Sunday, 31 July 2011

Still saisoning but with a wild twist

Hi all,

We've just returned from a fantastic 3 week chill at our apartment in Turunc South West Turkey (see the link top right of page, Cath & Joe's place in the sun). Catherine & i went down to the market while there and bought some cherries to adapt the wild batch of  Frabjous Saison.

The cherry idea came from Cantillon Brewery in Brussels. I tried one of their Krieks when i was over on a Winter holiday a couple of years ago. It was nice to sample it in the brewery. Incidentally, the tour was me rocking up introducing myself and then they let me wander round the brewery and ask daft questions!

A very nice lady sold me a kilo of outstanding cherries for 5TL(£2). They came home to Inverurie the next day. Gave them a quick wash and removed the stalks.

Check out the colour!

As we are aiming for a wild beer i decided not to boil the cherries to sterilise. Again the influence came from Catillon brewery. If they can go with local microfauna so i can i!


Here's a shot after the cherries went in, note the colour of the beer.

I hope you can see the change in colour, very apparent in reality.

This shot was taken after 4 days in the fermenter. Its slightly disconcerting as it has an organic look to me!

So there we have it. This started off life as a simple saison. Its since been infuenced with citrus fruit, belgian candi rocks, Turkish chilli, Brett C wild yeast, Turkish cherries & with a bit of luck some wild Turkish Microfauna. Beermaking eh? Its all boring beards and sandals isn't it? :)

Bjorn's update!

The saison is continuing to ferment, almost all colour has now been stripped from the cherries and the beer coninues at 20 degrees. With some luck this lower temperature will inhibit the remaining Saison yeast and allow the Brett C to do its job. Nice sharp smell from fermenter and i could almost say that there is a hint of pineapple when i give the fermeter its twice daily swirl.

Assuming this beer doesn't dip below 1.000 gravity i should end up with a 6.6%ABV beer. The champagne yeast is on stand by for its role at a later date.

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Saturday, 2 July 2011

Bottling beer and reducing yeast creep in the fridge

Hello there,
I returned from the Congo yesterday, my head as usual has not quite caught up with my body, so what better to focus on than brewing related shenannigans? Todays task was split into three sections.

First was to split the 15 gallon of Saison. I drew off a 5 gallon batch which went into my all time fave FV. A 5 gallon glass piece of scientific glassware borrowed from a lab in the 60's and given to me in the 90's. I used it as a change storage jar for years before cleaning it out,fitting a thermometer strip and giving it a more noble purpose.

As you can see from the first picture i have a test tube of Brett C and a 1/2 Kg of extra light spray malt. Personally i feel that spraymalt is a bit of a cheat but in this instance it is the perfect tool for the job. I added the spraymalt to the glass FV and started the run off from the conical FV.

The spraymalt clumped up but thats not a problem as i added half of a shaken test tube of Brett C to the fermenter so i'm sure it will make a good start on the spraymalt. I have not used any brett's before and must admit i am taken with the fruity highly strung zinginess of it.

The end result is a continuing experiment which will chunter away in the spare bedroom.

The second half of the brett c test tube was placed to the side while i address part 2 of today's task 'the taming of the yeast bottles'. I have a few yeast samples which were moved from one fridge to another as they were taking up too much space.

I have Duvel, Chimay,Saison Dupont, a few various US05 gens and now Brett C. I bought a few test tubes from Hop & Grape shop at the same time as the spraymalt. I used just a smidgen of the spray malt in each test tube, and decanted the best part of each yeast sample i had into each of the 50ml tubes. It felt wrong to be pouring the remainder away but in the end i had some control of the fridge back!

I aimed for a 3 carb volume profile on this beer for part 3 of the task. Luckily, my son offered to help so we rattled through the bottling quickly. Once completed i had a look in the FV. There was basically nothing left of all those KG's of apricots and candi.

The apricot shells fell apart at a touch and this is the result of one hand stir.

This Dupont is one aggressive yeast!

He's sixteen and he likes to lift weights and brew beer with his old Dad. I feel very lucky to know him!

While shopping at hop & grape i also bought a few plastic corks and wire cages. I am aiming for a champagne like experience with this beer and i think i'm getting there!

This is the best label i have ever done, seriously cool!

The Saison has been like no other beer i have made. It fermented down to 1.000. No kidding, there has been a hydrometer floating in the FV since the beginning. I was gobsmacked when i looked in yesterday and there was all that beer trying to kid on it was water! Lots of zesty fruit and very dry so far from the sample i tried. We are off to chill at our apartment on Monday so we will see what a few weeks conditioning does to the beer. Look for an update at the end of July. Cheers!

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