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Topics - unclebrazzie

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Ingredients / Vitamin C in commercial beer
« on: March 05, 2015, 09:21:15 AM »
Curiosity compelled me to crack a can of Saint Feuillien the other day.
Regardless of what I thought of the beer (a commercial non-lager Belgian beer in a can! Which didn't completely suck! but which wasn't what I was craving either), I'm intrigued by the ingredients listed on the can.

Water, malted barley, hops, yeast, sugar. Nothing unconventional so far.

Vitamin C though....

The only reason I can think of why one would add ascorbic acid to a beer is to prevent oxidation. Which leads me to wonder why the hell Saint Feuillien would think their beers are so susceptible to oxidation they need a pre-emptive shot of vitamins to cure their beer-scurvy.

A non-CO2-counterpressured cannery maybe?

Beer Recipes / Quincey! (Bretted quince Saison)
« on: February 16, 2015, 02:16:02 PM »
I've a quince saison sitting in secondary for about 4 months now.

Recipe's kinda simple, apart from the quince additions:

For 5gal of SG 1.060:

6.6 lbs pale malt
3.5 lbs of wheat malt
0.8 lbs of pilsner
1 lbs of carapils

mashed at 167 for an hour, boiled for 75' with
25g EKG at FWH
45g at T-15

Fermented with Belle Saison at room temp with no temp control.

After a week, with primary starting to slow down, racked into secondary onto the following, which I'd prepared a few days in advance:
8 quinces, cut into roughly 1inch cubes. Cored, but unpeeled.
1lbs of sugar
.5 lbs of honey
1 vanilla pod
2 star anise
5 cloves
1/2 stick of cinnamon
15 grains of all-spice
Simmered until bright pink and soft.

Also pitched a pack of Brett brux (Wyeast 5112).

Now, 4 months later, most of the Belle Saison vibe is gone/transmogrified by the Brett and the beer smells very fruity and is opaque and pink. I'm picking up a hint of sourness but very mellow and in the background.

My plan is to add about a half pound of homemade membrillo paste I've stocked in the fridge to deepen the color and boost the quince aromatics.

Two things I'd appreciate your advice on:

1) when to rack the beer off the fruit and add the membrillo (if in fact I shouldn't just add the membrillo and not bother racking at this stage).

2) will the Brett add sourness this way? I've been tempted to stir a bit of oxygen into it just to provoke it into creating a bit of acetic, but I'm thinking it's lactic I want instead of vinegar.

Your 2cents very much welcomed :)

Ingredients / Peppercorns of different varieties
« on: February 13, 2015, 01:46:22 PM »
For a long time now (ever since I saw a picture of Piper longum in Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing) I've been meaning to brew a peppercorn beer.

I've added black peppercorns and sechuan peppercorns in a porter (secondary ongoing, more on that later) and black peppercorns in an saison (also currently in secondary) and have probably under-dosed both (a novelty for me).

Over time, I've collected various types of peppercorns, with the express aim for brewing a peppercorn-forward beer. With that I mean I want the beer to be spicy/hot the way a peppered steak should be, but also savoury/fragrant/aromatic the way peppercorn cream sauce should be (and the way your peppermill smells).

I distinctly remember the collab brew by Cigar City and Amager called Xiquic and the Hero Twins, a spicy-hot imperial stout brewed with black peppercorns and aged on cedar wood, which had ample of the two characteristics I'm looking for.

At my disposal are (all unmilled, uncrushed):
  • black pepper
  • white pepper
  • green pepper
  • pink pepper
  • long pepper
  • szechuan pepper
  • maniguette pepper which turns out tbe be Grains of Paradise
  • cubebe pepper

I intend to make a small amount of tea from each variety to study flavour aspects and imported hotness.
I'll make due notes here but anyone having experience with any of these peppers are welcome to join in.

That porter...Szechuan by itself is very hot (as in "chew a single kernel and your mouth is on fire") and also numbs the tongue. Very unpleasant by itself, but in food, it becomes a wonderful alchemical compound which totally elevates the dish. I added about 1g of szechuan and 1g of black peppercorns (uncrushed) to a 5gal batch of 1.070 SG porter, which, in secondary now, reveals no peppery touches anywhere. My guess is I should have crushed them, and possibly used more. I'm quite sure I don't want szechuan in secondary, unless I don't want people to actually be able to taste the final beer.
Ow waywy onwy iv I wanna wake'm talk wike div.

Ingredients / Dr. Rudi aka Super Alpha
« on: February 04, 2015, 08:57:09 AM »

I want to brew a hop-forward beer for a mate called Rudi. Having found out there's a hop called Dr. Rudi (used to be called Super Alpha but I lack friends named Super or Alpha), the choice is obvious.

I've no previous experience with this hop and information on the internet is rather sketchy. "Piney, with hints of lemongrass" seems to be the consenus.

Question now is what to pair it with, if anything.

I could go single hop or even SMaSH.
But I'm also tempted to do something a bit more ambitious, like fruity Munich-based IPA fermented with Brett trois.

Anyone have any experience with Dr Rudi and advice on pairing/complementation?

Wood/Casks / (Small) Barrel size
« on: February 03, 2015, 10:52:12 AM »
I'm thinking of purchasing a small barrel (30l - 60l being roughly 8 - 15 gallons) to brew some collab sour and/or solera in.
I keep hearing how the surface-to-volume ratio of these small barrels is undesirable, particularly when it comes to imparting oak flavours. In the case of souring, I'd imagine more surface also means more oxygen and hence a higher risk of developing acetic acid.

The barrels I can get hold of are new "port" barrels, which I'm thinking is probably not oak but likely chestnut or beech. trying to get the supplier to give me some technical detail on them but he's not too savvy on brewing specs (deals mostly in ornamental barrels but has recently gotten wise to the hombrewers' interest).

Any thoughts on using these small barrels? Pros? Cons? Beer styles more/less suitable for them?

Yeast and Fermentation / Pellicle identification
« on: February 03, 2015, 09:29:22 AM »
I was there a way to visually determine pellicle identity besides applying a microscope?

There seem to be several common visual types of pellicle going around, rangin from a flat surface skin, to more alien white balloony bubbles, all the way to colourful ridges. Are they all the same organism(s) or does each mibrobe and strain have its own pellicular characteristics?
Any literature available on pellicles?
Michael Tonsmeire mentions in his American Sour Beers  how several commercial sour beer brewers visually inspect the pellicles on the ageing beers in their barrels. Maybe we're only just in the stage of pragmatic empirical practice, rather than hard-boiled science...

Yeast and Fermentation / Fermentis/Safale dried yeast and saison
« on: December 12, 2014, 09:15:25 AM »
Hi folks!

I'm planning to brew a saison again sometime soon, but I'd rather not use Danstar/Lallemand's Belle Saison for reasons of de gustibus.
Can anyone recommend a Fermentis/Safale yeast which my saison could benefit from? I reckon T-58 sounds about right but can't recall it displaying anything "saisonesque" (only used it once to my recollection). S-33 sounds more general purpose but perhaps if I give it a warmer saisony temperature profile...

I know I could also harvest proper saison from a bottle of Dupont (saison or Moinette) but I'm specifically looking for dried yeast here. Lazy, and not terribly apt at making starters, is all.

Thanks in advance!

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