Thursday, February 10, 2011

Things are brewing in the 1ELEVEN.

Today is brew-day. I guess. Normally I get excited, but today I just didn't feel like cleaning up all the shit it takes to brew-which can be a tricky thing when you are apartment brewing. BUT. I dealt with it. AND today is the first time I'm going to be repitching my own yeast. What the hell does that mean you ask? Good question. If you've got an hour and a half and like laughing and learning, then give that a gander. I'll give you the short in the mean time. It means I saved the yeast from my last batch and am re-using it. Bam. The excellent Brew Strong show tells you how to do it. Why go to the trouble? Well first of all, it saves me $6.50, which in my state of non-working-ness is pretty cool. Secondly, they yeast supposedly works faster, better, and awesomer-meaning better flavors. So I'm trying!

What am I making? A Saison of course. I'm trying to be positive and call on the upcoming warmth that Spring should be dropping soon. Since these babies tend to taste super-great after about 2-3 months of aging, I figure this will be ready right when its nice enough to go outside. Since you all READ MY LAST POST, you are probably wondering what kind of Saison am I making?? This particular one is what I am calling Saison Blanche, or a white saison. It won't actually be white, but if you are familiar with Belgian Wit (Flemmish for White) beers-like *cough cough* Blue Moon or the much better Hoegaarden then you will understand. They are typically made with around 50% wheat (or more) and 45% pilsener and 5% oats, that's right, oats-they add a silky mouthfeel. So I had that sort of line up and combining it with a Saison-specific yeast (the Wyeast 3711), but I'm sticking to the traditional-pilsener malt as the main base and supplementing with the rest, because, well, I dunno. I kinda changed my mind at the last second. When she's all done & ready for bottling in 1 week (hopefully) it will be a lovely translucent golden color-close enough to white.

Brew day has not gone according to plan. I am trying a new technique; step mashing (where one raises the temperature of the mash upward at specific times, which lend to different enzymes and other scientific things). That took a lot longer than I anticipated on an electric stove top... I also encountered the dastardly stuck sparge, which is where the grain bed blocks my precious wort from getting out of my mash-tun (big ass pot where you mash in). It happened at the very end, right to where when I stirred to get it loose, the wort that was left was absorbed by the grain. Boooo. I ended up losing .5 gallon or so. Really though, its just another day. How about a recipe?

Saison Blanche
8 lbs Belgian Pils
2.5 lbs German Malted Wheat
1 lb instant oats (untoasted)
2 oz Acidulated Malt
1 lb cane sugar (@60 minutes)

1.5 oz Kent Goldings @60 minutes
1.5 oz Tettnanger @10 minutes
1/2 tsp hydrated Irish Moss @ 10 minutes
1/2 tsp hydrated WYeast Yeast Nutrients @ 10 minutes

300 ml of WYeast 3711 French Saison yeast slurry according to Mr.
Pure Oxygen for 2 minutes

Ferment starting at room temp-68F for me, then raise to 80F over the course of 5-7 days.

So its a stupidly simple recipe, but I'm stepping gingerly here. I've only made one other recipe (my dark saison before this) and it was really complicated, so I thought I'd reduce it to make a stable testing ground in which to build and perfect! Haha! Yes! Anyways. I'll post a tasting description when its done.

Brew Day Soundtrack: The Pernice Brothers Discography

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