Friday, August 30, 2013

Fresh Hop w/ Brewer’s Gold Brewday

This beer comes from the first results of Osborn Brewing’s Hop Farming activities. Brent was gracious enough to drop by a couple of bines of Brewer’s Gold this morning on the way back to Monroe, which meant that once I finished office hours, it was time to punch that fresh hop ticket yet again. That first one in the bottle can’t carbonate quick enough! 

156. Fresh Hop w/ Brewer’s Gold
4 lbs. Best Malz Spelt
3 lbs. MFB Special Aromatic
2 lbs. MFB Pale
1 lb. MFB Vienna

Mash @ 151° F for 60 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water & 4 g. gypsum; collected 1 ¾ gallons @ 1.070
Batch sparge @ 168° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 3 ¾ gallons @ 1.022

Collected 5 ½ gallons; topped off to 6 ¾ gallons, brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 ½ oz. UK EKG

w/15 to go: 2 ½ oz. fresh Brewer’s Gold

w/5 to go: 2 ½ oz. fresh Brewer’s Gold

w/0 to go: 2 ½ oz. fresh Brewer’s Gold

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched Wyeast 1272 American II

Primary: 8/30/2013 @ 68° F; rose to 73° F over first 48 hours

OG: 1.044

Tasting Notes:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

570. Crooked Stave Surette Provision Saison

We finally got our hands on some Crooked Stave beers: we tried Vieille on Sunday, and tonight is Surette. Chad Yakobson is the current poster-child for Brettanomyces brewing, so why the hell wouldn’t I be excited? If you’d like to get all old-school, feel free to check out the Brettanomyces Project as well. Colorado never tasted so good!

Surette pours a hazy yellowish tan accompanied by a thin white head that reduces quickly to a ring with several wispy islands; the nose is bright and sharp, with soft oak and a slight smoky adhesive phenol tang along with musty earth and citrus. Flavors start with doughy malt and citrus, progressing into a tannic oak bite with lemon in the middle, and running into some slight dirty band-aid flavors ala a Flanders Red in the finish, including the dark fruit and slightly vinous character of those beers. The combination of earth and lemon-y citrus found in the nose continues in the body, both in the front and the finish, while the mouthfeel is rounded and bright. I appreciate the creamy and yet bright sensations on the palate—a combination created by the carbonation, oak, and yeast—precisely because of the body it gives the beer while still allowing the flavors to sing. The beer also improves as it warms, blending delicately together across the profile. Surette has alluring and interesting flavors, and comes across cleaner than one might expect—it certainly points to the exciting possibilities of Brettanomyces-only fermentation. I did like Vieille more than Surette, but we will certainly be seeking out both again, as well as any other Crooked Stave beers we can find.

From the bottle: “Surette is a provision Saison with a tart and vinous character from extended barrel age.”

From the Crooked Stave website: “Wood Aged Farmhouse Ale brewed with Malted Barley, Wheat, Oats, Rye and Spelt. This beer is a recreation of early 20th century farmhouse provision ales. Surette was fermented and aged in our large oak foeder with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus naturally present. The secondary fermentation with these critters creates complex aromas and a slight tartness.”

ABV: 6.2% 


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Smith Hop Fresh Hop Brewday

Round two of the fresh hop madness. These hops were the lovely gift of my neighbors, the Smiths—you all remember them from last year, correct?—who again weren’t going to use them. Insanity! But their loss is my fresh hop gain! I was told that these are all Cascade, but I do like the name Smith Hop so much better. I also left enough on the vine that I can go pick an ounce or so for dry-wet hopping in the secondary. Is that even a term? It is now!

155. Smith Hop Fresh Hop
5 lbs. Rahr Pale 
3 lbs. Dingemanns Pale
1 lb. MFB Vienna
1 lb. Breiss White Wheat

Mash @ 151° F for 60 minutes w/ 3 ½ gallons RO water & 4 g. gypsum; collected 2 ¼ gallons @ 1.080
Batch sparge @ 169° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.024

Collected 6 ¼ gallons; topped off to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 2 oz. Sonnet Golding leaf 4.1% AA

w/20 to go: 3 oz. fresh Smith hops

w/10 to go: 3 oz. fresh Smith hops

w/5 to go: 3 oz. fresh Smith hops

w/0 to go: 3 ¼ oz. fresh Smith hops 

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched mason jar of WLP510 Bastogne

Primary: 8/14/2013 @ 64° F
Secondary: 8/28/2013 @ 1.010; 8/31/2013 dry hopped w/ 4 oz. fresh Smith hops
Bottled: 9/7/2013 w 3.0 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.050
FG: 1.008

Tasting Notes (10/2/2013): Smith Hop pours a hazy dull gold with a white head that offers decent retention and some lacing. In the nose, there is apple, pear, grape, and candy, along with a spicy, grassy hop bitterness that carries faint hints of both lemon and lemon zest. As it warms, there is more of the earthiness and gaminess I associate with fresh hops beers. Flavors open with soft bread crust and Belgian candy, sliding into lemon, pear, grape, and spicy grassiness from the hops. There is some bitterness in the middle, although restrained, giving way to bread and spiciness in the lead up to the bite of the carbonation, followed by a gentle lingering spicy bitterness that ends with the vegetal chlorophyll gaminess I expect in a fresh hop beer. The body is medium light with hints of gumminess, while the carbonation is bright and cleansing. The hop presence doesn’t come across as distinctly Cascade—it is more delicate and nuanced than over-the-top, and the grape aroma and flavor is an odd yet addition . It is, however, very reminiscent of the fresh hop beer I madewith Smith Cascades last year, which leads me to conclude that as a fresh hop, Cascade provides more subtlety than I would be normally expected. The Bastogne yeast is a moderate match to the beer—I’m guessing the apple and pear is a yeast ester contribution, at least in part—it is noticeable but not intrusive in relation to the hops. As well, these particular Cascades offer more flavor and presence than the Cascades from the first Fresh Hop w/ Cascade of the season, although could also be influenced by the more expressive yeast strain used in that particular beer, the one Elli referred to as my “novelty yeast” for a fresh hop beer. Still, I’ve been rapidly working my way through both of these beers; I’m looking forward to comparing them with the Fresh Hop w/Brewer’s Gold I made that features a more traditionally neutral yeast (Wyeast 1272).

This beer was the Fresh Hop King of Ohio 2013 winner.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fresh Hop w/ Cascade Brewday

The Fresh Hop King of Ohio is back to defend his Ohio Fresh Hop 2012 Championship Belt. While detractors abound, nothing says deliciousness like fresh hop beers. Well, fresh hop beers done right, which means avoiding the caramel bomb, bro. This beer features a little over a pound of fresh Cascades from Mankato Farms in New Carlisle; I picked them up at Brewtensils on Saturday morning from Darren, and soon after started adding them to the boil. And as a little twist to this fresh hop delight, I’m trying out a saison yeast this year—ECY08 to be precise. Oh, and a special note to Gus: you better have used those fresh hops and not sat on them. Don’t anger the Fresh Hop King. And don’t worry—for those of you wondering about my usual fresh hops exploits, I’ll be headed out for my annual harvesting of the janky wild hops on the bike path soon!

154. Fresh Hop w/ Cascade
5 lbs. Rahr Pale
3 lbs. MFB Pale
1 lb. MFB Vienna
1 lb. Breiss White Wheat

Mash @ 151° F for 60 minutes w/ 3 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 1 ¾ gallons @ 1.084
Batch sparge @ 172° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water; collected 4 gallons @ 1.030

Collected 5 ¾ gallons; topped off with 1 ¼ gallons RO water to bring to 7 gallons, brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go: 1 oz. Cluster leaf 7.6% AA

w/20 to go: 4 ½ oz. fresh Cascade

w/10 to go: 5 oz. fresh Cascade

w/5 to go: 5 oz. fresh Cascade

w/0 to go: 5 oz. fresh Cascade

Let stand for 20 minutes, chilled, & pitched ECY08 Saison Brasserie from 152. Saison w/ Spelt

Primary: 8/10/2013 @ 66° F
Secondary: 8/28/2013 @ 1.004
Bottled: 9/7/2013 w/ 3.0 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.002

Tasting Notes: Fresh Hop w/ Cascade pours a clear and brilliant straw with a nice creamy white head that delicately laces the glass. The nose is loamy earth, spicy pear, and banana cream pie with bright floral and fruity esters; I did use a saison yeast—a “novelty yeast” as Elli dubbed it—for this beer, so I’m not really surprised that it doesn’t quite read like a fresh hop beer in the nose. In fact, with the expressive yeast, the fresh hops are pretty much drowned out in the nose. My bad. Flavors are similar, opening with bread crust, clove spice, and banana, followed by a gentle fruity bitterness with orange and lemon in the middle, and cracker malt mixed with more clove and lemon pith in the finish. There is clean mineral carbonic bite via the bright carbonation that is slightly peppery even though the beer has a soft, doughy mouthfeel. The beer as a whole is bright and clean, with a fair amount of subtly and balance. Still, as a fresh hop beer, it does fail. Technically, as a saison it is a bit dubious as well, since the bitterness levels are too low: it is dry and well-attenuated, but balanced toward the malt side, even if it is a bone-dry malt side. In the Great Saison Chain of Being, flavors heads towards Hennepin with the soft banana flavors; although this beer is drier in the body. But a good beer nonetheless—it is interesting and enjoyable for all of its faults as a fresh hop beer. For next year, when I try and combine the two styles again—as I undoubtedly will—I’ll choose a more neutral saison yeast that will give the fresh hop subtlety a chance to shine through.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Rockit Cup Choose Your Own Yeast American Weissbier Recap

A more subdued Rockit Cup this month, with five brewers and eight beers, including newbie Mike Nereng. For the first time ever, I wasn’t the only asshole with more than one version of the Rockit Cup. Thanks, Darren, for making me not look like such a jackass (again) for bringing three different beers. I actually had a fourth version, but it wasn’t bottled in time. Anywho, our participants, and their yeasts: 

Jon Vanderglas: Wyeast 1007 German Ale
John Hoke: Wyeast 3711 French Saison
Darren Link: Wyeast 3942 Belgian Wheat & Wyeast 3462 Forbidden Fruit
Mike Nereng: Safale US-05
myself: Wyeast 1056, WLP 510 Bastogne, & a sour-mashed version using Wyeast 5335 Lactobacillus and WLP 510 Bastogne

The lower numbers allowed us to rank all eight beers. And again, an interesting variety of flavors, although the color and mouthfeel was pretty similar in all the different version, with slight varieties here and there. The Top 3 were:

1st: John Hoke with Wyeast 3711
2nd: myself with Wyeast 1056
3rd: Darren Link with Wyeast 3942

My sour-mash Bastogne was hands down the worst beer on the table—I’ll need to try the whole sour-mash thing again to work out the kinks, although the beer I didn’t bring (the other half of the sour-mash batch brewed with ECY19 Brettanomyces custersianus) tasted far better: maybe Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus really are meant for one another. I was also slightly annoyed that I couldn’t pick out 3711; I had it in third place, but not because I could identify the yeast. I had my Wyeast 1056 version in first—it was clean and very drinkable, and as Mike Nereng observed, tasted almost like Budweiser, but better. I had Darren’s Wyeast 3942 in fourth, so not far off there, either. Darren’s 3463 Forbidden Fruit version confirmed my dislike of that yeast: I described it as “sulphur and jank” in my tasting notes. Interestingly, I wasn’t able to identify the straight Bastogne version I brewed, as I picked up an adhesive flavor in the sample I was given that I hadn’t tasted before or since, so hopefully it was just an off bottle or an off night for my palate. Still, a fun experiment all told. Now I need to collect bottles to mail off to Jeff Alworth!

Again, thanks to all who participated! Up next is October’s Brett Trois IPA. Remember to make a good-sized starter for that one!

And Wes & Todd: where did you two disappear to?