I have a beer loving colleague, Erik who comes from the Skåne region of Sweden, the southern tip, just over the bridge from Copenhagen. Unfortunately Erik hates sour and hoppy flavours so he has yet to have one of my beers. There’s a great brand of grocery store coffee from Sweden called Zoega’s that I usually pick up whenever I’m over. Erik hordes the stuff, so I brewed him a breakfast stout using this coffee in exchange for a package. I used their Skåne roast specifically a way darker roast than you can even get in Denmark, aside from Starbucks. To make sure I didn’t fuck this up, I again used Michael Tonsmeire’s expertise, and brewed a pseudo-clone of Modern Times’ Black House using the homebrew recipe that awesome brewery provides for free. Nothing particularly special about the brew day, the coffee went straight into the primary for the final 24 hours before the beer was racked off and bottled.
To be up front, I got busy around the house and while my brewing hasn’t really slowed, my blogging obviously has. This brew day was done on November 25th. It is a pseudo clone of Michael Tonsmeire’s 100% Brett Trois IPA, with a different hop schedule due to a lack of Citra and a lack of a hopback. Of course, the big news that happened while I was fermenting this is that WLP644 may not be Brettanomyces at all. You can read all about that here, here, and just about anywhere else homebrewing is discussed. Bottom line is that this is still an awesome yeast to use, and a change of classification doesn’t change it’s properties or flavour contribution to an awesome tropical IPA.
I started with a stepped starter way back on November 5, pitching into 350 ml on the stire plate and letting it go for 5 days before stepping up to 1.5 litres, for another week. I reserved 500ml of this for future use, but I think I should have done an additional step as will be revealed later, as I did not pitch enough cells.
The hops for this were Chinook, Centennial and a huge amount of Mosaic in a 20 minute steep for a target of 90 IBUs. I also added aciduated malt to the mash because according to Tonsmeire it aids the Brett in creating fruity esters, specifically ethyl lactate. Due to some small astringency/tanic issues in Don Juan IPA I think that my mash PH is getting north of good as well. Recipe after the break.
Here in Denmark, Christmas beers are a big deal. I’m not entirely sure the entire history but they tend to be all released on one day called J-Dag (Juleøl, or literally Christmas Beer, and Day.) I believe that the entire tradition was started by Tuborg, the National shit beer of Denmark to release their Christmas Beer, which they send reps out to hand out for free on the street. Also, the entire idea of their Christmas beer actually originated with a cute add:
Denmark’s myriad of small breweries have since co-opted the holiday and J-Day events happen in almost all beer-friendly establishments, usually featuring mostly Danish but also Belgian and American Christmas beers. I have gone to J-Day every years since I lived here. I can’t say I really like Christmas beer, even though there’s no established style. My first year here Horn Beer released a pretty good “Christmas IPA” that had some very mild spicing and I stuck with that for the whole season. Usually, it’s something brown with too much added sugar and too heavy a hand with the spices. Last year I had one with a distinct dog-poo nose. Even The Bruery’s version of Danish Christmas Beer doesn’t do it for me.
So what did I decide to brew to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus and the eternal darkness of Danish winter? A brown beer with spices and molasses. I guess I’m a sucker for punishment, or at least staying out of my comfort zone. Continue reading Christmas Beer – Gingerbread Saison
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.
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
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
I was discussing beer with another ex-pat colleague last year, he’s in his late 40’s or early 50’s, and a solid Midwestern kind of guy. He had just been back to the States to visit family and asked me “Is it even possible to get like just an ‘amber ale’ anymore?” I asked him if it meant like the one’s he drank in the late 90’s, and he said that’s exactly what he meant. It’s true that the craft beer landscape is pretty unrecognizable compared to the micro-brewery boom and crash of the late 90’s, when I got into beer in college. While I became a hop-head pretty much right from the get-go I think I understood what he was talking about.
This beer is inspired by Mark, my American colleague. I am brewing it to help overcome my fear of crystal malt and because I think it’s cool to brew something I normally wouldn’t even think twice about. I still utilized some newer school techniques like a small hop stand, but I will forgo a dryhop of any kind because I want this to be distinctly an amber, and not just a darker coloured pale ale. Continue reading Like Just An Amber Ale