I used two brewing techniques for squeezing the most aroma and flavor from the hops of this American pale ale: first wort hopping and late wort hopping. First wort hops were added to the kettle immediately after mashing. The balance of the hops were added at 20, 15, 10, 5, 2, and 0 minutes of a 60-minute boil. The hops: Amarillo, Tomahawk, and Simcoe, supported by a rich, malty backbone featuring Maris Otter and Vienna malts. The use of reverse osmosis (RO) water will help me create a clean, refreshing beer to enjoy on these hot post-summer days.
Small batch brewing provides the opportunity to use your vial or smack pack of yeast to create more than one beverage -- in this case, an ale and a cider. Why not use the small batch opportunity to go with a theme (or craze, if you're especially ardent): Belgian Tripel or Octoberfest or . . . the possibilities are endless. Below is a glimpse of the Glow-Throated Belgian Tripel ale that I made on day one and the Royal SunAngel "Belgian Tripel" hard cider that I made on day three. The ale and cider share Wyeast Trappist High Gravity 3787 yeast, along with table sugar, on the list of ingredients. For the cider, I used Trader Joe's flash pasteurized, unfiltered apple juice (find it in the refrigerated section). For those who asked about my cider ingredients: I plan to add a tincture of hand-picked pink peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cinnamon in secondary fermentation to evoke the aroma and flavor of a Belgian Tripel. The ale will rely solely on the yeast for its spicy, fruity character. It makes me purr to think about doing a side-by-side tasting once I get these babies bottled.
Big ciders beguile you to slow down and reflect upon what's good in your life. When sipping an apple wine such as this one will be, I think of my mother and how much she enjoys her brandy at the end of a harrowing day in the entrepreneurial life she shares with my dad. When I made a Belgian Tripel ale a few days ago, I thought it would be fun to concoct a hard cider with a similar vibe. Thus, Royal SunAngel "Belgian Tripel" was born. I placed this baby in the fermentation chamber and active fermentation kicked in within an hour. Hang onto your hat, Peter -- this is a live one!
I realize only now that the saisons I have been brewing were the gateway to the Glow-Throated Belgian Tripel. My first plan of attack was to do market research -- drinking iconic Tripels brewed by the great and lesser masters. And I did some reading up. The drinking was more fun.
As any Dutiful Daughter of Brewing will tell you, there is a heady excitement around researching, via tasting and other means, the beers you plan to brew. To that end, I was forced by Best Practices to explore the Belgian Tripel, which is scheduled to be brewed this week. Peter and I bellied up to the bar at Wurstküche in Venice, California, for the tasting, and ordered up some heavenly sausages, which we slathered with brown mustard, caramelized onions, and sweet peppers. The double-dipped Belgian fries weren't bad either. Life is rough in Los Angeles, where adventurous eating and drinking habits mean a trip to the gym five days a week. Our tasting included Westmalle Tripel, Gouden Carolus, and Chimay White. We plan a return trip to continue the tasting in earnest; a woman's work is never done, and it doesn't hurt to have a buddy who is happy to compare notes with you.
Brewing beer in one-gallon batches is a blast. I can brew as often as I like and the cleanup takes 10 minutes! What's more, this type of granularity in making beer unleashes my baker's frenzy for precision. I give special thanks to my friends, who answer my seemingly hundreds of questions regarding the particulars of small-batch brewing. For this American brown, I plan to use dried mission figs soaked in Bulleit Bourbon. Whenever I use Bourbon, I think of Gwen Conley of Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, who is a huge influence in my beer adventures.
Last Thursday, I was walking the San Francisco sidewalks and it was hot. Nick Schrader told me that Delarosa on Chestnut Street has a great craft beer selection so I bellied up to the bar and ordered a Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, Le Merle, from North Coast Brewing. A few minutes later, a customer walked in and asked for a beer from Headlands Brewing, a local brewery. He downed the rye IPA in two gulps. When I asked him why he drank so quickly, he said, "I met the brewer and there could be a job in it for me. He suggested I try the beer." My eyes grew wide. I replied, "Don't let the brewer see you drink his beer! Not if you want the job." The bartender, who had been listening, playfully responded, "There's no wrong way to drink a beer." If you have friends with similar drinking habits or who simply want to explore tasting beer, share this video. It unearths some basics: appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and character. BTW, what would you have said to the beer-gobbling customer?
Getting a new chest freezer to ferment your beer is an exciting event in the life of a homebrewer. Why not ratchet it up a notch and go for disco lighting and a tiki hut ambiance? Now fermenting: a Roggenbier and an Irish red ale. For those of you who have been following my chest freezer adventures -- and you know who you are -- let's party!
I remember the magic of walking with my sister through the Canadian forest in search of fresh berries when we were children. Now that we're grownups, she particularly likes red ales, so I'll bring this one along the next time I see her. The recipe includes dried black currants soaked in Bulleit Bourbon during secondary fermentation for berry action.
I could not resist the allure and challenge of making a Roggenbier, a medieval ale composed of rye malt, barley malt and wheat. To this number, I added a touch of chocolate malt. I plan to add Brettanomyces in secondary fermentation for earthy complexity.
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