Thursday, March 19, 2015

Homemade Belgian Dark Candi Syrup

Belgian Dark Candi Syrup is super expensive, at roughly $8/# after homebrew shop mark up, making any beer with it a big investment.  As a homebrewer, I tend to like to do things myself instead of paying for someone else to make it for me.  I decided to try my hand at making my own Dark Candi Syrup.  I used information from Nate O's Brew Log to make my syrup.  I looked at quite a few sources and how-tos online, and found his to not be as intensive as others, as well as easy to follow, and he claimed to have good results after making 100+ test batches.  Of course I added a couple of twists to mine, like blending 4 different sugars to try to get an extra layer of complexity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#80 Homemade Candi Syrup Belgian Dubbel Tasting

This entire concept for this beer was born out of a desire to make a Belgian Quad.  Of course, I am not paying $8 for a pound of sugar that I can spend around $2 on and an entire day of work.  Before I invested 2.5# of my first attempt and making Belgian Candi Syrup on a massive Quad, I wanted to give it a test run.  Thus this Belgian Dubbel.  I kept it simple, Pils malt, Vienna malt, and the sugar.  What started as a "better make this beer to test my sugar experiment" turned into a wonderful beer.  This could easily work itself into a normal rotation with an addition of Special B and a different yeast.

Rich aroma of caramelized raisins and toasty malts.  There is a moderate sweet Pils malt and crackery notes as well.  Mild banana esters give way to perfumy alcohol and a touch of funk (not a pure yeast pitch).  There is a hint of clove in the background, subtle.  Fruitiness dominates the nose and burnt sugar, some cherry and plum.

Pours a deep clear copper with a billowy off white head that persists to the end leaving trails of sticky lace down the glass.

Sweet and toasty malts wash over the tongue first giving way to caramelized raisins, plum skins, and dried cherries.  Almost candy like.  There is a moderate rosey alcohol note, clean, but evident.  Mild phenols spice it up at the end of the swallow.  Light banana and pear esters step aside to expose a low spicy and herbal hop note.  Low bitterness balances the finish and cleanses the palate.  Alcohol warmth lingers after the drink is swallowed.

The medium body gives way quickly to a dry finish that pulls a little at the sides of the mouth.  Bitterness is low but balances the candy sweetness well.  Medium-high carbonation gives way to alcohol warmth.

Stunning beer to look at, especially now that it has cleared (the Biere de Garde strain stays in suspension forever).  The interplay of candy, toast, alcohol, dried fruits, esters, and phenols is very balanced and complex.  Could benefit from a touch more dried fruit character, maybe some Special B.  Also needs a better yeast, the old repitch of 3725 made beer, but it isn't totally clean and doesn't produce as many phenols as this beer could have used.  The Belgian Candi Syrup was spot on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tasting: Trios Coffee Porter vs West Yorkshire Coffee Porter

The first batch of Coffee Porter was a fluke, a challenge from my wife to not add Brett to a beer for once.  I accepted that challenge, kind of, and added coffee per her suggestion.  It was so amazing that I had to rebrew it, and bring it on as one of my year round offerings for the brewery in planning.  For this version, I fermented one half the same as before, using West Yorkshire, but the other half got "Brett" Trios (not actually Brett, just a super tropicaly Sacc strain).  The purpose was to see if Brett could actually work as a house yeast for more than an IPA and Saison.  Below is a side-by-side tasting of both versions.  A real Brett fermented version will take the lessons learned from this side-by-side into account on the next re-brew.