Posts Tagged ‘cabrillo’

bottling cabrillo II

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

draining the fermentor

last sunday, after delabeling and rinsing a case of bottles, I finally got around to bottling cabrillo II.

  • ten months of exposure to cherries and french oak were very kind to the beer – it has an amazing sour cherry and slightly oaky aroma.  the fruit came through nicely in the beer’s flavor, complementing smooth vanilla notes and an intense overall acidity. 
  • the beer finished at 10 brix (1.009) on the dot, for an ABV of 10.67%.  I mashed a little higher for this second iteration, which resulted in a little more body for an improved overall balance.  I also saved three pints of slurry for a future phantom carriage brew.  I’m really excited for this one to carb up!

in the bottling bucket               slurry



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.


cuvee de cabrillo

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I have definitely been on a funky/sour brewing kick lately.

  • now that my lambic and funky saison are quietly chugging away in the basement, I figured one more sour in the pipeline couldn’t hurt.
  • after debating a multitude of beers ranging from sour golden strongs to funky sessionable wild ales, I came across a general guideline in wild brews for a sour strong/quadrupel inspired by lost abbey’s cuvee de tomme, one of my favorite sour strongs.
  • after tweaking the recipe for my setup and changing a few variables, here’s what I came up with:
    • cuvee de cabrillo
    • 22.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 66.07 %
      2.00 lb Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 6.01 %
      2.00 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 6.01 %
      2.00 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 6.01 %
      2.00 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 6.01 %
      0.65 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 1.95 %
      0.65 lb Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 1.95 %
      2.00 oz Northern Brewer, .3 oz Tradition (120 min) Hops ? IBU
      1.00 oz US Fuggle (2 min) Hops ? IBU
      2.00 lb Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 6.01 %
  • I ended up with 11 gallons with an OG of 21 brix = 1.085.  I then split the batch into two 5 gallon corny kegs, fermented one with sour mix 1 and cascade apricot dregs, and hit the other with the roselare blend and ’09 drie fonteinen kriek dregs.
  • I am planning on racking on top of sour cherries in about six months and then blending and bottling after six more.  first things first though – the yeast needs to get going!  it has been almost three days and I have yet to see activity in the blowoff tubes.  I know these yeast blends take their time though, so I guess it’s time to RDWHAHB…