Monday, April 24, 2017

Kathleen Round 4 - Split Batch

For the first brew of Kathleen for 2017 I'm trying a lot of things and making a change to the target starting gravity.  With this batch I'm going to brew 11 gallons so that I can pitch two different yeast blends and see how I like them.  I've been meaning to use both of these for a while and decided I wanted to use a familiar beer with them so that I will be able to detect the differences in each of them.  Since I've brewed Kathleen a good many times now, I know the ins and outs of it and what characters it typically brings forth. 

One of the blends I'll be using is a special release from Bootleg Biology called Saison Parfait: New World Saison Blend.  I really love the description on the website of this one.  It sounds like the perfect Saison blend to me as I love the classic peppery esters from the DuPont strains on the market, but I also love the fruity aspects of some other strains like 3726.  It also says this blend will leave a little body and good mouthfeel in the beer.  That's something I really enjoyed when using ECY08 in the beers that I've brewed with that.  At first I wasn't a fan, but after doing these beers for a while now, the added body actually helps give the beers some heft and adds to the drinkablity.  When they end up so dry as mine typically do, if there isn't any body the beers will feel astringent and can actually be a chore to drink at times.

The other blend I'll be fermenting half of this brew with is the Saison Blend II from The Yeast Bay.  I have been eying this one since it was released a while back and just never took the plunge to use it as I had so many things to use on hand. 

"Close your eyes while drinking a beer fermented with this blend, and you'll feel like you're laying on freshly turned earth in an old citrus grove."

Doesn't that sound awesome?  I can't wait to see how this blend works out.  As I stated before, I enjoy a combination of peppery earthiness and some fruity qualities in my Saisons.  I often rely on strains of brettanomyces or new world hops to get the fruity qualities so it will be nice to see what both of these blends will do.

Starters I made a few days before brew day.

Recipe:  Kathleen
Brewer:  Gus
Date:  4-19-17

Batch Size:  11.00 gal  (I use 11 gallons to account for loss in the tubing, heat exchanger and any other places in the system)
Boil Size:  13.33 gal
Post Boil Volume:  11.46 gal
Estimated OG:  1.04(Actual was 1.048.  Efficiency was better than I assumed)
Estimated Color:  2.5 SRM
Estimated IBU:  28.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  74.6 %
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.6 %
Boil Time:  75 Minute

72.6%  Pilsner Malt (Weyermann BARKE)
10.0%  Spelt Malt
10.0%  Raw Wheat
7.4%  Malted Oats (Thomas Fawcett)

17.5 IBUs of EKG (or whatever I have on hand now) @ 60 min
7.4 IBUs of Amarillo @ 15 min
1.7 IBUs of EKG @ 5 min
2.7 IBUs of Amarillo @ 5 min
Dry hop with Amarillo and Hallertau Blanc  (this may change depending on the beers)

Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait: New World Saison Blend
The Yeast Bay Saison Blend II

Mash Schedule:
Temperature mash of 149F for 75 min with no mashout.

You may notice I have slightly modified the recipe to lower the OG.  I am wanting to get Kathleen even more drinkable and shooting for slightly less ABV with this batch.  Hop amounts changed just a bit due to what I had on hand at the time. 

Like them thicky-thicks.

After the mash I began lautering and pulled the 13.3 gallons I needed for the boil.  My preboil gravity was a little higher (1.040) than my target (1.036) but instead of adding water to bring it down, I just went with it.  I boiled for 75 minutes and added my hops per the schedule above.  The SG after the boil was 1.048.  Right around where my original recipe was so I'll have to make a few changes to the grist if I want it to be lower.  My efficiency is getting better with every brew day.  Even this large 10 gallon batch I was better than my target.

Full boil kettle on this batch.

I ran wort through the chiller and divided the 10 gallons the best I could between the two FerMonster XLs.  These are quickly becoming some of my favorite fermentation vessels.  I love my Speidel still but these have a smaller footprint.  Also, you can almost get two of the FerMonsters for the price of one of the Speidels.

The Yeast Bay Saison Blend II on the left and Bootleg Biology Saison Parfait on the right.  This pic was 6-7 hours after pitching.

Both blends will be fermented "semi-open" at room temperature in my dining room.  Right now the area is sitting around 72-74F and should be perfect to test out what these will do.

I pitched the yeast blends from the starters and covered the opening with sanitized tin foil.  I press the tin foil around the top but I don't actually make an effort to seal the lid.  I usually leave the tin foil on the top for 5-7 days or until fermentation signs start to fade.  I've really enjoyed the results the semi-open fermentations.  I do them now with pretty much all my Saison ferments as well as my British ale ferments.

I will more than likely dry hop each of these and then package the beer.  Some I'll bottle fresh and unblended so I can see how the yeast blend turns out.  The rest will either be blended with mature beer or maybe even blended together.  I'll see what the beer tells me. 


4-20-17:  6:00AM active fermentation showing on the Saison II Blend.  About 20 minutes layer, visible activity with the Saison Parfait.

4-24-17:  6:00AM activity has slowed down and the krausen is falling on both beers.  I removed the tin foil and added the cap and airlock.

4-30-17:  Activity is very slow.  The Saison Blend II has started to drop clear already.  Saison Parfait is still cloudy and looks to be full of yeast but the airlock is not bubbling.  I'll take a gravity reading this coming week and decide where to go from there.

5-2-17:  TYB Saison Blend II gravity was 1.004 and it was heavy on the phenolics with an undertone of citrus notes.  Saison Parfait was down a bit further to 1.003.  Citrus, little malt character, bit of tropical fruits, and a hint of pepper.  Both really promising.  I'll package when I get back from the Enmbrace the Funk Festival this coming weekend.

6-20-17:  I was out of Blanc hops to dry hop so I'm waiting for those to come in.  When they do I'll package a few bottles of this how they are then dry hop the rest to be blended into batches 4 and 5 of Kathleen.

Good things!

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