Thursday, February 9, 2012

Senne Valley Saison

The weather has been weird lately.  It's either hot and sunny with clear cloudless skies, or overcast and rainy-no in between.  When you wake up each morning, you never know if you'll need your umbrella for walking through a downpour or for shade at the beach.  I'm going to spin the wheel and make a saison and hope for more heat to assist in a hot fermentation.  I put my last saison outside, wrapped in a towel in the hot sun in July last year, and the taste did not disappoint.  For this one, I want to do something a little different.  Here's the recipe for Senne Valley Saison.

Brasserie Cantillon - Senne Valley
When I first started thinking about souring beers at home, I bought a vial of White Labs Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, figuring that I would use it to make an all Brett-fermented beer of some sort.  It's been sitting in the fridge for the past few months, waiting for some attention.  While I still think that an all Brett beer would be interesting, I plan to pitch the neglected vial into secondary when I transfer this saison off the primary yeast cake.  The Brett should impart a clear mild sour flavor that increases with age and dries the beer out nicely, which goes well with traditional saison style parameters.  I'm hoping that the combination of the Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast and the Brett will make for a very complex and interesting result, with the 3711 enhancing the spiciness of the grains of paradise and helping some of the characteristic of the Czech Saaz shine through for a different twist.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Easy Inspiration for A New Beer

Fermentation chamber with chalkboard painted doors.
With my fermentation chamber nearing completion, I don't have to try hard to find motivation to brew.  Last Tuesday, Lewy came by with a bottle of his Portsmouth Kate the Great clone beer.  The hype surrounding Portsmouth's KTG offering is at a level inhabited by a select few other craft beer releases (Pliny the Younger and Dark Lord come to mind) and Lewy's clone did not disappoint in the least. On the contrary, it made me want more.  So I decided to take the plunge, test my patience and make a clone of it myself.

Dark and roasty with a confluence of aged flavorings that are at once familiar and hard to identify with the right words.  There's apparent oak and bourbon flavors, some vanilla, currant and burnt wood as well.  It's not malty and retains some residual sweetness that adds to the warming provided by the high ABV.  Lewy based his recipe on the information provided by the brewer, Tom Mott, and publicized by way of the Home Brew Talk forum.  I did the same but made some adjustments based on recommendations made by The Mad Fermentationist.  I simplified the hop additions added additional chocolate and roasted malts and selected WLP060 American Ale Yeast Blend to give it a more lager-like finish without compromising the things I like about WLP001 CA Ale.  Click below to see my recipe:


After primary fermentation, I plan to age the beer on oak cubes that have been soaked in bourbon in much the same way that Lewy did.  Cheers to waiting 6+ months for satisfaction!