a small-scale to test how it works. The recipe is straight forward with some acidified malt to adjust the mash pH at the beginning.

Recipe: Decoction Wheat
Numbers: Volume [L] 5 (1.3 gal)
Original gravity 13.5°P (1.054)
Terminal gravity 5°P (1.020)
Color Around 4 EBC
IBU 13 IBU
ABV 4.7% (v/v)
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 0.52 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 0.65 kg
Acidified malt (9 EBC) 0.025 kg
Hops: Hallertauer (8% AA) 3.3 g and boil for 90 min
Yeast: Wyeast’s #3068 Weihenstephan
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 4 L (1.1 gal), sparge: 5 L (1.3 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @40°C (104°F),
25 min @50°C (122°F),
20 min @64°C (147°F),
60 min @71°C (160°F),
10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 14 days @18°C (64°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary N/A
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3.5 with sugar addition
Maturation time > 3 weeks

04/16/2011: Another pilot batch brew day. Crushed all the grains and mashed in at 40°C (104°F) and then let the temperature rise to 50°C (122°F) by directly heating the mash. After the 25 min rest, I removed 50% of the mash and heated this share up to 71°C (160°F), then let this share rest for 15 min and heated up to a boil and boiled for 20 min. Afterwards, the boiled share was poured back to the main mash to increase the mash temperature from 50°C to 64°C (147°F). After a 20 min rest I increased the temperature again by direct heat up to 71°C (160°F), rested for 60 min and then prepared for the mash out at 78°C (172°F). Sparged with 5 L of 78°C (172°F) water and collected the runnings. Then boiled the wort with the small Hallertauer hops addition for 90 min, cooled the wort down to 20°C (68°F) and added freshly propagated #3068 Weihenstephan yeast.

05/01/2011: Bottled the beer after a primary fermentation step of roughly 14 days and added enough sugar to get a carbon dioxide level of 3.5 vol. Then stored the bottles at room temperature for another seven days and then stored the bottles in my refrigerator.

Tasting:

Aroma: Slight banana aroma, grainy and a bit of sulphur detectable.

Appearance: Yellow-gold, white creamy head, nice carbonation level. Poured the yeast sediment into the glass as well.

Flavor: Rather subtle banana character, hint of grains…

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, lively carbonation level, short light grainy aftertaste. Easy to drink.

Overall Impression: This is a wheat beer but without any special character I expected from the decoction mashing like some caramel or even some burnt character. In my opinion, the decoction mash did not contribute to additional flavors or aroma I could taste. Either the technique was not right or I simply can’t taste the differences.

I haven’t done any decoction mash since simply because I do not brew any wheat beers anymore (brewed enough of it). However, all future batches of Lambics will be brewed using the traditional turbid mash technique which is kind of a decoction mash technique as well. In this case, my Lambics improved a lot since I switched from traditional infusion mashes to the turbid mash. And I can clearly taste the difference there. Cheers!

#24P Belgian Blond Ale

Eureka, yet another post about a recipe from the old days. April 2011 in this case. I would like to upload all the remaining recipes up to batch #50 in the future (three to go) to have a complete list of recipes available. After batch #50 only the most interesting, experimental recipes will be posted. I decided to put more effort into publishing yeast related stuff to give yeast ranchers, hunters and gatherers more information. Back to the recipe of today. The principal goal of this recipe was to further test Wyeast’s strain 3522 Belgian Ardennes. One of my most favourite yeast strains so far. In addition, I used propagated 3522 yeast stored in isotonic sodium chloride solution for the first time here. Never made a batch with stored yeast before. The recipe is not very complicated and therefore makes it easier to detect any yeast originating flavors.

Recipe: Belgian Blonde Ale
Numbers: Volume [L] 5 (1.32 gal)
Original gravity 13.5°P (1.054)
Terminal gravity 4.5°P (1.017)
Color Around 4 EBC
IBU 27 IBU
ABV 5.8% (v/v)
Grains: Pilsner malt (4 EBC) 0.73 kg
Wheat malt (4 EBC) 0.4 kg
Table sugar (0 EBC) 0.086 kg
Hops: Styrian Goldings (6.1% AA) 6 g and boil for 90 min
Hallertauer (4% AA) 5 g and boil for 60 min
Yeast: Wyeast’s #3522 Belgian Ardennes
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 2.8 L (0.74 gal), sparge: 5 L (1.32 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @64°C (147°F),
60 min @64°C (147°F),
10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 90 min
Fermentation: Primary 14 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary 1 month @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3 with sugar addition (34 g sugar to 3.5 L beer)
Maturation time 21 days

04/02/2011: Another small batch brew day. All the grains were crushed and mashed in at 64°C. The sugar is added at the end of the boil. Everything else like rests and hop additions are mentioned above. I then added enough of WY3522 yeast and left the fermentation go for 14 days until I racked the beer into a secondary fermenter and let it ferment out and mature for another four weeks.

05/16/2011: Bottled with some fresh yeast and sugar to a carbonation level of 3 vol of carbon dioxide. I then stored the bottles for another few weeks at room temperature.

08/30/2011: Beer now close to four months in the bottles. Tasting:

Aroma: Lots of pineapple… Light sweet character as well. No hops, no malt.

Appearance: Yellow-golden color, some particles float in the glass (grains!!!), lightly hazy and fast disappearing head… Not very nice to look at. (Looking back, I brew in a bag for small batches now to avoid such appearance problems)

Flavor: Pineapple, watery…

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation and malty, sweet finish.

Overall Impression: Really bad appearance and rather one-dimensional (who would have guessed). I wonder why so much pineapple is detectable in such a beer. I never had pineapple with this strain before. Reading Wyeast’s description of WY3522 Belgian Ardennes, this strain seems to be rather balanced. Some esters and spicy notes. But I could not detect any spicy notes here. Maybe because of a lacking ferulic acid rest? I am not sure if any off-flavor has a distinctive pineapple aroma. Please let me know if this is the case. Anyway, I don’t really have an explanation for pineapple aroma.

To summarize, this experiment did not lead to any conclusive results. Just a pineapple driven beer. I am somewhat used in my every day live that some experiments lead to inconclusive results or not to the results you were expecting. This might be because your expectations were not correct or due to a bad experimental design. Nevertheless, I could at least show that a yeast stored in isotonic sodium chloride can ferment a beer.

The next post will not be about a recipe. I haven’t decided which post I am going to publish next because this depends on the latest results. However, it will be about yeast. Promised!

#65 Smoked Oatmeal Stout

Eureka, today’s post is all about one of our most improved recipes so far. As a fan of Stouts I really wanted to create an excellent example. This is basically the next improvement step of the #49 Belgian Oatmeal Stout. Although the #49 recipe gives you a great Stout, I still wanted to keep on improving the recipe to a next level: Adding a Islay smoked twist to it. The recipe is very similar to the previous version but I used a different yeast and some Whisky malt instead. The previous version was quite well made in my opinion and I saw no need to change the grist any further. Lets go through the recipe.

Recipe: Wellington Boots Smoked Stout
Numbers: Volume [L] 19 (5 gal)
Original gravity 13.9°P (1.055)
Terminal gravity 4°P (1.015)
Color Around 69 EBC
IBU 31 IBU
ABV 5.4% (v/v)
Grains: Pale malt (6.5 EBC) 4.3 kg
Flaked oat (0 EBC) 0.45 kg
Chocolate (700 EBC) 0.34 kg
Roasted barley (1150 EBC) 0.23 kg
Cara Crystal (120 EBC) 0.23 kg
Whisky malt (10 EBC?) 0.6 kg
Hops: EKG (5% AA) 51 g and boil for 60 min
Yeast: Wyeast’s #1084 Irish Ale
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 14 L (3.7 gal),
sparge: 19 L (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: Total 60 min
Fermentation: Primary 13 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary N/A
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 with sugar addition
Maturation time > 3 weeks

09/09/2012: Batch number 65. All the grains and flakes went into the water at 66°C and rested for one hour at 66°C. Then increased the temperature to 78°C for mash-out. Then did a fly sparge as usual and collected the black wort. 65_1After all the runnings were collected, I waited for the first signs of boiling to occur and added the hops as mentioned above. I always like to brew dark beers not only because they taste great but because some beautiful things occur during the brew day such as the surface shown in the wort kettle before reaching a boil.

65_2After a 60 min boil the wort was cooled down to approximately 20°C (68°F) and a healthy amount of freshly prepared WY1084 Irish Ale yeast was added.

09/22/2012: After 13 days of primary fermentation the beer was bottled already. No secondary fermentation because we planned to store the beer for some time in the bottles anyway. Another thing we changed to the previous recipe was the amount of carbon dioxide. This time we went with a traditional Real Ale carbonation level of 2 vol of carbon dioxide. In my opinion Stouts with a lover carbon dioxide level are more drinkable and therefore easier to enjoy.

01/07/13: First official tasting after a maturation time of nearly three months. We tasted the Stout before but never put it on paper.

Aroma: Very phenolic and smoky. The Whisky malt gives this brew a really nice aroma profile. All other typical Stout aromas such as chocolate, coffee or any roasted notes are somewhat in the background and nearly not detectable.

WellingtonBootsInGlassAppearance: Pours in a black color, 1 finger tan and creamy head, some bubbles rise to the top. A typical Stout appearance in my opinion.

Flavor: First thing you notice are the roasty, chocolate notes. Followed by the peaty, smoky character of the Whisky malt. Incredible what the low amount of smoked malt can already contribute to such a beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a low carbonation level. Rather dry and smoke and silky. Really palatable.

Overall Impression: This beer has to be enjoyed at a relatively warm temperature. Otherwise the character of this beer is rather boring.

Quite interesting what 10% of Whisky malt can contribute to such a beer. The smokiness is well-integrated and not overpowering. I gave this beer to friends and used it for a tasting and a lot of people liked it. And some of them do not drink beer on a regular basis. But some of them are Islay Whisky lovers and therefore really like the peaty notes in this beer. The level of smoke seems to be just right. Some told me that a higher smoke level would be less enjoyable. Although I would love to further increase the amount of Whisky malt to see what happens. All in all I am quite satisfied how this brew turned out. What I learned is that Stouts work better at lower carbonation levels and 10% of Whisky malt lead to a well incorporated smoke level.

I am quite certain that this is not the end of my journey to improve my Stout recipes. For now it seems that I am on the right track. However, I haven’t decided yet what to further improve here. Luckily there are some other recipes in our pipeline which need further improvement. Thanks for reading