Thursday, July 14, 2016

Foraged Yeast Brew Day

Earlier this year I decided I wanted to try some yeast capturing again.  Last year I had some pretty bad experiences that resulted in lots of mold and some terrible smelling Mason jars around the house.  My original technique was to make a batch of extract wort and place the jars covered in cheese cloth around my yard in various places.  That seemed to be how a lot of people were doing it.  Well in two attempts, I have been very unsuccessful that way.  I'm sure it had to do with my technique as well as the microbes around my house.

After those failed attempts I decided to try another way recommended by Jeff Mello of Bootleg Biology.  This is also the technique that I spoke with Gerard Olson from Forest and Main Brewing Co. when I visited there earlier this year.  Basically you use foraged objects like flowers and fruits (among other things) to try and capture a wild yeast culture.  I recently wrote a small primer article for Craft Commander on foraging for wild yeast.  You can take a look at that here.  It's not exactly scientific but it covers the basic steps I used in capturing my culture I used in this beer.

For my culture I decided to user clover flowers from my front yard.  The afternoon I picked the flowers there was a ton of activity.  A mild breeze was blowing and bees were visible all over the flowers.  Hopefully I'll get something really nice out of this!

Recipe:  Foraged Yeast Beer
Brewer:  Gus
Batch:  15
Date:  7-9-16

Batch Size:  4.0 gal
Boil Size:  6.04 gal
Post Boil Volume:  4.16 gal  
Estimated OG:  1.042
Actual OG:  1.044
Estimated Color:  3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU:  20.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  74.60%
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.60%
Boil Time:  75 Minutes

100% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)

24.6 IBUs of Aramis @ 60 min

Foraged Yeast from Clover Flowers

Mash Schedule:
Temperature mash of 149F for 75 min with a 10 minute mashout at 168F

100% Avangard Pilsner malt

I mashed in for 75 min with the temperature of 149F.  I wanted to get something really fermentable and give the foraged culture something easy to work with.  100% Pilsner should give a good base to let whatever I've capture shine through.

Love seeing clear wort.

I boiled the wort for 75 min and added around 14g of Aramis hops at 60 minutes.  With this batch being so small I wasn't able to use my stainless hop spider so I put the hops in a nylon hop bag.

Nylon hop bag and 14g or so of Aramis hops

After the boil I recirculated the wort for about 15 minutes and then ran it through my heat exchanger to get the wort down to 68F.  I collected just under 4 gallons in the carboy and pitched my culture while keeping back a small bit for further propagation.  If this beer turns out well, I'll send some of the yeast slurry over to Jeff Mello.  I covered the top of the carboy with sanitized aluminum foil as I do with most of my beers.  I'll add a bung and airlock after activity starts to slow.

Now it's time for some fermentation!

Super simple brew day.  The smallest batch I've done on my system so far.  I didn't even have enough in the mash tun to use the thermometer in the side.  This wasn't a problem as I rely on the temperature probe I have in the outlet to regulate my mash temps.  I'm really looking forward to the outcome of this beer!  I'll also be foraging some more cultures very soon!


7-10-16:  6AM krausen has already formed and fermentation is under way!

7-11-16:  Very active.  At least 3 inches of thick krausen on top and a nice yeasty smell coming from the carboy.

7-12-16:  Activity has slowed just a bit.  I swapped the foil for a bung and airlock but steady CO2 off gassing came through the 3 piece airlock when I added the Star-San solution to it.  Looking really promising.  The aroma was very similar to the starters.  Hints of honey, light tartness and a bit of citrus seemed to come through too.

7-24-16:  All signs of fermentation have stopped.  Looks like it has even flocculated really well.  I'll be packaging soon!

9-7-16:  Bottled the batch.

10-7-16:  Tasted one bottle.  Slight bit of THP there so I'm going to give it some more time before I do tasting notes.

Final tasting notes here!

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Spur of the Moment Bière de Garde

There comes a day in every homebrewer's time brewing where there are some extra grains lying around.  Usually it isn't enough to play a big role in a beer but sometimes it could be the perfect amount.  I had a few things left over from past beers and received some new yeast I wanted to brew with so I decided to make a spur of the moment Bière de Garde.

I have used Golden Naked Oats in another Bière de Garde and IPA late last year and earlier this year.  I still have a few pounds of it left.  I also had some Caramunich and a little Special B.  I thought these may be some perfect specialty malts to make a nice amber biere that I can drink late in the Summer into early Fall.

Recipe:  Spur
Brewer:  Gus
Batch:  14
Date:  7-1-16

Batch Size:  6.5 gal
Boil Size:  9.76 gal
Post Boil Volume:  6.76 gal  
Estimated OG:  1.056
Actual OG:  1.057
Estimated Color:  14.6 SRM
Estimated IBU:  23.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  74.60% (about 78% on this brew)
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.60%
Boil Time:  120 Minutes

81.5% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)
7.4% Golden Naked Oats (Simpson's)
5.6% Special B (Dingeman's)
5.6% Caramunich III Malt (Weyermann)

23.2 IBUs of Aramis @ 60 min

Wyeast 3864-PC Canadian/Belgian Ale

Mash Schedule:
Temperature mash of 149F for 75 min with a 10 minute mash out at 168F

Check out the contrast in the different grains.  Pretty cool.

This is my first time using a Belgian strain to ferment a Bière de Garde.  With Wyeast having Canadian/Belgian Ale 3864 out now as a PC strain, I decided to use it.  I'm hoping I can ferment in the mid 60s to keep any esters at bay and create a semi clean beer.  After primary fermentation is done, I will set it to lager for 4-6 weeks before bottling.  This time I also plan to use the same yeast to bottle condition the beer.  I'll do the same practice as with Bob's technique but this time using the Belgian strain.

I have to believe that in Northern France where these beers were historically brewed, that there were some farmers/homes using a Belgian strain borrowed from a neighbor who borrowed it from their neighbor who got it from a Belgian brewery.  All that is possible right?  In Phil Markowski's Farmhouse Ales book (get it here if you haven't already) he suggests using clean ale strains to ferment Bières de Garde.  I'm a large fan of White Labs WLP072 French Ale but it being a seasonal Platinum strain it's hard to come by.  I try keeping it around but my culture has definitely taken on a new life and probably has been infected.

Wyeast suggested this yeast for the style in the 2016 release description and I've wanted to use this yeast before when I was making a lot of other Belgian styles.  This way I'm killing two birds as it were.  I've read a few places where Belgian strains are recommended but I have yet to use one myself.  I made a small starter around 800mL for this one the night before.  The next day the flask was full of milky yeast.

Under letting the mash.  I really like doughing in this way.

The mash went very well and I sparged over about an hour to get my boil volume.  I also had better extraction in that my preboil gravity was 1.043 instead of the target 1.038.  Little better mash efficiency.  I boiled this one for 2 hours.  I'm now set on that being the minimum boiling time for the style for me.  I really like the results of going up to 3 hours but I didn't have the time for that this brew day.  I boiled and added the hops with 60 min left in the boil then ran through the heat exchanger and into my Speidel.

Awesome color on the first runnings.

I set the temp to hold at 64F for the first couple of days.  If the beer is slow to start fermenting I'll bump it up.  I'd like to keep the temperatures low to encourage a more clean ferment with lower amounts of esters from the yeast.  I'll ramp as needed to complete fermentation.  I really liked the flavor and aroma of the wort.  Sweet of course but there was some great malt aroma and a nice raisin character that I'm sure came from the Special B malt.

Nothing too exciting on this brew day.  I got to use up some older grains and I'm really liking the color that came out of using them.  I'll let this one sit in cold storage for 4-6 weeks then bottle condition and have tasting notes up soon!

Decent BdG I had on brew day.  A bit sweet and has a grape flavor for me.

Some extra reading that was shared recently on the Farmhouse Facebook can be found here.  I enjoyed reading some brewers talk about Bière de Garde as it's not really a popular subject now.  It could possibly become the new Saison eventually but I doubt it.

Also some pretty good guidelines for Bières de Garde.  I feel these are pretty accurate for the style.  More so than the BJCP's guidelines in the past.


7-2-16:  Fermentation started by 6AM.  Pretty vigorous fermentation at that!

7-3-16:  Raised temp to 66F.  Fermentation was still going but not as quite as busy as the day before.

7-5-16:  Set temp to 68F to hopefully finish the fermentation.  Still steady activity showing in the airlock.

7-12-16:  CO2 still off gassing from the airlock.  The yeast is still working!

7-31-16:  Pulled my first sample.  Really clear so I'm sure most of the yeast has flocculated out and fermentation is over.  I REALLY enjoyed the flavors of this one.  Malty and just a hint of sweetness but not a ton.  Few esters but nothing you typically get from Belgian yeast.  Gravity was sitting at 1.010 so I set the freezer tempt o 50F to start the lagering process.  I'll bump it down further over the next few days.  I'm thinking a portion of this will go into secondary with some brettanomyces but the majority will be packaged clean.

10-7-16:  Kegged and bottled.  Decided to package all clean with this batch.  Still some dark fruit notes and slight bit of yeast character but definitely seems very clean.

Tasting notes here!

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
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