Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Peculiar Wang Old Ale II & Small Wang Experiment Brewday

The basics of the last version turned out good, so although it will take some time to determine the ultimate value of the original Peculiar Wang, I figured I’d make another version to build up the backstock. The picture is from some of the bottles of the last batch I labeled for a recent family event back in Sea-town, handed out with instruction to not drink until at least December. Which means that it should all be drunk by, oh, next week? I will admit, however, that there is nothing like mocking family via the gift of booze.

96. Peculiar Wang Old Ale II
11 lbs. Thomas Fawcett Maris Otter
1 lb. Muntons 2-row
½ lb. Franco-Belges Kiln Coffee
½ lb. Crisp Pale Chocolate
½ lb. Breiss Caramel 6-row 60° L
5 oz. Dingemans Pale Malt
¼ lb. Muntons Dark Crystal 2-row 135-165° L
3 oz. Weyerman CaraWheat
2 oz. Simpsons Roasted barley
1 oz. Weyerman Chocolate Wheat

Mashed @ 154° F for 70 minutes w/5 gallons RO water; collected 3 gallons @ 1.072
Batch sparged @ 168° F for 20 minutes w/4 gallons RO water; collected 3 ½ gallons @ 1.030

Collected 6 ½ gallons, brought to a boil (90 minutes) and added:

w/60 to go: 1 oz. Columbus pellet 14.4% AA
.5 oz. Mt. Hood pellet 5.2% AA
.5 oz. Chinook leaf 11.3% AA
.45 oz. Warrior pellet 15.8% AA

w/15 minutes to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss
1 lb. Brewer’s Garden Belgian Candi Sugar Aromatic Extra Dark

w/10 to go: 1 lb. (454 g.) Lyle’s Black Treacle

Chilled and racked to carboy on 94. Chicory Coffee Mild yeast cake (Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale)

Brewed: 7/19/2011 @ 68° F; free rise to 72° F over the first 12 hours
Secondary: 9/17/2011 @ 66° F & 1.014
Bottled: 9/22/2011 w/ 2.75 oz. table sugar & re-yeasted w/ Safale US 05 (mixed packet into half a 12 oz. bottle of bottled water; used to re-yeast this and two gallon batches of 91.

OG: 1.076
FG: 1.013

Tasting Notes (10/18/2011): Jason Morgan’s Peculiar Wang pours a deep, rich chocolate brown; while generally clear, there is not a lot of light getting through. The head is a dark tan, and has good staying power—there is quite a bit of small, tiny bubble activity that creates a silky layer when the glass it tilted. The nose is a mix of creamy and chocolate malt at first, followed by a subtle fruitiness; as it warms, a touch of bitterness and alcohol emerge, and the chocolate and coffee get more prominent. Flavors start sweet and rich; there is chocolate and caramel in the front, plus smaller hints of cocoa and coffee. The middle dries out on the palate; there is a fair amount of bitterness and what I would describe as a creamy roundedness that balances the bitterness. The finish has a rise in sweetness—there is a touch of treacle and caramel—followed by a slight chalkiness, then alcohol warmth and lingering bitterness. A fair amount of lingering bitterness, in fact. The mouthfeel is rich but potentially a bit thin—the brighter carbonation may have something to do with that, but it also creates a delightful silkiness to the beer on the tongue. As well, the treacle flavor is more subdued in this version—in 91, treacle flavor was front and center, while this version contains only a touch in the finish; as it warms, it does become more pronounced in the middle, however. All and all, an interesting beer, but one that strikes me as rather young yet—the malt flavors has not come together, and the bitterness and alcohol flavors are still very pronounced. Sadly, the re-yeasting with US 05 might pose a long-term danger to the beer—I’ll need to pay attention to the carbonation in regards to the yeast’s ability to continue eating residual sugar. The FG was already rather low at 1.013, but I’d still rather be ahead of the curve on this one. This one wasn’t an issue, but I had a bottle that was significantly over-carbonated a couple of days ago—it did get transported by bike, which could have contributed to the problem. So I’ll try a bottle every couple of weeks to see where we’re at, I know, I know—you all feel so sorry for me, don’t you? Let’s hope some of this lasts long enough to become more interesting.

97. Small Wang Experiment
Third runnings from 96. Peculiar Wang Old Ale II

Mashed @ 158° F for 45 minutes w/2 ½ gallons RO water

Collected 2 ¾ gallons, brought to a boil (30 minutes) and added:
1 lb. Bavarian Wheat DME

w/15 minutes to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss
1 oz. Millennium leaf 16.6% AA

w/10 to go: 1 oz. Chinook leaf 11.3% AA

w/5 minutes to go: 1 oz. Amarillo leaf 10.7% AA

w/0 minutes to go: 1 tablespoon hibiscus leaves

Chilled and racked to carboy onto 92. Small Wang Pale Ale cake (Bam Biere yeast from secondary)

Brewed: 7/19/2011
Secondary: skipped
Bottled: 9/1/2011 w/ 2.75 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes (12/12/11): Pours a rich caramel and orange color—it is very reminiscent of a Belgian dubbel or maybe an American amber (something bigger, like North Coast’s Red Seal Ale), although the resemblance ends with the color. I’m not sure what happened to the hibiscus, however. There are plenty of tiny, white streaming bubbles up the sides of the glass that allows the eggshell head to maintain a thin but complete covering across the top of the glass. The nose is bright and funky; it is very similar to 93, but there is a dry biscuit and cracker malt that wasn’t in the other beer. Flavors start with a flat, dry biscuit malt flavor that reminds me of the taste I dislike in most red ales, and is coupled with a funky wild yeast character. This beer is far less tart and sour than 93, although I’m guessing it is via the grain bill, with the bigger and darker flavors covering some of the more delicate tart components. The middle is dry—all that is left of the grain is huskiness and biscuit chalkiness. When mixed with the musty and papery funk flavors, any stray molecule of moisture is quickly banished. There is a twang of citric sourness that emerges in the finish as the beer starts to warm, but it is mostly fleeting. An interesting experiment, but not the best beer. This beer is probably more interesting than I am giving it credit, but the mix of flavors don’t quite work for me—I like the yeast character, but not the effects created by the residual malt characters, which harsh and a bit abrasive on the palate. For me, the two just don’t mesh. Thus, I plan on sticking with a lighter and gentler malt bill for subsequent wild beers (well, except for the upcoming Flanders Red)—think MFB Pilsner, think MFB Aromatic, think pale malt. Let the funk shine through, dammit.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rockit Cup Saison Brewday

Time for another installment of the Rockit Cup. Ridiculous, I know, but what with the 3711 that I just can’t resist, I am powerless before forces greater than myself. Help me, Obi-wan, you’re my only hope.

95. Rockit Cup Saison
3 ¼ lbs. Weyerman Bohemian Pilsner
3 ¾ lbs. MFB Pilsner
1 lb. Flaked Oats, roasted @ 250° F for 20 min.
¾ lb. Torrified Red Wheat
¾ lb. Weyerman Light Munich
½ lb. table sugar

Mashed @ 148° F w/ 3 ½ gallons of RO water for 75 minutes
Batch sparged @ 158° F w/ 4 gallons RO water for 20 minutes

Collected 6 gallons; added to brew kettle and topped off to 6 ½ gallons; brought to a boil (60 minute) and added:

w/60 to go: 1 oz. Tettnanger pellet 4.8% AA

w/15 to go: ½ lb. table sugar; 1 tsp. Irish moss

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Tettnanger pellet 4.8% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, and pitched Wyeast 3711 French Saison

Brewed: 7/16/2011 @ 73°
Secondary: skipped
Bottled: 8/3/2011 @1.000 w/4 0z. table sugar

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.000

Tasting Notes (10/11/2011): Another 3711 beer...bring on the deliciousness. In the Rockit Cup competition, I ended up getting 4th out of the four beers made (smooth, I know), but, interestingly enough, got 3rd with the same beer at Beerfest. So go figure.

Rockit Cup Saison pours a clear straw color with a thick, persistent white head—light and delicate with active carbonation streaming in the glass, making it is a rather attractive beer. The nose is the delicate perfume-y and fruity yeast ester aroma I associate with 3711; there is some slight mustiness and creaminess mixed with earth and loam; the hop character is a bit indistinct in the nose. Flavors start dry and crisp, but with just a dash of residual sweetness—it is a bit crackery via the dryness, and there is a slight carbonic bite. The finish is crisp and bright with a touch of wheatiness, but not much in the way of hop bitterness—I would agree with Gordon Strong’s comments (yes, Gordon Strong judged this beer) that “bitterness is probably the most important thing to fix.” The mouthfeel has a slight silkiness along with the dry body; I might be projecting here, but that was the intention in including the pound of Flaked Oats. Good, and eminently quaffable, which was the initial goal of the Rockit Cup, but it could be tweaked a bit to improve the beer—a stronger hop bitterness and a more distinctive malt character (drop the wheat and something else like MFB Aromatic or Acidulated Malt) would bring this beer together.

Competition: Dayton Beerfest (9/10/2011): 32.5; 3rd place Saison