Friday, September 26, 2014

Science & Art Series

This post will serve as a repository for recipes and tastings notes of the beers in my Science & Art series.  The series is a line of blended saisons, often also incorporating portions of wild ales that I have brewed.  It's amazing what just 10% blonde sour will do to a beer that was otherwise only saison yeast and Brettanomyces.  With the name, I wanted something that I could keep around for awhile, as with these blends, I thought it would be easier to go with a standard name followed by numbers or years, such as Lost Abbey Veritas, Hill Farmstead Civil Disobedience, and Cantillon Zwanze. Given that these beers will be blends of wilds and saisons, I thought "Science & Art" would be appropriate. One of the things I love about brewing, and particularly about saisons, is that there is so much room for creativity. However, at the same time, there's still the base science behind beer making and, most importantly for my purposes, fermentation.

Each beer in the Science & Art series is meant to be a concept, such that I will attempt to blend beers to achieve the same results on multiple occasions.  For example, I have already blended two separate iterations of Science & Art #1 and Science & Art #3.  

Photo of Science & Art #2

Science & Art #1
  • A blend of Farmhouse Mild and Citrine at a ratio of 85-90% to 10-15%.  The resulting blend is extremely fruity, lightly acidic, and finishes very dry and clean.  
  • Batches:
    • 01: Tasting and blending notes can be found here.  Original blend was on October 6, 2013.
    • 02: The second blend was done in mid-March 2014, with the entire batch being legged.
Science & Art #2
  • A blend of Dionysus #2, a blonde saison with white wine-soaked oak cubes, and Citrine.  Mildly fruit with some tropical and stone fruit notes, with underlying citrus and faint acidity.
  • Batches:
Science & Art #3
  • A blend of Farmhouse Mild, Citrine, Dionysus #2, and Demeter Passion.  Pungent and fruity with passion fruit along with peach, orange, light oak, and hints of white wine.  Very dry with a nice tartness through the finish.
  • Batches:
    • 01: Tasting and blending notes can be found here.  The original blend was on June 4, 2014, and the entire batch was kegged.  However, I did bottle some for the TalkBeer Saison Homebrew Competition.  The beer won the competition with an average score of 39.36. The competition judges were pretty harsh (I know I was), as second place came in at 34.54, with third averaging 33.00.
    • 02: This was blended and bottled on July 28, 2014.  This blend left out Dionysus #2, as I only had one bottle left.  Based on initial tastes, blend 01 was much better, with the oak from Dionysus #2 really upping the complexity.
Science & Art #4
  • A blend of Demeter Vert, Namur (Meyer Lemon), and Flowerfield.  The beer is delicate with a bit more body than previous blends.  The Nelson from Flowerfield comes through well underneath the citrus coming out of the Demeter Vert and Namur (Meyer Lemon).  The lemon has a stronger presence, but is nowhere near dominating like in that version of Namur.  I've had a few people taste the blend without telling them what's in it, and most have just said "citrus" without specifically identifying lemon or lime.
  • Batches:
    • 01: Blended and bottled on July 28, 2014.  Full blending and tasting notes can be found here.
Science & Art #5
  • The first dark beer in the series.  A blend of Demeter Rouge (cherries and passion fruit), Demeter Sinis (Cranberry), and two different batches of Ruby.  The beer is dark and fruity with cherry, red wine, and dark fruits.  Moderately acidic, though still not entirely "sour."
  • Batches:
    • 01: Blended and bottled on July 28, 2014.  Full blend and tasting notes can be found here.
Science & Art #6
  • An idea that came from the fact that I brewed 10 gallons of Demeter Automne for fall 2014.  Instead of bottling all of that, I decided to also go with a new addition to the Science & Art series.  For this, I took about 90% Demeter Automne and blended in 10% Citrine, and then bottle conditioned the blend with Montmorency tart cherry juice.  The resulting beer has cherry in the nose, with the flavor being more earthy and lightly spicy, with some background notes of biscuit.  A bit leafy.  Cherry comes through in the finish with a light acidity.  Very reminiscent of fall, at least in my opinion.  A great bonfire beer.
  • Batches:
    • 01: Blended and bottled on September 1, 2014.  Full blend and tasting notes can be found here.
Science & Art &7

  • This is a blend of Demeter Facile, a blonde Brett saison, and Citrine.  I had originally planned to use the second half of the 10-gallon batch of Demeter Facile to add to the "spent" fruit from batches of cherry and black-raspberry wild ales, but had some issues on bottling day, so decided to go with this blend instead.  The blend was 5 gallons of Demeter Facile and 1 gallon of Citrine.
    • 01: Blended and bottled on November 1, 2014.  Full blend and tasting notes can be found here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wallonian Pale Ale (Batch 02): Tasting Notes

Here are the tasting notes for my second batch of Wallonian Pale Ale, which is aimed to be a hoppy farmhouse ale, merging the fruity, citrusy, tropical notes of American hops with tropical and earthy notes coming from our house blend of saison yeast, Brettanomyces, and other critters.  On the hop side, this batch included Amarillo, Belma, Citra, Columbus, and Mosaic.  I like trying to use a multitude of hops, and that way I can attempt to replicate an aroma/flavor profile based on what I have on hand.  The full recipe for the batch is here.

Appearance: Slightly hazy light orange color with a fluffy white head. Good retention and plenty of spotty lacing as it goes down.

Nose: Initial whiff is resinous hops. The Mosaic really comes through here. Tropical fruit, citrus pith, and pine come through underneath. Mango is prevalent alongside leafy hop goodness. As it warms, a bit more orange marmalade.

Flavor: Like the nose, hops hit hard on the front end with nice resin and pine, paired with an intense citrus character. Some light earthiness in the background. Bitterness is moderate, light considering that the flavor and aroma hops are well into the range of a Double IPA.

Mouthfeel: Light with very apparent bitterness. IBUs aren't terribly high, but the water profile and sub-1.005 terminal gravity really accentuate the bitterness. Extremely dry. Very faint tartness from the lactic acid bacteria in the blend coming through on the backend. I've heard people say that sour and butter don't go well together, but the very faint acidity works quite well alongside the dry bitterness, in my opinion. Carbonation is in between that of a standard pale ale and a saison, which seems about right here.

Overall: I'm extremely pleased with this and have been blowing through the keg. Luckily, it was a 10-gallon batch and I decided to bottle off the other half, conditioning with tropical fruit juice instead of table sugar.

I don't think there's much at all that I would change with this one. I'll mess around with the hops based on what I have on hand and what I haven't tried in a while, but this otherwise fits the bill of what I've been looking for -- a saison / IPA hybrid that fits within the farmhouse mold, but could be served to a broader set of drinkers than a wild saison. This will hopefully sit as part of the core lineup at the eventual taproom for Ambrosia Farmhouse Ales.