Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Wedding Saison

Two of Kerry’s friends (and now, by extension, also my friends) are getting married soon. Possibly this coming weekend. I should know this, but do not. John Pat and Lara are really nice people, who have also given me some nice reviews of beers I’ve made earlier. John Pat really likes Belgians, so as part of their wedding present, I made a special Saison for them.

Most of my beers so far this year have been pretty bare bones as far as the grain bill goes. The idea being to get good at doing simple beers, and let the yeast do the work. The result has been some decent, and one really good one (the Rye Ale). I think the main problem has been an overall lack of complexity. For example, my first Saison was tasty, but somehow…thin. My tendency has been to use at least a full pound of every grain that I use, as I can’t really buy less than a pound of any one thing, so it's kind of tough to get the different tastes and aspects that you look for in certain grains. The beers need a little something extra, and this special occasion calls for a beer that is a culmination of what I’ve learned in my all grain brewing up to this point.

The Wedding Saison-

Belgian Pilsner- 8 lbs
Cara Pils- 4 oz
Vienna Malt- 8 oz
Faucetts Crystal 40- 4 oz

New Zealand Hallertau- 1.25 oz- 60 min
Kent Goldings (US)- 1 oz- 10 minutes (actually 9:30, but that’s nitpicking)

Wyeast Belgian Abbey Ale II- 600 ml starter

130/148/168- decoction for the mash out

I think this could well be my best beer yet. The grains are all among the sort that would easily be procured by classic brewers of the style. I’ve switched up a few times in the past to the detriment of my brews. The hops are not Belgian per se, but they are acceptable substitutes, given the current hop purchasing situation. The yeast is the same one I’ve used for my previous Belgian efforts.

I brewed this on Friday, and as I write this, the primary fermentation has basically finished. I would say the brew day itself was probably the smoothest I’ve ever had. I’ve basically solved my stuck sparge problems, I hit all my temps nicely, and basically after dough in, it was all very methodical. It was also the first time that my target gravity in the fermenter was exactly what I was aiming for, a solid 1.047.

Big thanks to my brewing assistant, Kathy McGraw (Kerry’s mom). She was in town for the 4th, and was very interested in how you turn a sack of grain into beer. Curiously, she was nowhere to be seen when it was time to clean up (joking), but I was grateful for the help.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where's Bill!!!!