Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Brewing: India Black Ale

Mixed additions of Simcoe, Centennial, Zythos, Columbus

I don't know what to make of this style. Your preferred taste on a Black IPA, or whatever you choose to call it, seems to either fall into the "slightly roast, chocolaty-I want it black for a reason IPA," or the "straight up IPA that is simply black and chalk full of dehusked malts." Unless you have a recipe that you love and will never defer from, I say it is best to play around with both and take away or minimize based on your hop/ yeast selection. Hop selection is just as important to me as a pound of dehusked carafa or a quarter pound of chocolate.

Your yeast choice is a fun thing to play around with also. Cali Ale or American Ale accentuates those hops, but also can hammer the roasted grains if used in heavy quantity. A choice that I have played with is Wyeast Thames Valley. It is definitely more malt driven, but it really can round out the malt profile and provide a nice plum flavor. Using a Rye Malt with this yeast is nice.

I am using the Breiss Midnight Wheat for the first time with this recipe. I am falling into that Black for Black sake here, but we'll see what happens over the dank, piney bittering hops on top of the a heavy amount of Centennial.

Pablo Neruda 
Ah Vastness of Pines
Ah vastness of pines, murmur of waves breaking,
slow play of lights, solitary bell,
twilight falling in your eyes, toy doll,
earth-shell, in whom the earth sings!

In you the rivers sing and my soul flees in them
as you desire, and you send it where you will.
Aim my road on your bow of hope
and in a frenzy I will flee my flock of arrows.

On all sides I see your waist of fog,
and your silence hunts down my afflicted hours;
my kisses anchor, and my moist desire nests
in your arms of transparent stone.

Ah your mysterious voice that love tolls and darkens
in the resonant and dying evening!
Thus in the deep hours I have seen, over the fields,
the ears of wheat tolling in the mouth of the wind

India Black Ale
60 Min Mash, 60 Min Boil
Breiss 2 Row, Crystal 40, Midnight Wheat, Carafa II (Special), Turbinado
Columbus, Simcoe, Zythos, Centennial
WLP 001: Cali Ale

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tasting: Petite Saison

The second of the last of my "Birth" series brews has finally surfaced. I brewed a very simple Saison with Vienna and Pils malt and Styrian Goldings and Saaz hops 2 months ago. This beer was mentioned in my last post as part of a brew competition for Earth, Bread and Brewery in Mt Airy, PA. I still have not seen the tasting notes from the judges, but I was pretty annoyed by them. They were something along the line of, "Can't pick out the taste. And Something weird about this." I don't doubt that it was a bit different. Vienna Malt saisons aren't something that I commonly, commercially see. Regardless, I was so diligent with this beer. I ramped up fermentation a few times and let the French Saison yeast rip through the wort. On bottling day I absolutely loved it and I can't say that I toot my own horn like that very often. I also sound like a complainer and can't take criticism. I am just pretty pleased with the result.

I love this yeast strain. I nice dry peppery finish. The Vienna Malt provides a nice semi-sweet, biscuit-like taste, although it was as dry as can be without overdoing it. It was a very simple recipe that I will make over and over. I think switching up the hops and doing single hop treatments will be nice alternatives. It is highly carbed at 2.9, and the head never settles. I have about 25lbs of Pilsner Malt left from 70 pounds. This beer only took about 8 pounds of grain and 2oz of hops, so I think that a 10 gallon batch within the next few weeks will happen or it will end up being part of the "Afterbirth" series.

Petite Saison
1.042 SG/ 1.006 FG
90 Min Boil
Vienna Malt, Pilsner Malt
Styrian Goldings and Saaz Hops
Wyeast 3711: French Saison