Friday, February 15, 2008

Food and Beer

My fiance and I love to cook when we have the time. Rather, I love to cook (I used to do it professionally for several years) and my fiance loves to bake. We do pretty well togther. I'll post food and beer pairings from time-to-time. Feel free to search around for recipes (if I actually use a recipe) and submit your own profound culinary creations and pairings in the comments section if you like.

To kick this post off, we made potstickers a couple weeks ago and paired it with DFH Pangea. The ginger in the beer and the potstickers (as well as all the other Asian flavors) were very complimentary. I'll post the recipe when I have time to find it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Saison Part II

You won't find Part I on this blog. It didn't go so well. I basically wound up with an underattenuated batch (finished out at 1.014 after several months and a couple different yeasts). The Saison was carbed and ready to drink, but it was just cloyingly sweet. I tried making a Brett starter to add to the keg, hoping that in a few months time, the brett would bring this down to the dry beer that it should be. However, when I added the brett starter to the keg, it immediatelty foamed over all over the place. I got pissed and dumped the whole thing.

So now I know a little more about the Saison style and how finnicky Saison yeast can be. I am ready for my second try. Hoepfully this session will take place next weekend. My next recipe is below...

Recipe Specifications------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Boil Size: 8.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.078
Estimated Color: 5.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 32.2 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

7 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel
3 lbs Wheat Malt, Bel
3 lbs Rye Malt
0.75 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (60 min)
0.75 oz Saaz [5.40 %] (60 min)
0.25 oz Saaz [4.00 %] (10 min)
0.25 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (5 min)
14.0 oz Dememera Sugar
1 Pkgs Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565)
1 Pkgs Brett B. (pitched in keg to finish)

Mash Schedule------------------------------
Saccharification: Rest 45 min at 152.0 F
Mash-Out: Rest 15 min at 168.0 F and then sparge as normal
UPDATE 5/20/08
Again, I wound up with an underattenuated batch. It stalled at 1.016 even at 90 degrees. So I racked to a keg, pitch some Brett B with a small amount of priming solution, and things have taken off again. I don't really want to naturally carbonate in the keg because I don't know how far down the Brett will take it, so I am bleeding off CO2 daily. In 2-3 more months, I'll force carbonte and poor my first Saison!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Brew For My Own Wedding?

I've really been debating whether I should brew all (or at least some) of the beer for my wedding coming up at the end of March (which will be in Southport, NC by the way). I guess I'm really pushing time limits at this point, though I could fairly easily have 20-25 gallons ready by then.

I guess I'm most concerned about getting all the extra equipment (larger CO2 tank, extra regulators, serving lines, cobra taps, etc) needed to serve 4-5 kegs at once and make sure all the bugs are out of the system by then. It would really suck to have to tend bar myslef at my own wedding because of serving issues. But I digress.

What do you guys think? Anyone ever tried this successfully before? I'm more than confident in the quality of my beer, just not confident on the serving end.
UPDATE 5/20/08:
The wedding went off without a hitch and I am glad I didn't try to brew my own beer lineup. This would have been completely overwhelming considering all the other wedding crap that was going on. Instead, I had a very good friend in the industry hook me up with several cases each of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Avery Ellie's Brown Ale, and Sam Adams Light (the only light beer I would allow). I and everyone else seemed to be very please with the beer, wine, and food selections. Needless to say, I continue to be happily married after 2 months with no end in sight.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My First Decoction - Dunkelweizen

I will be doning my first decoction tomorrow, a dunkelweizen. It sounds fairly simple, so long as I can continuously stir for 15 minutes ad avoid scorching the mash. I'll update again tomorrow after my session. My recipe is below...

Recipe: Dark-Meat Wheat
Style: DunkelweizenTYPE: All GrainTaste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications:--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Boil Size: 7.99 gal
Estimated OG: 1.059 SG
Estimated Color: 15.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 15.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

6 lbs Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 48.98 %
5 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 40.82 %
1 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 8.16 %
4.0 oz Chocolate Wheat Malt (400.0 SRM) Grain 2.04 %
0.75 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops 13.6 IBU
0.25 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (15 min) Hops 2.3 IBU
1 Pkgs Hefeweizen Ale (White Labs #WLP300) Yeast-Wheat

Mash Schedule:-------------------------------
Single Decoction (Mash-Out)
Saccharification: Rest 45 min at 152.0 F
Decoction: Decoct and rest 15 min at 168.0 F
Mash-Out: 168.0 F and sparge as normal

UPDATE (2/13/08):
Everything went off without a hitch. Decocting really isn't that difficult, save for the constant stirring. First 48 hours of fermentation were massive (after pitching only a 1 qt starter). I can already tell the decoction is going to add a new dimension to the malt flavors and can't wait for this one to be ready.

New Brewing Sculpture

I am generally not very handy, but brewing for the last several years of my life has brought out a certain creativity and ability to half-ass engineer something that actually works. Take a look at some pics of my new brewery (still in progess). It will be a three tier, gravity fed system once its all said and done.