Thursday, November 20, 2014

Science & Art #5: Blend & Tasting Notes

With Science & Art #4 being unique as the first in the series that didn't use Citrine, this one is unique in that it is the first dark blend. It's also the beer blend that uses something other than different saisons as a sizable portion of the blend, with a Flanders-style wild being the largest component of the blend. In the end, this one ended up being 50% Flanders-style wild and 50% dark saison. The Flanders-style component is made up of two batches of Ruby (Batch 02 (recipe lost due to a computer issue, unfortunately) and Batch 03), and the saison component is made up of Demeter Rouge and Demeter Sinis (Cranberry). The final blend was as follows:

  • 2 gallons of Ruby (Batch 03) 
  • 2 gallons of Demeter Rouge 
  • 0.5 gallons of Ruby (Batch 02) 
  • 0.5 gallons of Demeter Sinis (Cranberry) 

Overall, I think this blend really captured what I was looking for, which was to take the fruitiness of Demeter Rouge, but cut back on the acidity created by the passion fruit. Oddly enough, this was accomplished by cutting the beer with a sour Flanders-style base, albeit versions of that beer that were more funky than acidic, particularly given the age of the "young" Ruby that was used. The Demeter Sinis (Cranberry) added a nice bit of cranberry alongside some earthy, spicy notes from the black cardamom and lavender used in that beer. Finally, the Ruby additions allowed some mild funk along with notes of strawberry, raspberry, and general jam character, which is something I've had in my recent dark wild beers, particularly Biere de Nord (which I actually thought about using a bit of in this blend, but determined it wasn't necessary).

In terms of process, the Demeter Rouge, Ruby (Batch 02), and Demeter Sinis (Cranberry) were all already carbonated, so I had to be careful on that front. The Demeter Rouge was carbonated to around 2.0 volumes in a keg, and the latter two had already been bottle conditioned and were probably around 2.5 and 3.0 volumes, respectively. Given this, I opted to only aim for 2.0 volumes when using the priming calculator, assuming that this would eventually get me somewhere in the 2.5-3.0 volume range. 

In the future, once I hopefully open up a small brewery and have my own little barrel room, I'll be able to blend components without worrying about needing to pull from previously-bottled batches. One thing I'm planning on doing in the future to have more for blending is to take a half gallon or gallon of each batch and let it continue to age in a growler or gallon jug. That way, I can have uncarbonated beer for blending, and also add wine- or spirit-soaked oak cubes to portions of a batch for greater complexity. I've done smaller portions with oak cubes in the past, but never with the general intention of saving that beer for blending.

With that, the full tasting notes for this blend are below. Follow additional views on this beer, take a look at its page on Untappd.

Appearance: Deep mahogany with an even stronger reddish hue under bright light. Head fizzes up light brown, a bit darker and thicker than with cola. Could go for better retention and stability, though it's not too bad considering that a decent chunk of this beer is Flanders-style wild.

Aroma: Initial nose is quite fruity with cranberry and cherry leading the way. A hint of orange zest alongside faint coffee and chocolate notes. A touch of roasted malt and hints of cardamom. Lactic acidity in the back along with a touch of earthy funk. There's a general fruity, berry-jam character to it as well, which I attribute to the Ruby variations included in the blend. Strawberries and raspberries more and more as it warms. Just a hint of tropical fruit. The cranberry, of course is from the cranberry version of Demeter Sinis, and the cherry comes from the Demeter Rouge. The passion fruit in the Demeter Rouge is only there in faint tropical notes. 

Flavor: The tropical character comes through plenty more in the flavor, along with more noticeable acidity. Cherry, cranberry, and jam there as well. A bit of earth and funk, though that's relatively minor. Hints of red wine.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light and moderately acidic. Carbonation moderate as well, hitting about where I wanted it to be. It's elevated over typical clean ale levels, but not nearly high enough to be at saison level. The beer is a bit light, and could use some extra body. It would have been great to have been able to put this in a red wine barrel, picking up some oak character, tannin, and body.

Overall: I'm quite happy with this blend. Other than the aforementioned lack in body, there isn't too much that I would change here. I think this one definitely accomplished the foremost blending goal of creating something more interesting and enjoyable than any individual component.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Farmhouse Mild (Watermelon): Tasting Notes

This was a batch of Farmhouse Mild that had the Pedio in the fermentation blend kick up some diacetyl after I had kegged the beer and before I tapped it.  In order to clean this up, I added some extra Brettanomyces, and since I had been wanting to try a beer with watermelon juice, I decided to add that here to provide some extra sugars to jump-start the Brett.  I ended up adding the juice from 8 pounds of watermelon into roughly 5 gallons of Farmhouse Mild, and then let it ferment for about a month.  The resulting beer had a nice watermelon character, with a nice taffy-like character.

Appearance: Pours a hazy light peach color with just a touch of pink in the light.  Big, fluffy white head with good retention, and plenty of sticky lacing on the way down.

Aroma: Nose starts out with a nice watermelon-taffy aroma, and then fades into some slight lactic acidity as well as a bit of plant-like watermelon rind.  The latter isn't off-putting at this level, and reminds me of the "green"-type flavor you get from something like watermelon gum.  Speaking of, I was pretty shocked how well watermelon taffy/gum apparently captures the flavor of watermelon juice.  (Well, at least how watermelon juice tastes after it's been fermented and mixed with saison.)

Flavor: Similar to the nose.  Quite juicy and refreshing.  It's too bad I'm only a few months late on this one, as it snowed half an inch in the Chicago area last night.  (In fairness, I've had this on tap since mid-October, though it's not like it was super warm then either.)  Watermelon really leads the way, dominating over any other character, though the watermelon itself is not overpowering.  I like the level here, even though the base beer doesn't shine through too much.  There's a touch of grain/grass in the background.  Though the hops from the base beer have mostly faded, there is still a generic "fruitiness" that I wouldn't attribute to the watermelon, and I'm guessing is lingering from the initial American hops.

Mouthfeel: Light and extremely refreshing.  This is something I could drink a gallon of after doing yard work in the summer.  Even as I sit here cold and watching football, it's hard to put down.  Super crisp with heavy carbonation, it's light and airy, yet the flavor still lingers quite well.

Overall: I'm quite pleased with how this one turned out, especially given that it was an experiment with a beer that had developed some issues.  I will absolutely return to this one next year, and this pretty much firms up my thoughts lately that there's no reason for me to brew fruited Berliners when I can instead just go with a session saison and add fruit (particularly when adding fruit juice, which creates a swift secondary fermentation).

Science & Art #4: Blend & Tasting Notes

This is my fourth blend in the Science & Art Series, a group of blended saisons and wild ales. The components of this blend were Demeter Vert, Namur (Meyer Lemon), and Flowerfield. The idea behind blending is to create something that's better than the sum of its parts. Here, I had three beers that ranged from okay to quite good, with each one either having something that I didn't quite like (Namur and Flowerfield), or that were almost there, but could use an extra boost (Demeter Vert).

Demeter Vert was going to be the star of the show, as the lime saison base was something that I really enjoyed. I've been tweaking the recipe for that one across batches and think that I have most things generally dialed in, but this batch was lacking a bit of extra oomph. I think this is due to the fact that this beer was my first time using my yeast/bacteria Blend 05, and the Brett and bacteria weren't a big enough portion of the blend. Based on that, I was looking for something that could give this base a bit more flair.

For each of the previous versions of Science & Art, Citrine -- which is my house blonde wild -- had been a component of the blend, adding some acidity and fund. In this case, I was looking for something that was clean and not really funky, though I was hoping for a bit of acid to boost the overall flavor profile. My first thought was Namur (Meyer Lemon), which was just far too lemony. That beer was my first time using Meyer Lemon (or any type of lemon, for that matter) in a beer, and it was far too much. I was a bit surprised by this, as the use was generally in line with other citrus beers that I've done (Demeter Auran, the above-discussed Demeter Vert, and a few others), and those generally have hints of citrus without being too overpowering.

The lemon juice that was used alongside the zest in that batch of Namur created a good amount of acidity, and the beer itself was very clean and not at all funky, so after a few quick small-scale blends with Demeter Vert, I knew that I'd like to add that to the blend. That blend was still a bit citrus-heavy (though not obviously heavy on either lemon or lime), so I looked for something else to add in.

The perfect answer was a bit of Flowerfield, which is a collaboration that I did with Matt over at Stickman Brewing (he runs A Ph.D in Beer) over Memorial Day weekend 2014. We brewed that as a blonde Brett saison with Nelson Sauvin. To ferment that batch, I used the Yeast Bay Saison/Brettanomyces Blend and I wasn't a huge fan of the profile. There was something in the finish that was slightly acidic and just didn't quite agree with my palate, though others enjoyed it. (Matt, for one, agreed with me.) There wasn't anything wrong with the beer, so I didn't want to get rid of it, but I though blending would be a good option for some of what was remaining in the keg.

After messing around with the ratio of the three beers using a pipette and sample glasses, I settled on a blend that was four parts Demeter Vert, one part Meyer Lemon Namur, and one part Flowerfield. From there, I transferred into a bottling bucket, mixed in the priming sugar, and bottled. Since the Flowerfield portion was already kegged and carbonated and the Meyer Lemon Namur was in bottles, I needed to reduce the sugar so that I didn't get too far over my goal of 3.0 volumes of CO2. (Since the Namur was in bottles, I added that portion last, slowly pouring from chilled bottles into the bottling bucket with the neck submersed in the liquid in the bucket.) Given this, I decided to put the target at 2.2 volumes (almost purely guesswork) in the priming calculator, and then used that as my sugar level for bottling.

And now for the tasting notes, which are coming around 3.5 months after I bottled up the blend.  For tasting notes from others, you can follow the beer here on Untappd.

Appearance: Clear, bright light yellow with a fluffy white head. Good retention and plenty of lacing as it went down. Visible carbonation bubbles rising through the liquid. Has just about all it needs for a saison. I generally don't pay too much attention to whether my saisons are clear or hazy so long as they have a nice head of foam and good retention, as hazy beers seem a bit more rustic, which is something I don't mind at all when dealing with saisons with Brett and/or lactic acid bacteria (LAB).

Aroma The citrus citrus isn't too strong in the nose, and is mostly generic but tending a bit more toward the lemon. Lime there as well. I'm glad that most people haven't been able to pick out the exact citrus, as one of my goals here was to really knock down the lemon of the Namur variant, while preserving the lime from Demeter Vert. At this point, I think I was pretty successful there, likely only picking out the distinct citrus fruits as I know what went into the beer. As it warms, there is also a bit of an almost honey-like character, mixing with a bit of apricot. Maybe a bit of green grape there as well, which could be coming from the Nelson Sauvin that was used fairly heavily in Flowerfield.

Flavor: Lightly tart with just a hint of backing grain. Very clean without any funk, focusing in on the light acidity and citrus character. Maybe a bit simple, but I wasn't looking for this to be an overly-complex beer. The citrus character is just about where I want it, with some Brett-induced fruitiness in the background. The light acidity comes from the citrus, as well as from whatever lactic acid bacteria are now in this fermenting blend. (I typically use buckets that I use a carboy brush to clean, so there are plenty of scratches for LAB from dreg batches to take hold.)

Mouthfeel: Again, quite light, and also extremely crisp. The carbonation is high without gushing or being too bubbly. Clean finish, not much lingering taste. This would be a great beer for the summer, though I'm not sure I'll have much, if any, last until then. The Yeast Bay Wallonian Farmhouse is the base yeast for the fermentation blend of Demeter Vert, and I think it contributes a nice bit of body in beers that are otherwise bone dry. That's certainly apparent here. The water profiles of the base beers also likely contribute to this, as I tend to go relatively heavy on the chloride for saisons, where it seems like many other saisons are too sulfate heavy for my tastes. 

Overall: I'd describe this as simple, but elegant. Really easy drinking and is something that I'll try to re-create in the future, potentially all in the same beer by using the base for Demeter Vert and then adding in just a touch of Meyer Lemon and also maybe dry hop with some Nelson.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wallonian Pale Ale (Batch 04): Recipe

This is my fourth time trying out this recipe, a very hop-forward saison with moderate bitterness.  I absolutely loved my second batch of this (recipe; tasting notes).  The third batch was basically the same recipe as the second, and I didn't feel that it warranted its own post.  This was especially true as I was brewing with a friend (his half of the batch was fermented with basic Chico yeast) and I wasn't able to take many notes.  This attempt is slightly different, as I plan to change up the hop profile a bit, and will also probably dry hop each half of the batch differently.

Here are the full details on the batch:

Batch Number: 97
Brew Date: October 18, 2014
Keg Date: November 9, 2014
Batch Size: 10 Gallon
OG: 1.045 (est.)
FG: 1.003 (est.)
Fermentation Temperature: 65-70* F
IBU: 56.0 (modified Tinseth from BrewCipher)
ABV: 5.5%
SRM: 5.0

Mash: Single infusion for 60 minutes at 154* F
Boil: 60 minute


10lb 8oz Dingemans Belgian Pilsner
4lb 0oz Munich Malt
2lb 0oz Flaked Wheat
0lb 14oz Acid Malt
0lb 12oz Flaked Oats

Salts & Water

6.6g Calcium Chloride (all in the boil kettle)
7.1g Gypsum (all in the boil kettle)
2.5g Sodium Chloride (all in the boil kettle)

5.5mL lactic acid added to the sparge water to get that pH to approximately 5.3.  

Resulting water profile is as follows:

Mash pH (est.): 5.34
Calcium: 96
Magnesium: 12
Sodium: 25
Chloride: 100
Sulfate: 100


1.5oz Pacific Gem (pellet, 16.0 AAU) at 60 minutes 
4oz of Mosaic (pellet, 11.6 AAU), 30 minutes after flameout
2oz of Belma (leaf, 11.6 AAU), 30 minutes after flameout
2oz of Galaxy (pellet, 15.0 AAU), 30 minutes after flameout

Let the hops sit in the wort for about an hour total, as I ended up leaving them for a long time with Batch 02 of WPA and really enjoyed the character.

Dry Hops

01.02.2015: This one has been on tap for about two weeks, and I'm finally getting around to adding some dry hops in the keg.  I've been way behind, as my wife and I had twin boys in November!  I had planned on doing a blend of 3-4 hops and using some leaf, but I discovered that I'm out of large hop bags and don't have the time to reseal that many packages.  Thus, I ended up going with only two varieties of pellet hops, adding them to a hop bag (without weights, also can't find those) and dropping that into the keg attached to some unwaxed/unscented floss.

I went with 4 ounces of 2014 Mosaic and 1 ounce of 2013 Columbus.  The Columbus came from a 1-ounce package.  I usually have those around since I like to use them for bittering.  The Mosaic came out of a 1-pound bag.  I put the bag into a gallon Ziploc and put it back in the freezer.  Hopefully I'll have time to vacuum seal sooner rather than later.


2.0 tsp. Wyeast Yeast Nutrient at 10 minutes


Full batch used Ambrosia Blend 005 (now the seventh generation) from the cake of an September 27, 2014 batch of Demeter Facile.  Per yeast, I needed 320 billion cells for the entire batch.  At 40-60% solids, this would mean 250mL for the whole batch.  I went with 500mL, as I was pulling from a wine thief and didn't have the best view, and I'd rather overpitch than underpitch, and didn't have time to let everything settle out before measuring.


11.09.2014: Kegged each half.  Will wait until closer to tapping to add the dry hops.

Demeter Sinis (Batch 03): Recipe

This was my third time brewing Demeter Sinis, the winter seasonal in the Demeter series.  As I have been pretty happy with it since the first batch, I didn't really change anything up here.  I'm also pretty excited as it has been a long time since I've had "straight" Demeter Sinis available.  This is due to the fact that last year's Batch 02 was all fruited, with the pomegranate portion getting kegged and the cranberry portion was bottled.  Thankfully I do still have a few bottles of the latter.  

As I've cleaned up my temperature control equipment for the season making way for a steep drop-off in brewing over the next few months (twin boys coming soon to the Thorpe family!), I decided to just ferment this one at room temperature.  In my experience, I've gotten yeast-driven character that's pretty similar no matter the temperature I use with my current yeast/Brett blend, it just takes a bit longer when fermenting in the 65-70*F range as opposed to the 75-80*F range.  I really do need to do some actual split-batch experiments with temperature next year though.

The recipe for the full batch is as follows:

Batch Number: 96
Brew Date: October 4, 2014
Bottle Date: November 2, 2014
Batch Size: 10 gallons
OG: 1.045 (estimated)
FG: 1.002 (estimated)
Fermentation Temperature: 65-70* F (room temperature)
IBU: 27.0
ABV: 5.5% (est.)
SRM: 17

Mash: Single infusion for 60 minutes at 154* F.
Boil: 60 minute


7lb 8oz Belgian Pilsner
4lb 0oz Wheat Malt
4lb 0oz Wheat, Flaked
1lb 0oz Acid Malt
0lb 12oz Rye Malt
0lb 8oz Oats
0lb 8oz CaraMunich
0lb 8oz Carafa II
0lb 4oz Chocolate Malt

Salts & Water

5.5g Calcium Chloride (all added directly to the kettle)
4.3g Gypsum (all added directly to the kettle)
6.1g Sodium Chloride (all added directly to the kettle)

All of the salts are added directly to the kettle to achieve the ultimate water profile that I am looking for. Acid malt is being used to get the mash pH almost to where I wanted it.  I also added 4mL of lactic acid to the mash.

Resulting water profile (based on EZ Water Calculator v3) is as follows:

Mash pH (est.): 5.21
Calcium: 78
Magnesium: 12
Sodium: 50
Chloride: 127
Sulfate: 70

I also added 5.5mL of lactic acid to the sparge water to get the pH of that liquor to 5.2.


1.0oz Nugget (pellet, 13.3 AAU) at 60 minutes
1.0oz Willamette (leaf, 7.5 AAU) at flameout


2.0 tsp. Wyeast Yeast Nutrient at 10 minutes
6.0g Lavender, dried, at flameout*
1.0g Black Cardamom, at flameout


Full batch used Ambrosia Blend 005 (now the seventh generation) from the cake of an September 27, 2014 batch of Demeter Facile.  Per yeast, I needed 160 billion cells for the entire batch.  At 40-60% solids, this would mean 250mL for the whole batch.  I went with 500mL, as I was pulling from a wine thief and didn't have the best vie, and I'd rather overpitch than underpitch, and didn't have time to let everything settle out before measuring.


11.02.2014: Bottled around 9 gallons, aiming for 3.0 volumes of CO2 based on the priming calculator.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Demeter Automne: Tasting Notes

After about two months in the bottle, it's about time to write out some tasting notes for this batch, which is my first time brewing Demeter Automne, a fall saison (recipe).  I'll say that early on, I thought the finish was too biscuit-heavy, but that character has certainly died down over the past month, and is now just about where I want it.  

Appearance: Medium to dark amber with a puffy light tan lasting head.  Fairly clear.

Nose: Toasty biscuit alongside faint pumpkin spice.  Earthy and leafy.  I think the combination of light spicing and Willamette at flameout got me what I was looking for -- something that isn't too heavy in any one direction, but is instead just reminiscent of fall.

Taste: Earth and toast with a bit of fall spice.  Nothing stands out too much.  Some pumpkin in the background as it warms.  I'm glad that I used fresh-roasted (then frozen) pumpkin in this recipe, as I think the squash flavor does actually come through.  Some light funk on the backend, alongside a faint acidity.

Mouthfeel: Dry finish, though the body itself isn't too light.  Carbonation just where I want it for a darker saison.  Easy drinking without any one element becoming too dominant.  Light tartness through the finish.

Overall: For a first attempt, I'm quite happy with this one.  I'm not sure there's anything that I would change up too much.  Next year, I think I may increase the Willamette addition at flameout just a bit, adding a bit more of the leafy/earthy character that I really like in this beer.  As mentioned above, at first I thought the biscuit malt was too much, but I think after a month of being fully-carbonated, that character is just about where I want it.  

Now that I have the base recipe down, I think I'll likely do a few batches of this next year, as I'd like to try a few "barrel-aged" variants.  I'm most interested in trying a version with wine-soaked oak cubes, and then another version with brandy-soaked oak cubes.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Demeter Facile: Recipe

With this beer being my sixth time using Ambrosia Blend 005 to ferment, I wanted to try something very neutral in order to really pick out the yeast and bacteria profile that I have going.  This meant brewing a beer with a fairly-simple blonde malt profile, keeping the hops in check, and not using any spices or fruit.  Based on this process, I decided to go with "Facile" (French for "simple") as the name for this beer in the Demeter series.  For those who haven't been reading for too long, the Demeter series is a line of saisons using Brettanomyces and/or lactic acid bacteria, and have up until this point contained some sorts of fruit or spicing.  The name of the series comes from Greek mythology, where Demeter is the goddess of the harvest.

With the simple base beer, I'm hoping to be able to pull out fruity aspects that are coming from the yeast and bacteria blend, perhaps with a little bit of spice as well.  While I do appreciate saisons that tend toward the phenolic side, I vastly prefer to brew (and drink) saisons that focus on fruity esters.  I've generally picked out a lot of tropical fruit and citrus notes so far when using Ambrosia Blend 005 to ferment, though I've never been sure how much of that was due to hops and other aroma/flavoring agents I've added to those beers.  Here I use a bit of Centennial for some hop character, but by no means an excessive amount (1.5 ounces per 5 gallons).  For the grist, I used mostly pilsner, adding in some Munich, honey malt, spelt, and wheat to give a little extra flavor and up the mouthfeel a bit.

Here are the full details on the batch:

Batch Number: 95

Brew Date: September 27, 2014
Bottle Date: October 25, 2014
Batch Size: 10 Gallon
OG: 1.044 (est.)

FG: 1.002 (est.)
Fermentation Temperature: ~65*F.  (This is being fermented in the unfinished portion of our basement, which generally hovers in this area, staying warm throughout the winter as the boiler is located in the corner.)
IBU: 29.0 (modified Tinseth from BrewCipher)
ABV: 5.7%
SRM: 5.0

Mash: Single infusion for 60 minutes at 152* F
Boil: 60 minute


14.0 lb Pilsner Malt
1.50 lb Raw Spelt
1.00 lb Flaked Wheat
1.00 lb Munich Malt
1.00 lb Honey Malt

Salts & Water

All salts added to the kettle. Also added 14mL of lactic acid to the mash to get the pH to around 5.24.

5.2g Calcium Chloride
4.3g Gypsum
6.1g Sodium Chloride

Resulting water profile is as follows:

Mash pH (est.): 5.24 (BrewCipher estimate)
Calcium: 77
Magnesium: 12
Sodium: 50
Chloride: 125
Sulfate: 70


1.5 oz Centennial (8.7 AAU), pellet, at 60 minutes
3.0 oz Centennial (8.7 AAU), pellet, at flameout


2.0 tsp. Wyeast Yeast Nutrient at 10 minutes


Full batch used Ambrosia Blend 005 (now the sixth generation) from the cake of  an August 23, 2014 batch of Wallonian Pale Ale.  Each 5-gallon portion got approximately 125mL of dense slurry from that cake.  (Estimate based on 73% viability calculated at  


I'm planning to take a portion of this batch and transfer on top of the spent fruit from two other batches that I currently have going.  The first is a Flanders Red that has been sitting on black raspberries that Amy and I picked in Michigan this summer, and the second is a version of Citrine that has been sitting on whole Montmorency cherries that Amy and I picked up at that same farm.  I stole this idea from Jester King, which uses this method with raspberries (La Vie en Rose) (process) and cherries (Detritivore) (process).

11.01.2014: I ended up not using a portion of this batch on the spent fruit, as the black raspberries had completely come apart, and were creating problems when I tried to bottle Amethyst.  Given that, I'll have to try the "second use" idea next year.  Instead of fruiting the second half of this batch, I blended it with some Citrine to create Science & Art #7.

For the first bucket, which stayed as straight Demeter Facile, I had around 4.5 gallons, so I used 130g of sugar, targeting 3.0 volumes of CO2.  For Science & Art #7, I combined 5 gallons of Demeter Facile and 1 gallon of Citrine, and added 175g of sugar, aiming for 3.0 volumes.

01.27.2015: Tasting notes.

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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Demeter Automne: Recipe

Now that August has rolled around, it's time to start thinking about brewing -- not releasing -- fall beers.  I've only done one pumpkin beer in the past and that was a pumpkin stout for my wife, Amy, and not something that I particularly enjoyed.  This time I decided to do a pumpkin saison, keeping the spices quite light so that they'd give more of a "fall feel" rather than being all that noticeable by themselves, and not to the level that it'd be possible to really pick out much of the individual spices.

I brewed a 10-gallon batch, and plan to do something fun with the second 5-gallon portion as part of my Science & Art series.  Right now, I'm thinking that I'll age that half with red wine-soaked oak cubes, and then eventually blend a bit with some funky cider to be ready in time for next fall.  I picked up some store-bought apple cider to try out with some Brett and other dregs, but also hope that I'll be able to pick up, juice, and blend some real cider apples this fall.

Thankfully I had planned to do a pumpkin beer for Amy last year and never got around to it, so I had 5 pounds of frozen pumpkin that she had chopped up and roasted last fall.  I used this along with a mix-and-match set of base malt for the grain bill, using up all the remaining Maris Otter and Two Row that I had, then also using some Vienna, Munich, and Biscuit for some background bread and toast.  The brown malt should add a bit of nuttiness, with slight spice coming from the rye.  I also added the honey malt and Caramel 60 for some backing sweetness and additional character.  As a side note, honey malt itself is incredibly delicious.

Pumpkin and rice hulls at the top of the mash.

Here are the full details on the batch:

Batch Number: 92

Brew Date: August 10, 2014
Keg Date:
Batch Size: 10 Gallon
OG: 1.052 (est.)

FG: 1.005 (est.); 1.006 (measured)
Fermentation Temperature: ~70-75*F (fermented at "room" temperature in the garage, which doesn't have temperature control)
IBU: 24.0 (modified Tinseth from BrewCipher)
ABV: 6.2%
SRM: 13.0

Mash: Single infusion for 60 minutes at 154* F
Boil: 60 minute


7.00 lb Maris Otter
5.00 lb Two Row
2.50 lb Vienna Malt
1.00 lb Munich Malt
1.00 lb Caramel 60
1.00 lb Brown Malt
1.00 lb Biscuit Malt
1.00 lb Honey Malt
1.00 lb Rye Malt

I then also added 5 pounds of pumpkin puree and half a pound of rice hulls to the mash.

Salts & Water

All salts added to the kettle.  Also added 5mL of lactic acid to the mash to get the pH to around 5.4.

5.4g Calcium Chloride
4.5g Gypsum
6.4g Sodium Chloride

Resulting water profile is as follows:

Mash pH (est.): 5.4
Calcium: 78
Magnesium: 12
Sodium: 50
Chloride: 125
Sulfate: 70


0.75oz Columbus (17.7 AAU), whole leaf, at 60 minutes
3.00oz Willamette (5.1 AAU), whole leaf, at flameout


2.0 tsp. Wyeast Yeast Nutrient at 10 minutes
0.84g (.50 tsp.) nutmeg at flameout
0.66g (.50 tsp.) black cardamom at flameout
0.47g (.25 tsp.) dried ginger at flameout
0.39g (.25 tsp.) cinnamon at flameout
0.31g (.25 tsp.) allspice at flameout
0.16g (.125 tsp.) clove at flameout


Full batch used Ambrosia Blend 005 (now the fourth generation) from the cake of Wallonian Pale Ale. Each 5-gallon portion got 100mL of dense slurry from that cake.


09.01.2014: I thought about bottle conditioning this one with apple cider, but thought that the sugar that would be required would end up being a bit too much of the overall character.  Instead, I decided to take a portion of this batch, blend it with Citrine blonde wild, and then bottle condition with Montmorency tart cherry juice.  That blend turned into Science & Art #6.

For bottling Automne, I used 152g of table sugar, aiming for 3.0 volumes with about 4.75 gallons of beer.  The yield was 25 750mL bottles.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Demeter Vert (Batch 03): Tasting Notes

I've had this one (recipe) on tap for a month or so now, and I'm finally getting around to reviewing it.  While it is really nice having this on tap, I do really prefer to have my saisons bottle conditioner, for several reasons.  First off, based on experience with kegging partial batches and conditioning the rest in the bottle, I believe that the bottle conditioned beers have a better mouthfeel.  There's something about the conditioning process that really makes the bottles jump, both figuratively and literally.  For the latter, there's nothing like popping a 750 of a farmhouse beer and see
ing that slow gush.

Aside from the conditioning effect itself, which is a fairly minor thing for me, what I really like is being able to sit on the bottles and see how they develop, particularly since everything that I'm doing nowadays has Brettanomyces and lactic acid bacteria (and likely other critters as well).  The Brett helps scavenge any additional oxygen, and also does a great job cleaning up the diacetyl that is created by Pediococcus.  This is particularly important for a lot of the beers that I've done lately, as I've added plenty of Crooked Stave dregs, and it seems as though they've got a strain of Pedio that really, really likes to kick up a lot of diacetyl.

With this diacetyl creation, there are issues with kegging and then trying to bottle for friends, particularly if that means that the bottles are going to become warm for some time and allow the Pedio to get started again.  Without Brett to clean up, I may end up sending out buttery saisons, which is something I certainly don't want.  With Pedio in the bottles, there's likely Brett as well, although the latter may not be all that viable, as Chad Yakobson at Crooked Stave has mentioned (video link) that he's seen issues with Brett effectively dying off after being refrigerated for too long.

With those thoughts aside, here are the tasting notes for the beer:

Appearance: Slightly cloudy light peach color with a nice initial head, though the retention could certainly be a lot better.  Another unfortunate side effect of draft beer, in my experience.  Even when pouring with a thick, rocky head using flow control faucets, the head ends up not lasting for more than a few minutes, and not much lacing is produced.

Aroma: Just a touch of sulfur in the background behind notes of lime and soft malt.  A bit of wheat and earth.  Very faint background rye spice.

Flavor: Much more complex than the nose, with the rye coming through a bit more alongside lime peel and a bit of light tartness, likely coming from both the lime juice as well as the lactic acid bacteria used in fermenting the beer.

Mouthfeel: Very light and fairly effervescent while still being a bit chewy, likely as a result of the significant adjuncts.  The main saison strain used in producing this beer is the Yeast Bay's Wallonian Farmhouse, and it's possible that this yeast produces a good amount of body-enhancing glycerol, much as Wyeast French Saison (WY3711) does.  The glycerol produced by that French Saison strain is also mentioned in his talk discussed above.  Even with the chewy mouthfeel, the beer finishes quite dry, as well as faintly tart.

Overall: I'm quite happy with this beer, and it's been a great summer drink, especially filling pint mason jars of it as "growlers" to drink on the Metra train on the way home from work.  (Yes, one of the perks of my commute is that Chicago's Metra commuter trains allow alcohol.)  In terms of improvements, I definitely think this would be better with increased carbonation and a more-lasting head.  The carbonation is just right early on, but seems to fade after the glass is initially poured.  I'd prefer to have a bottle conditioned version that hits above 3 volumes of CO2.

Aside from the carbonation issues, I'd also plan to use just a bit more lime zest next time, as that should help the aroma pop a bit more.  I think that the lime juice that was used appears in the flavor, but doesn't come through too much in the aroma.  The bitterness and mouthfeel (aside from carbonation) are where I want them, so I probably wouldn't change much there.  I would also maybe dry hop with around 2 ounces per 10 gallons of Sorachi Ace to give a bit more additional aroma (maybe the additional lime zest could also be added here?).

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wallonian Pale Ale (Batch 02): Recipe

This is my second time trying out this recipe, with the theory that this is a fairly hoppy pale ale with saison yeast. The first attempt didn't go over that well, as I really didn't like the French Saison yeast. This time I'm going with the third generation of Ambrosia Blend 05, which is a blend of saison yeast and various Brettanomyces strains. Based on my experience with Demeter Vert (Batch 03), this is also picking up some lactic acid bacteria from the buckets I'm fermenting in, which is a good way to transfer some bugs from batch to batch since I don't have a barrel, though I do plan to make use of oak cubes for the same purpose soon. (I don't worry about the contamination, as anything I do that's "clean," which isn't all that often, is fermented in stainless steel kegs.)

I went pretty simple on the grain bill, and then hopped fairly intensely with Belma, Citra, and Mosaic at flameout. I'll also be looking to dry hop heavily as well.

Here are the full details on the batch:

Batch Number: 91
Brew Date: July 27, 2014
Keg Date:
Batch Size: 10 Gallon
OG: 1.042 (est.); 1.044 (measured)
FG: 1.003 (est.)
Fermentation Temperature: 70-74* F
IBU: 53.0 (modified Tinseth from BrewCipher)
ABV: 5.2%
SRM: 5.0

Mash: Single infusion for 60 minutes at 154* F

Boil: 60 minute


10.44 lb Dingemans Belgian Pilsner
4.00 lb Munich Malt
2.00 lb Flaked Wheat
0.88 lb Acid Malt
0.69 lb Flaked Oats

Salts & Water

Calcium Chloride (2.6g in the mash and 4.0g in the boil kettle)
Gypsum (2.8g in the mash and 4.3g in the boil kettle)
Sodium Chloride (2.5g all in the boil kettle)

5.9mL lactic acid added to the sparge water to get that pH to approximately 5.3. 

This time I added the salts to the mash and the boil kettle, aiming to get the full water profile in line, except for the sparge water, which is just acidified.

Resulting water profile is as follows:

Mash pH (est.): 5.25; measured at ~5.35 (pH meter drifting between 5.3 and 5.4)

Calcium: 94
Magnesium: 12
Sodium: 24
Chloride: 95
Sulfate: 96


9mL of HopShot (~3 AAU) at 60 minutes
4oz of Mosaic (11.6 AAU), pellet, 30 minutes after flameout
2oz of Belma (11.6 AAU), whole leaf, 30 minutes after flameout
2oz of Citra (12.9 AAU), whole leaf, 30 minutes after flameout

Let the hops sit in the wort for about 1.5 hours total, as I was busy bottling a few new beers in the Science & Art series and figured some additional exposure to the wort wouldn't hurt.

Dry Hops

Per 5 gallons:

2oz of Amarillo, whole leaf, 7 days
1oz of Citra, whole leaf, 7 days
1oz of Columbus, whole leaf, 7 days

After tasting the beer at two weeks, I decided that it was quite tropical/fruity from the flameout editions, and I wanted a little bit backing earth and floral character, as well as some additional citrus. Given that, I went with the combination above, with each 5-gallon portion getting a total of 4 ounces of whole leaf hops. 


2.0 tsp. Wyeast Yeast Nutrient at 10 minutes


Full batch used Ambrosia Blend 05 (now the third generation) from the cake of Farmhouse Mild (Batch 05). Each 5-gallon portion got 100mL of dense slurry from that cake.


07.27.2014: Removed chiller at 72*F, but let hops sit in the wort for 90 minutes or so before transferring to two buckets, each of which received 30 seconds of pure oxygen to each half just before pitching. Will plan to dry hop in 1-2 weeks. The temperature controller is set at 72*F with a 2*F differential, so should sit right in that range unless the garage gets really warm.

08.04.2014: Smell and taste are really nice. Didn't take any readings, but will soon. Temperature is at 74*F after a few days that were quite warm, though the water bath still keeps the temperature from swinging too drastically (also, just as important, from swinging too quickly).

08.10.2014: At two weeks, added the dry hops per the above after transferring 5 gallons to a keg, and leaving the other half in its bucket on the yeast. I had a bit of trouble weighing the hop bag down enough in the latter (even with plenty of stainless steel bolts!), so I may need to leave those ones in for a bit longer than a week.

09.01.2014: For the second half of the batch, I decided to bottle condition with fruit juice. For volume, I guessed that there were around 3 gallons in the keg, and shooting for 3 volumes, I used 26oz of Ceres fruit medley (guava, pineapple, papaya, mango, peach, and passion fruit), aiming for around 95g of sugar. Yield was 27 500mL bottles.

09.09.2014: Tasting notes for this batch.

11.08.2014: Two months later, and the fruit conditioned portion still doesn't seem to be conditioning properly. The fruit juice also didn't add much flavor, though it did add a TON of sediment. I don't think I'll be replicating that experiment again and, if I do, will make sure to filter any juice first.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Namur (Satsuma Mandarin): Tasting Notes

This was a portion of the second iteration of Namur, which is a rotating mix of blonde saisons.  While most of the Namur batches are clean, I've done a few variants that take things in different directions.  This one is included, as here I added the juice and zest of Satsuma mandarins, and used a blend of Wyeast Biere de Garde (WY3725), Crooked Stave, and miscellaneous saison dregs.

I have delayed getting these tasting notes done until now, as I previously thought that the Satsuma was too strong.  Based on that, in the future I'd plan to use 25-33% less juice, though probably about the same amount of zest.  Based on my experience working with citrus in saisons, the juice comes through and is a lot more pungent in small doses compared against zest, where it's mostly aroma without an excessive amount of flavor contribution either way.  Side note: The Meyer Lemon portion is still excessively lemon-y to my palate at this point, so I'm waiting for that to subside a bit, though in the interim I may use it as a blending component to brighten up a base.

Appearance: Gusher!  Light peach color with residual haziness.  Good retention, although not a great deal of lacing as it goes down.  Based on the aforementioned gusher status, not sure if the retention is related to sediment being kicked up, or instead the fruit content of this beer.

Nose: Heavy on the Satsuma character even though this beer was brewed over six months ago at this point.  A bit one dimensional, but the character is something quite nice on a hot summer day like this.  A bit of backing funk.

Flavor: Starts out with a nice orange zest character and light backing acidity.  Touch of bitterness on the backend.  Orange really carries everything through here, and is not so much an accent as it is the dominant character of the beer.  Could use a bit more backing yeast character and/or funk.  Oak could work too.  It's enjoyable as it is, though could use a bit more depth.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp, slightly puckering.  Fairly-heavy carbonation level despite the initial gushing.  Dry and thirst-quenching.  The acidity is certainly fruit-derived, but is at a really nice level.

Overall: It's a one-dimensional beer, but that's not the worst thing in the world for a summer slammer.  The next time I do this, I'll certainly make sure to do something a bit different with at least half the batch, whether it's aging on oak for a bit more depth and mouthfeel and/or blending with something that's a little more earthy and funky.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Science & Art #3: Tasting Notes

Now that my keg for this blend kicked yesterday, I figured it was about time to put up some tasting notes.  First, a bit of background on the beer, which is the third "Science & Art" installation, a series of blended saisons.  The first was a blend of approximately 85% Farmhouse Mild and 15% Citrine, and the second was a similar blend of Dionysus #2 and Citrine.  The series has really inspired me to make sure to keep plenty of extra beer on hand in kegs for future blending, though I may also look at putting portions of batches that are promising for future blends into 1-gallon jugs.  I've already started to ensure that I'll have plenty of Citrine on hand at all times for future blending, and -- of course -- enough for blending multiple batches of Citrine and aging some on fruit.  (Michigan tart cherry version coming soon.)

For this one, all of the components of the first two were involved in different ratios, and I also added in Demeter Passion, which is a portion of a recent Demeter Auran batch aged on passion fruit puree.  I started with a keg of Farmhouse Mild, and it made up approximately 50% of the blend.  From there, Citrine made up about 20%, with Dionysus #2 (aged version of this batch of Namur) and Demeter Passion each filling out 15% each for the remainder.  I blended this directly into the keg of Farmhouse Mild that I had around, as I was looking for something unique to submit to a TalkBeer saison homebrew competition.  The results of that should be coming in soon enough, and I'll make sure to post some outside feedback once I have that.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of this one, so the best I've got is a photo from a friend's Untappd checkin:

Appearance: Mostly clear with a bit of haze.  Pale golden color with an orange tint.  High level of saison carbonation leads to great retention with plenty of lacing on the way down.  (Unfortunately the above doesn't capture the usual form with a pour out of a growler that I had filled straight from the tap.)

Nose: Passion fruit and orange zest up front with a light acidic bite.  Very mild hints of oak with a bit of grain in the background.  Brett-related notes of mango and pineapple as well.  Pretty balanced with nothing standing out too much, though it's surprising how much passion fruit came through given that (1) Demeter Passion wasn't too heavy on the passion fruit and (2) that it comprised only about 15% of the blend.

Flavor: Quite similar to the nose, with the Brett-derived tropical fruit taking a more prominent role, though passion fruit is close behind.  A bit of citrus zest along with a mild funk, which appears here quite a bit more than in the nose.  Reminiscent of some of the character I often get from Crooked Stave beers, which makes sense as those dregs were used in a few components of this blend.  Just a bit of oak in the background as well.  Very light acidity, coming through more in the finish than as a substantial flavor component (just where I like it).

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp, though a decent enough amount of body coming from all the adjuncts used in many of the underlying beers, as well as the oak component coming from Dionysus #2.  Quite easy drinking, and was perfect for the first half of summer.  Light funk and acidity made this complex enough without being overpowering.  This probably explains why I went through the keg so quickly.

Overall: I was extremely pleased with this beer, and plan to blend something similar in the future.  I'd like maybe just a touch more oak in a future blend.  My only knock on this was that as it warmed, I could get just a hint of malt oxidation, which is likely because the Demeter Passion that I used came from bottles that I very gently poured into the keg to top off the blend after flushing the headspace with CO2.  While I was careful, I'm sure there was some oxygen pickup.

As mentioned above, in the future I'm hopefully going to keep around extra portions of miscellaneous beers in kegs or carboys so that I can blend easier.  Also, next time I'll definitely have to finish blending in a bottling bucket so that I can more accurately measure components and anything from bottles can be poured with the neck fully-submersed in the liquid.  Since this one was a bit on the fly and in a bit of a rush, that didn't happen here.

Finally, Science & Art #4 should be coming up soon, using Demeter Vert as the base.

UPDATE: This beer won the above-mentioned TalkBeer Homebrew Saison Competition.  Here is a link to the scoresheets that I received.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Farmhouse Mild (Batch 05): Recipe

This is the fifth iteration of Farmhouse Mild, and presented a good opportunity to try out a new yeast blend, which I always love.  In this case, it was GigaYeast Farmhouse Sour (GB121), which is new enough that it's not even on GigaYeast's website.  Instead, I had to take the description from Farmhouse Brewing Supply's website, which says that this is "a blend of Belgian ale yeast, Brett and lactic acid bacteria-- sweet, sour and a little funky."  This is my first product from them, and it sounds quite promising.  Hopefully the IBU in this one don't interfere too much with the lacto performance.

The other half of this batch is with an evolving blend that I've been using, Ambrosia Blend 05, which is a mixture of Yeast Bay Wallonian Farmhouse, East Coast Yeast Farmhouse Brett (Pure Strain) (ECY03-B), and Ambrosia Blend 002 (East Coast Yeast Saison Blend (ECY08), Brett C., and Brett Trois).

For the grist, I went with my typical mixture of a few different grains, including several adjuncts.  I started fairly late in the day, so ended up using some wheat and rye, foregoing the oats and raw spelt that I've used in the past.  (I want to try a cereal mash the next time I use raw spelt, and I was nearly out of oats.)  For hops, standard 60-minute addition for a bit of bitterness and for flameout, as always, I went with a decent amount of fragrant American hops.  In this case, Simcoe.

The recipe for the full batch is as follows:

Batch Number: 90
Brew Date: July 6, 2014
Bottle/Keg Date:
Batch Size: 10 Gallon
OG: 1.042 (estimated); 1.040 (measured)
FG: 1.003 (estimate); 1.005 (GigaYeast);
Fermentation Temperature: 72*F
IBU: 24
ABV: 5.2% (est.)
SRM: 4.0

Mash: Single infusion for 60 minutes at 152 F.
Boil: 60 minute


10lb 6oz French Pilsner
2lb Wheat, Flaked
1lb Vienna Malt
1lb Rye Malt
1lb White Wheat Malt
12oz Acidulated Malt

Salts & Water

8.0g Calcium Chloride (all added directly to the kettle)
4.0g Gypsum (all added directly to the kettle)

Resulting water profile (based on BrewCipher) is as follows:

Mash pH (est.): 5.42  (measurement swung from 5.4 to 5.5)
Calcium: 94
Magnesium: 12
Sodium: 7
Chloride: 88
Sulfate: 70

I used lactic acid to adjust the pH of the sparge water, adding 5mL to the 8.75 gallons of water used for the sparge.


1oz Nugget (13.3 AAU), pellet, at 60 minutes
4oz Simcoe (13.0 AAU), pellet, at flameout


2 tsp. Wyeast Yeast Nutrient at 10 minutes


5 Gallons: GigaYeast Farmhouse Sour (GB121) (Generation 1)

5 Gallons: Ambrosia Blend 05 (Generation 2)

For the GigaYeast portion, I simply pitched the pack, which was quite fresh (June 25, 2014).

For the Ambrosia Blend 05 portion, I calculated that I needed 85mL of slurry from the Demeter Vert cake.  Roughly 1.8 billion cells/mL based on the calculating from my previous slurry post.  Viability should be near 96% harvesting today according to, so take starting volume of 154 billion cells to get to 148 viable cells.  154/1.8 = 85.


07.06.2014: Chilled to 70*F and pitched into a water bath that should sit at 70-72*F based on the setting (72*F) and differential (2*F).  Each bucket received 30 seconds of pure oxygen through a stone.

07.07.2014: At 24 hours, water bath is at 74*F, likely because it was over 90*F outside. Temperature should come back down a bit over night back toward 72*F.

07.09.2014: At 2.5 days, beer sitting at 70*F. Controller still set at 72*F with a 2*F differential.

07.27.2014: GigaYeast Farmhouse Sour portion measures 1.005 as final gravity, using the BrewCipher refractometer conversion.  10 Plato originally, and now measuring 3.75 Plato, converting to 1.0047 FG.

Same gravity readings for the Ambrosia Blend 05 portion.

The GigaYeast portion was blended into a new batch of Science & Art #3, with this one consisting of 4.5 gallons of Farmhouse Mild, one gallon of Citrine (dreg portion of Blend 05), and one gallon of Demeter Passion (from 5 bottles)

The Ambrosia Blend 05 portion was put into a keg.  Oddly, tasted normal at the beginning of the day, but after transferring to the keg and sitting for a few hours, I noticed some diacetyl.  That's happened with this one before, and ended up being why I added the lemon guavas to Farmhouse Mild (Lemon Guava), as those gave some additional sugars to get the Brett going again, which allowed it to clean up diacetyl presumably created by pedio that's infected plenty in the brewery (originally introduced through Crooked Stave dregs, which seem to have a pedio strain that really kicks up diacetyl).

If this one ends up showing signs of diacetyl after two weeks on its own in the keg (I intentionally transferred a decent amount of the cake to have Brett in suspension), then I'll consider adding in some fruit, or maybe even bottling and priming with some fruit juice.  It may take a bit of time, but the Brett should be able to clean up pedio's mess.

08.24.2014: For the portion that had some issues with diacetyl, I transferred it back to a carboy on top of the juice from 8 pounds of watermelon.  I also added some fresh yeast from Demeter Automne, hoping to capture enough Brett to clean things up.

11.16.2014: Tasting notes for the watermelon portion can be found here.