Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hoppy American Saison


Man...it's hot as fuck in NYC. It hit something like 97 for 3 days in a row. We still didn't really have a spring yet, that's odd. Which makes it the worst weekend to brew ever, so that's exactly what I did. But first:

On Friday, me, Adam Winkel, and Vlad took a trip to Boston and judged the Sam Adams Longshot competition. It was a really good time, they put each of us up in our own hotel room that's as big as my room here in the city. DEE-LUX. Good food too, for a hotel. On the downside, the actual beers we judged we pretty ho-hum. I did a flight of IPA's with another judge, and our we gave our top scoring beer a 34. Out of 10 beers, I wrote the words "phenolic" or "infected" on 8 scoresheets. Ugh...definitely earned that hotel room.

We met a couple of cool guys, Joe and Todd from Philly, and with them, hit up Cambridge Brewing Company, who does a great sour ale with cherries (Cerise Cassee). Their Belgian stuff was nice, but the hefeweizen was a real bomb, and all the standard ales had a ton of hop tannins, like drinking bitter iced tea. A mixed bag...

We then proceeded to a couple of other bars in Cambridge: Atwood's first, where we had some good beers and a shot of Maker's, but we were eventually forced to leave by a white jazz duo. The front-man was sort of a bald Kenny-G on keyboards. After hearing him slaughter a good Radiohead song, it was time to get going. We sauntered over to Bukowski's for a few more drinks. The Schlenkerla helles was really quenching my thirst. I don't really remember the cab ride back to the hotel.

We drove back to the city on Sunday morning and I brewed this up. It must have been close to a hundred degrees in the apartment before I even started brewing, so I installed the AC in my bedroom and mostly hid out in the room while the wort was mashing and then boiling. But I think my efforts will have been worth it, the brew day was very smooth, and the only problem was not being able to cool this below 77 degrees. Not the worst sin for a saison. I pitched the yeast and fermentation brought the temperature well into the 80's. The krausen on this one was up and gone within 24 hours.

So the recipe is basically a saison brewed from a slightly more American mentality, with a little bigger O.G., bitterness, and most importantly, a very big late hop charge. I wanted to use an American hop of noble origins, so I chose Crystal. Crystal seems to have an aroma similar to Glacier, so that might be a good hop to try also.

Sans Pantalons
All-grain, 6 gallons post boil.
(The recipe name is partially inspired by Jamil's "No Cullottes, No Probleme". It's also true to the fact that at least some of this brewing was actually done without pants...like I said, it was pretty hot and steamy in here!)
O.G. 1.065 IBU's 36

10 lb. Bohemiam Pilsner malt
1 lb. Munich malt
18 oz. Dextrose

14 gr. German Magnum pellets 15% AA 70 min
28 gr Crystal pellets 3.3% 20 min
28 gr Crystal pellets 3.3% 10 min
28 gr Crystal pellets 3.3% 0 min

Mash: 3.6 gallons water + 2 tsp. Gypsum + .5 ml lactic acid
Mash in to 132, rest 15 min
Raise heat to 146, rest 90 min. Temp fell to 142 over that time.
Raise heat to 160, rest 10 min. No mash out.

Sparge: 5 gallons water + .25 ml lactic acid at 180.
Recirc 2 quarts.

Collect 7 gallons wort, added corn sugar. Gravity 1.056 = 81% efficiency.

Boil 100 minutes (I was planning on a 90 minute boil but the boil wasn't too vigourous during the first hour, so I added on 10 minutes to evaporate a bit more.)
Hop additions as noted
Whirlfloc at 15 min
1/2 tsp. Wyeast nutrient at 10 min

Chilled, whirlpooled, and racked to carboy. Aerated for 3o min with aquarium pump and stone. Pitched a 1 qt starter made from about 1/3 of the yeast dregs from the previous saison (Wyeast 3724).

Pithed at 77, fermentation within 6-8 hours. Somewhere in the low-mid 80's.