Monday, August 27, 2012

Making Messes: Smoked Coffee ReBeerd Chocolate Orange Brett Saison “side project”


Yup, the title of this post pretty much sums it up… I threw together a ridiculous concoction that will most likely be a nasty mess, but could end up being an interesting beer with a bit of luck.

I got bored while I was mashing and boiling the Brown this weekend (post pending), and started to reorganize the piles of beer in my “Cellar” (read as: dusty garage). As I was consolidating the cases of homebrews, I realized that I had quite a few that I don’t really like. Instead of just sitting on them and only drinking a few a year, or just pouring them down the drain, I figured I might as well put all that hard-earned fermented wort to experimental use while freeing up some bottles and space in the process.

I had an empty 3 gal carboy whispering in my ear, and some fun Candi Syrup and sweet dried orange peer calling out from the goodie bag, so I lined up all the rejects and did my best to repurpose them. The result is a blend of 3 homebrews, several bottles of commercial beers that had passed their prime, and various yeast, sugar, and spice additions to kick the can down a different path.

I did the “blending” and pitched the dredges form La Rouge on top.

Approximate (this was NOT a well controlled experiment) ratios of the new brew:

 15% Black Beerd- This is a beer I never posted about. It is a medium sized oak aged Stout that I brewed from a kit and finished a bit too sweet and oxidized (thanks to a mistake in the transfer to secondary) for my tastes. Kelly actually likes it, and it really is pretty drinkable, but I am tired of it and figured it would serve as the “anchor” for the blend. I know that oxidation blends in in a nicer way with dark beers, and I was relying on this one to keep it black.

40% Short Stack- This has been a loss since the pitchingincident, and although I haven’t done a formal review yet I have been trying to make friends with it to no avail. Too acrid from the roasted grains with no sweetness to round it out.  This one is filler.

30% NWA- Too mean for me, but I’m hoping that in this blend its coffee contribution will add some nice depth to compliment the oak, smoke, and roasted grains in the other beers and that the rye will help build body and give the Brett something extra to process. Also, I ‘spect that if this works out, it’ll take a year or two at which point the hops in will fade to the back.

10% New Fermentables and Spices- Belgian Extra Dark Candi syrup, some bakers chocolate, a lb of honey, and 2 oz of dried sweet orange peel should all blend pretty well with the dark, roasty, smokey, coffee, and toasty beers given some time. Hopefully.

5% Other- Randoms that got thrown in included a bottle or two of Hoptimum, a can of Gubna’, and two 22oz bottles of a Honey Octoberfest that I made a small batch of (no post) and hated.

My plan is to tackle the eminent, ruinous oxidation on three fronts:

1)      By adding plenty of new fermentables to up the ABV and take advantage of the O2 purging nature of yeast metabolism I’m hoping that much of the oxygen exposure gets cleaned out as it re-ferments.

2)      Keeping the beer big and dark will hopefully push the oxidized flavor more towards the port/ sherry end of the spectrum, and not the stale cardboard end.

3)      I pitched a good sized jar of harvested French Saison/ Brett C dredges from the La Rouge brew. The idea here is that the French Saison yeast will be able to take all or the component beers down a few gravity points (it goes LOW) and lend some nice new spicy phenols to compliment the Candi and Oranges, while the Brett C will be able to work its magic over the months and cover any skanky cardboard flavors with it’s nice, mellow, cellar-like (reminds me of a wine cork) funk.
Now we wait. Most likely this is just going to be a big mess, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

8/25/12- Covered with a blanket in the back of the garage. I will revisit it around Christmas.

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