Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Brewing up a Storm

I've slightly neglected the blog only due to my busy brewing and work schedule the past couple of weeks, but fear not... More beer adventures are coming your way!

Most of my previous entries had followed a step-by-step process, because I really wanted to break down the steps to brewing and clearly illustrate the complete process. Now that you're in the know to some of the basic principles, the fun begins! Moving forward I want to shift gears and primarily focus on lessons learned, trouble shooting, new techniques, and beer history, reference and education.

Brewing beer, regardless of the style or flavor you are trying to achieve really does follow the simple steps that I outlined in "3AM: Brew Day - Wednesday May 29" entry. Varying factors do come in, pending the specific style or flavor profile, which I want to share with you based on my experiences of lessons learned... And too bad there is no taste and/or smell-o-vision online yet! Cause damn! These beers are coming out so tasty!

So far to date, I've brewed seven batches of beer and one hard cider... I've got some serious brews under my belt for a beginner... no literally, they are under my belt, which reminds me... I need to hit the outdoors and get back on my running routine. I'll be back with more beers and two new recipes I designed on my BeerSmith software, one of which I just entered in a home-brew competition. Exciting stuff, popping open over here. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Taster Thursday - Thursday Aug. 8

So this is my raspberry Saison. Someone recently said I shouldn't have added raspberries to a Saison style, but Saisons have evolved since it's origin.

Saison, which means "season" in French, dates back to the late 19th century of Southern Belgium. Where the beers were traditionally brewed in farmhouses in the late Autumn/Winter months and stored there until Summer to aid in hydration to the workers on hot Summer days. 

Because it was a Summer drink and helped with hydration it most likely was a lower ABV, similar to a session ale, something around 3-3.5%. Most Saison's brewed today are higher in alcohol volume and range widely from 4-10% pending it's brewing process, from traditional style such as Saison Dupont to something more funky, like Fantome Saison. Recently Men's Journal named Saison Dupont, as one of the best 25 beers in the world and that beer comes in at about 6.5%

A typical profile of a Saison is usually based off a Pils malt, but with more dry character and is usually paired with herbs and spices giving it a complex and sometimes wild or funky taste. While candi sugar or honey is typically the sugar additive that lightens and sweetens the ale.

I had interpreted all of these characteristics to go well with a berry, especially it being a Summer beverage. Based off my experience with baking pies from scratch, it's typical to incorporate spices, citrus, and herbs together with berries as you would in a cobbler or fruit pie. I thought this would be a refreshing berry Summer beer.

It may have been a gamble, and not typical to what most would expect, but I do want to experiment with beer profiles and flavors and carry over my cooking and baking knowledge to beer. And I must say I'm delighted with how this second beer turned out. The color was a perfect reddish amber, it was a hint more on the tart side, giving nod to a wild ale, yet it remained crisp and refreshing. Also because it was not too sweet, you could easily pour yourself another, and another... but watch out at 7% ABV, it will make you tipsy.

I would definitely make this tasty beer again. Yum.