29 May 2014
I was intending to add Rhubarb to this batch but after the initial tasting I decided I didn't want to mess with it any further. The decision was in a large part influenced by the fact that my Rhubarb plant wasn't quite in season, so its stems had a tart vegetal flavour. In another month or so the plant will start to produce whats expected. The beer was tasting so good on its own that I left it as is. Im really stoked with how this one came out. It could possibly be a little more sour but its very approachable and totally refreshing. I can't wait to make this one again (the keg didn't last long!)
Appearance - Cloudy orange hue with a big thick billowy head that quickly fades to a thin lace, some nice looking lace clings to the glass and is easily coaxed to the top of the beer with a little swirl.
Aroma - Big mix of Lactic apple sourness and tropical fruit, slight spice note in the background sits well with the touch of funk that is also a very background note, mostly its melons and pineapple, Im not sure where the Brett begins and the hops end, great balance!
Taste - Sourness is a little underwhelming, its there but not quite as strong as the nose suggests, however its very crisp and finishes dry with more of the tropical fruit bowl coming into play slight bready wheat notes carry through, again a very faint hint of funk in the background. Clean ale characters show through in the finish
Mouthfeel - Comes across as dry despite is low ibu and F.G. of 1.011. Sourness cleans the pallet and leaves you wanting another sip, very enjoyable. Carbonation is lively without being prickly.
Overall Impression - Excellent beer! The clean american ale character is a little out of style but sits well with the late hops and the fruity Brett aromatics. The sourness is not intrusive and overall very enjoyable.
Changes for next time - Up the sourness, perhaps try a more aggressive lacto culture. Use a kolsch yeast instead of the american strain to finish out fermentation, or build a bigger Brett starter and try to ferment %100 with the Brett.
26 Apr 2014
I really should have raised an eyebrow at the amount of hops going into the whirlpool of this beer as I knocked out the heat! After upgrading my brewing software (Beersmith) Ive been using their new 'steep/whirlpool' feature for calculating hop additions. Some weeks ago I felt that the default setting for this feature was too high for my system. At %50 I wasn't getting anywhere near the IBU's I should have for my system. So I notched it down a touch…. As it turns out I went way to low (at %35) and as a result my final addition was way too much and this beer is far too bitter. All the elements are there and I think it will be perfect after 6 months or so when the IBU's have dropped a little. If it holds up that long without any oxidation then it should be a fine beer indeed! We will see, my gut tells me to dump it and start again but my brain isn't ready to let go of it just yet as the flavour and aroma behind all those IBU's is spot on.
Appearance - Jet black with a thick tan head that fades moderately fast to a thin lace on top of the beer which sticks around leaving a delicate lace on the edges of the glass.
Aroma - Rich chocolate fudge and roasted coffee on the nose, big earthy hop aromas mix into the fudge and create a very doughy cake like smell…. Like baked chocolate cake. No yeast character or esters, clean roast.
Taste - Loads of roast and bitter sweet chocolate on the tongue, huge bitterness, more than necessary, could be dialled back considerably. Water is just right, leaves the pallet dry (despite the F.G of 1.020) and is ever so slightly salty.
Mouthfeel - light carbonation, almost right for style could be slightly more, however bitterness again detracts froth texture of the beer and if it was slightly more carbonated it would tip over the edge into astringent I think.
Overall Impression - Its all there, warming without being boozy, lovely big noble hop nose and lush baked chocolate roast on the pallet, however too bitter right now to really let everything shine through, this will develop very well in the cellar and could be a real number once the IBUS have tapered off. I think I might put it away for 6 months and re-asses then. No oxidation notes so it should fare well.
Notes: Id like the beer a touch drier so next time Id drop some crystal and keep the mash temp low. Also Fixing the the steep/whirlpool addition.
23 Apr 2014
One thing you won't find in a home brewers corner of the house is a lack of equipment! Hoses valves gaskets tools for every part imaginable….. We love our gear!
I recently picked up a great little time saver from Williams Brewing in the US. This is a .5 micron sintered stainless steel stone with a few mods that aren't available from anywhere else (as far as I'm aware).
The addition of a half inch FPT thread and a hose barb means you can easily pop it into a tee section and oxygenate your wort on route to the fermenter. Its very well machined and worth every single penny. At $16.99 its a bargain! I know More Beer sell a similar fitting but its not a half inch thread which makes it a little trickier for my purposes (but perhaps better for others who wish to stick with mfl fittings).
Such cheap fittings are a real luxury and its demand from the greater homebrew community the world over (but particularly in the US) that we have to thank!