Course correction and some tasting notes

Sometimes browsing home brew supply websites at work can lead to some inspiration. My plan with the currently fermenting Saison was to age it on local blackberries for 6 weeks or so, however I saw something on my website that lead me to rethink that beer entirely. Firstly, in a completely unoriginal and cliched move, Wyeast 3724 stuck at 1.025. I brought it up to the main house, placed the carboy in a bottling bucket and wrapped it in a heavy duvet with the heating belt on, which got it moving again. After a couple days it was just below 1.020, and smelled incredible, like peaches and pineapples. I decided to jump the gun and pitch Orval dregs from just a single bottle and take it back to the cellar. I realized this was going to slow the production of this beer down, probably by a couple of months, but I was willing to wait because I think it’s going to be something really special. Then I noticed our little euro freezer was already running out of space, and with three pounds of blackberries in a holding pattern, I might need to rethink things.

Bored at work I was perusing the hop selection at The Malt Miller hoping to find some inspiration for the next couple of batches. On the docket are some sort of IPA using WLP007, (more on that yeast later,) and a hoppy brown ale to accompany the large American Thanksgiving we’ve hosted here in Aalborg. I had also planned to rack another saison using the same grist and hops onto the yeast cake from the currently fermenting saison and have 3 beers going at once. My discovery was that The Malt Miller now carries The Yeast Bay strains, which is why I have decided to substantially revise my immediate brewing plans. First, I am going to let Saison 1 (now in need of a new name) ride it out for as long as it takes. In order to use the blackberries in my freezer I will start a whole new Saison using the Yeast Bay’s Wallonian Farmhouse. I was very strongly encouraged by Ed Coffey’s reported experience with this yeast (especially the fact he went grain to keg in 14 days without the aid of high fermentation temps) and will use it for an otherwise identical version of Heimdall’s Garde. I will probably also rerack again on this yeast to do an un-fruited version, keeping the Saison pipeline a flowing for a couple months.

As for my IPA and hoppy brown ale, I will also probably change course and use the legendary Vermont Ale Yeast (AKA VPB1188 AKA ‘Conan’) since it’s available to me. I absolutely love WLP007, but I feel that if someone in the EU is making an effort to import TYB strains, I need to support that. I will make a large starter and split it between an IPA and a hoppy brown ale, the details of which I am still sorting out. (Suggestions welcome!)

Finally, I have already drank and shared that majority of my best beer yet, but it’s never too late to actually write down what I think of it. This was brewed with my brewing partner on our 5 gallon system at his house. It’s a simple, almost cliched recipe, but I think we nailed this APA.

The Citra Dream – Beersmith File

  • 19 litre batch
  • 100% Maris Otter- OG 1.054 (planned to be 1.065 but we had some pretty substantial efficiency issues.)
  • 40 IBUs Apollo for 60 minutes (hops were from 2012, so I’d guess bitterness is probably closer to 30)
  • 40 IBUs Citra, 20 minute steep at flameout.
  • 100g Citra dryhop for 5 days.
  • WLP007 with a large starter

The aroma is of strawberries and peaches, the bitterness is assertive but as a whole the beer is unbelievable easy to drink. This was planned to be a full on IPA but this turned into the happiest of accidents. We’ll be trying to replicate this using a different kettle hop since Europe’s supply of Apollo seems to be non-existent at this time. I give full credit to the yeast though for the special sauce in this beer. I hope that I have similar success using Conan.

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