Conniption Ale

November 26, 2013 at 10:00 am

A few weeks ago I had what likely will be my last brew day of the year, a double batch brew day of two different styles of Belgians, the Golden and Dark Strong Ale.  I love both styles and needed some beers that would do well with some extending aging as I work through my existing backlog of beers.  I was also thinking about the versatility of the Belgian Styles and how it would be cool to have two different style beers that were similar yet completely different.

I decided that the similarities would include the same yeast strain, Wyeast Farmhouse Ale, which is described as producing complex esters balanced with earthy/spicy notes with a slightly tart, dry and peppery finish and final gravities in the range of  1.075 to 1.085.  The differences in the two beers would include the color, hop assertiveness and flavor profiles, grain bills, and mouthfeel of the final beers.

I kept the Golden Ale recipe extremely simple using only Pislner Malt with a touch of Turbinado sugar to help dry it out. For this beer I wanted to emphasis the hops and the interplay between them and the Belgian yeast flavors. This is in contrast to the large amounts of specialty grains I used in the Dark Strong which I intend to be a more of a malt focused beer.

I also really wanted to use some of the new hop strains I got from HopDirects 2013 harvest. One of which was Challenger, which I have used sparingly in the past with good results. I wanted to use a decent amount of them to get acquainted with their smooth floral and subtle spice flavors, these hops are known for.  I thought any mild citrus flavors from the Challengers could be bolstered with some Citra and Cascade late addition hops.

Im looking forward to seeing how this beer as long as the Dark Strong Ale, which I will be posting the recipe for shortly, turn out over time.  Both styles should age gracefully however Ill be watching the hoppier Golden Strong Ale closely to make sure and drink it before the subtle hop flavors begin to fade.  Having two Belgians, one that emphasizes the hop and yeast dynamics and another that focuses on the malt and yeast interplay should provide for some interesting drinking in the upcoming months.

Conniption Ale

Batch Size: 10.5 Gallons

Original Gravity: 1.084
Est. Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV: 9.3%
IBU: 30.1
Color: 5.4 SRM
Boil Time: 60 Min

93.1% Pilsner Malt
6.9% Turbinado Sugar

2 Oz Challenger (6.3% AA) at 60 min
1 Oz Challenger (6.3% AA) at 20 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min
1 Oz Cascade (8.5% AA) at 5 min
1 Oz Citra (12.9% AA) at 0 min

3 L Starter Wyeast 3726 PC Farmhouse Ale

Mash:
60 minutes at 151F (Saccharification Rest)

photo (1)

Bier de Garde Tasting Notes

September 10, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Bier de Garde1

Bier de Garde Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Pours from  the bottle with a deep orange borderline brown color. A long lasting, thin crystalline white head percolates on top.

Smell: Tantalizingly sweet, aromas of Belgian candi sugar, carmel, and toffee are present.

Taste: Begins with a thin carbonated sip and as it progresses through the palette becomes thicker, chewier and maltier.  Leaves with a feeling of warming alcohol and rich belgian sugar and carmel notes.  Finishes dry with a bite.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, sweet and malty.

Drinkability & Notes: This beer is big and strong with plenty of complex flavors to hold its own.  The belgian grains and kettle caramelization really put this beer into the next level with the breadth of flavors they add contribute.  Deep flavors of carmel and sweetness really jump out of the glass in this one, and to be honest drinking it really gets me excited for the fall.

On a side note, I also added a heaping portion of bourbon soaked oak cubes to the other half  for an extended age, that to be honest is going to really test my patience in order to give it the time it needs.

 

BDG tasting

Saison de l’amour

June 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Saison de l’amour or Season of Love is the second beer for my wedding this coming October.  This recipe is based heavily off of the Oaked EKG Single Hop Saison with a few subtle differences.  For this beer, I wanted to increase the overall complexity from the previous EKG Single Hop recipe. One way  I decided to do this was enhance the hop bill with additions of Citra and Hallertauer, two hops that I have used in the past with great results in saisons.  My intent with these selections was to introduce some citrus aromatics from the Citra, (which oddly enough is a cross between EKG, Hallertaur, US Tettnanger, and a few other unknown hops) and some spicy flavors from the Hallertauer to complement the spicy yeast phenols.

My second recipe tweak was to use the notorious Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saision yeast in favor of some of the White Lab Strains such as 566(Belgian Saison II) or 568(Belgian Style Saision Blend) that I have used in the past.  The 3724 has a reputation for stalling out leading to problematic fermentations, however in my opinion it produces some of the most prominent Belgian yeast characteristics out of any Saison strain available to homebrewers.  To me, this yeast produces flavors comprable to some proprietary commercial brewery yeast blends from Belgium or elsewhere.  I chose to focus on my mash, keeping a temperature ranging from 145 to 147 degrees instead of the addition of sugar to increase attenuation.  I also moved my fermentors into the garage  which should bring the temperatures well within the range of this yeast.

Lastly, I wanted to oak age the beer to incorporate another layer of complexity, however for this batch I switched from Hungarian Oak to French Oak Cubes.  I did this as in my past experience French Oak tends to be a bit smoother than both Hungarian and American Oak and due to the shorter than ideal time on the oak (3 months) I thought this would be the better choice.  Furthermore, French Oak is said to contribute notes of cinnamon and allspice, two flavors that I thought would complement the overall seasonality of our October wedding.

Saison de l’amour

Batch Size: 11 Gallons

Original Gravity: 1.061
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.008
Estimated ABV: 7.0%
IBU: 35.5
Color: 6.1
Boil Time: 90 Min

71% French Pilsner Malt
18.2% French Wheat Malt
4.5% Munich II Malt
3.4% Vienna Malt
2.8% Caramunich Malt

2 Oz East Kent Goldings (6.1% AA) at 60 min
.75 Oz East Kent Goldings (6.1% AA) at 20 min
.75 Oz Hallertauer (4.0% AA) at 20 min
.5 Oz Citra (10% AA) at 20 min
2 Oz East Kent Goldings (6.1% AA) at 5 min
.75 Oz Hallertauer (4.0% AA) at 5 min
.5 Oz Citra (10% AA) at 5 min

4.2L Starter of Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison

Mash at 147 for 60 min
Mash out 168 for 10 min

Notes: Age on .5 oz of French Oak Cubes per Corny Keg for 3 months.

Wedding Saison

Bier De Garde

June 10, 2013 at 8:55 am

For many of us, when we hear the words Farmhouse Ale our minds immediately think of the Saision, (with or without Brett), as this style has been romanticized not only in the U.S but also in Europe.  Saisions are not the only farmhouse ales, the often overlooked Bier De Garde is the other.  Bier De Garde is the saision’s maltier big brother, it is also the French contribution to the craftbeer universe.

Bier De Garde’s (BDG) are described by the BJCP guidelines as being “A fairly strong, malt-accentuated, lagered artisanal farmhouse beer.” Traditionally there are three types of BDG’s including the blond, brown, and amber with the darker having more pronounced malt characteristics.  My BDG would fall in the brown category as I focused on making a malty ale that would be serve as a contrast to the saisions I usually brew.  The BJCP guidelines describe the differences between the two styles perfectly stating “Bière de Garde is rounder, richer, sweeter, malt-focused, often has a “cellar” character, and lacks the spicing and tartness of a Saison.”

When doing some recipe research I came across several blog posts for BDG recipes, and noticed many of them cited the book Farmhouse Ales, by Phil Markowski when discussing the style.  It had been a while since I read the book so I dusted it off and read the chapter on the BDG, it served as the primary source for my recipe formulation.  The main take away for me was that traditionally there were two main types of BDG recipes, the simple and the complex or the big and small brewery versions.  Due to production considerations the large brewery version has a simple grist consisting of mostly pilsner or pale malts while the smaller breweries developed BDG’s with more complex grain bills often consisting of 6-8 different malts.

Another tidbit from the book that caught my attention and influenced my recipe was the thought that the single malt BDG’s would work better for an extended aging (6 months or more) than the multi grain small brewery types.  This as Markowski explains is because as the beer ages it begins to slowly react to oxygen, intensifying the malt characteritics bringing it into its sweet spot between 6-12 months.The multi-malt grist small brewery example, already malty, may become to malty over this same period of time.  Since I operate an extremely small brewery and have several beers already in my long term aging pipeline, I opted for the small brewery multi-malt BDG.

One final point that I considered was the length of the boil.  BDG traditionally undergo extensive boil times to bring develop the deep orange, amber, and brown colors that define the style.  Boil times of 3 hours or more are not uncommon for this style.  I on the other-hand had no intention of an eight hour brewday, so I decided to use the technique of kettle caramelization to achieve similar effects in much less time.  I have performed kettle caramelizations in the past, specifically for my Wee Heavy 2.0. and had great results.  This technique calls for drawing the first runnings from the tun and boiling them down in the kettle, until the majority of the water is boiled off, leaving a thick caramel behind in the kettle.  This process causes the wort to undergo a series of Malliard reactions, adding to the overall malty character of the beer.

My recipe consists of Pilsner malt complimented by a series of specialty malts and two German hops, Tettnang and Halertauer.  Since I do not have lagering capabilities I opted for White Labs 011 European Ale which is said to produce fuller bodied malt accented beers, fitting for the BDG style.  I mashed at 147 degrees to produce a highly fermentable wort that should hopefully put this beer in the FG range of 1.015-1.017. Lastly, I pulled an estimated 1 gallon of the first runnings and reduced it to roughly a pint before adding the rest of the wort from the mash and continuing the boil.  I am really looking forward to trying this one, as I love malty beers and think that this has all the makings of a solid homebrewed version of the classic farmhouse style.

Bier De Garde

Batch Size: 11 Gallons

Original Gravity: 1.075
Est. Final Gravity: 1.017
ABV: 7.6%
IBU: 23.7
Color: 8.9 SRM
Boil Time: 90 Min

71.6% Belgian Pilsner
16.3% Munich 10L
6.5% Wheat Malt
3.3% Caravienne Malt
1.3% Caraamber Malt
.6% Amber Malt

3.5 Oz Tettnang (4% AA) at 60 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min
.75 Oz Halertauer Mittelfrueh (4% AA) at 5 min

4.2 L Starter of White Labs 011 European Ale

Mash:

60 minutes at 147F (Saccharification Rest)
10 minutes at 165 F (Mash Out)

Ferment at ambient air temperature of 65 F

Notes:

Upon completion of mash pull the first gallon of wort and perform a kettle caramelization, cooking down to roughly one pint of liquid.

BDG Kettle Caramelization

Cognac Oak Aged Belgian Blonde

May 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I like most of you love bourbon barrel aged beers.  Common examples include bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts and barleywines.  The popularity of these beers is so high at the moment that brewers are beginning to branch out into other styles such as the bourbon barrel aged Belgian Tripel, Allagash Curieux.  I have been thinking a lot about other types of spirits that could be used in lieu of bourbon and my mind keeps going back to Cognac.   For those of you unfamiliar with Cognac, it is a type of Brandy named after the town Cognac in France.  Cognac is aged in French Oak barrels and aged for a minimum of two years. and matures much in the same way as whiskey and wine, often times undergoing aging in barrels much greater than two years.

Once I decided go with Cognac as my spirit of choice, I checked around to see if there were any common commercial examples.  It appears that a few brewers have been experimenting with Cognac aged beers such as Cigar City’s Swamp Head Church on a Hill and Mikkeller George! Barrel Aged.  However these all seem to be somewhat small one off offerings, and as far as I can tell there are no breweries currently offering a Cognac Aged beer in their traditional rotations.

I happened to have a bottle of Corvossier VS Cognac lying around which is a middle of the road Cognac described as having flavors of mellow toffee, dried orange peel, stewed prunes, and a hint of coffee.  I thought that these flavors would complement the flavor profiles of a Belgian ale and decided to soak some French Oak, to keep with traditional Cognac aging, as well as the regional geography of the beer and spirit.

I decided on a Belgian Blonde because I wanted a beer that would let the Cognac flavors come to the forefront as well as have enough secondary flavors to create a highly complex finished beer.  The Blonde, with its higher ABV should also hold up well to the extended aging that this beer will undergo.  In advance of the brewday I added .75 oz of French Oak Cubes to a mason jar and added enough Cognac to cover the cubes.  This will be enough to add to a 5 gallon keg upon completion of primary fermentation.  I allow for three weeks to strip away some of the oak flavor out of the cubes and allow the spirit to completely absorb into the cubes.  When adding the cubes to the secondary I make sure to add only the cubes, not the spirt of choice.

As far as the recipe, this is my first attempt at a Belgian Blonde so I decided to keep it fairly straight forward with a grist consisting of Belgian Pilsner, Wheat, Aromatic, and a touch of biscuit.  Table sugar was used to ensure a dry final beer as is standard in most Belgian Blonde recipes.  Hops are subtle in this style so I decided to go with a low alpha acid Styrian Golding, with a big addition at 60 minutes followed by a smaller addition at 5 minutes to give a touch of aroma.  Lastly, I chose White Labs 510 Belgian Bastogne yeast which is described as having somewhat of a clean fermentation with a slightly acidic finish.

I am really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out as I think the Cognac, French Oak, and Belgian Blonde have geographic ties as well as flavor profiles that may lend themselves to the development of a truly unique beer.  I plan to let the beer age on the Cognac soaked oak for 3-6 months and potentially blend a bit with some of the un-aged Blonde depending on how things turn out.  Stay tuned for the tasting notes, I have a feeling this is one recipe some of you might want to try in the future.

Cognac Oak Aged Belgian Blonde

Batch Size: 9.5 Gallons

Original Gravity: 1.070
Est. Final Gravity: 1.010
ABV: 7.9%
IBU: 26.6
Color: 5.4 SRM
Boil Time: 90 Min

80.7% Belgian Pilsner
9.2% Table Sugar
4.6% Aromatic Malt
4.6% White Wheat Malt
.8% Biscuit Malt

3.75 Oz Styrian Goldings (3.56% AA) at 60 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min
.5 Oz Styrian Goldings (3.56% AA) at 5 min

4 L Starter of White Labs 510 Bastogne Ale Yeast

Mash:

60 minutes at 150 F (Saccharification Rest)
10 minutes at 165 F (Mash Out)

Ferment at ambient air temperature of 62 F

Notes:

Add .75 oz French Oak Cubes to courvoisier vs cognac and let sit for 3 weeks. Add oak cubes to keg and age for 3-6 months.

Belgian Blonde Ingredients

Port Oak Aged Saison #5 Tasting Notes

March 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

If you frequently read my blog it may seem like I’m addicted to using port in my homebrews, rest assured this is not the case. In fact I had the unfortunete experience of dumping my Kate The Great Clone (recipe) several months ago due to a nasty acetobacter infection in my brewhouse. That recipe called for extended aging on port soaked oak cubes, so as a result of the spoiled batch I had a bunch of port soaked hungarian oak cubes lying around that I wanted to put to good use. I used a mix of the port for my raisin reduction for the winter dubbel (recipe) and decided to add 1.4 oz to the second keg of Saision #5, (recipe) brewed with a healthy dose of Columbus, Citra and Styrian Golding hops.

Four months ago I added 1.4 oz of port soaked oak cubes to the keg.  It is worth noting that these cubes had been sitting in the port wine for nearly 3 months prior to being added to the keg, and the total weight includes the saturation of port.  If I had to estimate it looked like roughly .75 oz of dry oak cubes.  The port adds a much more subtal layering of fruity sweetness that melds well with the subdued citrus hop notes of the aged saision.

My initial reaction is that I prefer the more subdued port accent notes found in this saision, as compared to the dominant role the port plays in the winter dubbel flavor profile.  It also blends well and provides a nice contrast to the spicy belgian yeast aromatics that have really began to come into their own after a few months in the keg. My major takeaway from my recent experience using port and oak in homebrews is that like many things in brewing less is more and port additions are best used as subtle accents to add additional flavor complexities, as opposed to being the lead flavor which can cause the beer to taste cloying.

Originally brewed on 9/15/2012 and kegged on 10/4/12 with 1.4 oz Port Soaked Hungarian Oak cubes.

Port-Oak-Aged-Saison-#5

Port Oak Aged Saison #5 Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Beer pours a deep burnt orange almost crystal clear. A towering two finger pillowy off white head lingers long after the initial pour.

Smell:  Subtle notes of port, vanilla, sweet orange. Moderate belgian phenols shine through the initial nose.

Taste: A mix of mild citrus, vanilla, and tannins on the initial sip. A sweet fruitiness is present making the beer taste less dry than the un-oaked version. Finishes smooth with port and oak flavors giving way to a clean finish of pepper and floral hops aromas.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation crisp and strong. The extended aging on the oak has taken off the hop bitterness and alchohol flavors present in the un-oaked version providing a much more balanced beer.

Drinkability & Notes:  As you can see from the flavor wheel this beer balances a moderate array of flavors nicely. The sweet port notes foil the spicy belgian phenols , while the oak has taken the bitter hop edge off as compared to the original un-oaked version putting its bitterness levels squarely within the style guidelines of a Saision. Overall the beer has a lot of moving parts that over time have come into balance nicely and led to a really enjoyable, highly complex saison. As much as I want to push my homebrewing in a multitude of new directions, Iv’e got to say after tasting this beer this probably won’t be the last time I age beer on port soaked oak.

 IMG_0194

Midnight Wit

February 21, 2013 at 8:07 pm

As the doldrums of winter press on in the Northeast and I start to dream of the days when it will be warm enough to brew again, I thought I would crack into my recipe vault in search of some spring time seasonals for those of you lucky enough to either brew inside or live somewhere nice and warm.  Over the past two years or so dark versions of the popular beer styles have gained increased popularity especially the Black or Cascadian IPA and more recently the Black Lager.  Midnight Wit is my take on this concept, with the key to the recipe being the use of Weyermann’s Dehusked Carafa II during the last 10 minutes of the mash to get you the dark black color without any roasty astringent flavors.  Such flavors would clash with the fresh citrus and Belgian yeast aromatics that come to define the style.

As my memory serves this beer was extremely enjoyable and very close in flavor profile to a Hoegaarden minus the color of course.  It was while drinking this beer that I for the first time realized the effect color can have on perceived notion of taste and mouthfeel.  The light bodied wit beer appeared to taste heavy on the first sip, only after taking a few additional sips did I realize that it was in fact light and dry, and that the dark color had left my mind expecting a heavier fuller beer.  Nonetheless for those of you lucky enough to be brewing in preparation for spring I would encourage you to consider this recipe for a unique twist on a classic seasonal favorite.

Midnight Wit

Batch Size: 11 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity: 1.011
ABV: 5.3%
IBU: 16.1
Color: 19.3 SRM
Boil Time: 60 Min

30.6% American 2-Row
30.6% Belgian Pilsner
28.5% Wheat Malt
5.1% Carafa II (Added during the last 10 minutes of mash)
2.6% Flaked Oats
2.6% Flaked Wheat

2 Oz Hallertaur Mittelfrueh (4% AA) at 60 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min
2 Oz Styrian Goldings (2.6% AA) at 5 min
.75 Oz Orange Peel, Bitter at 5 min
2 Oz Coriander Seed at 5 min

3 L Starter of Wyeast 3944 Belgian Witbier

Mash at 150 for 60 minutes raise to 168 for a 10 minute mashout.

Midnight Wit

Winter Dubbel Tasting Notes

February 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm

As I discussed in my All Grain Primer, I tend to brew beers that are fairly true to style, or within the box as some might say.  I do this because after all my years brewing I have gotten to the point were I can usually take an idea or a flavor profile from a commercial beer, formulate a recipe, and most of the time come pretty close to nailing it on the first batch.  This is not to say that all my beers are perfect, but at the same time I rarely have a problem drinking through my 10 gallon batches.

One of my goals last year was to push myself to try and brew more experimental batches that incorporate unique ingredients or non-traditional combinations.  In my experience, adding such ingredients tends to make it much more difficult to nail down a recipe on the first try, often times this is due to using unfamiliar ingredients and/or spices.  The key to brewing palatable experimental beers is to use moderation with the non-traditional ingredients and/or spices, as too much can easily ruin a batch.  Last year I brewed 18 batches, two of which were experimental, the Belgian Table Ale with Tamarind and the Winter Dubbel, and while its not the greatest percentage its a start.

For the Winter Dubbel, I wanted to build on a recipe I brewed two years ago that used raisins, and add to it with the addition of port wine and some pre-brew cooking.  Instead of simply adding the raisins to the boil, for this batch I first caramelized them, then completed a port reduction, and finally added that puree to the boil.  In addition to the raisin port puree, I added some Weyermann Abbey Malt and corn sugar, to a traditional Belgian Dubbel grist consisting of Pilsner, CaraMunich III, and Special B.

After finally getting around to tapping a keg of this beer a few weeks ago, I must say that the combination has the potential to create a really unique take on a Belgian Dubbel.  With that being said the addition of the raisin port puree is definitely the dominant flavor of the beer, and I would reduce the amount slightly if I brew this beer again.  While this recipe is off to a good start, for it to become a truly greet beer a few more iterations will be necessary to really nail down the exact amount of raisins and port to get the proper balance.  With that being said lets take a look at the tasting notes.

Winter Dubbel Tasting Notes:

Winter-Dubbel_

Appearance: Pours a muddy brown, shows as a dark copper when held to the light.  One finger thick off white head lingers for a while, leaving some lacing on the glass.  My beers are usually clear after sitting in the keg for a couple months prior to serving.  I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with this batch, but I’m thinking an increase in proteins or other substance from the raisin puree might be the culprit for the cloudiness.

Smell: Sweetness, port, fruit, and raisins are the dominant aromas. Subtle notes of honey, carmel, and vanilla are also present.

Taste: The initial sip is somewhat chewy with a moderate carb bite.  Sweet malt and raisins notes transition to a strong port finish.  Hops flavors are hard to decipher but bitterness is adequate to balance all the sweetness of the port.  Long lasting flavor of port on the finish, while noticeable no overwhelming alcohol flavors are present.

Mouthfeel: Moderately carbonated, semi sweet-

Drinkability & Notes: I really like the addition of the raisin port puree to the traditional Belgian Dubbel, however the port aftertaste is intense and tends to overpower the beer as a whole.  When brewing this recipe again I would reduce the amount of port used in the reduction, or drop the reduction entirely and add a small amount of port to the fermentor.  The amount of port I started with in my reduction might have been just too much leading to such amplified flavors in the final beer.  These are the challenges homebrewers face when brewing these out of the box beers, as the increase in ingredients enters more variables in the brewday.

One alternative I’m going to try on the second keg is  a moderate dry hop, in an effort to take off some of the port edge.  As currently brewed the beer drinks somewhat sweet, after two to three beers I’m completely satisfied and looking to move on to something else.  All in all I think the flavor components are in place, and with some effort this has the potential to be a truly unique spin on the classic Belgian Dubbel recipe.

Winter_Dubbel

Oak Aged EKG Single Hop Saison Tasting Notes

January 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

For Christmas this year I received a beer tasting kit from my sister, inside was a tasting note card with a flavor profile wheel.  As I post the majority of my tasting notes on the blog, I thought it would be a nice addition to add my own take on the flavor wheel to all future tasting notes on the site.  My wheel consists of 16 unique flavors subdivided into three levels of intensity; slight, moderate, and intense.  I hope that you will find this addition to the blog helpful as it will add a visual component to the traditional tasting notes categories found on many other blogs.

During my peak brewing season (April-November) I brew roughly 30 gallons a month, which as you can imagine is far to much beer for me to drink no matter how much I love beer.  I do 10 gallon batches and will often put a fresh corny on tap as soon as possible and leave one for later.  I decided that I would like to do an oaked beer and thought a saision would be a good candidate as they can become more defined with age.  I decided to add .75 oz of medium toast Hungarian Oak, hoping for a moderate to strong oak presence in the final beer.  The tasting notes below were taken after the beer (recipe) had been aged on the oak cubes for 6 months.

Oak Aged EKG Single Hop Saison Tasting Notes:

Oak-Aged-EKG-Single

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear deep yellow, with a frothy white head.  Head dissipates slowly with moderate lacing around the glass.

Smell: Strong Belgian yeast aromatics and fruit dominate.  Finishes with slight notes of vanilla, flowers, and pepper.

Taste: Starts with a crisp carb bite and moderate bitterness.  The taste transitions to notes of bubble gum, fresh flowers, and sweet malt flavors. Finishes with a warming alcohol presence,subtle vanilla and oak flavors to round out the beer.

Mouthfeel:  Highly carbonated, extremely dry.

Drinkability & Notes:  The contrast between the fruity belgian yeast notes and the oak in combination with the delicate floral notes of the Eastern Kent Golding Hops make this one of the more complex beers I have ever brewed.  The yeast is the real star of this beer in my mind, as the Belgian Saision II (WLP566) gave off flavors that I would deem comparable to many commercial saisions (I have not found this to be the case with some of the other saision yeast strains).  This beer has gotten rave reviews from all my family and friends who have tried it so far and is on my short of potential beers for my wedding later this year.

The non-oaked version of this beer was exceptional as well with the only notable difference being a much more pronounced hop aroma and floral flavors.  It lacked the added dimension of the Hungarian Oak which in my mind put this beer over the top making it on of my favorites to date

IMG_01622

 

Beer of the Year 2012: Unconventional Wit

December 26, 2012 at 7:24 pm

While Lionheart Brewing is still in its relative infancy, I plan on sticking around for a while.  With that being said I thought it would be fun to have some annual posts highlighting some of the best blog related material of that particular year.   The first thing that came to my mind was beer recipe of the year. This year it will be my favorite recipe nominated by me. Hopefully over the years as the site continues to grow this can evolve into a nomination and vote by the site’s readers.

With that being said my favorite beer of 2012 was Unconventional Wit, my take on a Belgian Wit with an American twist.  I would describe this beer as an imperial Wit brewed with traditional Belgian spices and a strong dose of American hops.  This beer is best when consumed fresh, pronounced wheat and citrus flavors are balanced nicely by the subtle Belgian yeast aromatics.  To read the full tasting notes for Unconventional Wit click here.

Unconventional Wit

Batch Size: 11 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.065
Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 18.7
Color: 7.4 SRM
Boil Time: 75 Min

54.8% Pilsner Malt
37.6% Wheat Malt
3.6% Biscuit Malt
2.7% Caravienna Malt
1.3% Crystal 15

.25 Oz Columbus (12.8% AA) at 60 min
2 tsp Irish Moss at 15 min
1.25 Oz Chinook (11.8% AA) at 5 min
1.58 Oz Citra (13.4% AA) at 5 min
1 Oz Crushed Coriander at 5 min
.66 Oz Orange Peel, Bitter at 5 min
2 Oz Columbus (12.8% AA) at 1 min
.5 Oz Chinook (11.8% AA) at 0 min
.5 Oz Citra (13.4% AA) at 0 min
8 grams crushed black pepper whirlpool
2 Lemon Grass stalks finely chopped whirlpool

3 Liter starter of Belgian Abbey II (1726)

Mashed at 149 for 60 min raised to 165 for a 10 minute mash out.

Keg and serve fresh after a one week primary fermentation for the optimum taste.

3.4 L Starter of Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey Ale II

Unconventional Wit Spices