Saturday, August 25, 2012

Doom-tastic Saison w/ EKG Brewday

Today had several highlights. First, I got the new MF Doom/Jneiro Jarel album, Keys to the Kuffs, in the mail (well, technically, it showed up yesterday, but I wasn’t home, so I had to go to the Post Office this morning and sign for it). Along with the album in the package was the newest Frank 151 featuring MF Doom. And on top of all of that, I brewed—listening to the new Doom, of course—with East Coast Yeast for the first time. So everything’s coming up roses. Oh, and Jeffrey, I poured off a bit of the excess fluid in the yeast to taste, and it has the same sourness yours did. Another sweet bonus in an already fantastic day.

125. Doom-tastic Saison w/EKG
4 lbs. MFB Pale
4 lbs. MFB Special Aromatic
1 lb. Breiss White Wheat
1 lb. Acidulated Malt

Mash @ 150° F for 70 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons of RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 2 gallons @ 1.076
Batch sparge @ 158° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.024

Collected 6 gallons; brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 ½ oz UK East Kent Goldings leaf 5.41% AA

w/15 to go: 8 oz. Turbinado Cane Sugar & 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/10 to go: 1 oz. UK East Kent Goldings leaf 5.41% AA

w/0 to go: 1 oz. UK East Kent Goldings leaf 5.41% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, & pitched East Coast Yeast ECY08 Saison Brasserie

Brewed: 8/25/2012
Secondary: 9/4/2012 @ 1.016 
Bottled: 9/22/2012 w/ 4 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.054
FG: 1.006

Tasting Notes: So I can now definitively assert that I understand the effects that come from stressing yeast via pitching low cell counts. I let this vial of East Coast Yeast sit around a little too long, and since I was pressed for time, I decided to skip making a starter to build up the yeast numbers. This beer is cost of that decision. While it is by no means undrinkable, the perfume-y and phenolic yeast character gives this beer an almost plastic/adhesive taste—it is bleeding phenolic and ester characteristics, which is completely unlike 126.Saison w/ Comet, the beer after this one that was pitched on this yeast cake. The difference is, well, pretty remarkable. Although I will confess, I do like it—it verges into Hennepin on crack, where all the banana fruit flavors and clove have aggressively taken over. Plus, it is dry and crackery on the mouth with tang from the yeast by-products and also the carbonation—the combination is crisp and delightful. But some more concrete details: the beer pours a pale hazy straw with a profuse white head that lingers and laces the glass. It also has lots of streaming carbonation up the sides of the glass—you can almost see it in the picture there was so much at the beginning. The nose in banana cream pie and perfume coupled with a peppery phenol that is lighter than clove but heavier than black pepper: I think the over-the-top yeast character Hennepin comparison might actually hold up, although this beer is drier in the body and mouthfeel. Flavors open with cracker and bread crust along with a touch of creaminess; the yeast flavors start at the tail end of the front, but blossom in the middle before continuing on into the finish. There is light, delicate fruit, like banana and pear, as well as spice and pepper; the bitterness comes into play in the middle, but is covered over in part by the yeast. The finish is yeast esters and perfume—it is floral and rose-like—before the banana creaminess reasserts itself. There is also a touch of tartness in the finish, and lingering hop bitterness in the back of the mouth. The beer starts soft on the tongue in front, but quickly dries out and is accompanied by a cracker-y carbonic bite from the bright carbonation. It is a good beer, but the yeast character would put a fair number of people off; I do like an aggressively dry and Belgian saison, but 126. Saison w/ Comet is just so much more balanced with the flavors (both hop and yeast) and intangible yeast characteristics that it makes this beer pale in comparison. I can say, however, that I do love this yeast. Maybe not as much as Wyeast 3711, but if it can knock out beers like these on a regular basis, we might have a fight on our hands.

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