Friday, June 15, 2018

L'Internationale Homebrew Recipe

Here it is!  What you've all been waiting for.  The recipe for the international collaboration that was designed by the Saison, Bière de Garde, and Farmhouse Appreciation Society.  The group helped pick the recipe it and some fantastic pro brewers are brewing it.  In my opinion, it's exactly what Saison should be.  Simple yet beautiful.

We had a group of homebrewers all brew the recipe and see how it did across many different systems and all throughout the US and Canada.  We're swapping some bottles and doing some tastings to make sure the pro recipe translated well to homebrew level.  Form the bottles of mine I've opened I'll say I'm pretty happy with it.

One thing that makes this recipe unique is that it ties in both old world and new world.  We use lots of low alpha hops to bring in the bitterness (and I mean it's a ton of hops at 1.2-2.4 AA).  Then we finish the beer with some really nice new world hops.  The low AA hops bring a lot of traditional character to the beer and the new world hops bring in some fruity and wine like characters.

Pro Breweries who are brewing the official group beer:

Block Three Brewing - St. Jacobs, Ontario, CAN - IG
Pit Carabou - Quebec, CAN
Deep Dark Wood Brewing - Whitehorse Yukon Territory, CAN - IG
American Solera - Tulsa, OK, USA - IG
Strange Brewin - Buenos Aires, Argentina - IG
Cloudwater Brewing - Manchester, UK - IG
Braueri Kemker -  Alverskirchen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany - IG
Ale Farm Brewing - Greve, Roskilde Denmark - IG
Wildflower Beer - Australia - IG
Brasserie Thiriez - Esquelbecq, France

As you can see there are breweries from all over the world brewing this recipe.  It's really cool to see those names brewing something we as a group voted on!

Recipe below.  Feel free to try it out.  Add in some mixed cultures, try different yeasts.  Try it with the Bière de Coupage technique.  Come share your brew day and tasting notes with us in the group.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask me or any other of the fantastic pro and homebrewers within the group.


Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Time: 60 min (90 if you prefer with Pilsner)
Efficiency: 75 %

70% Pilsner
18% Malted Pale Wheat
12% Malted Rye

18 IBUs Strisslespalt @ 60 min
6  IBUs Strisslespalt @ 10 min
6  IBUs Motueka @ 5 min
5  IBUs Hallertau Blanc @ 5 min

Mash in to reach 147F and hold for 60 min.  Target preboil gravity of 1.031.  I used Gypsum, Calcium Chloride and 88% Lactic Acid to get my mash pH to 5.28.  I typically shoot for 5.2-5.3.

Boil for 60-90 min adding hops as scheduled.  Target SG of 1.042.

There were so many hops I had to add in another hop spider in there during brewing.  I had a time cleaning them all up!

Pitch favorite Saison yeast/blend. (For the test we used Safale BE-134).  The Pros all did mixed fermentation with their house cultures or blends as far as I know.

Even though I whilrpool and use hop spiders still lots
of hop matter got into the fermentor.

Dry hop at the end of primary fermentation with 2oz each of Hallertaur Blanc and Motueka.

Package with Bob Sylvester's (of St. Somewhere Brewing Company) method below.

Bob said for 7 bbl of beer he uses 12# of cane sugar and 250g dry Champagne yeast.
He puts both of these in 3.5 gallons of 108F water and allows the yeast to bloom for
20 minutes or so.  Using his numbers, I came up with the below:

Per gallon:
0.885oz of sugar (by weight)
1.15g of yeast
2.00oz of water (by volume)

Bob mentioned to me that the volume of the yeast is less important than the amount of sugar.
You could overshoot the amount of yeast without any ill effects.  He also recommended using
Red Star yeast as that was his favorite.  It has become hard to find for him so he has been
using Maurivin PDM and Fermentis Safoeno VR 44.  I'll be using this formula for whatever the
volume is of the beer after I've blended.  My LHBS has the Red Star Premier Cuveé so I'll be
using that.  I'm doing all of this to help with the head production and retention.  Since
every one of his beers I've had all have an amazing pillow-y head that seems to stick around
forever, I figured I'd give this a try.  It may also shorten the carbonation period as some
of my blends can take up to a month to get where I like them.  He stated that the carbonation
happens the same day of bottling if done correctly.  He also says to wait 10 days and that's
it.  That with time, the initial "rough" carbonation you get in the first couple days will
mellow out into the fluffy stuff.  That's exactly what I'm looking for.

Disclaimer:  If anyone plans to do this, make SURE you are using the correct bottles.  The
champagne bottles I typically use are rated for up to 5 vol of CO2.  If you don't have some
of the thick glass bottles rated for the higher carbonation levels, you WILL get bottle bombs.
It can be dangerous using anything not rated for the higher level of carbonation.  The caps
(or corks if you use them) seals are usually much stronger than the glass so when you go to
open them, you could have a bottle shatter.  So proceed with caution and use the right equipment.

Update:  It seems we had the numbers wrong on the math for the priming technique.  We've since updated them.  Thanks to Derek for pointing it out!

List of homebrewers who tested the recipe:
(click their names for their Instagram/Facebook pages)

Andrew Kazanovicz
Andrew Palumbo
Chris Baumann
Christopher Anderson
Chuck Collins
Dave Henry
Guillaume Chevrette
Jeff Shouse
Jonathan Belk
Josh Nacy
Kris Rolleston and Oddities Artisan Ales
Logan Henderson
Pierre-Antoine Chausseé-Castonguay
Sarah Henry
Sig Copple
Stephen Goodal
Tim Hawley
Tyler Padden
Xander Duke
Vincent Lefebvre

Now on to some tasting notes of the beer.  I've had it a few times and it's gone through a few stages after being in the bottle a few weeks.  When it was young, there was a good bit of banana from the yeast there.  One friend even said it came off like a hoppy hefeweizen.  Thankfully that has faded now.  Let's get into things.

ABV: 5.78%
SG:  1.046 or 11.43°P
FG:  1.002 or 0.51°P
Apparent Attenuation:  96%

Appearance:  Hazy pale straw color.  Almost like a NEIPA.  After some time the bottles are starting to clear a bit but I doubt this one will ever be crystal clear.  Stark white head with tons of small bubbles.  It's packed tight for sure.  Really nice lacing and the head keeps a cap as long as your drinking the glass.

Aroma:  Spicy, fruity, bit of pepper, touch of lemon and lime, other generic citrus, and a bit of hay and Pilsner grain-y aroma.  This thing really is loaded on the nose.  I do get a touch of banana and maybe clove but it's very light.  There is a wine quality like green skin fruits that I get in there too.  You can definitely tell the Motueka and Blanc hops are there.  Using so many low AA hops you pick up a bit of green vegetal aroma but that's to be expected.  The beer is still very young. 

Rocky fluffy head.  I let this beer sit for about 10 minutes and there was still
a nice head and lacing all on the glass.

Taste:  Really close to the nose.  First sip brings a blast of lime and other citrus like grapefruit and a bit of lemon.  A hint of herbal quality like lemon grass or something similar.  Then it finishes with some spicy notes from all the Strisselspalt and yeast character.  There is a very light banana note from the yeast but it is not as prevalent as before.  This one is pretty much all hops and light yeast character when it's young. It's very refreshing.  The mouthfeel is medium almost medium full.  I did use right at a 1:1 ration for my sulfate to chloride ratio.  I may go back up to 2:1 for the next brew to give it a bit more crispness.

Overall:  I think this is a solid recipe.  I will admit I don't love this yeast.  But now I know moving forward.  I have another 3 gallons to bottle that I fermented with Wallonian 3 from The Yeast Bay.  I'll report back here or on Instagram with my notes from that one.  

I really think using lots of low AA hops for bittering adds a different character than using lower amounts of high AA varieties.  I've done this a few times in my brewing and I think I'll continue doing that in Saisons.  Even using something higher like 5% AA I enjoy more than anything 10% or more.  I think it adds a roundness to the beer.  You may not get a lot of flavor but there are a lot of other compounds in there that add to the beer.  What it is, I'm not entirely sure.  But I like it.

I don't think I'd change anything else at all.  I think this is a perfect base for a Saison to use a few brettanomyces strains and even do some blending with an acid beer.  So take the recipe, brew it, play with it, let us know how you like it!  I can't wait to try some of the commercial examples.  I'm really glad American Solera participated as I'm a member of their American Solera Society.  I'll definitely be picking up multiple bottles of that one!

**Oh and Bob, if you are reading this, only three bottles weren't green.  Those were for carbonation testing.  The rest of mine are nicely tucked away in C&C green bottles!  #greenbottle

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
@aaddkison on Twitter
on UnTappd:
on Instagram:

Monday, October 23, 2017

Inspired Beer - Orval

Orval is a beer that's a big inspiration for me and a lot of others I'm sure.  It's a pillar in what used to be a very "weird" group of beers.  Go back to somewhere like 2010 and there was limited information readily accessible about brettanomyces.  You had to dig into forums and sometimes venture into the dark places of the internet.  Go back a little further and I bet there weren't many people who had ever heard the term.  I'm sure folks in the wine industry and long time sour beer producers sure knew what it was but for the regular every day craft beer fan and homebrewer, it wasn't commonplace.

But... We had Orval.  Orval started showing up here in Mississippi right after the laws changed in 2012 to allow for beer over 6.2% ABV to be sold in the state.  My craft beer obsession began around 2009 or so and I had Orval at some point before it showed up in the state.  To this day, I always have a few bottles of this wonderfully weird beer on hand.

So why is this an inspiration?  What's so great about this beer?  Besides being delicious, it is many times a person's first foray into beer with brettanomyces.  It also just so happens to combine two of my favorite things in the beer world... Belgian/Trappist beer and brett (brettanomyces) beer.  But more than that, it's a brett beer that has been produced since 1931.  I'm not positive the same process has been used but I would assume that something similar to what it produced to day has been made for a while.  In a beer world filled with sours and brett beers now, that's pretty cool.  (I'm sure there are other examples that have been made for a while too but I am not aware of them other than the sour beers of Belgium and maybe English stock ales but even those weren't meant to have brett in them.)

OK all that said, what does it taste like?  Why do people love this beer?  Well that's another interesting aspect of this one.  Since it has brett and is dry hopped it changes a good bit over time.  It evolves into different beers all together.  Fresh it is quite bitter, has awesome floral hoppy notes with a bit of spice from the yeast and just a hint of brett character in the form of what I would describe fresh wood and citrus fruit.  After about 6 months, the dry hop tends to fade and you'll get more of the Belgian yeast character that has a slight bit of acidity to it and some ripe fruits.  The brett character really starts to kick up about a year in and you'll have something completely different than the beer was fresh.

So that brings us to this post.  "Inspired Beer" is something I've been wanting to do for a while now.  Rather than actually try to clone a beer, I'd rather take inspiration from it and make something my own with a similar process.   Orval is just the first beer I wanted to write about.  It's a dry hopped, brett finished, Trappist beer.  So different from what the other Trappist breweries produce.  Using their website, reading different books and looking over the internet, below is the recipe I've come up with using inspiration from the original.

*Side Note: There used to be a beer brewed by Green Flash called Rayon Vert that was a take on Orval.  I liked that beer a lot too.  It has since been discontinued by them and I drank my last bottle of that sometime in the last year or two.  It was still awesome.

If you've ever been interested, you can find out a lot of how Orval is made straight from the source here.

Recipe:  Orval Inspired
Brewer:  Gus
Batch: Honestly, I've lost count and not really worried what batch number I'm on now.
Date: 10-21-17

Batch Size:  6.50 gal
Boil Size:  9.02 gal
Post Boil Volume:  6.77 gal
Estimated OG:  1.052 (actual was 1.057 efficiency needs to be corrected in BeerSmith equipment profile)
Estimated Color:  6.1 SRM
Estimated IBU:  30.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  74.6 %
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.6 %
Boil Time:  90 Minute

58.9%  Pilsner Malt (Weyermann BARKE)
13.7Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett)
10.5% Caravienne (Dingemans)
8.4% Golden Candi Syrup (added at the end of the boil)
8.4% Simplicity Blonde Belgian Candi Syrup (added at the end of the boil)

18.9 IBUs of Warrior @ 60 min  (It's what I had on hand for bittering. Originally I had Magnum plugged in)
11.5 IBUs of Tettnang @ 30 min
Dry Hop with 1oz Hallertau Blanc for 7 Days

Wyeast Trappist Style Blend 3789-PC - Private Collection release for Summer 2017.  A Belgian Trappist yeast strain and a strain of Brettanomyces in one pitch.  Pretty sure this was made to emulate Orval even though Orval adds Brettanomyces after primary fermentation.

Mash Schedule:
I found this Orval step mash here.
142F for 15 min
Heat to 154F and hold for 25 min
Heat to 162F and hold for 30 min
Heat to 170F and hold for 10 min for mashout
Sparge with 170F water 

Fermentaiton Schedule:
Ferment at room temperature (70-74F) until FG is achieved.

Ideally you'd probably want to use a Belgian pale ale malt but I have Maris Otter on hand so I used that.  Some classic flavoring hops and I'll be using Hallertau Blanc for dry hopping.  I'm interested to see how this plays with the Belgian yeast and brettanomyces.  I really like this hop in Saison so we'll see how it does here.

Didn't break out the camera on this brew day so you get cell phone pics. My bad :(

This was a rather long brew day.  The mash schedule was pretty step intensive but it really paid off in efficiency.  My target pre boil gravity was 7.6 brix (1.030 SG) and I actually hit 8.6 brix (1.035 SG).  After the 90 minute boil and adding in my sugar I ended up with 14.2 brix.  I didn't use all of the Golden Candi Syrup as I was wanting to stay under 14.5 brix (1.059 SG).

Was over my target pre boil gravity and post boil.  I didn't adjust with
water but I'll fix my efficiency in BeerSmith.

First runnings were a beautiful amber color.

Two different Belgian Candi Syrups in this one.

After the boil I cooled the wort down to 65F with my plate chiller and pitched the Smack Pack.  It wasn't extremely fresh but it did swell completely after about 4 hours.

Hashtag swole

When it reaches a stable final gravity, I'll dry hop and package this up.  I'm really interested how the brett and dry hops work in this one.  Be on the look out for more "Inspired Beer" posts.  I've got a few ideas lined up.  Let me know what beers have inspired you along the way!


10-22-17:  Morning after we already had a nice krausen forming.

6-11-18:  Dry hopped with 2oz Aramis.  I really liked the aroma on these and thought they would pair well.  Will package soon. 

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
@aaddkison on Twitter
on UnTappd:
on Instagram: