Yeast is resting comfortably in cold storage and I'll be getting a yeast starter (my first ever!) going this week to 'wake it up'.
Scheduled brew date is this Friday ... we'll see if it happens. I'll be posting about all of that in the near future.
Charlie and I were antsy to get our Old Ale off the oak and into bottles. (And Charlie's wife was eager to get our sixtel out of their bedroom). We considered aging the beer for longer but having tasted it recently, we'd noticed that the harsh, tannic, woodiness, apparent after a month or so, had receded. The beer was far more palatable. The malt notes were fairly rich and the depth of flavor was coming into its own.
Time to bottle.
This was the first time I'd ever bottled with someone who wasn't my daughter. So it was somewhat alarming to learn that there's another way of adding priming sugar to a batch than the one I've been using for more than a decade.
Let me explain. When I started brewing, I used an old racking cane, fed through one of those orange two-holed nipple thingys secured to the top of the carboy....
Last week, in preparation for my collaboration beer with Mr. New to Homebrew Richard Bolster, I grew up yeast cells originating on fruit grown in South Carolina, counted 100 billion of them (not by hand of course), assessed their health under a microscope, determined they were healthy and free of contamination, rounded up a few ounces of hops from my local homebrew shop and safely packaged and shipped it all to Richard's home in New Jersey. Next comes the hardest part of all, my work is done and everything is in Richard's hands...I must wait for the final product. Easier said than done.
Our collaboration brew is a saison (read Richard's recent post for more information on the origins of the style) with a relatively simple malt and hop profile allowing the wild South Carolina yeast to take center stage. As a self-proclaimed yeast geek, I was happy Richard agreed that the yeast should be the focal point of our saison. Typically, the yeast imparts very distinct flavors in a saison and can make an average version extraordinary if the correct yeast strain is utilized. The particular strain I chose for this collaboration beer is named "B3" and came from the South Carolina startup company, South Yeast Labs. Originally isolated from blueberries on Clemson University's fruit research farm the fellas at South Yeast put this strain through a series of rigorous tests examining its potential to ferment simple and complex sugars. As opposed to typical commercial yeast strains, wild yeast have a tendency to not only eat up the simple sugars, but also the more complex sugars found in wort. This characteristic tends to leave the beer relatively dry. Based on fermentation experiments done by South Yeast Labs, this particular yeast will produce a spicy, leathery and slighty sour (almost Brettanomyces-like) flavor to the beer. While I was growing up the yeast for Richard, I noticed it smelled very funky with a sour and slightly bready aroma reinforcing my decision to use this yeast in our saison. In order to get the most out of this yeast we'll use a higher fermentation temperature in order to help produce the esters and phenols that will give this saison a wild and spicy farmhouse flavor.
Richard's brew day was set for Friday, October 10 and I can't wait to hear how it all goes. Thankfully, Richard has offered to send me a bottle or two so that I can taste our collaborative concoction. I am confident that in a few weeks I will be toasting the completion of our first BYO blogger collaboration beer with a finely crafted saison. Until then, I'll be excitedly waiting to enjoy the first of many collaboration beers with my colleague Richard Bolster.
Happy collaborating, scientists.
The collaboration continues. The serendipitous meeting months ago between me and fellow Brew Your Own blogger, Christopher Wood, has led to a cross-coastal collaboration, a multi-State mash-up, an interstate integration of ingredients – okay, I'll stop now – and the wild yeast, wild hop brew is on!
Mr. Wood, maven of microbiology, is sending a strain my way. He's also sending South Carolinian hops. The yeast is one of his favorite wild strains, which I'll let him detail in his blog. I'm supplying the malt, the brew house (home sweet home) and I may throw in some of my neighbor's hops to continue the wild theme.
We're brewing on my equipment, which means extract with grains. I haven't brewed extract in a while so it will be good to return to my set up and my kitchen.
The star here and the real wild card (if you'll pardon the pun) is the wild yeast. So we've chosen a style to showcase it. We're brewing a saison in an attempt to see what the yeast brings to the party. The style originated on farms in the southern Belgium region of Wallonia. Brewing farmhouse ales served a dual purpose for farmers. The beer itself provided refreshment for summer seasonal workers called saisonniers. And the brewing process created spent grain, which would have provided feed for livestock during the winter months....
Maybe some of you have heard of the theory of "six degrees of separation," which states that any one person in the world can be linked to another through five or less chains of their acquaintances. Although unproven, some experiments have been done and suggest this may be true. Recently, while in Pennsylvania brewing beer at Vault Brewing Company with my friend and Head Brewer Mark Thomas, I discovered how small the world of craft beer really is and have dubbed this phenomenon "the theory of six degrees of fermentation."
The main reason why I decided to make the long car ride up to Philadelphia, besides visiting my former homebrewing buddy now turned pro brewer, was because I love brewing beer and I thought it would be a great story for my "Science and Homebrews" blog (details of the two days I brewed at Vault will be part of an upcoming post). Little did I know my trip would put me face to face with another homebrewing blogger and lead to a collaboration....