Beer and Pavement

On the Homebrew Front

Posted in Beer by Zac on August 20, 2012

I have been brewing a lot lately and have plans for more in the near future. So, look at this as an update of sorts.

The oldest homemade beer I have right now the Belgian-style Quad I’m aging at the moment. Better known as “Guided By Voices“, this sucker measures in at about 10.7% ABV thanks in large part to the maple syrup and candied sugar I added to the boil. I’ve had trouble with Belgian yeast strains in the past, but this beer was fermented in my Ale Pail with a heating belt wrapped around to maintain optimal temperature. The beer nearly exploded it was so active. It’s still sitting in secondary at the moment, aging and developing in complexity. Later this fall, I’ll bottle it and ration them out slowly.

The other two batches I have on hand are the second edition of New Slang Saison and a new scotch ale I’m calling “Tenured Dingo.” Both beers were brewed for my partner’s tenure celebration on the first. So, there will be tasting notes to share for those two beers soon.

New Slang Saison was the Saison I developed last year that included lemon zest, Rosemary, and the lemony Sorachi Ace hop. This year’s version features several changes. First, I was able to secure leaf hops, hopefully allowing for a more fragrant beer, especially thanks to the dry-hop. I also added extra Rosemary to the  the dry-hop, possibly making this a roasted chicken in a glass flavor profile. Finally, the biggest change occurred in the pitching of yeast. Last year, I used a smack pack of a Saison yeast that never really took off. I had to scramble and luckily friends gave me some slurry from their cider that finished off the beer nicely. This year, I just mixed a packet of dry yeast into the wort. It took off despite no starter. The beer has smelled nice throughout and should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Tenured Dingo Scotch Ale is named for my wife. She doesn’t care for much beer but prefers a scotch ale and – more importantly – scotch. So, I soaked some oak chips in cheap scotch and added them to the secondary. The recipe features an odd hop schedule and an American yeast strain, mostly because I can do what I want. I can’t wait to try it once it’s carbonated.

Maybe most exciting of all is the plan to brew a coffee IPA. I’ve had good luck with IPAs, but coffee is a new frontier for me. A new friend roasts his own coffee and can manipulate several variables for us to get the exact flavor profile we want from the coffee. I’m looking at the moment to take a medium-roast coffee with tons of fruitiness. It will cold-brewed so as to lower the acidity. Then, we’ll dump it into the secondary. One idea is to add the coffee to a split batch so that we can experiment with several varieties. We’ll have to see, I guess.

Either way, there will be something to brew after the tenure party. So, there should be more on the homebrew front soon…

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4 Responses

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  1. Bill said, on August 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Looking forward to hearing about the Scotch ale and whether sweet maltiness comes through. Do you share recipes?

    Generally, I use dry yeast for easy-to-drink American/English styles, liquid yeasts with starters for Belgian-style brews. Mostly for cost reasons re: the dry yeast, and because I want that yeast profile for Belgian brews. I’ve learned the necessity of a blow-off tube for Belgian-style brews!

    • Zac said, on August 21, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I’m actually hoping the oak and scotch balance well with the sweetness of the scotch ale. I’m not really a fan of sweet, malty beers, but the opportunity to add a little something might work for my tastes. We’ll see.

      Normally, I would agree with you on the yeast, but I’ve had a lot of luck with dry packets of yeast. I not only aerate the hell out of the wort with an aeration wand, but I use the want to actually mix in the yeast. Also, I use the whole packet. It might not be the most economical practice, but I rarely fall short in fermenting my beers all the way out. And yes, blow-off tubes are a necessity for Belgian brews. Lesson learned.

    • Zac said, on August 21, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Also, click the links and you’ll find my recipes on Hopville.

      • Bill said, on August 21, 2012 at 11:12 am

        Thanks!


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