Wednesday, May 27, 2009

La Fontaine du sang

This beer was inspired by several Belgian styled red ales that are similar to Rodenbach ales but are higher in alcohol. Those beers would be Oerbier and La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin. I am aiming for an acidity level between those two wonderful ales. I took the grist from my red ale that showed quite a bit of potential but need less aggressive hopping. For bittering, Saaz replaced the Cascades that overpowered the beer.

To achieve a good level of acidity and funk I took a half gallon and added the oak spiral from the Brett beer that had been soaking in lambic dregs. I plan to blend this portion back into the rest of the beer for the secondary conditioning.

I like the idea of naming beer after a Charles Baudelaire poem (or even his entire master work). The concept provides a combination of literary allusion and awesome imagery. And they are in French for added snob appeal. This brew shall be named La Fontaine du sang (The Fountain of blood), perfect for a strong, sour red ale.

60% Belgian 2-row pale malt
20% Munich malt
5% Belgian Aromatic
5% Crystal 90
5% Special B
5% Dark Wheat malt

80 Minutes - Saaz 6.8% AAU

113 - 20 minutes
145 - 45 minutes
160 - 15 minutes

repitched De Dolle yeast from Les Fleurs du Mal.

OG: 1.064

6/10/2009: 1.010 FG. 7.07% ABV. Racked to secondary with sour portion and ½ oak spiral soaked in red wine then sour slurry.

7/13/2009: Took sample. Dark Amber/Caramel to slightly red (see picture above). Smells like an oud bruin but taste has more bitterness and very subdued acidity. Could be bottled now but aging will bring out the full brett flavor.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tasting: Belgian Barleywine

This is the first tasting of the Belgian Barleywine, two weeks after bottling. It has yet to carbonate but I wanted to get this tasting in before summer arrives and barleywine is not on the mind.

Appearance: Deep dark amber. Nearly no carbonation despite re-yeasting at bottling.

Aroma: Pear, raisins, caramel, and molasses. A bit boozy.

Flavor: More pear, raisins, caramel, and molasses. Nugget hops provide a firm bitterness and earthy, spicy flavor to counteract the sweetness and fruitiness. The 12.7 ABV makes itself well known with a long boozy burn at the finish.

Overall an good first attempt to make a beer this big. The alcohol burn and lack of carbonation detract quite a bit from what could be an outstanding beer. Some age may be able to take care of this. Hopefully these problems can be resolved in the funky portion or next brewing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

1906: Beer in New Hampshire

If you know a good ale when you taste it you ll be glad to taste J the best ale when you know it It
I have taken some time lately to search through Google Books for historical information on New England breweries. The 1906 report from New Hampshire State Board of Health has provided the best information on types and strength of beer. The gravities range from 1.043 to 1.068, the latter being the highly regarded P.B. Ale from Van Nostrand Brewing Company in Boston. Thirty of seventy-nine samples tested positive for some for of adulteration. All but one of those thirty contained either salicylic acid or sulphorous acid.