Posts Tagged ‘blanc’

white II, new tap handle

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

after kegging and bottling the first run of white, I saved a few pints of slurry from the fermenter and put together the second version of this sour brown.

  • I only changed up a couple of recipe elements, subbing in my super-low alpha saaz hops for last year’s spalter (for 4 IBUs instead of 16) and mashing higher at 156F (12 gallon all-grain recipe):
    • 22 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 78.6 %
      3 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 10.7 %
      2 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 3 7.1 %
      1 lbs Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.6 %
      3.00 oz Saaz [1.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 3.7 IBUs
  •  I ended up taking a long phone call during the mash, which extended my mash time to close to 2 hours.  I’m thinking this helped boost my efficiency, since I ended up with an OG of 17.3 brix (1.072), which was a little higher than I would have liked.  I pitched the saved slurry with a single vial of WLP530, and in less than a day I had a raging fermentation with krausen blasting the cover off of my half barrel fermenter and pouring out the top.  a bout of hot weather forced me to start fermentation at close to 75F, but I have read online that the abbey yeast strain is very temperature tolerant and even thrives at warmer temps, so I have high hopes here.

after waxing and storing my vizcaino bottles for the long haul, I also got around to fabricating my second custom tap handle for my kegerator.

  • after the resounding success of my first tap handle experiment, I made a point to keep an eye out for potential tap handle material during my travels.  while playing some incredible disc golf over at solitude a few weeks ago, I came across a pile of aspen branches and scored a perfectly cylindrical chunk from the bunch.  after a little sawing and drilling, a wood insert nut was tapped into the branch and a new tap handle was born.  now I have reminders of two great trips on display every time I go to grab a pour in the basement.





white bottling, wild beers article, brew something LA meeting

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

after a year and four months in various fermenters, white (aka blanc, aka cuvee de blanc) was due for bottling/kegging.

  • I followed the same yeast and sugar additions as with cabrillo and vizcaino for 10 gallons (5 in the keg and 2 cases of bombers), and bottled the remaining 2 gallons with individual sugar and yeast additions in the bottle.  it will be interesting to see if the bottles go through the diacetyl cycle I have been noticing in my other sours.
  • after letting the blend of different fermenters percolate for a few months, the finished product had inherited traits from each.  with a final gravity of a hair over 7 brix, the beer had a strong brett and fruit aroma as well as an intense sourness intermingling with a solid brett presence (more so than cabrillo).  I’m excited to see how this brew finishes once it is carbed up.
  • I also decided it was time to salvage the yeast slurry from cabrillo that white had been racked onto.  with AP’s help I managed to save a few liters of slurry for repitching, but not before splattering both of us with a mess of yeast, bugs, oak cubes, and disintegrated cherry remains.  AP was not enthused, to say the least.

on another note, a while back, BT from blackmanbrew requested an article on sours/wild beers for his local homebrew club’s newsletter.  after some thought I decided to put together a primer for those considering making the plunge into wild ales.  it includes an analysis of a variety of considerations beginning wild brewers may want to consider.  check it out HERE (PDF link).

last weekend I also decided to tag along for one of the first brew something LA meetups at umamicatessen.

  • the large turnout was indicative of the recent surge within the current LA beer scene – beer reporters, aspiring homebrewers, and commercial brewers all jockeyed for conversation space while taps from smog city and hangar 24 flowed freely.  although the acoustics of the meeting room left much to be desired, the killer sliders and side dishes more than made up for it.  I’m looking forward to seeing what develops in future meetings!




cabrillo II, blanc updates; diacetyl observations

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

a little while back I decided it was time to rack cabrillo II onto cherries and oak.

  • primary fermentation had been chugging along for close to four months, and since my first batch‘s ten months on fruit and wood imparted plenty of cherry and vanilla notes, I figured it was time to act.
  • this time around I went with around 116oz of tart cherries (likely closer to 100oz after separating the juice/water) and 1.5 oz of toasted french oak.  the initial batch of cabrillo’s 2.5 oz of oak initially dominated the beer with intense vanilla and took a few months to tone down, so I’m hoping the lower amount and shorter exposure complements the final product while allowing the cherries to shine a little more.

after racking cabrillo II, I decided to rack blanc onto the lees, oak, and remaining cherry pomace in cabrillo II’s primary fermenter.

  • I figured the bugs from cabrillo had already proven themselves as reliable and could only add more complexity to blanc.  since blanc was fermented in three separate containers, I also had a feeling that the three portions would need to be blended together in order to achieve a more consistent final product.  to test this theory, I compared samples from each fermenter during racking:
    • blanc A (3 gallon better bottle):
      • visible pellicle during fermentation
      • funky, sour aroma
      • aggressively sour body and finish
      • FG: 6 brix
    • blanc B (sealed corny keg under slight CO2 pressure):
      • no pellicle visible upon opening
      • burst of bretty diaper upon opening keg
      • strong brett/funky nose with hint of fruit
      • more fruity sourness with a dry, bretty finish (not as acidic as A)
      • FG: 7 brix
    • blanc C (sealed corny keg under slight CO2 pressure):
      • fruity brett aroma
      • acidic, fruity sourness
      • clean, bretty finish
      • FG: 7 brix
  • based on my observations, it seems that the additional oxygen allowed in by the better bottle increased both attenuation as well as perceptible sourness in the beer.  I should note that both the aroma and the taste of the better bottle-fermented portion seemed similar to my sanke keg-fermented sours (each of which had significant headspace in the keg).  since brett is anerobic, it seems that it thrived in the pressurized CO2 environment provided by the sealed corny kegs.

as a side note, after perusing some articles on homebrewtalk and the BBB I have come to the realization that the initial buttered-popcorn-jellybean flavor that initially dominated cabrillo I in the bottle was likely diacetyl produced by pediococcus, accentuated with vanilla imparted by the oak.

  • after checking my notes, it seems I didn’t notice any buttery flavors out of the fermenter, but after a few weeks in the bottle the flavor was dominant.  it seems that the pedio kicked out a lot of diacetyl upon bottling (maybe due to oxygen exposure during the bottling process?) and that the brettanomyces still in suspension cleaned up most of the diacetyl while in the bottle (I still can taste a fleeting note of sweet butter every now and again while pouring cabrillo I on draft, but it is hard to find in the bottles).
  • the lesson here? if the diacetyl was noticeable in the fermenter I would have likely waited it out while the brett cleaned up, but it is nice to know that the brett can still perform cleanup in the bottle/keg if need be.