Sunday, May 29, 2011

La Lumière

I'm a little behind on posting these beers as I brew them. I still have to do the write up for the Flemish Red. Yesterday I did a pale sour beer along the lines of Russian River Brewing Company's Temptation. I've forgone the idea of cloning sour/wild ales, but this beer was heavily influenced by Temptation. Notice how I said "influenced" and not "ripped off".

The grist was simple: Belgian pilsener and Belgian pale malt with some malted wheat and Carapils to give the bugs something to eat. I used Styrians for bittering and White Labs Abbey Ale as the primary yeast. I pitched a package of Roeselare and a vial of East Coast Yeast Bugfarm V. Using both was probably overkill and I regret that a little bit. The beer is guaranteed to have some microbiological diversity, but I won't be able to tell what flavors are being contributed by the Roeselare and which are coming from the Bugfarm. Now that the damage is done I might dump in the dregs from some sour beers as I drink them. I've got a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin's Biere de Mars that I've been eyeballing.

This beer is also a bit of a landmark for me. Since getting my water report from Ward Labs a couple of weeks ago, I've been looking forward to starting to adjust my water. I used Beer Alchemy to calculate the color and plugged it into John Palmer's spreadsheet and made all of the necessary computations. I think my water salt additions were correct, but in a beer like this I probably won't be able to tell either way.

This brew day also made it obvious that my system needs a few improvements. Courtesy of the Texas ground water during summer, it took me an hour and a half to reach 80 degrees F using my simple immersion chiller and well over two hours to hit my pitching temp. I've been reading about Jamil's Whirlpool Immersion Chiller and I think that might be in my future.

After primary fermentation subsides I'll add the Chardonnay soaked oak. I haven't picked out a Chardonnay yet, but I've heard that because they're so ubiquitous, a good one can be had for about $15 basically anywhere.

La Lumière

OG 1.054 FG ???? ABV ???? IBU ~26.2 SRM 4.3

45.0% Castle Pilsener
45.0% Belgian Pale Malt
08.0% Weyermann White Wheat Malt
02.0% Carapils

3.00 oz. Styrian Goldings (2.60% AA) @ 60 min.

1.00 tablet Whirlfloc @ 10 min.
0.50 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
0.25 oz Medium toast French Oak
0.25 oz Medium toast American Oak

White Labs WLP530 - Abbey Ale
Wyeast 3763 - Roeselare Blend
East Coast Yeast ECY01 - Bugfarm V

Carbon Filtered Waco
Balanced Profile

Mashed at 153

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Water Report

I rarely feel geeky about home brewing. I'm sure I do a lot of geeky things in regards to home brewing but to me it seems well within the confines of normal behavior for any enthusiastic hobbyist. About a week ago I sent out a sample of carbon filtered Waco water to Ward Laboratories to be analyzed and for the first time I felt like a verifiable home brewing geek.

Sodium: 16
Calcium: 51
Magnesium: 5
Hardness as CaCO3: 148
Sulfate: 36
Chloride: 20
Bicarbonate: 138
Total Alkalinity: 113

Much to my surprise, Waco water isn't all that bad for brewing once you run it through a carbon filter and take out some of the chlorine/chloramines. Without adjustment, this water appears to work best for amber colored, moderately bitter beers. I'm still trying to figure this whole water thing out, but at least this gives me an excuse to try a Nugget Nectar clone.