Archive for October, 2011

amber kegging, brewing with basil

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

this last week’s brewing activities included some of the old and a little of the new.

  • last weekend I managed to keg and bottle AP’s amber ale.  the beer finished at 1.014 for an approximate abv of 5.4%.  I stashed some of the s-04 slurry in one of  a bunch of autoclavable bottles I scored through homebrewfinds, one of my new favorite blogs.  these inexpensive bottles are easy to clean and are perfect for yeast storage.
  • while I was kegging the amber, I ran through some ideas for an upcoming local “homegrown” saison.  I already had local hops and yeast, but needed something to distinguish my saison and give it a truly unique character.
  • inspiration came while deadheading my basil to keep it from going to seed.  when I smelled the fistful of blooms in my hand, their pungent spiciness let me to immediately vacuum seal them for future use.  after a little research, I confirmed that not only are the blooms used in everyday cooking, but basil has been experimented with in various homebrews with great success.
  • as a result, the ingredient lineup for my homegrown saison now includes homegrown heirloom basil blooms and some orange zest from our backyard tree (and maybe some local honey), all of which will likely be added at flame-out.  now I just need to fit in a brew day…


saison session 2011

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

motivated by the success of overcarbed’s last two strong beer sessions, and in celebration of two years of successful brew blogging, the first annual saison session was celebrated last weekend.


rye saison, patersbier tasting notes

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

inspired by my last tasting/critique post (and motivated by my lack of beer-related activities this weekend), I decided to pour a few of my latest brews and get some tasting notes down.  hopefully these reviews can help provide more details about the results of my recipes/processes.

style: patersbier

appearance: lingering fluffy head, decent clarity (little chill haze)

aroma: intensely floral, yeast-forward aroma; hints of banana and clove as tasting progressed and sediment was poured

taste: smooth and slightly malty with a coating mouthfeel; very yeast-forward

comments: after three weeks in primary and a week in the bottle, this beer is still a bit green; it will hopefully clear up and be a bit crisper once the yeast cleans itself up a little.  I was really pleased with the not-too-dry finish (and am beginning to realize that many of my beers need to have their mash temp upped by a couple degrees).



style: rye saison/sour

appearance: fine head that reduces to a thin lacing; healthy carbonation

aroma: sour fruit (clean/light), slightly lactic aroma (smells sour)

taste: clean, lactic sourness; slight floral “saison” finish; no spice from rye or yeast

comments: this was definitely a happy accident – my cultured dregs must have had some lacto that took off during the 80F fermentation (although no pellicle was present).  the sourness here is pleasing and clean, and makes for a great summer session sour.  however, it is definitely less complex than my other sour saison (for one, it has no funk).  a clean sourness was clearly present during kegging after a month in primary, so this may be the way to go for a “quick” session sour, a blending sour, etc.  I may try to toss this yeast slurry into a wheat beer at 80F for a berliner weiss attempt, or may try racking a similar recipe onto fruit.



in other news, LA beer week is in full swing, so grab a designated driver and hit up some events!


AP’s amber ale, end of hop harvest

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

while my pint preference has varied over the years from hoppy, to strong, and lately to sour, AP’s (AKA SWMBO‘s) has taken a different course altogether.

  • although she thoroughly enjoys the occasional sour and fresh IPA, AP has always leaned towards more malt and yeast-forward selections.  when I hinted last week that I was planning on brewing over the weekend, AP put her foot down and demanded a malty american amber session ale.
  • since the only other amber I brewed as of late involved a healthy amount of hops and a high OG, I reformulated my recipe utilizing jmo88’s recipe on homebrewtalk as inspiration (12 gal batch):
  • 18.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 77.92 %
    2.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 8.66 %
    2.00 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 8.66 %
    1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 4.33 %
    0.10 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 0.43 %
    3.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops 23.4 IBU
    1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (Dry Hop 14 days) Hops
    1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (20 min) Hops 4.7 IBU
    1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (10 min) Hops 2.8 IBU
    1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (0 min) Hops
  • I mashed in at 156F for more malt body, and low AA cascades helped get the IBUs down to under 30.  I spaced out and forgot to take an initial gravity reading, but at my average 80% efficiency the OG should be around 1.055 and should finish around 1.014 for a sessionable 5.3% end result.  I will probably skip the dry hops for five gallons, but may add them and/or apricot puree or extract to the other five for a little something different.
  • as for yeast, I used a couple packets of safale S-04, which were a good alternative to liquid yeast during the hot west coast shipping months and which should add even more to the malt spectrum.
  • on another note, after kegging my patersbier, I ended up the hop harvest by picking 4.25 oz. of cascade cones off my  in-ground cascade plant  I swapped out of a planter this year.  the cones’ aroma seemed a little subdued, so I will likely end up using them for bittering in an upcoming “local” saison.  stay tuned…