Saturday, December 17, 2011

Final Tasting of Batch #17

Batch #17 was brewed for my brother's wedding in late September. I used many tradional wedding spices to give it an, "oh so special" vibe. My main goal is to be as spot on with temperature during primary fermenation. I was pretty pleased with it overall. With some of the ingredients (mainly cloves), this beer is a great winter brew. Last night we thought might be the best night to share the last bottle saved. I am almost regreting giving the 2nd to last bottle to our new neighbors as a house warming gift.

Right out the gate the cloves are present and dance nicely with the Belgian Ardennes yeast. I used fresh lemon and orange zest but coupled with that yeast and fermented at 78 degrees it was pleasently more sweet than dry. I laid off the Belgian grains with this recipe for no good reason except doing something completely opposite from Batch #15, a Lemon Rosemary Saison. My second regret was the length of time that I oaked it for. 30 days was not enough, or maybe I need another ounce of oak. It was more than mildly present.

Batch #17. Clove and Spice Saison
US 2 Row,  US White Wheat, Belgian Vienna, Belgian Cara 45, Flaked Maize and Carapils.
Mount Hood, Amarillo, and German Spalt Select Hops
Green Tea leaves, ground pepper, Rosemary, Parsley, Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, Cloves and Pinot Noir Oak Cubes
Wyeast Belgian Ardennes w/ starter.

Brewing Status:
Primary: Empty (first time in a long time)
Secondary: Single Hopped Pale Ale
Bottle Condioning: Rum Raisin Oatmeal Stout, Belgian Dubbel w/ Figs, Robust Porter w/ Molasses and Dates.
Up Next: Batch #18 (revised)- Imperial Chocolate Stout

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chicha Is On!

For many beer geeks I am sure that you either knew about the Perivian Beer, Chicha, or honestly, like me, heard about it through the Brew Masters episode rightfully titled, Chicha. Without getting deep down into the history, Chicha was and is a traditional Inca fermented beverage/ beer made from corn. It is best to watch the above linked clip to understand what you are about to read. To back things up I just got back from Peru and as much as the Inca Trail and 15th Century ruins were the main focus, I have hard time telling anyone that for 5 days, Chicha finding was what Dooglas and I had our sites on.

Now we heard tales that Chicha is hard to find in the traditional method of the brewer still chewing the corn. I saw a couple corona grain mills at the Chicharias. I would like to think that one (we visited many) in particular was as authentic as they come. We spotted our first "red bag" in Pisac. Eager and hesitantly we made our way into the homestead, past the chickens and into a dark structure where Dooglas asked, "Ahh, con permiso. Es la Chicha?" Si. Si.

In a small room with just us, our Chicha brewer, one or two locals and a floor full of coy, we sat on a small wooden beach and were served in a 20 ounce glass room temperture Chicha straight out the pot. We tipped our glass and let Pachamama have to first sip. It was very earthy, grassy, tart and delicious. An ancient Beriler Weiss comes to mind. Delicious to say the least.

We went back and got more Chicha to go in our water bottles. We got Chicha in Ollantaytambo and we enjoyed a few even our our way up the Inca Trail (we were "those" people). Nothing compared to the experience of the taste. It was a craft beer personified and a greater spiritual awaking for me.


*Picture is a glass poured from a "to go" bottle brought to dinner.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tasting: Batch #18

Chocolate Bourbon Cherry Wood Stout
Strong vanilla flavor. A bit overpowering. There is are subtle chocolate notes, the cinnamon comes through in aroma while the bourbon finishes. A slight woody taste from the cherry wood, jet black and a creamy tan head. A pleasant desert beer in the end.

With 8 ounces of cacao powder in the boil and another 3 ounces of dark chocolate in the fermentor I was thinking liquid cake. This batch's separated twin at birth (Chocolate Stout) has those characteristics. This will be a very tweakable recipe to say the least. It is a bit thinner and not as roasty as expected. I will up that portion of barley next time as well as maybe toast some oats and mash a bit higher and up the base malt a few more pounds. It only sits at 7.5% and it should probably have more warming alocohol notes. Come's winter. I like the vanilla a lot though. It was a gift from Belize and probably the richest and most concentrated vanilla extract alive. I give this an overall B-.