Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Apfel Fermented Blonde Ale

I got to eyeballing the German Sweet Apfelwein the other day--there are a good couple pounds of pureed granny smith apples resting on the bottom.  And I just know that the apple cider isn't going leech all the flavour out of them--especially given that I will have to leave all that and more behind when I rack, otherwise I won't get the apfelwein to clear.

So, I decided I want to ferment a fairly simple tripel on the gross lees.  I have been quite interested in blending wine and ale yeasts, and fermenting beer with wine yeast.  The yeast used in the apfelwein is the Vintner's Harvest AW4--a strain designed for spicy, aromatic white wines (Gewurztraminer).  The only question was whether I could blend it with another strain, because most wine yeast strains don't ferment maltose very well.  I ended up contacting the company, and actually received a response--AW4 is Killer-neutral.  Safe for yeast blends.  I will not add an ale (some strain of Belgian ale) yeast until the wine yeast is mostly finished, if at all--I want to see how far it will ferment.

Grain Bill:
4.75 lb Belgian Pale Ale
2 lb Belgian Pilsner
0.75 lb of white wheat
0.5 Aromatic malt
3oz of acid malt for ph adjustment
Pacific gem and styrian goldings to 35IBU, heavy on flavour/aroma hops

Mash in at 140, and slowly raise temp slightly after 15 minutes.  4.5 gallons (2.25 quart per lb) mash water.

Pre-boil is 1.050 at 143 degrees (1.069 corrected).  Mash went according to plan.
Hops as follows:
Pacific Gem, 14%: 0.25oz at beginning of boil, 0.3 at 25 minutes, 0.3 at 8 minutes
Styrian Goldings (leaf): 0.5oz at flameout.

2-1-16: Ended up with a two hour boil (hop bag was removed after the first 75 min) because of DMS fear.  1.077 OG, adjusted.
2-8-16; SG is now 1.018

4-14-16; FG is 1.018. Bottled with a touch of S-05 and 2.5 oz of sugar.  16 crown caps and 4 corked Belgians (the Tide ones got 1/2 tsp extra sugar.  Hopefully the addition of ale yeast wasn't a mistake that results in overcarbonation or bottle bombs.  Colour was nice and clear, surprisingly--I fined with gelatin for the first time.

Belgian Brett IPA

For the second runnings (as it is my practice to make 1 gallon of a quicker, session beer for every full 3 gallon batch), I decided I want to make it as a spiced saison.  Looking through the spice drawer, I noted something I haven't yet used--for anything.  Kala Jeera.  Also known as black cumin, is has a floral, camphorous aroma, and should be interesting.  I figure I will ferment it with brett B, which can give a range of flavours from tropical to barnyard.

Grain Bill:
The already mashed grains from the trippel
1.5 oz acid malt
2 oz Special B
1 tsp Kala Jeera (at flamout and into the fermenter)
Brett B and Stone strain

Mash with 1.25 gallon of water and bring to 150 degrees for one hour.  20 minute boil.
1.032 at 125 degrees (1.048 adjusted) .  I did use a 20 minute boil, with 0.4 oz each of Pacific Gem and Brewer's gold hops, with the Kala Jeera at flameout.  OG is 1.042 (probably 1.049, adjusted)
I decided--after tasting how bitter it was--to use the Stone Brewing bottling strain (from the 8-8-08 remake).  I have a feeling I won't like this one, but I have friends who like bitter (calculated at roughly 120IBUs).  When the Stone strain didn't start fermenting after a couple of days, I pitched a Brett. B. starter (harvested from Anchorage brewing.

Theoretically, with the 77x3 points from the Blonde, and the 49x1 points from the IPA, giving a total of 280 gravity points for four gallons.  Which comes out to a total OG of 1.070--92% efficiency

4-14-16; FG 1.006.  Flavour is....odd.  Almost unpleasant and I'm wondering if it's because it was in plastic (air is bad for hops, and brett).  On second thought, the odd flavour may be from the Kala Jeera.  Not acidic, but maybe funky.  I should probably wait a while before opening.  8 crown caps.
I would recommend maybe halving the kala jeera to 1/2 tsp per gallon, especially if it's going in the fermentor.

"Sweet" Apfelwein:
4 gallons apple cider
white sugar to 1.075 OG
2 lb green apples, pureed.
AW4 Wine yeast.

OG was 1.075ish, and I do not know exactly when I started it--back in November, I think.  The apples were added a couple weeks into fermentation, after it had died down.  FG is 1.004.  On 2-18-16; I decided to change the desired results from a sweet apfelwein, to a dry, carbonated, dry hopped cider, and poured in 2oz of Pacifica hop pellets.

I bottled on 4-12-16, getting exactly 3 gallons out of it (some lost to the gross lees, and some pulled to drink).  18 crown caps, 1 growler, 2 cork and cap (+1 corked and tied).  Taste is lovely; and cleared nicely (until I added yeast for bottle conditioning).

© John Frey, 2016. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.  The recipes, photographs and other contents therein may not be used for any commercial purposes.

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