Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Impaler! a Lavatorily-Aged Pale

Hi friend/friends. Long time no update. That's what happens when you go back to work. A month ago I took the leap into brewing beers with Brettanomyces, and it is either a burden or a blessing depending on which side of the camp you pitch your tent. Some of the dudes at the Home Brewery are convinced its crazy/retarded and others think its crazy-awesome. Why retarded? Well these little yeasts have a tendency to get anywhere and everywhere so every beer that comes in contact with it ends up with the brett properties. Good if you make Belgian beers, like me, bad if you wanna make any other style of beer that isn't supposed to have brett characteristics. So...there is a thin line. And indeed, it is the awesomeness potential in brett beers that makes it worth it. What are those characteristics? Go get some Orval, Saison Brett by Boulevard, Cantillon, Petrus or Jolly Pumpkin Beers.

My approach is to heed the advice of the experts and devote a whole new set of soft equipment to whatever comes in contact to the beer once the yeast are working. I got a little worried at the expense, then I remembered that I was brewing an aged pale. It will be ready in 48 weeks. Plenty of time to get a separate bottling bucket and tubes.

Skipping the history of these beers and other sciencey shit that I don't quite understand yet, I'll just tell you to go read Wild Brews by Jeff Sparrow. He gives a sweet rundown on tons of Belgian-bretted beers that include Lambics and Flanders Reds and Browns. After speaking to other beer people whenever I can, I have discovered that these types of beers (commonly referred to as "sours") are either loved or hated. Me-I love 'em. The only problem I foresaw was space issues. One must not forget that the B111 covers a deceptive 800 square feet. Not a lot of room to have a big jar of beer sitting for an entire year in a relatively vibration free (important evidently) spot. But like a lot of things, I thought, "Eh, fuck it!"

So its a pretty simple recipe for what we are calling the "Impaler":

1. Belgian Pils 11 lbs
2.  Cara Pils 1.25 lbs
Hops: Amount Time IBUs %Alpha Acid
1. Kent Goldings 1.5oz 60 minutes 22
Mash Schedule:
Dough in at 122F hold for 20 minutes. 
Raise to 145F for 40 minutes. 
Raise to 162F for 30 minutes. 
Raise to 169F for 10 minutes. 
Sparge with 176F. 
Pre boil gravity-1.046
Post boil gravity-1.054

I decided to go with 90 seconds of pure O2 to get fermentation going and promote some acid development. Lemme tell ya, that baby got a going! Good thing I used a blow off tube. I also tossed in about an ounce of medium toast French Oak Chips that had been boiled for 15 minutes AFTER sitting in a light lager for 2 weeks to reduce some of the intensity. The plan being I will use the wood in other beers and it will transfer the little beasties to those beers. Cool! 

I'll let you guys know how it comes out in a year. 

Currently Reading: Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus
Currently Listening: Tears Roll Down by Tears for Fears

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