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.
Continue reading IPA – Don Juan
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
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.
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. Continue reading Course correction and some tasting notes