All posts by leumasllewdalb

Wedding beer and super sour

So I recently just completed a series of brews for a wedding – the light sour – which ended up going down a blast. As a result of brewing the beer many many times, I now have the recipe pretty much perfect. The only problem with posting it for everyone to brew, is that all were fermented completely open, and the yeast has been going for so long now if probably isn’t the same. My best guess would be to start with the Amalgamation Brett blend, that I used for my first sour beer, and this should be pretty similar.

The recipe is
1kg Light DME
4 grams of Ella Hops
Amalgamation Brett Blend

You want a full 10L. The important point is to use a Demijohn, so you can control the amount of oxygen. You really need to get it close to the top, so you get a little bit, but not too much acidity. Remember that Brett makes acetic acid, and you want a bit but not too much. It’s a bit of a goldilocks. I’ve found that 4 weeks is perfect for developing a nice, slightly sour flavour, with a very fruity nose. After that – bottle it, and give it another 4 weeks.

So having done this, and pretty much cleared all of my home brew, I got down to the last few bottles – all of varying brews. The very last was one of the first sours I brewed. The several months of ageing had softened all the rough edges and turned it into something absolutely delicious. This motivated my current brew – an attempted to make it bigger, better and bolder. For the bigger – I’d decided to ramp up the amount of Caramalt substantially – 400grams worth. Added to this was another 200grams of sugar, and a tin of coopers light malt extract as the base. From there, I boiled for 60 minutes, to get rid of any nasty points of the caramalt, with 8g of ella hops.

So we have:
1.5kg Light LME
400g Caramalt, Steeped at 70 C (approximately – cause my thermometer broke)
200g Sugar
8g ella hops

All for a 10L brew as usual. This will go into a plastic bucket, which is a little porous, until is has enough acidity, after which I’ll move it into demijohns and rack it for a month or two. Hopefully we’ll end up with something with a good a sour profile, a bit of sweetness, and nothing too astringent. I might add a few chips of oak, to up the tannins a bit if needed.

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Sichuan Saison: Mark II

So I’ve been going through a nostalgia period with my brewing, and this week it was time to make another go of my Sichuan Saison. Last time, I’d used a White Labs yeast (no. 565). This time round I decided to keep it simple with a Wyeast Belle Saison packet. There were a few other changes I decided to make, here and there. One was the addition of Candy sugar, to make it have a little more kick. Another was the use of a Light malt, rather than a pilsener malt extract, lending it a little more body.

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A light sour for summer…

A few months ago, I found myself with some old light malt extract, about 200g worth, and some sour yeast I had been gradually building up from the first sour in a conical flask on my desk. I also had a Growler courtesy of Dave, who had brought back a nice DIPA from Aeronaut brewing in the USA. Naturally, all these came together in the for of a sour beer, which turned out to be deliciously light and refreshing. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to write down any real details of the light sour recipe, rather it existed as an ephemeral idea in the back of my head; low on hops, high on bugs, sufficiently light to quench your thirst on long hot Sydney summer.

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The tower of sour…

Having had a few weeks in the bucket to ferment, my dearly beloved hard as fuck IPA was ready for a few more weeks without the copious hop dregs sitting at the bottom. All looked well, with a delicious hoppy aroma when I cracked the top of the fermenter. All that remained was to move said IPA to the glass demijohns where my sour had been quietly turning delicious. This proved to be an opportunity for both the bottling of the Sour, and the second stage of fermentation for the IPA. All of this reminded me that I hadn’t provided a post for our successful souring, so I’ll go over that first.

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Making water harden the fuck up…

Gypsum, for those who are not in the know, is CaSO4 – calcium sulfate (we can thank dear Lavoisier for his nice nomenclature). It’s in your water, to varying degrees, depending on where you live. Locations with ‘hard water’ typically have much higher concentrations of it that Sydney, which has quite soft water.

Why the interest in the chemical composition? Well, it all starts with a beer called pacific ale. Or more specifically, various attempts to replicate it. From dry hopping, to last minute of the boil and rapid chilling, to proposing various bits of complex machinery, no one that I know has yet managed to replicate the delicious Galaxy (passionfruit) hop aroma of Pacific ale. So how do they do it?

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Sichuan Saison

Having caught the Brewing bug, I decided that the sour simply wasn’t enough brewing for this month, and figured I’d add another beer to ferment. An added bonus was the potential for there being even more deliciousness to drink. Of course, this left a pressing question – what should I brew? Not one to be restricted by my own lack of experience, I decided it, like the sour beer, had to be a little strange.

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Sour Power…

Feeling a little sorry for our demijohns, now empty of their meady goodness, we decided we should fill them with something else. Naturally, it couldn’t be anything normal, but rather something novel and untried. We ended up settling on favourite of ours – sour beer! For those who don’t know, sour beer is a style of beer that is (as the name suggests) sour. Some examples of this are Lambics, Gueze, and what the Yanks call ‘Wild Ales’. For an added bit of funkiness, we decided that we’d also use a Saison-ish yeast, which should add some additional funky flavours.

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Meady Update…

Having endured the long, difficult, indeed tormenting wait we finally reached the stage where our mead could be released from its glassy confines… and placed in new glassy confines. That’s right – its bottling day. Of course, no bottling would be complete without a surreptitious tasting of the wares. Or for that matter, without delicious food, good company, and a new beer to fill up the glassware that the mead was liberated from. So we set aside a Saturday of the long weekend, I brought the mead out of storage, and we went through the slow process of bottling.

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