30 Nov 2015

There is just as much room for complexity in a small beer as you'll find in a barrel aged stout if you can balance your flavors just right! And the more time I spend making beer, the more Ive come to appreciate subtlety and balance. This beer is about bringing together two different styles, a session beer and a lightly lactic (sour) ale. The idea behind it is to try and make a refreshing low alcohol sour beer that has a focus on the malt and retains some richness to the body.

I really enjoy the added layer of complexity that sourness can bring to a low alcohol beer like this. Combined with a good dose of late hops and a heavy hand of dry hops, the resulting character has notes of fresh grapefruit. You see real fruit has sweetness, tannin's, bitterness and sourness all in one bite and its this very sensation that I'm trying to replicate with Forbearance.

Ive added a lot of Gladfield Munich and Gladiator malt to give the beer heaps of body and hold back the sourness a little. Soured the beer to a PH of 3.6 in the kettle using a culture that Ive been propagating for the last year. And finally hopped the sucker generously with a vibrant mix of New Zealand heavyweights. The result is a lightly tart, quenching ale with loads of complexity and a good measure of alcoholic restraint!

For more details on my souring technique you can see this blog entry. I haven't changed anything other than the temperature, which I now hold at 45 degrees C. Build the starter up from 1L, then on to 6L then 50L. I then send this keg down to Scott's Brewing facility and we pitch it into 250L of wort. This gives us enough cells for a very rapid sour over night. I pull some of the starter before adding it to the kettle so I can use it again later. Unfortunately this time round I pitched the starter onto some freshly made and hopped wort (after I had filled and sent the keg to Scott's thankfully) at home and the hop oils effectively killed off the bacteria so now my starter is no more. On top of this, Scott's failed to keep some of the starter as well, so this batch of beer is the end of the road for this little colony of microbes, making Forbearance a special one off release for our brewery!

IMG 6739IMG 6752IMG 6829

IMG 6764IMG 6770IMG 6788IMG 2800

Forbearance - Dry Hopped Session Sour

O.G. 1.038
ABV 3.6 %


60% Gladfield Ale Malt
20% Gladfield Munich
20% Gladfield Gladiator

Yeast nutrients and Koppafloc at 10 minutes

1.8 IBU Wai-iti - Whirlpool 30 min
3.3 IBU Cascade - Whirlpool 30 min

Ferment at 18C with US-05

Once terminal, drop the beer to 15C to clear yeast then dry hop

2g/L Cascade
2g/L Wai-Iti
1g/L Motueka
0.5g/L Nelson Sauvin
0.5g/L Waimea

Force carbonate to 2.6 volumes of cO2

11 Nov 2015

One of the enjoyable things about making small batches of beer is being able to split the wort and try different ingredients. Its often difficult to discern what a certain ingredient does to a beer until you have something else to compare it too. For this batch I brewed 50L of a standard pale ale wort and the only thing I changed was the yeast. US-05 for the pale ale and Wy3726 for the Saison. The results are really interesting as the beers taste so different on so many levels. There are the obvious esters form the Farmhouse yeast however the hop aromatics are what really surprised me. Wy3726 has taken the hop compounds and transformed them into something quite different. Rather than the straight up citrus and pine which I get form the pale ale, the saison shows off a big tropical nose and you'd be forgiven for thinking that more exotic American hops were in the mix. This difference is down to what we call bio-transformation. Where by the yeast an an alcohol molecule here and and acid there and literally transform the aroma compounds from the hops into something totally new

06 Jun 2015

IMG 5905

When you have a powerful lust for fruit beers sometimes its hard to stop thinking about them. For a long time Ive been wanting to make a boysenberry beer and one sunday morning I had a fresh pitch of WY3726-PC Farmhouse yeast ready and enough malts for something new so I decided to throw it all together. In my mind I was looking for a jammy kind of saison, something sweet and not too tart, and definitely not sour. The yeast makes enough fruity esters to compliment the boysenberry but my only concern is that it would leave the beer too dry. Boysenberries are very tart and the concentrate I have from Berry Fruit is very acidic. So Ive thrown in a reasonably big mix of crystal malts to try and balance the beer. Im hoping that with a high mash temp and the added crystal the beer will finish somewhere in the 1.014 range and be just right. The grist is actually a scaled down version of one of my barley wine recipe's. The barley wine showed off some amazing dark fruit notes that would compliment the boysenberry.  Its a little counterintuitive when working with a Saison yeast but what can I say, I had boysenberry jam on the brain!

 IMG 5907IMG 5918

As my main concern is just how tart this beer may end up, Ill keep the hopping low, just 5 IBU for the boil. The acidity can replace the bitterness to balance this beer. Im going to add the boysenberry at the beginning of fermentation so the yeast can get access to the acids and hopefully create something new. How much to use is anyones guess. I have 1 litre of concentrate which is equivalent to about 7 litres of puree so 500ml of concentrate sounds like a good place to start... We will see.

IMG 5924IMG 5930

Boysenberry Saison

O.G. 1.048
ABV 5%


70% Galdfield Ale Malt
9% Gladfield Vienna
4% Weyermann Carabelg
4% Weyermann Caramunich II
2% Briess Special Roast
1% Thomas Fawcett Crystal Dark

5 IBU Northern Brewer at 60 minutes

Yeast Nutrients and Koppafloc at 10 minutes

Chill and add 500ml boysenberry concentrate along with 6ppm of O2

Ferment with Wy-3726-PC (1.5L starter from smack pack)

1 2 3 4 ... 9