Monday, 27 August 2012

Quad B 4 bottling time

Hi All,
I had a very nice morning bottling the remaining 14 gallons of Quad B4. Fired up the Ipod on the garage speaker system and off we went with an 80's audio soundtrack. The smells coming off the beer as i bottled it was truly outrageous! Huge amounts of sweet tropical fruit with a juicy ester backdrop. Glad i've never really been a morning beer person or i would have been sampling!
 I went for 2.1 Carb volume with table sugar so with a bit of luck it'll be nicely fizzy and keep a head for the visual aspect. Speaking of which, hope you like my label?

In the end i filled 116 bottles throughout the morning. In addition to this cornucopia of bottlage i also have the Bretted four gallon batch of the same beer which should yield a further 32 bottles.
 I will leave this 4 gallon batch in a cupboard until October. I decided to try a laid back approach to the Bretting of the remaining four gallons. I simply flamed the neck of a bottle of Brett'd Ripper IPA decanted the contents and poured the swirled remaining dregs into the four gallon FV.
I must admit that this is an almost disrespectfully and decidedly casual way of infecting a beer with Brett C and it felt strange to do it. In my defence i can only say that i have a keen interest in seeing just how tenacious Brett C really is. Are we speaking of 'acorns to oak trees' or not with Brett C? Two days after pouring the dregs into the 1.010FG Quad B4 I can say that it is tenacious indeed! There is a permenant ring of Co2 as you can see below.
Going on past performance i can easily imagine that the Brett'd version will be my favourite. The caveat being that as the alchemy of Brett is not entirely predictable i will just have to wait and see. All going well this time i will make another batch of the same next Summer with the aim to be a final ABV of 4% post Brett.
Boring cost bit
17 kgs grain £20.40
17.5 oz Hops £15.00
Yeasts £ 0.00(fridge stock)
Gas, Caps & Protafloc £5.00
Subtotal £40.40
£40.40 / 148 = £ 0.27 per bottle
Now then, being in The Wellington Inn and having so many wonderful Belgian beers to try was quite fantastic. The only downside is the price of these imported beauties. The price per bottle of my own Belgian style beer nicely offsets the luxury of drinking Belgian imported beers. It may also go some way to funding my next trip to Hull. I advise anyone in the area to seek out The Wellington Inn and give it a go, get a taxi, don't drive. :) Check out my tribute to various Georgian architectural semi and full town house circles throughout these lands, Cheers!  

blog counter

Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer

Wikio - Top Blogs

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Big Bad Belgian Beer Mk IV or (Quad B 4)

Hi All,
A couple of weeks back i had a few nights out in Hull. Its a great city with a lot of very nice people and very nice pubs. One in particular to put on a 'to do' list is The Wellington Inn.. It has an onsite microbrewery, an excellent number of guest ales & Perrys and the best Belgian beer fridge that i have seen outside of Belguim itself. I introduced a few of the lads to differing styles of Belgian beers with the lambic being the firm favourite. I went for the Achouffe Blonde which is a tremendous unfiltered beer.
The only downside is that it is an 8% monster and in truth it can be a bit chewy so its in no way a session beer. On the upside it has massive yeast flavours and sits close to the top of my fave beer list.

With this in mind and while still in the pub i decided that i'd have a crack at a lightweight version of Achouffe Blonde, reasoning is that i REALLY like Belgian beers but at 43 years old i don't really like the idea of falling on my arse due to drinking 8% beers! I haven't aimed slavishly close at Achouffe just in the general direction of Southern Holland and Northern France! This casual approach give me the artistic freedom i enjoy in beermaking, clone beers have zero appeal for me. The final volume of this beer was approx 18 gallons. As my overback is 60 ltrs i find that a 60 ltr mash/rest and the same again for a sparge will give me approx 18 gallons final wort. Anyway, here's the recipe for this most recent of adventures.
Quad B 4
12kgs Maris Otter
2kgs Munich
1 kg CaraMunich
1kg wheat
1kg torrified wheat
1/2 a handful of Pale Chocolate malt
7oz Glacier hops FWH
3.5oz Amarillo 90 min steep
3.5 oz Nelson Sauvin 90 min steep
2.5 oz Simco 90 min steep
1 oz Simco through Hopthang over 2 days
Duvel/Chimay Yeast Split @ 23 degrees falling to 20.
I don't really bother with staggered hop additions. As you can see i go for First wort hopping to reduce harshness then a long steep for the aroma hops with nothing in between. In this case it seems to have worked out quite well as there is a distinct fruity aroma to the beer not connected to the traditional Belgian Yeasts. I moved 4 gallons to another FV for Brett C introduction and took the opportunity to draw off a sample. I can taste limes which reminds me of Pacific Gem hops so i assume this is from the Nelsons but at the moment i can't really differentiate between the yeast influence and the hops. Its all rather nice though!

I enjoyed running up HopThang again as its sat idle during my last few brews. I carried out a modification on the return line fitting to open it up to 10mm dia from 3mm. It has made a huge difference to the flow through HopThang. Check out the video and the eddy currents!

Early indications are that this beer is a winner, nice and light but absolutely bursting with flavour from the Yeast and hops. I will be bottling tomorrow so hoping to get an early preview in about a week. In the meantime i'll just have to make do with last years 5.5% Saison with apricots and Turkish Chillies, its a hard old life. :)

The next morning
I will begin the delabelling and sterilisation of the bottles today so first thing this morning i ran up HopThang again. I won't leave it running overnight but run it in 1/2 hour bursts through the day. Compare the two photos of  HopThang for its effectiveness as a yeast filter. A nice bonus to the hop infusion.
blog counter

Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer

Wikio - Top Blogs

Friday, 17 August 2012

Wild Cherry Cider

Hi All,

I have recently returned from an offshore trip and had time to bottle 4 gallons of cider i made around 6 weeks ago. The basic ingredients for this batch are 4 gallon apple juice, two tins of pears, two freshly dripping vannila pods and about a kilo of cherries.

In addition to this i decided NOT to use a cider yeast but instead go for a Burton ale/Brett C split. Hoping for some sulphur and wildness in the final product.

Not many photos on this cider post or indeed too much to say, goes well with the simplicity of making it!

Leached cherries, not a shade of red left in them.

It is difficult to capture the subtle shade of colour that the cherries have given. It looks washed out in the pictures but is a reddish pink in reality.

As you can see the Brett C leaves nothing behind it.

Arty shot, Warhol look out!

So that's about it for the moment. The sample jar that we tried was super dry and into the territory of a dry white wine. There is a very nice cider flavour but we'll need a couple of weeks before trying the first bottle. Good, eh? Cider made with beer yeast and cherries for colour, why not? I enjoy my Alice in Wonderland themes for my more exotic drinks, Cheers!

blog counter

Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer

Wikio - Top Blogs