Sunday, August 21, 2011

Update on the 60/- heather ale

Bottled the heather ale tonight. Got 30 x 12oz, 2 x 1L and 1 x 1pt bottles. FG rang in at 1.008 with an estimate ABV of 3.51% so technically it's a 70/- since the cutoff for 60/- is 3.5% but I won't tell if you won't. It tasted a bit thin but that's to be expected with an uncarbonated session beer. There's some bitterness from the hops and heather but no discernible hop flavor. It's a little malty with a slight breadiness to the nose and a hint of floral from the heather. I'll be interested to see how it is with some bubbles.

I also tasted the partiweiss again tonight and it has mellowed a bit. I used my shallow, open top chalice this time. The sourness has mellowed a bit and is quite pleasant. There's still a little rubber in the after taste but I think it will fade in a little while. I'm feeling more comfortable submitting this one for judging as well.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Berlinergyle tasting notes

It's finally time to post tasting notes on the Berlinergyle. I've already had quite a few of these but I tried to review without any preconceptions.

The timing corresponds nicely with this month's beer blogger session.

Appearance: Straw yellow with white head that fades quickly; somewhat cloudy.

Aroma: A bright lactic sourness with some green apple and a little lemon. No hop in the nose at all. Also, there's no brett detectable even though I put some dregs from a Jolly Pumpkin in the primary. I think the lacto out competed just about everything else pretty early on.

Taste: Slightly sharp acidity with a bit of breadiness. Some acetic character but not so much as to be unpleasant. No bitterness detectable and no real maltiness.

Mouthfeel: This is a very light beer. The acid and high carbonation keep it very light and refreshing. The acid isn't strong enough to cause any tannin-like roughness in the mouth.

Overall: This beer had really mellowed since the initial tasting and is quite refreshing with a noticeable carbonation. I don't think it needs any syrup to balance the sour unlike the first bottle I drank. This tastes a little like a lemonade wine cooler but with a little more complexity. I would have liked a little brett sweetness but I'm not getting any after a few months so I think it's a lost cause on this batch. A decent beer for my first attempt at a sour and my first partigyle.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Heather ale brewday

As the Dayton DRAFT Brewfest 2011 draws near it's time to put together some entries. I'm planning on submitting the two wheats from the partigyle I did a few months ago and the coffee porter from last year. I'm undecided if I want to enter last year's Festivus since I'm running low. I decided to brew one more batch while there was time and went with my wife's request for a heather ale.

The beer is a Scottish 60/- session beer with two additions of heather for some bitterness and aroma as well as a little Fuggles at 60 minutes for some added bitterness. It's a Maris Otter base with some unmalted, roasted barley for color and added breadiness. I decided to break one of the rules for traditional Scottish ales and add a small amount of peated malt for a little smokiness. Normally the slight smokey flavor is supposed to come entirely from the yeast but that tends to require a bit of aging and I'm a little short on time so I cheated a little. Other than that, the numbers are right on par for the style with the style guidelines. The OG was right at the top end, coming in at 1.035. If it finishes a little high, I enter it as a 70/- instead and still be on style.

The day went reasonably smoothly. I was initially a little high on mash temp so I added a little cold water to adjust. It went down a little far and I was under at the 30 minute mark so I tried to bump it with a hot water addition. That wasn't quite enough so I pulled a small decoction which did the trick and might help the maltiness of the beer as well. No major boil overs or other boil problems. 3/4 oz Fuggles at 60 minutes, 1 oz heather at 30 minutes and 1 oz heather at flame out. I forgot to add Irish moss which would help clarity for the competition but I don't think it will be too much of a negative.

I came in a little under target OG which I'd normally ignore and just have a slightly weaker brew but I was just out of style so I added some DME to boost the gravity.

The wort was bubbling away and holding at a good fermentation temperature in less than 24 hours. I expect it will be done fermenting within a week and ready to go into bottles.