Technically, this is my first post of 2015. So Happy New Year Gregorian calendar users!
This is an elaboration on the Galaxy saisons I’ve been doing. I’m going to tweak this recipe with respect to hops and yeast and some grain bill substitutions as a sort of blank slate for different experiments. My hope is to find a nice blank slate for my “nearly every hop” series of saisons I’ve been attempting for the past year or so. I got stuck in a rut there for a few months, but with good reason that will made clear soon enough. It is time for a NEW HOP. Several new hops in fact. Really excited about this beer.
I’ve never brewed with Wakatu (also seen it written Waktu, I assume they are the same) before but I am excited to try. In addition to not brewing with it, I’ve never had a beer brewed with it, to my knowledge. So what is Wakatu (please someone tell me how to pronounce that word…Wah Kat U? Waka too? Clues, I have none.). This is a relatively old hop from New Zealand, an offspring of Hallertau Miitlefrüh and an unknown New Zealand variety. It is a moderate alpha acid hop (7% for the crop I’m using) but has notes of lime and other slight citrus. Since I have no experience brewing or drinking anything with this hop, I had better just move onto the brewing.
Batch # 2014.27
5 Gallon Batch
Brew date: Friday, November 14th, 2014
Bottling date: December 20th, 2014 (bottled 1 case, left the rest in a keg so it can be on draft)
ABV: 5.3 %(estimated)
SRM: 4 (estimated)
IBU: 30 (estimated)
8 pound Pilsen malt
1 pound wheat malt
1 pound flaked rice
This is the same grain bill for the Galaxy saisons, this beer is basically the Galaxy with a new hop. I’m still shopping around for a new base saison recipe, for the time being this is it.
Grain was mashed at 153 F for 60 minutes in about 4 gallons of filtered water, pH stabilizer (5.2) was added to the kettle while the water was being heated.
Wort was boiled for an hour, nothing worth noting about the boil. Whirlfloc was added to the boil around -15 from flameout. Wort was chilled by immersion chiller for about 45 minutes.
2 ounces of Wakatu at 10 minutes
2 ounces of Wakatu after chilling wort to 180 F…allowed to sit for 30 minutes
2 ounces dry hopped in a glass carboy (shielded from light by a table cloth)
The dry hopping went a little long on this one, December is a chaotic month and I never plan very well and forgot about this beer for an extra week.
Received a portion of the yeast cake from the Moteuka Abbey Ale, this was probably an overpitch. Fermentation took off in about 5 hours and hit high krausen after 24. 90% of the fermentation was done after 5 days. The yeast cake for this beer was discarded, there was too much hot break material in the carboy and I didn’t feel like going through multiple washes to rescue it. Plus about a week before I got a huge amount of really clean Blaugies yeast from a Galaxy batch.
The side port on the pot was clogged (I’ve been cleaning it but apparently not adequately). I had to pour the beer into the carboy through a funnel. Nothing too special about that except that when I end up doing this I don’t care about transferring hot break material…..at all. So there was a lot of that stuff in the fermenter.
Beer served in a stemmed glass. Beer is yellow and hazy with a nice white head, moderate retention, nice carbonation.
Aroma is strong, lime, peach, a little yeast….yeah, this is a great smelling beer. 5 out of 5 on the aroma.
Beer is light in body, mildly bitter on the finish, not dry, a little wet on the back palate. The front of the beer is sweet with the hop flowers, great citrus, mild peachiness / stone fruits. A good flavor. The yeast cuts through. There is a hint of oxidation in the bottled version of this beer (half of it was bottled, half was kegged). All that means is that I have to be more careful about my bottling technique. See the next section for more on that.
Overall? Well…yep. I’m in love. Wakatu (waktu) is an amazing hop in the citrus family of hops. The aroma is great, the flavor is great and it goes well into a saison. I’ll definitely be making this one again.
Possible improvements (for future batches):
I was nervous about this one for a few reasons, first I’m a worrier especially lately. Second, new hop and I actually bet pretty heavily on this one. I’m lucky and pleased with this outcome. I have issues with clogged dip tubes. I bottle using a beer gun off of a corny keg. TWO BEERS IN A ROW ended up in kegs with clogged dip tubes so I couldn’t bottle it without transferring to a new keg…that sucks. Every time you transfer a beer, there is an opportunity to screw it up a lot. So, both the last Galaxy saison and this Wakatu saison ended up with hints of oxidation and I think it is due to this.
I’m not the kind of person that makes New Years resolutions but here’s one. I’m going to start treating my hoppy beers much better. I do a good job making a bunch of over hopped saisons but mistakes like this should be avoided, and can be easily.
Step 1 is this guy. My new transfer protocol from the carboy into the keg for either bottling or for going on draft is to use this cap. This is a soft plastic cap that fits tightly on the necks of Better Bottle style carboys. The center hole (capped in the picture) is for a dip tube and the side post is for CO2. This cap will allow me to transfer the beer under mild CO2 pressure. This will remove a possible source of oxidation. I’ve already tested this out by transferring some PBW solution out of a carboy, through a ball lock fitting, down a dip tube into a corny keg. It worked amazingly. I’m making a few other improvements but I’ll save that for its own post later in the year.
What would I do to improve the beer? I’m still searching for the best grist bill for saisons and the next two have flaked wheat and flaked barley in them. Hopefully I’ll find something that I like soon.
Upcoming brews and posts:
There are a few posts in the hopper and a few beers in fermenters. I started a Brettanomyces experiment with 4 one gallon batches of 100% Brett beers. This will hopefully be a thing this year…get about a dozen of those done. Ready to go on draft is a repeat of the Motueka Abbey Ale and a Chinook Wet Hop saison using hops from Stillpoint farms (I picked these hops in a previous post). Coming up in the brewing schedule is this beer fermented with WLP644, a witbier, and an English Strong Ale for the whiskey barrel. The Russian Imperial Stout I brewed and put in the barrel is bottle conditioning, so that will be something soon.
Lots of beer coming up, lots of other posts coming as well (sour dough bread and a summary of secondary physiology of Saccharomyces species).
“Whiskey’s too rough, Champagne costs too much, Vodka puts my mouth in gear. I hope this refrain, Will help me explain, As a matter of fact, I like beer.” — Tom T. Hall