Archive for October, 2008

Farmhouse-Style Ales

Oct 20, 2008

I am in the mood to create.  I have re-read Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski recently, as I am sure I have mentioned.  I really dig the idea of the small, artisanal brewery making rustic ales to sustain the household.  I need to sustain my household.  I should sustain my household in these dire economic times.  What eases the mind after work?  A nice, creative, and pleasant beer.

I seem to have been caught up with the idea of “styles”.  Recognized beer styles that is…  I think this can really get a brewer down because it can very easily stifle creativity.  Style guidelines are great for a new brewer trying to decide how a recipe is constructed or why a certain commercial beer tastes the way it does.  But before long, one can get caught up thinking only in styles and not in flavors, aromas, and colors.  What am I in the mood for?

Creativity.  To make something that I enjoy and not worry if it is too hoppy, too malty, too dark, too light, too heavy for a particular style.  I guess I have graduated.  I have 40 batches under my belt and I think I know what grains will do what, and what hops will taste and smell like.  I am by no means an expert, but I am confident.  I can create.

I have recently purchased several strains of French and Belgian “farmhouse” style (there’s that word again) yeasts, so my creative mind is racing.  I planned a recipe with plenty of Pilsener malt, flaked wheat, and a touch of Munich malt.  I am going to use Northern Brewer as my bittering hop, Saaz for my flavor hop, and a bit of East Kent Goldings for my aroma.  The yeast strain is simply called, Farmhouse and is from Wyeast as one of their special release strains this year.  It is supposed to be quite a character.  With spicy notes, and fruity esters, it should blend nicely with the spicy character of the Saaz  and East Kent Goldings.  We’ll see.

The Adequate Brewer

New Brewery Equipment Part II

Oct 20, 2008

So, I brewed on my new “system” two weekends ago and WOW, that was an experience.  It seems as if everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  I guess I have just gotten in a routine and this was a total departure from the standard.  I don’t think the beer was ruined but I really had a tough time.  I really enjoy being able to brew outside and I really like my new kettle and burner, but I need to figure out a new routine, such as, what can be outside and what needs to stay inside.  I plan to figure this out this coming weekend as I am planning another brew.  This time I hope to remember to take pictures.  More on that in another post.

The Adequate Brewer

Three Brews Review

Oct 7, 2008

A couple of posts back I mentioned that I brewed three beers in three weekends.  Well, it’s been enough time in the bottle for most of them to discuss the flavors.

Welsh Ale c. 1800
This one is going to have to sit around for awhile to really evaluate.  But for now, the beer is sweet, malty, and has a certain bitterness that I think is from the grains of paradise.  The liquorice root was too old, I think, as it does not really come through in the aroma or flavor.  The molasses is prominant and pretty nice, but overall the beer needs to sit a little longer…perhaps much longer.

American Pale Ale with Ginger
I named this one Born Blind Pale Ale as it is good enough to name.  This is one of my favorite brews so far.  It’s crisp and bitter from the Chinook hops and refreshing with the noticable ginger aroma and flavor.  I used only one ounce of ginger and I think that is just about perfect.  I used .25 ounce of Chinook hops at the end of the boil and the aroma is present and slightly woody.  All in all a very nice beer.  Maybe it could have been hopped with Cascade at the end of the boil to add a little citrus to the ginger and caramel flavor, but it’s good as is.

Watneys Cream Stout
This one is a bit bland right now.  It could get a bit more roasty as is sits as I have experienced this before.  The flavors tend to meld together over time and roasty flavors can seem to emerge.  Right now though, it is a decent cream stout with noticeable roasty flavor and a creamy mouthfeel.  It could stand to be a bit thicker in the mouthfeel, but as it warms in the glass, this becomes more apparent.  Nice, low alcohol stout.

So there you go.  I will hopefully write a review of the two newest batches that I just bottled in the months to come.

The Adequate Brewer

New Equipment!

Oct 7, 2008

I just recieved a new kettle and burner so I can now brew outside.

The Kettle
8 gallon Megapot with stainless ball valve from Northern Brewer.  Yeah!

The Burner
Bayou Classic Banjo Burner from Northern Brewer.  This thing apparently rates over 200,000 BTU.  Wow!

I can’t wait to break this stuff in, so I plan to make an English IPA this coming weekend.  The recipe is basically the same as Jamil’s in his book Brewing Classic Styles.  Also, since I still plan to do the counter-top partial mashes, I can mash all base grains (4 lbs total) in the cooler and steep the steeping grains in another pot on the stove, then combine.  This seems like it would work and it would give me that much more of my fermentables from grain instead of extract.

Maybe since I am in the mood to post, I’ll give a review of my Three Beers in Three Weekends brews.  I’ll put that in another post to keep things tidy.

The Adequate Brewer

Another Wave of Brew

Oct 7, 2008

I just finished bottling two batches brewed within a few days of each other.  I had some time off work, so why not brew.  I found some Wyeast VSS strains (Biere de Garde, Farmhouse, and French Saison) at the local store and snapped up all that they had.  So, on to the brews…

Biere de Garde
This one is a modification of one of the recipes in Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski.  I modified it by reducing everything to be a 1.060 OG. beer instead of a 1.070 OG. beer.  I like the way the recipes are written in that book because everything is a percentage of the whole.  So as long as all percentages stay the same (or close) you can raise or lower the OG, and still come out with close to the same taste…just more or less alcohol.  At least this is how my brain thinks about it.  I could be wrong.

Scottish 70/-
I think I finally got a Scottish ale that is going to taste right.  I’ve brewed two others that have just not been very interesting.  They were really just nearly flavorless brown-ish ales.  This one at bottling time had some roasty, almost smokey taste and aroma.  I think I used a basic recipe from Brew Your Own, but I don’t remember which one.  Since I’ve been counter-top partial mashing, I have to adjust nearly all recipes to match my system.  Thankfully, Beersmith can handle this as I don’t want to do the math.

That’s about it from here.  I’ll post once I taste these two new ones…maybe.

The Adequate Brewer