Wednesday, 30 November 2016

It's Advent Season!

The end of November is upon us, and for members of my homebrewing club this means one thing - our annual advent beer exchange. This year we had 25 brewers exchanging beers, which we will enjoy starting today and running through to December 24th. A much better advent calendar than those crummy chocolates!


My contribution to this years exchange is a Kveik, a Norweigian Farmhouse Ale, with a twist...my goal with this beer was to “reimagine” what the vikings who settled the north-east coast of Canada a millennium ago may have brewed. So in place of traditional Norweigian ingredients (juniper, European hops) I used instead spruce and wild hops native to Canada's far north.

Recipe and various notes & ramblings can be found below the fold - I'll post full tasting notes on the official day for my beer in the advent exchange.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Black Adder

This year marked the fourth year of my hop farming experiment. I added two centennial plants this year, to go with my cascades and goldings. Over the past few years I've brewed a variant of a black IPA, which I've called the black mamba (year 1, 2, 3). While I've enjoyed playing with that recipe, the new centennial hops plus a desire to try something new led me to develop a new beer for this years hop harvest.

Sticking with the snake theme, this years beer is the "Black Adder the 1st", although that should be taken more along the lines of Rowan Atkinson than of a scary big snake. This beer is still a black IPA, but with a lot of changes from the black mamba of yesteryear. Gone are the rye and wheat malts, with the beer brewed to be drier and more hop-forward. This beer contains 225g (a half-pound) of centennial and cascade hops, and even more oddly, was brewed using a Kveik yeast kindly sent to me by a Norwegian brewer. The vision of this beer was to emphasise the citrus notes of the hops with a yeast strain with a reputation for orange-like esters.

This didn't come out exactly as I had envisioned, and the hop character faded awfully fast, but I did learn two things while making this beer. 1) I am probably drying my hops incorrectly, which would account for their slightly different than excepted character and poor in-beer stability. Apparently I should dry them using a dehydrator or over at ~55C/130F (link). 2) Kveik yeast kicks ass in dark beers. The orange character blends nicely with roast malts, giving a character similar to orange-infused chocolate. A future stout will be brewed with this yeast!

Recipe and tasting notes can be found below the fold...

Friday, 14 October 2016

New Video...and a New Video Series

I am happy to announce a new "initiative" here at Sui Generis Brewing, specifically a new video series titled "Beer on the Brain" - short (5 minute) videos on various topics about the science and methodology of brewing.

Here's the series trailer:


And here is the first video in the series, about a myth that Starsan cannot kill yeast:


I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

One brew day - several sour(ish) beers

Random "helper" captured while preparing the fruit for this beer
This is a big post, providing information on three very different beers, all brewed from a single wort a little over a month ago. This has been (and continues to be) a pretty exciting series of beers - from a single wort I made a dry hopped berliner weiss, an experimental beer with the yeast Lachancea thermotolerans, and a fruited/bretted beer using wild grapes and the flora of those grapes!


At the heart of these three very different beers is an incredibly simple wort - a 44L (11.6 US gallon) batch of a no-boil Beliner Weisse, based loosely on the Milk the Funk Berliner Weisse recipe. Rather than post my recipe, I'd direct you to the previous link. The only modifications I made were in my procedures:

  1. I mashed at 62.8C for 75 minutes, to get a drier final beer than the MTF standard recipe.
  2. The wort was not boiled; instead I heated it to ~90C, and let it sit at this temperature for 10 minutes prior to cooling to 45C for pitching of the Lactobacillus.
  3. No hops were used in the mash or boil.
Once the wort was prepared 4L was pulled off for the experimental Lachancea thermotolerans beer, the remaining 40L kettle-soured with a fantastic wild lactobacillus available only to my home brewing club, and once soured, split into two batches - one dry-hopped upon completion and the other bretted and fruited with wild grapes.

The details of each of these beers, and tasting notes for two of them, can be found below the fold. Its a bit of a read, so you may want to pull yourself a pint before you proceed.

Friday, 16 September 2016

It's Back

A few of my past exchanges.
As many of my long-term readership knows I used to offer access to my extensive yeast bank on an exchange basis. Due to a mix of personal and professional reasons I lacked the time over the past year to engage in yeast exchanges, and took the bank off of the interwebs.

The drought is over.

Both my commercial and wild banks are back open for exchange (with some exceptions, where I've promised to not exchange certain yeasts). As in the past, all exchanges are trades - you give me something new and I'll send several your way.

The link to the exchange can be found at the top of the page, or by clicking here.

I use a system of mailers which makes exchanges cheap and easy. Details can be found on the exchange page, or at this link.


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

A Great Review on Sour Beer Bugs

Mat "Dr. Lambic" Miller, author of the Sour Beer Blog, just posted one of the best and most comprehensive reviews of brewing organisms used in sour beer production, as well as the myriad of ways that they can be applied to the production of sour &/or funky beers.

Whether new to the sour scene, or an old hand, its a post worth reading.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Imperial Pale Lager...with Frozen Yeast

A few weeks ago I posted a video about freezing yeast. While many people were quite excited about that video, I did have a few doubters. Well, I'm going to let you into a little secret - I shot that video back in March (yes, that is how slow I am at editing videos), the yeast I froze down in the video was a product of February's "Uncle Mikes Pilsner". One jar of yeast saved from that batch was re-pitched (without a starter) to make Aprils Vienna lager, another jar (this time with a starter) made the Helles and Raddler brewed in May. And at the end of July I thawed one of the frozen tubes of 34-70, ran it through a starter, and made an IPL...and it is f~#&ing delicious!

The recipe is below the fold, but lets start with the tasting notes.

Appearance: The picture to the right says it all - dark copper in colour, crystal clear, and pours with a creamy white head that leave Belgium lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Citrus, citrus and citrus. Not a surprise given the recipe (again, below the fold), but regardless, the aroma is fantastic. The mild lager character of the yeast really lets the hop character shine through.

Flavour: I like my IPA's/IPL's on the bitter side, and this recipe doesn't disappoint. The beer has an upfront bitterness, clean but lingering. Behind it is a nice maltiness; pilsner-malt graininess with a bit more oopmh provided by Munich malt. Beside it there is a strong hop flavour - citrus, some resin, bit of tropical fruit. After the sip is complete all of that fades quickly to a resinous hop bitterness with a touch of sweetness to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: Dry, effervescent, but still somewhat whetting. The wetness fades to a dry hop bitterness as the mouthfeel fades.

Overall: A very enjoyable beer. I would up the whirlpool by another 30g (1 oz) or so to bring a little more hop character to the forefront. Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing. As with many IPA's/IPL's, the hop character fades quickly with time, so rapid consumption is a must.