Saturday, November 29, 2008

White Labs 566 Saison

I probably wouldn't be doing another saison right now, but Fritz had an extra tube of this yeast that was close to it's "best before" date, and he wasn't going to brew with it. Since this was the last of the 6 White Labs/Wyeast saison strains that I still hadn't brewed with, I jumped at the chance.

Recipe is for 6.8 gallons pre-boil, 5.7 gallons post boil, 5 in the fermenter.
O.G. 1.060 F.G. 1.005 IBU's 29 ABV 7+%

9.5 lb. Durst Pils malt
1 lb. Wheat malt
.25 lb. aromatic malt
.5 lb. light organic turbinado sugar

(All hops are pellets. This is a weird mix as I was trying to use up a lot of partial bags. Basically, I shoot for a flavor addition of .5 ounces, and a knockout addition of 1.25 ounces, and then adjust the bittering addition to achieve the IBU's I want. I really like the earthyness that the Goldings hops contribute, so I went heavy on them.)

17 gr. East Kent Goldings 5.5% 60 min
7 gr. Crystal 3.3% 60 min
8 gr. Styrian Aurora 7.6% 60 min
9 gr. Styrian Goldings 3.5% 15 min
5 gr. Saphir 4.2% 15 min
29 gr. East Kent Goldings 5.5% 0 min
6 gr. Saphir 4.2% 0 min

3.25 gallons H2O + 2 tsp Gypsum. Mash in to 147. Checked the pH after 10 minutes: pH was at 5.5, so I added .5 ml lactic acid to reduce it to around 5.2. Held at 147 for 90 minutes total, then I raised it to 170 over 20 minutes.
Sparged with 5 gallons t 170.
Collected 6.75 gallons at 1.046, 76% efficiency.

Boil 90 minutes, adding sugar at 90 minutes, hops as noted.
Whirlfoc at 15 min
1/2 tsp. Wyeast Nutrient at 10 min.

Chilled to 68, whirlpooled, and let settle for 30 minutes before racking.
(For the starter, I went big, because this yeast tube was 4 months old. On a stirplate, I did a 1 qt. starter, pitched in to a 2 qt. starter, and then let it settle out over a few days. Then I poured out about half the liquid.)
Pitched 1500 ml starter of Whitelabs 566 saison II yeast.
Fermentation was going strong within 3 hours, at 68 degrees.
Day 1: 68-70
Day 2: 70-72
Day 3: 74-76
Day 4: 76-80
Day 5: 80
Day 6: 78
Mid-70's until bottling.

Bottled on 12/14. Bottling volume approximately 5 gallons, with 6.5 ounces priming sugar.
Tasted very nice, big fruityness leaning towards grapefruit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Golden Strong Ale

Please participate in my Poll to the right! YOU can help me decide a name for this beer.

I like this one...Mythical but not a Devil or Dragon reference.

This one is also timeless....evocative of the common threads in nature, art and science.

This Motherfucker will not take pity on your fool ass if you don't vote for him.

OK, now to the beer. I brewed this up on Sunday after a weekend of serious partying. See Brewtopia post, soon to come. So it was a "dry" brewing session. Clarissa actually hung out and helped me brew, weighing grains and sparging and generally providing support.

Recipe is for 6.75 gallons pre-boil, 5.75 gallons post boil, 5.25 in the fermenter.
O.G. 1.071 IBU's 29
Efficiency was around 79%

9 lb. Durst Pils malt
1 lb. Wheat malt
6 oz. aromatic malt
2 oz. melanoidin malt
.5 lb. DME to bring me up to target gravity
1.5 lb. table sugar

21 gr. Styrian Aurora pellets 7.4% 60 min
20 gr. Stryian Goldings pellets 3.5% 30 min
20 gr. German Saphir pellets 4.2% 0 min

Mash: 3.6 gallons + .5 ml lactic acid. 148 for 75 minutes, raised to 170 over 15 minutes. Total time 90 min.

Sparge: 5 gallons + .25 ml lactic acid. 170 degrees.

Boil: 90 min, hops additions as noted. Whirlfloc at 15, 1/2 tsp Wyeast nutrient at 10 min.
Chill, whirlpool, and collect 5.25 gallons.
Aerated by hand for 8 minutes, Pitch at 68 degrees.
Pitched a 1500 ml starter (stirplate) of Whitelabs 500 trappist ale yeast.

Ferment at 68 for 3 days, then 70 for 1 day, then 72 for 7 days.

Racked to secondary on 11/12/08. Whoah! I could smell banana cream pie from halfway across the room (this yeast kicks of a lot of banana esters). Tastes good, but still only a hint of what's to come. 1.011

Monday, November 3, 2008

Brew & Chew at the Diamond

I've been meaning to post about this really fun event that took place at the Diamond Bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on Sunday, September 28th. The basic idea was for homebrewers to pair their beers with foods, and have a competition, judged by the public. Dave Pollack formatted this as a benefit, all cash going to a community gardens project called East NY Farms. They teach local kids to farm, and run a farmers market where they sell their produce. This also benefits the neighborhood as a resource for fresh produce.
All in all, 6 teams competed and a good time was had by all. There were good pairings and great pairings, but I was very pleased to see that all teams made something tasty.

The original plan was for me and Ray to be a team, until he douched out and had to go to a wedding. Luckily my girlfriend Clarissa stepped in and helped with the food, or I would have been screwed. We knew it was a special sign when we scored our little propane cooker at a Brooklyn flea market for $7, with gas.

We really like to hit up the farmers markets and cook seasonally, which is why, after some indecision, we decided to do butternut squash inside of ravioli. Very fall-esque. We used some sage and onion to compliment the squash flavor. And goat cheese pretty much makes anything taste better, so there you go. The pasta was purchased fresh from a place in Manhattan, so we made the fillings, stuffed about 120 large raviolis, and parboiled them to be fried in butter later. It was really good.

The beer was me and Ray's first saison with the French saison yeast, which I called "session" saison in an earlier post. It was fantastic. You can't see in the picture the amazing head this beer poured with. Nothing lasts forever I guess.
There were 2 tasting sessions. 50 people per session tried each team's food and beer, plus they got to go back for seconds of their 2 favorite teams. We tried to get our friends to come and vote for us, but nobody came! Their loss... even better was to hear so many strangers saying our stuff was great! I mean your friends would HAVE to say that.

A few of shots of the event, above is the Diamond's back yard, and the better halves of Vlad and Eric. Below, Dave Pollack, the owner, and his cute French bulldog.

The end results were, out of 6 teams, we took 3rd. That might not sound very good, but here is how I would put it: these things are not very fair. Quite simply, if you want to win, it pays to bring your friends. Actually what you wanted to win was 2nd prize, a $150 gift certificate to Fette Sau, an awesome BBQ restaurant and beer bar in Williamsburg.

To speak as objectively as I can on it, and this was also stated by a lot of other people, I thought our team or Vlad & Eric's team deserved first place. Vlad's Bock was tasty and the smoked ribs by Eric were delicious. The wining team had some really nice and beautifully presented food, but they actually brought 2 beers, which we thought was not really appropriate. And I still think our beer kicked the most ass!

Anyway, that's just the super competitive side of me speaking. The bottom line is, I think everyone had an awesome time.

This guy above, Vlad, is the MAN! What a suave dude in his Cuban gueyabara. Is that HOT or what? You can hardly tell he's a drunk... That's my V.P. for the homebrewers guild by the way, soon to be El Presidente. His awesome wife Amy is to the right, along with half of Eric's head.

This team above, I don't remember their names, but they made a robust porter and lamb stew. It was tasty! I had never met them before, but they are homebrewers from my neighborhood. So that just goes to show, no one really knows how many homebrewers there are in the city.

So that's it. Looking forward to the next one, possibly in May. Thanks Dave and everyone else who participated, for a great time. Also thanks again Clarissa for helping out, I couldn't have done it without you!