Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Clarissa's 30th Birthday beer: quick-sour amber farmhouse ale
Clarissa and I were talking about what to brew for her 30th birthday beer recently. I really wanted to include her more on the beer recipe formulation than in past years, so we started by just talking about what kind of beer she would like. She likes sour beers a lot. They don't have to be extremely sour, but beers with less hops, a slight tartness, and high drinkability are really what she prefers. I have to be honest and say that I really wasn't that big on either of the last two beers I have brewed for her birthday. One was an imperial wit, and the other was a squash saison. Both were interesting beers, but not really beers that I was terribly proud of. So, we are keeping our fingers crossed on this year, and I think it will be at least a very interesting beer, and hopefully very complex and tasty.
We started with the idea of an amber colored beer, to evoke the feeling of fall, since her birthday is on Halloween. We quickly ruled out the idea of using squash, since I did that last year and it was a real pain in the ass to mash (and it's kind of cliche). The idea of a slightly sour farmhouse ale quickly came up, so I had to start thinking about how to get that sourness in a short amount of time. She also mentioned wanting a lemony quality to the beer, and that she really liked the spices I used in the Belgian summer ale recently.
So, I had to take all this info and figure out a recipe and technique. I hope it ends up with a flavor that is very evocative of a Fantome Automne farmhouse ale. I don't even know if I've ever even tried Fantome Automne before, but I would like to get close to the house flavor they have, with a nice tinge of lactobacillus sourness and some brett. Also, I have to credit Paul for a bit of inspiration with the technique, he had a phenomenal funky saison with lacto and brett C, so I used some of his ideas for this beer.
One more thing: Thanks for the help on the brewday Clarissa!
(Nameless beer for now...any thoughts?)
Recipe is for 6.7 gallons pre-boil, 5.6 gallons, post boil, all grain
O.G. 1.054 F.G. ABV IBU's 23
3 lb. 2-row organic pale malt (1 lb. is used in the sour mash)
3 lb. Weyermann Pilsner malt
1 lb. Munich malt
1 lb. Caramunich 60 L
1 lb. aromatic malt
1 lb. wheat malt
4 oz. Munton's crystal 180-200 L
12 gr. Magnum pellets (2008) 13.6% AA 70 min
16 gr. Styrian Golding pellets 3.5% AA 0 min
11 gr. Sterling pellets 7% AA 0 min
6 gr. Amarillo pellets 8.6% AA 0 min
3 gr. fresh lemon verbena, sliced thin 0 min
2 gr. grains of paradise, crushed 0 min
24 hours before brewday, mash 1 lb. pale malt in 1 qt. water to 105 degrees in a small pot.
covered grain surface in plastic wrap, and let sit out warm overnight. By 24 hours it was VERY sour, but not too funky or garbagy. The layer of plastic wrap really helps keep the fink down!
4 gallons water, mash in to 153, rest 30 minutes
Add sour mash to main mash after 30 minutes
Heat entire mash to 158 over 10 minutes, rest 20 minutes
Sparge with 4.75 gallons at 170 over 30 minutes
Collect 6.8 gallons at 1.044 = 80% efficiency
Boil 85 minutes, hops/spices as noted
whirlfloc & wyeast nutrient at 10 minutes
Whirlpool and rest for 15 minutes before chilling
Chill with plate chiller to 68 over 20 minutes
Oxygen for 60 seconds
Pitched 1 liter stirplate starter of Wyeast 1010 American Wheat yeast
(I know this is probably not an obvious choice, but I had a few packs of free yeast laying around and since we're using a sour mash & brett, the primary yeast strain is almost a non-issue. I was looking for a subtle yeast.)
Ferment at 68 for the bulk of fermentation, then let rise to ambient (72+).
Racked to a keg on 9/13/10. 1.016. Tastes very good already, has a nice amber ale body & flavor, with a very slight tartness and lemony, fruity, peppery finish. Very nice balance on the spices. Pitched 1 pack of Wyeast Brett Clausenni to funk it up.
12/14/10. This beer has not progressed much in the brett flavor, and the Brett C has not even dropped the gravity by a point! It's still at 1.016. There is a nice little pineapple aroma though. So here's what I did: rack it back into a 5 gallon carboy, along with about a quart of the young "E-Z Lambic" for extra funk, and 3/4 ounce medium toast French oaks chips. That should funk it up and give it some of that sour farmhouse character I'm looking for. Obviously this wasn't ready for Clarissa's birthday. Maybe we will bottle condition it and serve some on her birthday in 2011!