Posts Tagged ‘vizcaino’

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.





june PG meeting, house saison IV, thrashlab visit

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

last thursday was the third thursday of the month, and as with all third thursdays, I headed up to culver city for pacific gravity’s monthly meeting.

  • I brought along bottles of my imperial stout and vizcaino for some sensory analysis – vizcaino’s bretty/fruity aroma and golden strong characteristics were well received, and the consensus regarding the imperial stout was that lack of carbonation and high finishing gravity hindered the overall package.
  • as a result, after kegging my clean portion of belgian amber and dosing the other portion with brett b, I individually opened each bottle of my imperial stout and re-yeasted them with red star premier cuvee dry wine yeast.  I contemplated trying a dry ale yeast first, but the beer’s high abv made me doubt that method’s success.  I plan on trying a bottle next week and chilling the bottles once adequate carbonation has been achieved to reduce the risk of overcarbonation.

I also got around to brewing the fourth iteration of my house saison after bottling the third batch last week.

  • keeping with my previous strategy of alternating light and dark variations, I strayed slightly from last year’s recipe with a few modifications, including the use of dark, pungent liquid candi sugar and low-alpha hops early in the boil (12 gal recipe):
    • 18 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 72.7 %
      1 lbs 8.0 oz Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 3 6.1 %
      1 lbs 8.0 oz Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 4 6.1 %
      1 lbs 4.0 oz Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 5 5.1 %
      1 lbs Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 6 4.0 %
      1 lbs Candi Sugar, Dark (275.0 SRM) Sugar 7 4.0 %
      3.00 oz Saaz [1.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 4.1 IBUs
  • I also mashed higher than normal at 156F and hit my target gravity of 1.059 (14.5 brix) exactly due to a smooth sparge/lauter.  I gave my house slurry a couple days head start and then pitched a single vial of WLP566, which took off in a few hours.  after brewing this batch I came to realize that what was once a slight riff on a saison has evolved into sours somewhat comparable to blanc and banning.  as a result, after this batch has been kegged and bottled, I plan on returning to brewing a standard saison (likely with a high finisher like WLP565) with a simple post-fermentation brett addition (maybe some WLP644?).
  • also, during the start of my brew day the crew from thrashlab (specifically, the subculture club derivative) stopped by to film a general homebrewing how-to as well as to interview me about my process/brewing history.  everyone involved was a consummate professional, and filming went fairly smoothly.  it was definitely neat to share my love of homebrewing and hopefully turn some more people on to the hobby.  stay tuned for a link to the final video(s), and be sure to scrutinize all minutiae and call me out on any mistakes…




house saison bottling, vizcaino notes, fixing barrel leaks

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

last week, while topping off airlocks in the fermentation room, I noticed that yet another six months had passed since my last house saison started fermenting.

  • after grabbing some bottles and other goodies from south bay brewing supply, I cleaned out a corny keg, blasted everything with sanitizer, and got to filling.  the saison finished at 1.004 for a final ABV of 7.5%.  the beer is light gold, crystal clear, and has nice acidity as well as a strong tropical fruit aroma.  I’m considering serving this through a randall stuffed with bright citrus hops or blending some of it with a standard saison.

I also got around to tasting my first batch of vizcaino that had been in the bottle for two months:

  • appearance: pale gold, fine but thorough effervescence, 1/4″ head that manages to stick around as the beer warms
  • aroma: fresh cut fruit/melon with slight esters and brett in back
  • taste: vanilla oak with a warming alcohol finish, slight bit of earthy brett funk in there as well
  • overall: although this beer lacked significant sourness due to a low mash temp and late lacto/pedio additions, the fruit and funk brought in by the brett do complement the overall package, although I’m not sure it was worth a year’s worth of aging…

I also noticed a slight leak at the bottom perimeter of one side of the head in my solera barrel that had slowly worsened to the point where a few ounces of beer had escaped (much to the delight of some fruit flies).

  • instead of waiting for some barrel wax in the mail, I tapped into some homebrewer ingenuity and rolled a small piece of warm water surf wax into a cylinder, which I then pressed into the seam of the barrel head with a pen tip and smoothed out by running the head of a small allen wrench along the seam.  worked like a charm!




may PG meeting, cider, belgian small beer, temptation notes

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

the third thursday of may was last week, which meant that I was headed to culver city for PG’s monthly meeting.

  • the monthly style was IPAs, which drew a ton of kegs (12+) and commercial bottles as well as a great crowd (the raffle was especially entertaining).  after resting my blown-out palate, I pulled the cork from a bottle of my cider, which had just turned the corner after being sick with pedio for several months (a good thing!).  I was pleased with the results and held a more detailed (and lupulin-free) tasting last night.
    • basque cider
    • appearance – pale gold, great clarity, very slight carbonation
    • aroma – earthy funk, sweet cooked apple, spice
    • taste – clean, light funk up front with a lingering apple finish, mellow acidity
    • notes – although not as funky as I would have hoped (aroma was stronger than actual taste), this is a great alternative to a standard cider and a good intro to the wild side for the uninitiated
  • I also had a chance to try out a small beer I had made in the parti-gyle method while sparging vizcaino II.  I collected around six gallons of wort at around 6 brix and pitched a starter of WLP500 that I decided to leave out of my main batch.  after adding about 1/3 gal of leftover sour cherry juice from cabrillo II, the beer finished at 2.8 brix for an abv of around 2.6%.
    • pinky (belgian small beer)
    • appearance – golden apricot color, fine effervescence, fluffy white head
    • aroma – light floral belgian yeast, clove spice, slight belgian phenols
    • taste – light and crisp with a dry, slightly bitter finish, palate scrubbing carbonation
    • notes – good budweiser sessionable alternative, lawnmower beer, could use during a tasting as a palate refresher
  • I also managed to choke down a three-year-old, delightfully bretty bottle of temptation (004X1) and pitch the dregs into vizcaino II.  it had been a while since I had tried that beer and I was somewhat surprised to find very little lacto or pedio sourness in the flavor profile – just a very assertive brett character reminiscent of orval that provided a fluffy, long lasting head and great carbonation.  hopefully some of that brett character comes through in vizcaino!



vizcaino II

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

as mentioned last week, after bottling vizcaino, my latest pipeline beer, I reformulated the recipe and strategy for the second batch in order to optimize desired characteristics in the beer (namely, complex funk and sourness).

  • specifically, I changed up the recipe by adding some wheat and reducing simple fermentables and IBUs, as follows (11gal recipe):
    • 26.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 78.79 %
      5.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 15.15 %
      3.00 oz Saaz [1.00 %] (90 min) Hops 4.0 IBU
      2.00 lb Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 6.06 %
  • I also mashed at 154 and boiled down from 13 gallons in 90 minutes.  a boil over and fast sparge left me with an OG of 1.084, which at first was a bit disappointing (I had shot for 1.091) until I realized that if my fermentation goes as planned the final product will be anywhere from 10.5-11%abv.  I’m planning on racking onto apricots after six months (at which point in time I may rack the next batch of banning onto the yeast cake) and bottling/kegging after another six.
  • as for yeast, after much thought I pitched a second-generation slurry of ECY01 bugfarm blend VI that I had stepped up in about 800mL of starter wort over the course of a couple of days.  since the blend supposedly contains multiple varieties of saison yeast, I decided to forgo any other additions.  after about 12 hours the blend had attacked the wort and had the airlock aggressively churning.  I love this stuff!


april PG meeting, bottling vizcaino

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

last thursday I headed over to culver city for the pacific gravity april meeting.

  • the keg of the month style was scottish/irish/english ales, and although I considered entering my “cascadian small beer” as a dark mild, I ended up chilling a variety of sour offerings to pour out during the meeting.  after seeing how quickly my ’10 lambic went to work on some apricots, I hoped my unblended lambic bottles would have some carbonation, so I brought one along to find out.  I was stoked to see a considerable amount of effervescence when I poured out some samples, and the carbonation really brought out the fruit and sourness of the beer, which was nicely complemented by some assertive funk.  I’m interested to see how this beer evolves over the next few years, and will periodically dust off a bottle (at least once every six months) to document the progression.

I also managed to set aside some time to bottle the next beer in my funky/sour pipeline – vizcaino.

  • vizcaino was somewhat of an afterthought – I had already brewed a golden strong and had set aside a gallon of wort to step up a vial of WLP655, but after bottling a few bottles of the unfunked expression (which actually scored quite well in a comp), I decided to combine the fermented out golden strong with the sour starter on top of 1.5oz of french toasted oak and a few pounds of local wildflower honey, along with some temptation dregs.
  • however, from a souring standpoint, I was entering the game with a few strikes – I had hopped the golden strong to over 30 IBUs, mashed pretty low, and had fermented with an attenuative strain (WLP570).  I also had pitched my bugs when the beer was at 1.02, at which point it was already at an abv of 7.1%, and the honey I added was easily fermentable as a simple sugar.
  • despite the aforementioned microbial adversity, the not-completely-exhausted gravity worked in my favor, and after a few months a decent pellicle had formed.  at bottling I noticed a downplayed sour aroma with hints of fruit and floral elements, and a sample I poured out had some smooth vanilla oak and funky subtleties that I hope will come out with carbonation (I primed the keg and bottles following my methods with cabrillo).
  • however, vizcaino II will be reworked for a more assertive sourness as follows – it will have a lower hopping rate (under 10 IBUs, likely under 5), a higher mash temp (low to mid 150s F), and a little extra wheat (1-2 #s) for body.  I’m also planning on pitching ECY09 abbaye and ECY01 bugfarm slurries simultaneously to give the bugs a head start, and will likely rack onto apricots, peaches, or another light stone fruit at a later date.