Posts Tagged ‘fantome’

freakin frog las vegas, pellicle update

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

last weekend my buddy EH and I hopped on a plane to vegas to meet up with some old friends for some catching up.

  • unfortunately, our hotel was a hike from my go-to beer spot on the strip – burger bar.  that, and a rigid weekend schedule prevented much exploration once we set up shop at the hotel.  if only I had time for rosemary’s
  • the only answer was to stock up on some quality brews straight from the airport and stash them in the hotel for the weekend.
  • a few minutes on beerfly netted a couple promising spots – aces and ales and freaking frog.   the latter’s close proximity to the airport and supposedly extensive beer cooler clinched it, and as soon as we could grab a cab we headed over in the triple digit heat.
  • unfazed by the lack of windows and goofy exterior signage of the frog, we slipped in and were immediately welcomed with a decent draft selection.  however, the real action was in the frog’s walk-in cooler, where a fantastic variety of brews from all over awaited our perusal in a refreshingly cold environment.
  • after poring over the selection, a bottle of fantome’s saison was popped for immediate gratification, and bottles of DFH fort (boozy, sweet, and fruity, would do well with a few years on it) and olde school (warm, fruity, and full-bodied; great with a padron ’64 anniversary exclusivo), as well as a bottle of cantillon kriek (easily in my top 5), were nabbed for weekend enjoyment.
  • after checking out the impressive whisky attic at the frog (which supposedly stocks the largest variety in the US), we grabbed our stash and headed for a nearby liquor store, where significant quantities of swill were picked up for those in the party with less discerning palates.  that’s not to say a few crown-embossed tabs weren’t popped by yours truly that weekend…

 

  • upon returning to LA on sunday, I was greeted by a dramatic increase in the pellicle crowning my cuvee de blanc (possibly due to the recent increase in temps).  AP’s reaction was less enthusiastic than mine – hopefully she’ll forget about it next year come bottling time…

winter saison; tap handles

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

after more than a month of weekend trips and get-togethers, I was itching to head out to the garage and get a boil going.

  • my timing couldn’t have been better – it was closing in on six months since I brewed my saison, so my plan was to bottle and keg it and pitch its successor onto the yeast cake.
  • I decided on a slight variation of the last saison recipe, and included some carafa II to add a slight roastiness that was a big hit in my black lager:
    • 0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2.04 %
      18.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM) Grain 73.47 %
      1.50 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 6.12 %
      1.50 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 6.12 %
      1.25 lb Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 5.10 %
      0.25 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 1.02 %
      3.00 oz Spalter [3.00 %] (70 min) Hops 13.0 IBU
      1.50 oz Spalter [3.00 %] (0 min) Hops
      1.50 lb Honey (1.0 SRM) Sugar 6.12 %
  • as shown above, I also subbed in local PV wildflower honey for the candi sugar (added at flameout for a final OG of 1.063.), used lower AA hops for a total of 13 IBUs, mashed higher at 151F, and didn’t oxygenate before racking onto the cake.  the last three tweaks were made in the hopes of giving my bugs a little extra help over the long run.
  • speaking of bugs, the WLP566, WLP655, and the series of fantome dregs I added (noel at 2 days and saison at 5 months into fermentation) did some great work on my summer saison – the end result had a tropical fruity aroma with some assertive funk and slight sourness in the sample I took while bottling.  I couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief when I popped the carboy cap and was welcomed by a funky pellicle and fruity, sour aroma.
  • additionally, I collected four gallons of additional runoff from my mash tun and added 1.5 lbs of honey to make what I’ll call a “small braggot.”  I boiled it down to 3 gallons (at an OG of 1.033), hopped it proportionately to the winter saison, and pitched a small slurry of my saison blend into the results.
  • after a day or so of anxiety, both the winter saison and the braggot took off vigorously.  at least I’ll have 10 gallons of summer saison to keep me company while I wait six more months for this one!

In addition to my brew session, I also got around to putting together a custom tap handle for my keezer.

  • after sourcing a wood insert nut at lowe’s, I drilled a hole into a smooth piece of driftwood I picked up from wright’s beach and threaded the nut in.  this handle will signify the “wild” tap of my keezer, which will soon be pouring my wild patersbier and saison.

stuffed sandwich

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

last weekend AP and I found ourselves in san gabriel to meet up with EH and CH for our first stuffed sandwich experience.

  • in the same vein as toronado, stuffed sandwich has been around for decades and has achieved an almost legendary status.  like bars such as toronado and zeitgeist, stuffed sandwich is not for wimps, but those that stick to their guns, do their research, and follow the prescribed routine are greatly rewarded.
  • as we walked in the door, I got a text from EH reminding me of rule #1: order food first.  there are two lines (one for beer, one for food); if you get in the beer line first you are in for a rude awakening.
  • AP and I handled rule #1 without breaking a sweat, but got stuck at rule #2: bring your own glass.  luckily, EH brought enough glassware for the whole group, so I was only paper cupping it for a minute or two.  alternatively, we could have bought a glass from the wall of glassware inside.
  • aside from a minute or two of staring dumbfounded at the diverse and deep cooler selection, everything else went smoothly, and soon I was digging in to a tasty italian sub on the back patio and chasing it with an exceptionally killer bottle of fantome saison.
  • an hour or so later I was talking homebrew with marlene, one of the proprietors, and nabbing a bottle of cantillon geuze to finish up the afternoon.  I could have spent all day there grabbing unique bottles and knocking down sandwiches.
  • with the best bottle selection in the area, great deli selections, and very reasonable beer and food prices, stuffed sandwich is near the top of my list of go-to spots in socal.  did  I mention any of their beers can be purchased to go? now I just need another excuse to get up to san gabriel…

saison

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

after trying CB’s awesome saison last time I was up in SF, I knew it was time to experiment with the style.

  • luckily, I had suckered him into divulging his recipe, and after a quick trip to the brew store for some yeast and bugs, an impromptu thanksgiving weekend brew day was thrown together.
  • I followed CB’s recipe for the most part, but was also in the christmas mood and made slight changes accordingly (see bold):
    • 0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2.41 %
      16.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM) Grain 77.11 %
      1.25 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 6.02 %
      1.25 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 6.02 %
      0.25 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 1.20 %
      3.50 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (70 min) Hops 30.1 IBU
      1.50 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (0 min) Hops
      1.50 lb Candi Sugar, Clear (0.5 SRM) (used dark bel. candi) Sugar 7.23 %
      1 Pkgs Belgian Saison II Ale (White Labs #WLP566) Yeast-Ale
  • I mashed at 148 and ended up with around 11 gals at an OG of 1.057.
  • after pitching the yeast at 72F, I gave it a 2 day head start, then pitched white labs sour mix I and dregs from a fresh bottle of fantome noel, which had a medium fruity nose and a significant tobacco back (not my favorite bottle of the stuff, but what can you do).
  • the batch is currently fermenting at an ambient temp of 62-64, which is definitely not ideal for a saison, but since this will be in the fermenter for six months or longer I can wait for warmer weather (and hopefully some fruity esters).
  • thanks again for the inspiration CB!  can’t wait to see how this stacks up against your brew.

completing the keezer and going pro for a day: WIR 06/04-06/07

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

last weekend was full of brew related accomplishments and surprises.

  • on thursday night I finished up the keezer collar, and AP and I lugged the thing down to the basement, where I fitted the taps and ran the beer lines.
  • after wiring up the ranco temperature controller with some help online, I ran the temp probe and the gas lines and fired everything up.
  • the thing works like a charm, and it’s great to have so much fridge space for storing kegs and other bulky items.  I can even lager in my brew bucket if I want to, but I will probably lager in kegs the old kegerator.
  • on friday DH drove down and we skipped over to naja’s for an afternoon brew.  I got to try a taster of ‘dark side imperial stout’ or something like that from sierra nevada, but ended up with an ’08 alaskan barleywine, which was nice and malty but still relatively drinkable.  we finished up in style with a bottle of fantome saison, which had a great fruity aroma and finish.
  • I am always amazed at the number of homebrewers that roll by naja’s for a pour – they are always friendly and can talk beer all night long.  friday was no exception – we ran into bob, a member of pacific gravity with a sick all-grain gravity system and a vast brew knowledge.  hopefully we’ll meet up again bob, maybe at a pacific gravity meeting!
  • friday night the smoker was fired up, and by saturday afternoon 20 lbs of pulled pork was ready to rock, in addition to 3 beer can chickens and a couple dozen smoked brats.  that along with a the kegs of alt and kolsch kept friends and family busy for hours.
  • both kegs were a hit and got kicked before the sun went down.  they were very drinkable and great session beers, but my only complaint was the clarity (both had a little haze from only being lagered for a week or so).  unfortunately, no pictures were taken (again) due to entertaining duties.  next time, I swear…
  • just when I thought my beer weekend was coming to a close, I got a call sunday from james of san pedro brew co. he had tried my brews on saturday and wanted to know if I was interested in swinging by the brewery this week to check out a brew session.  I jumped at the chance and told him I would be by monday.
  • monday morning I met up with jason, the award-winning brewer at san pedro brew co.  he had already started mashing an experimental amber ale and patiently explained the entire process on their 5 bbl. system.  he let me help out with the mash, explained their lauter and sparge process, and let me participate with some hop additions.  I was flipping switches, pulling levers, and loving every minute of it.
  • when it came time to empty the mash tun, he must have though I was an idiot since I practically begged him to do it.  he let me stick around for the entirety of the boil all the way to racking the wort into their conical and let me help out with the crush and line sanitation for the next day’s brew.  it was an awesome experience, and I was like a kid in a candy store, ogling all the equipment and trying out jason’s killer brews.  thanks again jason, and good luck with your latest comp results!

kegging the kolsch/port bottle shop

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

last saturday I managed to keg my kolsch and on sunday I hit up port bottle shop.

  • FYI, when I keg, I just toss in 3 oz. of bottling sugar straight into the keg (no boiling) and rack the beer on top.
  • I use my portable keg charger and a single canister to push PBW and sanitizer through my dip tube, and I use what’s left in the cartridge to seal the top of the keg after filling it.
  • the above method makes for quick and easy keg filling, and I have had great results with secondary fermentation in the keg.  it sure beats force carbing too (if you have the patience to wait another week or so).
  • when I was down at port, the bottle shop was slammed when I went in, as it was the annual carlsbad fair and over 100,000 people were milling around outside.
  • I slipped in and managed to score a bottle of ’10 angel’s share bourbon barrel (anyone up for a 3 year flight?) and a bottle of good ol’ fantome.
  • also, I just picked up a grain mill and the ingredients for my first all-grain batch.  tune in next week for the results (hint: it’s a kolsch rival).

weekend in review 04/09 – 04/11

Monday, April 12th, 2010

after a long week of desk jockeying, the weekend couldn’t come up fast enough.

  • after getting a little more settled in our new spot, AP and I rolled over to naja’s to meet up with AP, PP, and DP.
  • I can’t overemphasize the great atmosphere at naja’s – no pretention and a laid back attitude, right on the water!
  • not to mention great selection – I grabbed  a pour of goose island’s matilda, which was very earthy and refreshing.  AP grabbed her staple – eric’s ale.
  • once everyone showed up, the really good stuff got cracked.  first, we pulled a great bottle of fantome saison for everyone to try.
  • I also ordered up a fantastic saison that (if I remember correctly) was from brasserie d’achouffe (the tap handle was complicated and it was listed as “saison” on the board – I’ll have to get back with the name since it was pretty great).
  • there was also a north/south tasting debate going on (if only in my head) as both carlsbad’s green flash west coast IPA and healdsburg’s bear republic racer 5 were poured.  such a tough call between those two…
  • later during the weekend I tended to my fresh hop plants – in addition to last years’ vojvodina and zeus, I picked up some chinook, cascade, mt hood, and sterling varieties.
  • I got the rhizomes from freshops, and couldn’t be happier – they came fast, had noticeable buds on arrival and sprouted within a week.  however, CB had different results, however, as state agricultural problems and questionable customer service almost ruined his (sizable) order.
  • also, it will be interesting to see the yield of my second-year established plants.  I kept all my hops potted due to limited time, but if the yield is low I might reconsider next year.  fingers crossed…

fantôme de noël

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

fantome de noel in the glass

a while back CB busted out a bottle of fantome de noel, fantome’s holiday brew.

  • although past descriptions of this beer talk about coriander, black pepper, and roasted malt, the beer seems fairly light to me, like a true saison.
  • CB must have gotten a good bottle – the clean fruitiness of this brew was outstanding, much like a good bottle of their standard saison, which is one of my all-time favorites.
  • the beer also had an excellent tart finish and was very refreshing.  10% abv? where did all the alcohol go? sometimes I think Dany just makes those numbers up for laughs…
  • I can see this bottle getting broken out as a great alternative to the standard winter warmer, or getting stashed away for a hot summer BBQ that will surprise more than a few people with its well-hidden alcohol content.

fantome de noel bottle

fantome printemps

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

fantome printemps in the glass

when I went over to CB’s for his last brew day, I brought over a bottle of fantome’s printemps.

  • this saison is brewed by Dany as a seasonal beer (Saison d’ Erezee) for spring.  according to the distributor, each year’s recipes are unique.
  • although (in my opinion) this beer wasn’t as tasty as one of my all-time favorites, their standard saison, it was still a great brew – it had great carbonation and was earthy and spicy with subtle fruitiness.
  • as with all fantome brews, I will always grab at least one bottle of printemps each season when I see it on the shelf.  it’s a great warm-weather beer, perfect for a BBQ or outdoor gathering.

fantome printemps bottle

fantome saison

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

fantome saison

ah, fantome, how I love your saison.

  • the sheer fruitiness of this beer is unreal! I cannot believe how much tropical fruit aroma and flavor come from this yeast alone.  the fruit is not overwhelming though, it is very complementary, and the beer is ultimately complex and drinkable.
  • in fact, I have come across more than a couple clone recipes for this beer that call for strawberry, guava, and other juices in order to replicate the fruit elements of this yeast.  however, I have heard that wyeast occasionally releases a special strain of this yeast…
  • this bottle was especially fruity and clean.  however, it is always a crap shoot when opening a fantome bottle – since they are bottled by hand in small batches, they are very unpredictable in terms of carbonation and flavor.  every time you open a bottle you are rolling the dice.
  • on my trip to belgium last year, I tried to plan out a trip to Soy, where fantome is located.  however, it’s quite a trek from brussels, so the trip didn’t happen (some day!).
  • a little trivia – the equipment Dany Prignon uses over at fantome is from Brasserie d’Achouffe.
  • also, according to the same source, the brewery is named after “a legend of the nearby town of La Roche-en-Ardenne, which asserts that the ghost of the long-dead Countess Berthe de La Roche can still be seen walking amidst the ruins of the town’s castle
  • I just checked the ABV of this sucker – 8%??? where does the alcohol go?!?

fantome saison bottle

fantome saison in glass