Saturday, September 5, 2009
First Brew in Portland, Oregon
I kicked off our first week in Portland with an inaugural saison brew. It was a good brew day, but it's hard to get used to brewing in a new environment! Everything was out of place and I was running around a bit looking for equipment that I had packed away for the move. I brewed on our new back porch, which is very large indeed! Quite a change from my indoor New York setup (well, pretty much everything out here is very different from New York).
What can I say about Portland to do it justice? If you are a fan of craft beer, enjoy nature, riding your bike, and going to farmer's markets, you should definitely visit at the very least. And as an added bonus, I hear that there are some excellent establishments that combine American cuisine, craft beer, and exotic dancers into an irresistible menage a trois. Not that I know firsthand (yet).
This saison recipe is pretty straight-forward, and I'm planning on using it to get a feel for the flavor characteristics of the Wyeast 3711 French saison yeast. Then I'm off to more experimental ground with the same yeast. Next week Clarissa and I will be attending Hop Madness in Salem Oregon, which is a homebrew celebration of fresh hop brewing. I figured while most people are brewing fresh hop pale ales and IPA's, I might as well brew a black, fresh hopped saison. I mean, how much can I expect to control the temperature while we are camping anyway? The third beer will be a birthday beer for Clarissa, and I'm planning on going back to an old beer idea which is a lightly spiced saison brewed up to 7-8% ABV and using orange winter squash in the mash.
Here's the recipe for the current saison, which is kind of a cross between me and Ray's "session saison" using 3711 and the "petit saison" I brewed up about 5 months ago. The water out here tastes excellent, and it appears to be low in calcium like NYC water, so I added a little gypsum. I toasted the new brew with the last saison I brewed with Ray, which I think is good, but extremely dry, which makes the high bitterness too much to blend in with the other components of the beer.
Portland Inaugural Saison
6 gallons all grain, post boil volume
O.G. 1.055 F.G. 1.004 ABV 6.7% IBU's 28
8 lb. Pilsner malt
1 lb. flaked triticale (I don't know what the hell it is either! Look it up in The Complete Joy of Homebrewing)
1 lb. wheat malt
4 oz. aromatic malt
2 oz. melanoidin malt
1 oz. carafa special II
29 gr. Sterling pellets 5.9% 60 min
28 gr. U.S. Goldings pellets 4.2% 10 min
27 gr. Sterlling pellets 5.9% 0 min
Step Mash: 90 minutes total
3.75 gallons + 1 tsp gypsum to 148, kept between 145-149 for 60 min.
Raised to 154, rest 15 min
Raised to mash out, 170 degrees
Sparge: 5 gallons at 168
Collect 7 gallons at 1.048 = 86% efficiency
Boil 90 minutes, whirlfloc and wyeast nutrient at 10 min
Chilled to 74 (best I could reasonably get), racked and collected 5+ gallons
Oxygen for 1 minute
Pitched a 1 qt. starter from a stirplate of Wyeast 3711
Fermenting at 76
Racked to secondary in order to harvest yeast after 1 week
Racked to keg on 9/29/09
Lastly (I'd better add this in before I forget), We had some fantastic organic beers and pizza at Hopworks Urban Brewery last Saturday I was especially fond of this beer. I stopped in to Hopworks yesterday to introduce myself and see if they might need some brewery help. I met the owner/brewmaster, Christian, and 3 of his brewers. They were all great and generous guys, and while they don't need any brewers right now, I was glad to get to know them. I shared a couple of homebrews with them, and they seemed so be well received. So that only leaves 29 or so other breweries within city limits that I need to drop a resume off at. I'd better not spend all my time homebrewing!
10/14/09: I'm not digging this beer! I originally thought it had a strange dryness on the tongue, almost like the inside of a shipping container might taste with all the cardboard and styrofoam. This isn't a huge flavor, but it lingers in the finish in a truly annoying way. My first suspicion was that this was somehow coming from the water (chloramines that I did not remove causing phenols). But while I am now taking steps to remove chloramines in my water, I think the flavor is really more like a slight ashiness and dry grainy aftertaste. Originally I had planned on adding only a half ounce of carafa to this recipe, but I accidentally used 1 oz. because I am not used to measuring in less than 1 oz. quantities. I think that, combined with the other specialty grains, gives it a slight "cigarrette ash" bitterness. Maybe there is some contribution from the water too, who knows, but I'm pretty sure this is mainly due to grain choice. Also, since the 3711 yeast really ferments this beer to dryness, there is no sweetness for the dry grainy flavors to blend with.