Thursday, June 16, 2016

Brewery Trial Review: Session Saison: Tragic Magic

I recently tried using a fining agent on my beers to see if they would impact the flavor of the finished product.  Specifically, I took my Saison and split it at packaging.  Half went into the keg on the fining and was then racked off the fining onto the dryhops in a second keg.  The other half was dryhopped before being racked into a second keg with the fining agent.  The attempt was to see if dryhopping prior to fining or after fining altered the dryhop contribution at all.  My blend of yeast has a tendency to transform hop oils so the thought was if I removed the yeast it would have less impact on the hops.  As far as the Noble hops on this Saison, the results were rather negligible.  There is no discernible flavor or aroma difference.  The only real difference is the appearance.  The dryhopped after fining beer has, well, hops in it.  After a few weeks of sitting in the keezer, the hop particles in the bottom of the keg keep on coming.  They don't seem to be compacting on the bottom and staying there. 

Pours a clear pale gold with a hint of orange under a dense and tight white head that falls way too quick for a Saison.  Thin ring leaves mild splattering on the glass.  Bubbles flutter up the glass.

Herbal and floral hops with a hint of spiciness lead the charge giving way to an earthy yeast note.  Pears and citrus with a touch of pineapple esters and a rosey alcohol float atop crackery malts and wheat with a light rye.

Pears and citrus give way to earthy phenols and a rye bite.  Crackery and rustic malt rear up behind notes of floral and spicy hops.  Bitterness is high and a little off putting as well as the hop flavor.  Complex to say the least.  The malt is medium low while everything else fires on medium high.  Lots of flavor for such a small beer.  No astringency.

Light body with bone dry and very bitter finish.  Bubbles dance on the tongue, no alcohol bite.

Crushable high flavor session beer.  The complexity is right where it should be for a Saison.  The bitterness and hop flavor are a little too high as they linger too long into the finish instead of cleansing the palate.  The head needs better retention for sure.  These kegs have had some issues with foam which I think I have fixed with by insulating the collar on the keezer.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Brewery Trial Recipe - Session Saison: Tragic Magic 4.0

It's been awhile since the last time I posted about this beer recipe, but yet this is only the next iteration.  Something about a 4.5% ABV Session Saison that didn't scream rebrew me during the cold months of Winter.  Over the past versions of this recipe there was just something less authentic about this beer, especially in the hopping.  I recently did a Super Saison with all Noble hops as a test batch and really like the results, although the amount of Vienna in the base on that one made it a little too malty.  For this trial recipe I wanted to try to pull in a little more rusticness and some spiciness so I swapped out the Flaked Oats for Flaked Rye and kicked up the percentage to double what I had used with the oats.  I also subbed in some German Dark Wheat for some added foam and color as well as a little more rustic bite.  I also went with Noble type hops on this run using Saaz for its spicy floral tones, and Hallertau and Tettnang for there floral, spice, and herbal notes.  So far the gravity samples are much more in line with where I want this beer to be.  Much more rustic, some herbal spiciness, dry, crisp, medium level maltiness, bitter finish, and lots of complex fruitiness.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Brewery Trial Recipe: Release The Panic IPA 8.0 & Panic At The Disco Habanero IPA 1.0

After recent batches of Release The Panic saw changes in hopping like Simcoe and Amarillo I decided to go back to the original hop schedule but beefed up a bit like recent versions.  There is something about the Columbus, Nugget, Chinook, and Meridian oils once biotransformed by my house yeast that creates something wonderful.  Super fruity and a balanced dankness and pine.  For this batch I didn't want to have a full 10 gallons of the same beer on tap allowing for the hops to fade out on keg 2 while drinking keg 1.  On this one I decided to toss some Habanero into the secondary to get some heat and the fruitiness of a Habanero flesh.  I also swapped out the base malt from Pale Ale malt to Vienna to get a richer malt balance and to drop the sugar addition and add some Cara-Pils to add a touch more body.  The super dry finish on previous batches was nice, but the lack of body wasn't.  I really wanted a good body and malt complexity to back up all the hops and the yeast.  Don't get me wrong, I like a good hop monster with no malt backbone showcasing all the hops and a yeast that gets out of the way as well, but they aren't balanced and certainly not drinkable enough to knock back a couple and still fell your tongue.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Test Batch Review - Super Saison: Imaginary 1.0

As I stated in the recipe post Super Saison isn't my usual go-to beer.  Let's be honest, it's nobodys go-to beer.  It is a special ocassion beer by nature.  So why have it as a staple in a brewery?  Because drinking a beer at End Of Silence is always a special ocassion.  Having a breadth of styles and ABVs is always a good idea.  Everybody has massive IPAs and Imperial Stouts (as will I), but who has a readily available Super Saison.

Appearance: A foggy orange pour under a frothy egg white head that clings to the sides through the whole drink.  Needs a little more carbonation to keep the head up through the whole glass and bubbles for sparkle.

Aroma:  Pear and citrus pop from the glass with a light herbal note from the hops and a toasty malt base following behind.  A light rosey alcohol comes through in the end with a hint of fresh cracked pepper and cardamom.

Flavor:  The tongue follows the nose with pears and citrus, herbal hops, light spiciness, and a hint of cracked pepper.  Lots of toasted biscuits.  Just a mild funkiness and acidity.  Alcohol is light and floral.  Bitterness is balancing.  Very malty for the style.  More like a malty Tripel than a Imperial Saison.

Mouthfeel: Big and bold with a medium body and a fairly dry finish.  The maltiness and alcohol with a lower carbonation leave a little more heaviness on the tongue than a Saison should have, no matter the ABV.  Needs more carbonation for sure.

Overall:  Near miss, not an epic fail.  The maltiness, low carobonation, and high alcohol create for a bigger feeling beer than a super drinkable Saison.  The hops and esters come across nicely, just too malty and "heavy".  A little more bitterness, less Vienna, and higher carbonation would line this up where it needs to be.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Brewery Trial Recipe: Super Saison: Imaginary 1.0

Although there is something wonderful about the depth of complexity and drinkability in a low alcohol Saison like Duponts Avril, or even the sheer perfection of their classic Saison, their is something of majesty and whimsy about the Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux.  At 9.5% ABV it is still way too drinkable, spicy, crackery, zesty, malty, and fruity, and super refreshing until the ABV hits you.  A style I tend to shy away from except on special ocassions, I really want to have a beer that draws its inspiration from Avec Les Bons Vouex in the brewery.  For the first iteration of this recipe I went with a base of Vienna cut with Pilsner, German Dark Wheat, and Flaked Oats, with a hefty dose of sugar to get it nice and dry and still have what the Belgians call digestibility (never heavy, easy drinking no matter how high the alcohol).  I hopped it with Saaz, Tettnang, and Hallertau for a more authentic Saison character.  The beer is not designed to be a clone which would have had only Pilsner malt and Saaz with Styrian Goldings.