Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Farmhouse Mild: Tasting Notes

I had really been delaying writing down some tasting notes for Farmhouse Mild, as while I really enjoyed the beer, I was having quite a bit of difficulty figuring out exactly how to describe it.  When I finally got around to taking some notes last Sunday during the Bears-Ravens weather delay, it proved to be fortunate timing, as the keg kicked that evening.

Appearance: Pale yellow-golden color with an initial fluffy white head.  Slightly hazy body with visible carbonation bubbles.  Fairly decent head retention with a bit of lacing.

Aroma: The nose has an initial whiff a faint lemon alongside what I can best describe as a Sweet Tart candy-type flavor.  It's unquestionably fruity, though it's difficult to describe what's there aside from the lemon.  I guess it's faintly tropical, perhaps including guava and a bit of tart apricot.

Flavor: Lightly tart with a hint of background wheat.  The main flavor is a generic fruitiness similar to Sweet Tarts when considering the combination of fruit and mild acidity.  Again, guava and apricot are probably the best I can do, though neither would be particularly prominent.

Mouthfeel: The body is light and airy with some background wheat to help prevent it from being too boring.  It's dry with just a touch of residual sweetness.  Moderate carbonation and overall very drinkable with a lingering acidity.

Overall: One of my favorite beers that I've brewed to date.  It's very light and easy drinking, but has enough complexity to keep it captivating.  The acidity is faint and adds an interesting twist, without being to the level where it detracts at all from drinkability.

In the end, 5 gallons wasn't nearly enough of this.  I made 10 gallons of the base beer, though half of that was blended with some Citrine in what became Science & Art #1.  I will have a post up on that as soon as I have time to open a bottle and take some notes.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Namur: Recipe

I have heard very good things about White Labs Saison III offering; specifically, that it's pretty low on the spice profile while putting off quite a bit of fruit and just a bit of tartness.  I finally grabbed two vials from Northern Brewer earlier this month.  Unfortunately, since it's a summer platinum strain, the vials were a bit dated.  I ended up doing a 2L starter for each vial, based on the output from MrMalty's pitching calculator.

The first time I brewed Namur, it was a test of a variety of saison strains, including some strains pulled from bottle dregs.  Unfortunately, I forgot to adjust the mash pH during that brewday, and ended up pulling far too many tannins for the mash, making the beer unpleasant.  I plan to retry the experiment sometime in the near future.

Batch Number: 72

Brew Date: November 9, 2013
Keg Date:
Batch Size: 5 Gallon
OG: 1.064
FG: 1.008
Fermentation Temperature: 68 F
IBU: 29 (Tinseth)
ABV: 7.4% (est.)
SRM: 4.3

Mash: Single infusion for 90 minutes at 151 F (targeted 150).
Boil: 90 minute


12.0 lb Dingeman's Belgian Pilsner
0.44 lb Acid Malt

Salts & Water

6.5g Calcium Chloride (all into the kettle)
3g Gypsum (all into the kettle)
5.5g Baking Soda (all into the kettle)

The acid malt was used to adjust the mash pH.

Resulting water profile is as follows:

Mash pH (est.): 5.47
Calcium: 104
Magnesium: 12
Sodium: 49
Chloride: 100
Sulfate: 73

Chloride / Sulfate Ratio: 1.37


3mL HopShot at 90 minutes
1.0 oz. Citra (12.9 AA) at flameout


1.0 tsp. Wyeast Yeast Nutrient at 10 minutes (double the normal amount to provide extra FAN, per the suggestion in Phil Markowski's Farmhouse Ales)
1.0 ea.  Whirlfloc tablet at 10 minutes


WLP585 (2 older vials build up via 2L starters two days in advance)


11.09.2013: Gave 45 seconds of pure oxygen prior to pitching the yeast.  Fermenting in a 6-gallon bucket in the main unfinished portion of the basement, closer to the boiler to provide a bit of extra heat.

11.14.2013: Beer has never developed a thick krausen, but is still going along.  Measured fermentation temperature this morning is 72 F.

11.23.2013: Beer at 1.010.  In general, the phenol to ester balance was a bit too high for me, so I decided to add Brett and white wine-soaked oak cubes to this portion of the batch, letting the Brett work with the phenols.  I'll use this cake to make another batch, fermenting at a higher temperature, and also provide less oxygen and some simple sugars.  According to White and Zainasheff's Yeast (pp. 12, 35), lower oxygen levels and increased simple sugars should provide more esters than I achieved this time around.

Given my plans, I racked to a purged keg that included 1 ounce of Verdejo-soaked Hungarian oak cubes, which were boiled prior to being soaked in the Verdejo.  They had been soaking since March 2013.  I also added a vial of White Labs Brett Brux Trois.