Thursday, February 21, 2013

#10 Saison

I think this is my first beer that "might have been"...

Saison ales are brilliant beers.  Bright, light, more than a small hint of fruit.  Perfect for drinking on a warm or hot spring or summer day.  Amazingly, Saison yeasts love ferment at very hot temperatures.

Unfortunately, this particular brew fermented in my closet during an unseasonably cold couple of weeks in Austin.  The result certainly wasn't bad, per se, but I just can't help but wonder what might have been, had this beer fermented at 80F or so (on the left below).

This was the first beer I brewed on a week night.  I worked from home that day, which enabled me to be home and ready to brew by 5:30pm.  I typically allow 5 hours for a brew night, so this would ensure that I finish by 10:30pm.

Now, remarkably, we were hosting Josh and Steph, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, for their first trip back to Austin since moving to New Orleans.  Brewing is a family event around here.

It was beautiful, wonderful night :-)

The original gravity checked in at 1.059 (target: 1.057).  The final gravity was right at 1.010 (target 1.015).  The color has a classic Saison cloud, with plenty of coriander and lemon on the nose, and even more on the palate.

In retrospect, I've named this beer the "Saucy Saison" in honor of Ubuntu's new 13.10 mascot, the Saucy Salamander, and donated a growler to some good friends in the Ubuntu world a bit earlier tonight :-)


Saturday, February 2, 2013

#9 White IPA

Hands down, this has been my highest quality brew to date!  I say that as I'm finishing one of my very last pints of it now (April 25, 2013).

I brewed this beer at my buddy Casey's house.  This was his second brew, and we spent a lovely afternoon making beer outdoors.

The original gravity was measured at 1.052 (target was 1.057).  The gravity was 1.019 when racking from primary to secondary, and checked in with a final gravity of 1.010 (target was 1.014).
Really, really interesting, complex beer.  The flaked wheat grains add a bit of thickness and mouth feel to a crisp, west-coast brew (Columbus, Cluster, Centennial, Cascade).

After brewing at Casey's house, I had to drive the results home.  It's technically not an open container since I hadn't yet pitched the yeast :-)

The color and clarity were near perfection.  Golden pale with a classic beer clearness.

The translucence of this beer is really visible in this shot.  The color of this beer in the carboy was ruby red, or amber.  But once decanted, the true color comes through.

Unfortunately, my non-beer-nerd friends have no idea what they're getting into when they taste this beer.  I'll pour them two tasters -- this White IPA and my Irish Stout.  Without fail, they reach for the clear, light colored one, and are met with a hop bomb (dry hopped with Cascade and Centennial).  If you're not a big beer drinker, IPAs are usually not from you.  Don't get me wrong -- I love this beer.  But this beer has taught more than a few members of my friends and family what a great beer the Irish Stout is, after getting the bitterness bomb and giving that motor-oil-black stout a shot :-)

All that said, I truly loved this beer!