Thursday, August 30, 2007

Craft Beer Writer Michael Jackson Passed Away

As reported in tons of other beer-related places, beer guru Michael Jackson, author of the first beer book I ever owned, passed away this morning. If ever there was someone for whom to raise a glass, it'd be Mr. Jackson.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Racked Fantôme Clone to Secondary

Yesterday afternoon, I racked the Fantôme clone to secondary. The gravity was at 1.006, down quite a ways from 1.050 (although that starting gravity was lower than I had hoped for). It tasted pretty good, though it had been in primary for 8 days. A lot of crud had settled out!

I took the fruit puree (see below) and heated it to 160 F for 10 minutes, then cooled and poured into the bottle of my carboy. On top of that, I racked the beer from primary and about mid-volume, added 5 drops of pectic enzyme.

I checked it last night and it was throwing off a little gas, so I guess fruit sugar conversion is working. I'm going to let this sit for three weeks and see where I'm at. I'm really looking forward to this one.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Franziskaner (Revisited) A Success

Cracked open a bottle of the second batch of Franziskaner clone that was (mainly) brewed by some friends as their first homebrewing experience. I guess my supervision was successful, because the beer tasted fine. Still that odd sweet flavor at the end that's most likely from priming with dextrose rather than DME (or, maybe a hot side aeration issue). Regardless, the Weihenstephan yeast strain did a nice job. Nice banana clove esters in this one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fantôme Clone - Adding Juice?

So the Beer Captured recipe calls for adding some fruit juice to the secondary along with some pectic enzyme. I looked around my local markets and could find no acceptable version of either strawberry or raspberry juice (suggested in book). Any juices that I did find usually had ascorbic acid added and extra sugar.

So, I decided to make my own version. I picked up two quarts of strawberries, two pints of raspberries, and one pint of blackberries. Well, I ended up putting berries in the blender, then straining them - so really I ended up with a mass of fruit puree rather than clear juice. I'm hoping that it will do what it's supposed to do, with the aid of pectic enzyme, and add some nice tart flavor in there. Or it could be a disaster!

I'll keep ya posted.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

All-Grain Fantôme Clone

Today I brewed a Fantôme saison clone, using a recipe from Beer Captured. I'm getting quicker ... I started the mash at 1 p.m. (of course, it took a while to filter and heat water) and it was chilled and in the bucket by 6 p.m.

*10.5 lb 2-row Pilsner malt
*1 lb wheat malt
*6 oz aromatic malt
*1/2 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker (60 min)
*1 oz East Kent Goldings (60 min)
*1/4 oz East Kent (15 min)
*1/2 oz bitter orange peel (15 min)
*1/2 tsp coriander seed (15 min)
*1/4 tsp grains of paradise (15 min)
*1/4 tsp coriander seeds (2 min)
*1/4 tsp ground black pepper (2 min) (my deviation)

Pitched with Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes.

My O.G. was much lower than the recipe specified, which is a first for me. Not sure why yet, but it's still at 1.050 which should still give a decent result.

Thanks to both Dave (dpjuart) and Eli (foureyedgeek) for the company and brewing assistance. Dave brought some of his homebrews down, along with a few summer Saranac beers and a Southampton Double White Ale. Eli brought over a bottle of Cadillac Mountain Stout.