Friday, January 18, 2013

Farmstead Rye

Brew Day 1/12/13

Justine's got an eye
Kelly and I had the honor of bringing our good friends Nicholas and Justine to Sonora for the weekend on our trip up to bottle Pale Rider. They are some of our favorite folks to share good beer with, they have never been shown around the wonderful sierra foothills, and they’re super fun… so what better way to spend a weekend than brewing beer in the snow and enjoying the Hills? I wasn’t sure what Nicholas wanted to brew up , so I put together a grain bill that would work for either a RYE IPA or a rustic Farmhouse Rye and left the yeast and hop selection up to the mood of the weekend. After talking it over on the drive up and weighing the alternative pros/cons  we settled on the Farmhouse. I reckon that given the circumstances the Farmhouse really was the better choice as I wouldn’t be able to make it back up to bottle for 5-6 weeks (too long for a proper hoppy beer in my book). The high 50’s ambient fermentation temp at my Pop’s house right now is WAY under the mid 70s that I would normally use this yeast at, but the cold was the lesser of two evils and will actually be a neat experiment to see how the re-cultured blend of French Saison and Brett C from La Rouge (which turned a corner recently and is becoming quite a nice beer- updated review pending) do in the cold.
This could be called a Saison, or a Saison Brett, but the WY3711 and WLP Brett C yeast “house blend” I made produces some A-typical flavors for a Saison (especially so this time given the  super low fermentation temp) so we’re calling it a “Farmhouse” instead. I’m expecting something yeast-wise more along the lines of a funky Biere De Garde, but way too dry and light to fit that style. Plus, this Biere I will not Garde so…. Yeah ;)
Saisons are up at the top of my list with good IPAs and sours and I don’t have one on rotation right now and I thought it would be fun to show Nick and Justine the ropes with a simple recipe. Plus, I was really excited to use the yeast I blended for La Rouge in a beer more suited to it’s character.
This is one of the first lighter beers that I have made in a while that won’t be heavily hop-forward. The central focus of the recipe is a rustic, easy drinking Saison-like, yeast forward beer. I started with the attributes of the Yeast that I really liked and built on it from there: a heavy hand of Rye Malt in the grain bill along with the traditional bready Pils base to compliment the spicy French yeast while the Brett C adds just a touch of funky depth. I wanted to keep it crisply hoppy without letting the hops shine through in the lead as too floral or fruity (I think that the Citra I used with this yeast last time clashed a bit and took quite a while to mellow out) so I decided to try the Styrian Auroras that I had in the freezer. Spicy Czech Saaz were a close second but lost out to the allure of using a new variety. Hopefully the Auroras provide just the right light and spicy/ herbal bite.
All and all a great weekend-- good food, good company, and good beer.

The Recipe (for 6 gal into fermenter):
Nicholas hard at work
10 lbs Castle Pilsner Malt- 83%
2 lbs Rye Malt - 17%
2 oz Czech Saaz @ 70min
1.5 oz Styrian Aurora @ 15min
1.5 oz Styrian Aurora @ f/o
1 oz Styrian Aurora Dry Hop in primary 1 week prior to bottling (DH total of 7 days)

Pitched 2L starter of “FarmHouse Blend” of WY3711 and WLPBrettC dredges from La Rouge @ 55F with 1 tab Servomicies. Allowed to free rise to ambient in the house. Likely to stay under 65 ‘cuz it’s cold out.
Used Sonora Tap H2O with 1.5 g/gal gypsum for pale hoppy water profile.

Mashed at 151F for 60min. and the 152F for 30min.  Mash Out at 168F for 10 min.
NO Sparge
90min boil

Collected 5.5 gal after boil and hop trub removal.

OG: 1.052= 76% efficiency!
FG: 1.004= 6.3% ABV
Calculated SRM: 4
Calculated IBU: Garetz 34, Tinseth 43

1/12- Pitched scarily inactive  yeast and put in tub with a blanket wrap for house ambient.

2/18- Bottled 5.5 gal with 4.25oz table sugar at 57F for target VOL 2.6. FG @1.004. Bitchin. Fruity. Dry.

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