My daughter, Nicolette, gave me this culinary laser thermometer several years ago. Like my trusty Thermapen, this gadget was recruited into the home brewery. While the Thermapen is used throughout the brewing process for assessing liquid temperature, this bad boy is ideal for determining surface temperature. Assessing surface temperature is helpful when you are looking for the right spot to ferment a saison or farmhouse ale -- beers that don't require housing in a chest freezer. An added benefit: This gadget makes me feel like I'm in a James Bond picture.
Bottling a saison, a cider, and a brown, all in one day.
What happens when you brew in the rain? Beer happens. And your view gets prettier. In my quest to make the ultimate saison, the second edition of Blossomcrown Citra Saison proceeded, in spite of inclement weather predictions. The rain never stopped -- and I loved every minute of it.
I'm going to admit it: This brew was challenging from the yeast starter to the brew day to packaging. I call this saison My Runt. Yet, to my utter surprise, the result reveals the heavenly latitude afforded to all homebrewers by the beer goddess Ninkasi. This outcome gives me hope for the potential of Runts everywhere to dominate the world, given time. Blossomcrown has a firm, frothy white head and a glowing orange hue. This beer is a showcase for the Citra hop, with a refreshing, palate-puckering citrusy flavor, balanced by the generous yeasty goodness of Wyeast 3711 French saison yeast. One day, I suppose I will make an undrinkable beer. But not today. I love this beer, My Blossomcrown Citra Saison.
A black-chinned hummingbird was my constant companion on this brew day. He took up residence on the front porch brewhouse and was welcome company. Blossomcrown Citra Saison explores the goodness of the Citra hop, prized for its intense citrus and tropical tones. I plan to add a tincture of dried culinary lavender from my backyard at packaging. Wyeast 3711 French Saison is the yeast of choice. With the camera in hand to document the development of the saison, I also captured the brewhouse office, where the specifics of each beer are noted and SOPs are updated. The Jambox is just the ticket for mood music . . . was it my imagination or was the hummingbird was singing along with Stevie Ray Vaughan? Only the hummingbird knows for sure, but I can tell you, he was a talker.
The culinary lavender in the backyard waved in the wind and I walked over to investigate. The bush had a slow start when I planted it months ago, so I was surprised by its growth spurt and profusion of purple blossoms. I dipped my face into the blossoms and the aroma beguiled me to design a saison and perhaps my next kombucha. Spring has arrived early in Vista, California this year, so come by for a beer and a stroll through the yard -- maybe you have some ideas for me on what to plant next.
Shining Sunbeam Saison is now in fermentation, coddled by the trusty electric blanket. Happy yeast = good beer.
With the weather in the 80's, a saison was asking to be made, and thus the Shining Sunbeam Saison was born. This is a saison with bay leaves from my sister's yard in San Diego and eureka lemon peel from the Vista Farmer's Market. The hops are Styrian Goldings. Below is the sparging process for this beer, where we look to extract as much as possible from the grains that were ground the day prior. Can't wait to taste this brew and compare it to the last one made, Bee Saison, with honey and pink peppercorns. Excuse me, as it's time to go swaddle this baby with an electric blanket. Life is rough in the beer brewing hotspot of Vista, California.
On Friday, we brewed Bee Saison -- a pink peppercorn honey saison. The idea of using pink peppercorns came from Chef Nicolette Manescalchi up in San Francisco -- thanks, Chef. My friend, Brewer Lance McCoy of Barrel Harbor Brew Co., suggested the honey. Up until this brew, I have used White Labs yeast, but for this beauty, I went with Wyeast 3711 French Saison to do it up right. I created the yeast starter the night prior and expected a vigorous fermentation after brewing, but . . . no. This is a yeast that likes heat, so I ran out to Bed Bath and picked up an electric blanket. I lovingly swaddled the fermenting saison with the blanket and cranked up the heat to medium, sending a prayer to the beer goddess Ninkasi. This morning when I awoke, the Bee Saison was vigorously fermenting. Now it's watch, wait and continue to coddle Ms. Bee Saison until she tells me she's ready for bottling. Cheers!
Homebrewer and recognized beer judge