Tasting – Just An Amber Ale

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Well, two things to take home from this beer. First, I need to spend more time with crystal malts. This beer is excellent. Second, after having written off Safale US-05 just one day before, while trying a slightly experimental IPA, I think it is the perfect yeast for this beer. The other beer I refer to is an IPA that I brewed with my 5 gallon partner to use up all our hops. It had Belgian Pale malt, a significant amount of Munich Malt and Wheat. That beer tasted “hollow” for lack of a better description. It was all hop bitterness and nothing to hold it up. I think that US-05, being so clean, almost anonymously so needs some crystal-derived sweetness to support the hops. Mitch Steele has strongly discouraged the use of a lot of crystal in IPA, and for our all-Citra beer it worked- the WLP-007 provided a lot of character for the hops to interact with. This Amber had aroma malt, crystal 60 and a little Special B, and I feel like it’s a beer that shares a soul with Sierra Nevada. It has just that classic west coast flavour. If I were to change anything about this beer, it would be to dryhop with Cascade. I specifically avoided dryhopping and thus made a beer that is really exactly what I was hoping for. That feels good. However, this beer would be next level with an extra hit of grapefruit in the nose. I will be making this again.

Update, 15/11/2014 My homebrewing partner with whom I make 5 gallon batches finally got to tatse this over the weekend and declared in the best beer either of us had ever made!

IPA – Don Juan

Back to basics as it were. One of the main impetuses to start homebrewing in Denmark was that the freshness of American IPA was unreliable to say the least, and in general, I don’t think Europe has produced really spectacular hoppy beers with consistency. IPA was the first recipe I brewed here, and even though my love for Saisons and sours is growing, IPA is my first love so to speak, and fresh, it is unbeatable. After reading IPA by Mitch Steele, and listening to him on the Beersmith Podcast I wanted to take this fresh information and apply it. Firstly, this is a dead simple malt bill, 86% Maris Otter, 10% wheat and 4% simple sugar for dryness. No crystal, nothing to distract from hops. This recipe will use 7 hop varieties in total, including 2 massive dryhopping sessions, the first with American hops, the second with Australia and New Zealand. It is the second in a series of beers using Conan yeast. It is meant to kick ass, and I’ve wanted to name a beer after a piece of classical music. (I am an orchestral musician by trade.) This is named after Richard Strauss’s orchestral poem, Don Juan. It’s in your face, unapologetic and something I’d like any time.

Continue reading IPA – Don Juan

American (Hoppy) Brown Ale – Taksgiving

My wife and I have hosted a large (American, even though I’m a canuck) Thanksgiving gathering every years since moving to Denmark. This year will be the first in our own house, and therefor a beer brewed for the occasion was definitely in order. I am a pumpkin beer hater, and also think that the beer should compliment the food, not mimic it. This beer has no spice additions or gourds. It is a rich, Ron Swanson-brown and generously hopped with an American classic, Centennial. A nice dark base goes with the season (and the lack of daylight at this time of the year) while the ~50 IBUs and copious dry hops will keep the beer refreshing, I hope, while people partake in the great American tradition of eating way too much and then going for seconds. Notably, this will be the first of two beers I am currently brewing with The Yeast Bay’s Vermont Ale Yeast, the legendary Conan.  Continue reading American (Hoppy) Brown Ale – Taksgiving

Saison v1.1

Greetings reader. My mother-in-law has been visiting for the last week, meaning the three batches I had planned to have fermenting before I go on a week long holiday in Barcelona is now but one. I tackled the one recipe that would require the least attention and that I could feel could be left alone while I eat my weight in ham. I have repeated the recipe I have used in my planned blackberry saison, substituting the difficult Wyeast 3724 for The Yeast Bay’s Wallonian Farmhouse.  Continue reading Saison v1.1

Heimdall’s Garde/Saison 1 update

My mother in law is visiting from Pennsylvania which has delayed brewing plans a little. Only one of three batches I had planend will be completed this week.

Saison number 1 has completely stuck at 1.021. A single bottle’s worth Orval dregs were pitched almost two weeks ago. Today I pitched 500ml of a large starter of The Yeast Bay’s Wallonian Farmhouse. I go on vacation next week and am hoping to see this beer go into bottles when I return. I will brew an identical grist with the rest of my Wallonian Farmhouse starter later this week before I fly to Barcelona on Friday. It’s a bit of a franken-beer now. I will determine if this, or its sequel will go onto blackberries once they both hit a gravity below 1.008.