Sorry about the delay in posts, I try to post weekly but there’s been a lot going on. This means that I’ve had less time to write and so my backlog is building up. Hopefully I can power through a few posts in September and get back on schedule.
Still dialing this Galaxy saison in. This post is probably much more for me than any of the other posts. This is almost a complete repeat from the last Galaxy Saison, the grain bill is the same, the hop additions were moved slightly and the yeast is the same, Blaugies. Despite my objections to this yeast so far, it is slower fermenting than the Dupont strain and lower flocculating by a lot, I’m going to stick with it. I think that if I just prop it up a little, it may start behaving better.
One of the goals of this blog is to find excuses to do things in the beer world that I haven’t done before and this post affords me one of those possibilities. While I doubt it is ground breaking for anyone here but in in over 10 years of brewing, I’ve never used a clarifier in a beer (other than Irish moss). Since this Blaugies yeast doesn’t seem to want to crash out on its own, I thought that this is as good a place as any to test some out.
Personal note not exactly related to this post but this is a hoppy beer that I want to make better, I had a few beers from Toppling Goliath this past weekend and I remember what a hoppy beer should be like. They were beyond incredible, King Sue was the best…that is an all Citra Double IPA but the roundness and aggressiveness of the hops, there was that mild sulfury dankness but fruitiness piled on top of fruitiness after that, I have my suspicion that these flavors and mouthfeel are achieved through water treatment and primarily late addition hops or hop shots. It is always a great shot in the arm to get a truly world class beer..reminds me I have a way to go and things to work on…truly amazing.
The existence of hard-to-get top shelf IPAs doesn’t excuse me from trying to figure them out, here we go.
Batch # 2014.17
5 Gallon Batch
Brew date: July 16th, 2014
ABV: 5.5% (estimated)
SRM: 4 L (estimated)
IBU: 35 IBU (calculated)
80% Pilsner Malt
10% Flaked Rice
Grain was mashed with 4.5 gallons of water at 154° F with with a pH stabilizer added (5.2). Mash went for 60 minutes. Wort was vorlaufed for about a gallon. 5 gallons of sparge water was added.
Wort was boiled for 70 minutes total. Wort was chilled by immersion chiller for about 35 minutes and drained into a fermenter out of the side port on the pot. Hot break material was held back by a mesh screen attached to the inside of the port. A little less than 5 gallons was collected.
2 ounces of Galaxy at 5 minutes
2 ounces of Galaxy at flameout
2 ounces of Galaxy hops dry hopped (August 17th, 2014) for 10 days
This beer got about 1/4 of the yeast cake from the previous Blaugies Galaxy Saison. Fermentation started within about 6 hours. The average temperature of fermentation was 75° F. Beer was transferred to a smaller secondary fermenter after a few weeks where the dry hopping took place. The yeast cake was saved for additional batches.
Since my primary concern about these Blaugies beers so far has been that the yeast is too much in solution, so I decided this was as good an opportunity as anything else to finally play with clarifiers. I have never used a post fermentation clarifier in any beer. I’ve used Irish moss (or whirlfloc) in almost all my beers over the past decade but post fermentation nothing. I did some research and picked up a few different products that I will play with in a few beers. This time was gelatin.
I swelled three tablespoons of gelatin in 1 cup of water for about 15 minutes, then microwaved the measuring cup several times for 10 – 15 seconds at time until the water was warm enough to melt and incorporate the gelating powder. The temperature of the liquid when this happened was just under 130° F. The beer at this point was being dry hopped so it was in a 5 gallon glass carboy (not one of the wide mouthed guys) so I ended up distributing the liquid by carefully pouring it down the sides and across the top as best I could. I waited three days to transfer it to a keg for carbonation. Holy shit was it clear. I don’t think I’ll use it on everything but it worked incredibly well. I shouldn’t be surprised but I am.
Final note, I keg my hoppy beers, I almost never bottle them. When I snapped the ball lock connector on the output post of this keg, beer sprayed everywhere and steadily leaked down the side of the keg no matter what I did. When this happens to you, know that this is caused by a broken O-ring on that post. If you are going to go the keg route (like you absolutely should), keep spare parts around. They are cheap but it sucks when you have to go hunting Home Depot, or whatever big box store you prefer, for a little rubber ring so you can get to that sweet sweet beer. Something like this can set you back days…days for a 40¢ piece of rubber.
First thing is first, this beer is clear…there is a mild haze to it but it is one of the clearest beers I’ve made in a long time. It is yellow and has steady carbonation, looks really nice.
Aroma is sweet, mango, passionfruit, and a slight offness that I can’t quite articulate yet. It basically smells like the last one but there’s an additional component there that I can’t quite describe. I think the word is ineffable, which sucks for a blog.
Beer is light in body and dryer on the finish than the last one, the hops are there but subdued…mild bitterness, honestly almost not there. That off aroma is present in the beer as well and now I think I know what it is. I think it is Brett c. There are few things to worry about when you do a lot of mixed fermentations, and one is cross contamination. Time to wash everything….This beer was mashed at a slightly higher temp than I normally would for a beer I want to completely ferment out but I figured it isn’t a concern. But those higher temperature mashes allow some Brett to get a hold on the situation. I used to have two series of ferments going on in this little homebrewery of mine, one would get 150 F mash wort and the other would get 156 F or higher mash temps. The highers would have more Brett character than the lowers. It was a nice experiment. Currently I have several fermenters with mixed Brett fermentations. Since I use the same racking equipment for all my beers and I’ve been racking a lot of Brett beers I should have realized that this was possible but apparently I didn’t wash thoroughly enough the last time. Before someone says so, I USED to have dedicated racking equipment for non-Brett beers but one of my siphons broke and I haven’t replaced it, now I will.
All of that being said, the Brett in this beer is an afterthought and sort of interesting. I’ve been planning on making this beer as a 100% Brett beer (more on that below) but I wasn’t planning on Brett c. I still like this beer. This “version” doesn’t serve the purpose I designed for this beer and that is to showcase Galaxy hops. The hops are a component of a more complicated beer, not the star here. I’m definitely brewing this one again….with cleaner yeast hopefully. Getting really close.
I would call this a partial misstep, not a miss. Definitely a good version of this beer and a healthy reminder that you always have to be careful when working with multiple organisms to keep everything separate and clean. Lesson learned (for the 10th time…this time it will stick).
Possible improvements (for future batches):
It seems like I use this section to complain about a few things that I have not gotten done yet but have been meaning to do and I think I’m there with my line length in my kegorator. The current length of my beer lines in the kegorator are about….5 feet MAYBE. It was whatever was installed when I got the damn thing a few years ago. I am going to increase the line length to >9 feet so I can heavily carbonate the beer without getting a lot of head.
On this beer in particular, I’m getting close. I’m thinking about adding another low AA hop as a late addition to get a more sulfury, rounded hopness in it (a cascade maybe?). This beer sort of tastes like fruit juice with some bitterness (awesome I know). This is very close to what I want and hope for. Also, the next version of this is getting the full water treatment I mentioned in the previous post.
I also feel like I need to mess with my hoppy beers less. I always hate when I open a fermenter, especially a hoppy beer’s fermenter. This beer spent too long in the fermenters and was messed with for dry hopping (racking step) and with the clarify..then transferred to a keg. I have to combine a few of those steps some how, I’ll give it some thought.
I have a Russian Imperial Stout in the fermenter that I hope will end up in a new whiskey barrel I just picked up…aiming for the end of the year on that one. I have two more experimental hop saisons coming up shortly (brewed one this weekend), should be fun to finish out that project. I am going to experiment with acidulated malt and naked golden oats in this saison recipe as well as brew a 100% Brett version of this beer ASAP (I’m growing the Brett right now in a starter), it will be WLP644 Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois. I also have a pilot experiment with Kluyveromyces lactis fermentation coming up as well as a Chinook Rye saison that is being dry hopped right now. A LOT of beer coming up along with a few Lactobacillus brevis fermented garden foods and some follow up on some earlier posts.
“I’m crafting your nickname, like a beer. Sip on that.” ― Jarod Kintz