Saison

San Miguel top-off

(Disclaimer: This post actually took place approx 3 months ago – Sept 2014)

 

The San Miguel top-off is not a newly formed, crazed sexual position, though it sounds like it could be fun. Rather, it is simply me, topping off the barrel with a bit more beer. This serves not only to add more complexity (hopefully) to the beer already in the barrel, but also replaces some of the beer lost to absorption from the wood, and evaporation. If exposed to copious amounts of oxygen, a bacteria known as Acetobacter can gain a strong foothold. Acetobacter turns alcohol into acetic acid in the presence of alcohol, and acetic acid is essentially vinegar. So, but reducing the headspace in the barrel by topping off with more beer, we are also limiting the effects of Acetobacter.

For this topping off, I have chosen to use a beer that I have been aging for approx a year now. It is a simple Farmhouse style ale that was soured with Lactobacillus bacteria, Lactobacillus brevis to be specific.

Here is the Recipe for that beer:

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------

Batch Size (fermenter): 4.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 4.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated Color: 6.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 6.3 IBUs


Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs 8.0 oz          Brewers Malt 6-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM)    Grain         1        69.2 %        
1 lbs 8.0 oz          White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        23.1 %        
8.0 oz                Caramunich I (Weyermann) (51.0 SRM)      Grain         3        7.7 %         
0.50 oz               Crystal [4.10 %] - First Wort 20.0 min   Hop           4        6.3 IBUs      
1.0 pkg               Farmhouse dregs (SN Ovila Saison)        Yeast         5        -                    
1.0 pkg               Lactobacillus Delbrueckii (Wyeast Labs # Yeast         6        -             


Mash Schedule: Evan's Step Mash - Light Body 
Total Grain Weight: 6 lbs 8.0 oz
----------------------------
Name              Description                                Step Temperat Step Time     
Protein           Add 6.50 qt of water at 140.1 F            131.0 F       30 min        
Beta- Sacch       Add 1.82 qt of water at 188.3 F            141.0 F       30 min        
Alpha - Sacch     Add 3.28 qt of water at 179.5 F            150.0 F       30 min        

Sparge: Batch sparge 







The beer was then aged for close to one year before I added it to the barrel. It had developed a nice, yet mellow sourness, a little surprising considering the amount of time it had had. Will be interesting to see how this changes the beer in the barrel. 
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Rye Saison Mk. III

It’s been getting warm here in the Northern Sacramento Valley, to say the least. Temperatures touching 107 F (in the first week of June), have many fearing mass extinctions, global warming, and the ever present flaming fucking hot steering wheel. When I see the thermometer getting up there I get excited, as this is the ideal time for me to brew up some tasty Saisons. I will forego the well-repeated history of the style, rising out of the Belgian-French border, Wallonia, and Les Saisoneres. A very useful resource for the history of Saison is Farmhouse Ales, by Phil Markowski, and my personal favorite. My first heat-defying brew, of what is sure to be a long and dry summer, is my third rendition of a Rye Saison that has quickly found a place in my heart… and my liver. This variation of the Rye Saison will utilize a different strain of yeast. In batches past, I used my go to farmhouse yeast, which is a bit of a mystery strain, isolated from bottles of Sierra Nevada’s Ovila Saison (the original Ovila Saison, not that Abbey Saison Mandarin Orange nonsense). This time I will be using Wyeast 3463 Forbidden Fruit. This is the same yeast I used in my Belgian Wit, Hermine, some posts back. It gave a lot of interesting characters of tart acidity, fruitiness, and a bit of spice in the Wit, and I am anxious to see how this translates with some Rye and Spelt. In a few weeks I plan to rack a portion into a secondary fermenter with four pounds of Mirabelle Plums taken from a tree in my back yard… and another tree, in someone else’s yard. The portion not added to secondary will go straight to bottle for control tasting. P1020516




Recipe Specifications
--------------------------

Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.044 SG
Estimated Color: 3.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.3 IBUs

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs 10.8 oz         Pilsen Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.0 SRM)     Grain         1        51.9 %        
2 lbs 15.6 oz         Rye Malt (Briess) (3.7 SRM)              Grain         2        33.1 %        
13.6 oz               Spelt (3.0 SRM)                          Grain         3        9.4 %         
1.00 oz               East Kent Goldings (EKG) [6.70 %] - Firs Hop           4        23.9 IBUs     
8.0 oz                Candi Sugar, Clear (0.5 SRM)             Sugar         5        5.6 %         
1.00 oz               Crystal [3.50 %] - Boil 3.0 min          Hop           6        1.4 IBUs      
1.00 oz               Crystal [3.50 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           7        0.0 IBUs      
1.0 pkg               Forbidden Fruit (Wyeast Labs #3463) [124 Yeast         8        -             


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs
----------------------------
Name              Description                                Step Temperat Step Time     
Protein Rest      Add 8.12 qt of water at 125.7 F            113.0 F       30 min        
Peptidase         Add 4.00 qt of water at 180.4 F            131.0 F       20 min        
Sacch             Add 4.12 qt of water at 210.3 F            148.0 F       30 min        
Mash Out          Decoct 6.38 qt of mash and boil it         168.0 F       15 min        

Sparge: Batch sparge with 4.72 gal water at 168.0 F

June 12, 2014: Brew Day: pretty straight forward brewday and it wasn’t even that unbearably hot. I guess brewing butt-naked wasn’t absolutely necessary, but hey, why not? OG – 1.046 5.5 Gallons collected, aerated for approx. 5 minutes (aquarium pump), yeast starter pitched, and carboy left to ferment at ambient temperatures in my spare bedroom (approx. 83 F) Fermentation took off in less than two hours.

 

June 29, 2014: 

Final Gravity down to 1.008

Bottled half of the batch with 5 tbsp of clover honey.

The other half of the batch was racked onto 4 lbs of Mirabelle Plums that had been sanitized, then frozen for a week, thawed, smooshed, and then dumped into a 3 gal carboy.

 

July 2, 2014:

P1020520                                             “We like plums.” – Saccharomyces cerevisiae