Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tasting Notes for Rye Saison with Pekko Hops

Here we are!  Tasting notes for a beer I was really excited about brewing.  Using hops from one of my favorite local brews and using a yeast I hadn't used in a very long time.  I wanted to do something simple but not boring.  These new age hops can really shine if you showcase them but I didn't want to overpower the other characteristics of the beer.  I wanted to see what the yeast would give me as well as still get some of the malt flavors and aromas I love.  Let's see how I did.

Brew day post can be found here.

Pekko Rye

View of the cul-de-sac where my beers are made.

Drinking on 8-25-16

ABV: 6.04%
SG:  1.049 or 12.15°P
FG:  1.003 or 0.77°P
Apparent Attenuation:  94%
Actual Attenuation:  77%

Appearance:  Yellow golden in color with a great white creamy looking head.  Rye really does great things for foam in beer.  Slight chill haze out of the keg but it clears up over time.  The head does eventually give way to a patch of frothy bubbles and carbonation steadily streams up the glass.  It's a beautifully beer really deserving of a stemmed glass for sure.

Aroma:  Herbal and pepper character is up front.  Then a very light citrus and pear note come in. The mint quality is definitely there that I've gotten with this hop before.  It isn't something huge about it but it's very nice to pick up.  The yeast offers up some nice white pepper and even a light woody tone.  Maybe something like cedar or something in the fir family.  It's hard to put a finger on.  A nice graininess is there too.  Very pleasant aroma for a nice Summer beer.

Flavor:  Definitely classic Saison notes.  Less fruit than other yeast strains I've used but there is a slight fruit quality from the hops.  Slight citrus but not overly so.  More of the herbal and pepper qualities I really enjoy.  These are some great hops for sure.  One of the newer hop varietals that screams Saison IMO.  The beer finishes really dry but has just a very light sweetness that gives it character.  If someone else were to drink this I don't know if they would pick up the sweetness because it is so dry.   I really think it's the grain flavor from the Pilsner and rye malts more than it is actual sweetness.

Mouthfeel:  Medium mouthfeel for such a dry beer due to the carbonation levels.  I still want it to be a little bit higher in carbonation but I am working on changing some things in my keezer to accomidate higher carbonation levels.  Finishes really nice and dry and is supremely drinkable for sure.  

Overall:  The first time I had this hop, I loved it.  It screamed Saison and I had to brew with it.  Luckily I found a place I could get some and I'm really glad I did.  I think I will be using this in some other brews but I'm definitely re-brewing this same beer with a few tweaks to this recipe.  I do want to add a bit more bitterness and maybe even a strain of brett.  I think Brett C or Drei would work wonderfully with this hop.  But, I'm glad I brewed a clean Saison with it first.  I often overlook brewing clean beers for my love of funky/tart beers.

I really enjoyed the flavors and aromas the Barke Pilsner brought too.  More grain characteristic than I've had in a lot of my beers and I like that.  I'll be using it on a lot of beers coming up.

I am also really impressed with this yeast strain.  I think 566 often gets overlooked due to it's cousins in 565 and 3724.  It's definitely let fruity and has great pepper and even a woody tone.  I'm anxious to brew more beers with this one.  I'll be using it in a beer I'm working on to be a tribute to Saison de Pipaix.  I've been talking with Dave Janssen of Hors Catégorie Brewing about designing this one so be on the look out for that.

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
@aaddkison on Twitter
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Rye Saison with Pekko Hops

New world hops have brought many things to brewing.  Whether it's creating American Pale Ales and IPAs, dry hopped sours, or the new "it" beer, the Northeast IPA, there are so many new flavors coming to us from recent hop varieties.  Something I've really enjoyed is using these new hops in Saison brewing.  With Kathleen I've always used Amarillo hops because that's one of my favorites.  It's definitely not a traditional hop for Saison but it's my spin on brewing them.  I've also had great success with Australian or NZ varietals like Nelson Sauvin or Galaxy.  Hallertau Blanc from Germany has also become a staple as a dry hop for me.  I really love all the additions all of those lend to Saison.

Some time ago a local brewery, Lucky Town Brewery, put out a Saison for a Jackson Zoo benefit called Saison de Zoo.  In that beer the head brewer, Lucas Simmons, used a relatively new at the time hop called Pekko.  It was a phenomenal Saison and one of the best I've had brewed locally from any of the MS breweries.  It had awesome herbal qualities and young had a fantastic mint quality.  As the beer aged (I drank it everywhere it was on tap for as long as I could) it began to open up.  The mint faded but there was a really great citrus and earthy quality after that.  I knew I wanted to use them in a beer and Lucas was kind enough to give me a couple ounces to work with.

Here's the recipe:

Recipe:  Rye Saison
Brewer:  Gus
Batch:  16
Date:  7-31-16

Batch Size:  6.5 gal
Boil Size:  8.63 gal
Post Boil Volume:  6.76 gal  
Estimated OG:  1.053
Actual OG:  1.049 (I believe the flaked rye was pretty old and didn't help efficiency at all)
Estimated Color:  4.1 SRM
Estimated IBU:  31 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  74.60% (around 68.2% for this brew)
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.60%
Boil Time:  75 Minutes

72% Barke Pilsner Malt (Weyermann)
20% Flaked Rye (Briess)  
4% Malted Oats (Thomas Fawcett)
4% Table Sugar (added @ 5 min)

12.0 IBUs of Crystal (3.8% AA) @ 60 min
10.3 IBUs of Pekko (15.4% AA) @ 5 min 
8.5 IBUs 15 min Whirlpool with Pekko (15.4% AA)

White Labs WLP566 Belgian Saison II

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

Getting the hops and sugar weighed out. Was actually 5 min addition not 15.

I really wanted to use this hop with some rye.  I thought the two would work well together and came up with the above recipe rather quickly.  I intended to use rye malt but I discovered on brew day that my bag had become infested with some weevils.  Always store your grain in proper containers folks.  A brown paper bag is not proper.  I luckily had some flaked rye to use for this brew but next time I buy some rye malt I'll be storing it in an airtight container.  The flaked rye was pretty old so I'm thinking that was one thing that gave me the hit in efficiency.

Had to audible to flaked rye do to some invasive weevils in the malted.

 I added the milled Pilsner and malted oats in the mash tun and spread the flaked rye over the top.  Then I underlet the mash and held a temp of 148-149F over 75 minutes.  I then mashed out at 168F for 10 min and started collecting my first runnings.  I sparged with 170F degree water to get a boil volume of 8.75 gallons.  This probably hit my efficiency a little as well since the target boil volume is 8.63 gallons but I'm happy with where the gravity ended up with this one at 1.049.

Fly sparging.

The Pekko hops really have an awesome aroma in the bag.  Herbal, mint, orange juice is what I'd use to describe it.  I used a late addition of 30g at 5 minutes with the table sugar and then added another 20g at flameout for a 15 minute whirlpool.  After that I ran the wort through the wort chiller and cooled to 66F.  I pitched my starter of White Labs WLP566 Belgian Saison II and left at room temp (around 71F) for fermentation to begin.

Rolling but controlled boil.

I'm using WLP566 for this beer after not having used this yeast for a long time.  I'm not sure why I never used it again because if I remember correctly, I really enjoyed the beer I made with it.  The last time I used it was a simple Saison with 90% Belgian pale malt and 10% wheat malt with Styrian Goldings and EKG hops.  So I thought I'd give it another go and keep the culture around for a few other projects.  This one will most likely be kegged with maybe a few bottles to see how it develops over time.

Room temperature fermentation.  Averaging 72-74F mostly.


7-31-16:  By 6PM fermentation was underway.  Steady activity of off gassing through the airlock.

8-9-16:  Gravity at 1.003 and the beer was already pretty clear.  Kegged it up and set it in the keezer to carbonate.  Sample had lots of herbal qualities and I really dug it. 

Tasting notes here!

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
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