Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Partigyle Brewday - Hot Video Action... Brew Porn

So Sunday after Church, the team gathered at the brewery for a partigyle brew day.   And on this brew day we would be making two 5 gallon batches of beer, a clone of KBS and a brown ale inspired by Surly Bender.   The day could not have been more beautiful, mid 70s , white puffy clouds in the sky.   But like all brew days, things did not go as fast or as perfectly as you expect them to go.  But have no fear beer fans, we knew what to do... Now fair warning, this was a busy brew day and my mind is still recovering so... I cram a lot of information into this one...

Batch 1 The KBS Clone - Russian Imperial Stout

The first batch went almost exactly as planned.  The only little hick up was with our strike water.  We forgot to preheat the mash tun (freaking rookie mistake)  So our mash temperature was 138 to 140 F.  But when we do no sparge brewing we always hold back 15%-20% of the water to either cool the mash, or heat the mash, or to sparge rinse at the completion of the mash.   So we had 1.5 gallons of treated water hanging around. We brought the 1.5 gallons of water to a quick boil on the monster and added it to the mash tun.  The mash rose to 154 F where it stayed for the next hour.  (60 minutes is overkill on most mashes but there was a lot of roasted grain, and 2 lbs of flaked oats in this batch so we wanted to be safe)  So when you do a no sparge brew... my best suggestion is that you make your calculations based on 80% / 20% or 85% / 15%.  Now if you are a mash wizard and you never screw up anything at all... and you never forget anything at all... more power to you.   But we will be following this practice.   So if you are making a 5 gallon RIS and using 20.4 lbs of grain and 9.75 gallons of water... yes that much with absorption and waste...  It looks like this.
  • 9.75 gallons = 39 quarts
  • 39 quarts x 80% =  31.2 quarts (so call it 32 quarts)
  • 32 quarts / 20.4  = 1.568 quarts per pound in your software
  • You can hold back the other 1.75 gallons for a mash out or for a temperature adjustment.
But what would that look like for a lower gravity beer... like for instance a Champagne Lager? OK, Well let's look at that.  Champagne Lager 5 gallon batch has 7.5 lbs of grain, and uses 8.5 gallons of water.   It looks like this.
  • 8.5 gallons = 34 quarts
  • 34 quarts x 80 % = 27.2 (call it 28)
  • 28 quarts / 7.5 = 3.73 quarts per pound in your software
  • You can hold back the other 1.5 gallons for mash out or for temperature adjustments.
Now, we do not get, or plan on efficiency in the 80s for no sparge brewing.  We don't care.  The goal of brewing is not to maximize efficiency... it is to maximize flavor... and fun. And this is a way, way easier method for brewing.  Don't believe me?  OK well maybe you'll listen to The mad fermentationist. Now one thing you need to realize is that when you no sparge... the grain is buffering the mash like crazy... so it takes more acid to drop the pH to ideal.  If you use that much acid, your beer can taste kinda... acidic.  So  We shoot for 5.5 pH.   Haven't noticed any off flavors.

That is the easy way to do water calculations for no sparge brewing.  And we are big fans of no sparge brewing, or minimal sparge brewing.  Now having said all of this, it is important to remember that a degree or two either direction on a mash makes virtually no difference in the final flavor and mouth feel.  So don't sweat it if you are a degree or two off.   I know award winning home brewers who just mash everything at 150F...light lager...150 F...huge stout...150 F...bret or sour 150 F...

5.31 exactly what the
software predicted. A little
low for us.
So... yes I said it "the amount of mash water is not that important"  Yes, I said it, yes I stand by it.   The arcane and mystical alchemy of home brewing water calculations must be simplified because... well because it is all BS.   Yes thicker and thinner mashes can have an impact on your brew... but not really.  A thin mash just takes longer to convert.  But it still converts.  And it isn't really very perceivable on a home brew level.  So if exact water calculations are not that important...what is important?  What is important is the total amount of water used.  What is important is pH.  What is important is temperature of the mash.   What is important is fermentation temperature... and sanitation.  These are the factors that are important.  Once again, the grains have no idea that they are being mashed.  They have no idea what the water to grain ratio is, they start soaking in the right temperatures... the enzymes become active. When the enzymes are active... the conversions occur.

The mash fluctuated between
153 and 154 F for an hour
So if you haven't tried no sparge brewing yet...  give it a try, it gives you so much flexibility in terms of water and temperature.  So if you are one of those guys who believes your beer is better because you can absolutely nail what it says for water calculations on BeerSmith... good for you.   We can do that to... but what we have learned it that it does not have an impact on our final product.   Whenever we can we no sparge.   And whenever we brew a big beer, we tend to partigyle, more on that in a minute.

The grains mashed for an hour, pre boil gravity was 1.078...final gravity... 1.093... exactly what was predicted by the software... so Mr. Smartypants who thinks mash thickness is critical to efficiency... what do you think now?    We got 72.2% efficiency on a huge no sparge batch of beer.  

The boil went well, and we made all of our hop and chocolate and coffee additions.  The keggle was gross when we were done. Loads of chocolate, We chilled the wort with our Jaded hydra..Jake and I used one of our favorite trick for aeration... a sanitized mixing paddle on a drill.  This batch is fermenting in a 7.5 gallon plastic pale.  It needs the space.   The yeast was pitched, 2 packs of re hydrated US 05.   This batch received a blow off tube and the blow off bucket was set inside of another bucket, just in case it is epic.   Which I think it probably will be.  

Batch 2 the Surly Bender inspired Brown Ale

We have covered what partigyle is on a previous post (or 4) but basically when you make a huge beer, there are so many sugars left in the beer that you might as well use them and make another beer.  That is all we are doing here.  And as you can see it is really easy.   

Alright,  I kinda caught John off guard... so sue me.  But the point is still valid.   To make a partigyle. Just add water to your previously mashed grains and let them soak for a while.  Jake poured 6.5 gallons of water into the mash tun.  Now, the water was treated to remove the chlorine, but no other water treatments are necessary.  Do they help?  sure... I guess... but they are not necessary.  The grains have already absorbed water so... just add what you want to boil.. it will be very close.

1.045?  Ok...you see... uh... well that measurement came from the bottom of the mash tun.  And as I have told you before, unless you vorlauff or recirculate... your gravity readings can be wildly different at different levels in your mash tun.   Sugar is heavy... it sinks... do not argue the physics of this with me.  It is a simple fact.   But it was 1.032.   Which boiled up to 1.042  So that is still a really nice brown ale.  If we do this again without recirculating, we will certainly vourlauff  the entire batch before taking a gravity reading.  Vourlauff the entire batch?  yes... a couple of times... you are trying to rinse the sugars out anyway... and the dang grains only soaked for 10 -15 minutes so just do it.  It improves everything.  

The recipes will be posted this week in the recipe links on the right.   It was a really fun brew day. We tried some fantastic beers that the team assembled and did some planning for up coming batches.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

How to Partigyle Part 1 - A new series Two beers from one Mash.

Partigyle is an old techniqe that give
you multiple batches of beer from one
grist.   It maximizes production. 
Have you ever looked at a drained mash tun of high gravity wort, and thought to your self... "damn there is a lot of sugar and flavor left in there...."   You know it's in there, but most of the time you empty your mash tun into a bag and dutifully set it out for the trash pick up.   Well I am here to tell you... stop.   Don't throw away that high gravity grist.  Don't you dare.  There is so much sugar left in that high gravity grist, so much flavor left in that grist. Do what great brewers of yore did... partigyle your batch. The term Gyle is an old english term that brewers stole from malt vinnegar makers.   Hence the term you have a lot of guile (gyle). Guile is the French version, and when a wine went bad and became vinegar the French, in their normal sarcastic way, called it gyle...as in English Malt Vinegar. You see they had a similar word that meant witchcraft or sorcery... And they really like double entendre... So the term began to be known as trickery or deceit.  You can kinda see where they were coming from.  You open a bottle of wine after years... and it has turned to vinegar... that is deceitful...why not make fun of the English?   You wake up and realize it is Tuesday... why not make fun of the English....Enough history for today. In the production of malt vinnegar, gyling was the standard practice.  We have talked about partigyle before but, in a nut shell partigyling is getting more than one batch of beer out of one grist.  Partigyling was essential at one time to the production of porters.   And many craft breweries still make a 3 runnings gyle... Imperial Stout, Stout, and Brown (mild)  Three beers off of one grist.  Tell me that is not the ultimate in efficiency.  " Hey Bob What was your brew house efficiency today?  I don't know Ted around 130%..."   Of course I know that isn't really how you calculate... so take a breath... the point is there are great sugars left in the grains.  Why not use them?  Why not make more great beer?

photo credit lakelandbrewersguild.org
When ever we brew a high gravity batch of beer we like to partigyle the grist and get a second batch from the beer.  Even when we brew a medium high OG beer, we like to partigyle, and create yeast starter (more on this in another post).This Sunday will be  a great example.   We are brewing a 1.093 Stout as a no sparge batch of beer.   The pre boil gravity will be around 1.075.   When we brew a beer that big there is plenty of sugar still in there.  If we add 6.5 gallons of water to the grist and drain it.  We will have a 1.034 pre boil wort.   It will boil out to a 1.045-1.047 wort.  Perfect for a Brown Ale.  Yes, I know brown ales have fallen out of favor recently, but I for one still love the malty, slightly roasted flavor and aroma of a good brown ale.  In fact Brown ale is one of my favorite styles.  What is better than a quaffable crushable brown ale sitting by a fire pit on a crisp fall evening?

We will be documenting and shooting video of the process.  So make sure you check back.  And I will post the recipes over in the recipe area soon.   The key thing here is learning to plan a partigyle, and learning that a partigyle is not rocket science.   It is a tool you can incorporate to make more beer in less time. It does not double the length of your brew day if you have two heat sources capable of boiling wort.    And we do... In this case, it will only add about 30 minutes to our brew day.

We will also be teaching you some of the tricks we have learned along the way.  Tricks for adjusting color, flavor, and gravity.  Tricks for planning and timing.   It should be a lot of fun.

Here are some classic partigyle combinations.

Tripel and Blonde / Belgian Lager / Belgian Pale Ale
Belgian Blonde and Patersbier
Imperial Stout and Brown Ale  / Steam Beer / Black Lager
Stout and Mild / Amber Lager
Imperial IPA and Blonde Ale / Standard IPA / Premium Lager
Barleywine and Amber
English Barleywine and Irish Red
Wheat wine and any kind of sour / or wheaten saison
Normal Gravity IPA (1.060ish) and Yeast starter

This is an online partigyle calculator that we have found to be pretty accurate.
Make sure you use pre boil gravities. 
When you are planning a partigyle.   You need to get familiar with no sparge brewing.   You are not sparging.  Your sparge is your second gyle... your second runnings create a new batch of beer.  We have posted about it before.  And Don Osborn has a great video on it.   But when you partigyle I suggest that you do not do a mash out on the first gyle. You do not want to deactivate the enzymes.  You may need to add additional grains to the second gyle.   Of course you can always add DME or sugar to get to gravity.   But one of the tricks we will be showing you is how to adjust your color when you are doing a partigyle.   We will be showing you how to cap your mash with grain to get darker colors. Yes, you can make a wheat wine, followed by a amber harvest wheat.  We will be showing you how to plan your partigyle. We use a simple on line calculator.    But be warned.  You have to base things off of the wort gravity, not your final gravity. Above is an example for the up coming weekend.   Our Stout has a pre boil gravity of about 1.073.  1.092 post boil.   So by using the calculator, we know that the second runnings will have a gravity of about 1.0365... post boil of about 1.046.   Perfect.    We may have to cap the mash with additional grain to get the color we want.   And if we are a little low, we may have to add some base malt and let it sit for 30 minutes.   But believe me, that is not a problem on a two batch busy brew day.   Partigyle does take some planning regarding the water.   You will need to be heating 6.5 gallons of water to 150 F to 168 F while you are mashing.  And you probably can't use your existing burner to do it... so if you don't have two burners the ol' kitchen stove may be placed into action.  If you have two turkey fryers this won't be a problem at all.

The most effective partigyle procedure I have seen is kind of a hybrid technique.  We will display it for you on Sunday.  It is kind of a combination batch and fly sparge.  and it is really effective at rinsing out all of the sugars.   Basically you add enough water to slightly cover the grains and let them sit for 10 minutes.  Then you fly sparge to volume.   Believe me you will get the sugars out doing it this way.  By the way if you really know what you are doing with fly sparging,  You can just head straight into your gyle... well show you that in a couple of weeks.  And that is crazy fast way to partigyle.

So tune in early next week for an update on how to partigyle...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Extract Excellence Update - How did we do?

So I know you are all sitting around with bated breath wondering... I wonder if those idiots actually got good attenuation from their extract beers?   I wonder if the crazy ideas they promoted actually worked.  And how in the world did those guys convince the best online retailer of home brew products to get on board?   Well, we were wondering the same thing (not really) so last night after bottling our festbier.  John and I sanitized a thief, and took samples.   Below are the results.  I think you will be impressed.  If you haven't read the previous articles on Extract Excellence, you really should, especially the last 2.   The extract apocalypse and What to do on brew day.

Follow the links to the Northern Brewer site, for awesome recipe kits and equipment, and a great community of home brewers like you.

We took this sample with our wine thief, you can get one
at Northern Brewer.com
The first beer we tested was Mark Anthony's  Dead Ringer from Northern Brewer.   Their flagship beer kit.  Dead Ringer is a clone of Bell's Two Hearted Ale.  It has been one of their most popular kits.   When made correctly it is nearly indistinguishable from the original.   Mark Anthony created an extra gallon of wort, due to a miscalculation on my part.  So the bitterness isn't quite perfect, but the hydrometer sample tasted excellent.  We decided to add some additional dry hops (centennial and chinook) to give it more of what we were looking for from an american ipa.   Had I not screwed up my calculations, it would be spot on.  The details.   Mark's beer went from 1.052 total OG (with sugar additions) to 1.011 that is an attenuation of  79%... as of last night.  It will probably drop another point or two.  Taking it to about 80% attenuation.   80%... from an extract batch of beer.    It is not overly sweet, or cloying.  It tastes like a really good IPA tastes before conditioning.   So batch 1 analyzed.  We determined that we had excellent attenuation.  The flavor was lacking due to a water calculation error on my part.  But the dry hops will fix that.  Now on to Batch 2.

Like our polycarbonate hydrometer, they
are nearly unbreakable.  You can get one by
following this link.
Jake's batch was the Grapefruit Pulpin clone from Northern Brewer.   And the hydrometer sample tasted extraordinary.   The original gravity was 1.060 but with sugar additions the calculated gravity is 1.062.  The beer dropped to 1.012  that is nearly 81% attenuation from an extract batch of beer.   The flavor is still a little harsh from the vodka / grapefruit tincture that we added.  But that will mellow in the conditioning and aging process.  This is an excellent kit.   No hints of cloying sweetness.  Dry crisp and refreshing.  Wild grapefruit flavor balanced by a great hop bitterness.

If you have never considered this kit check it out and check out the reviews on it.  A truly fantastic tasting beer.  it is based on Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin.  As far as I can tell this beer is going to be nearly identical to the original.  It is cold crashing right now, and we will bottle it up this weekend.   Looking forward to this one, as Grapefruit Sculpin is collectively one of our favorite beers.

Batch 3 Was brewed by John.  It was Northern Brewer's Karma Citra kit.     They describe it as bridging the gap between American Pale ale and a West Coast IPA.   And the hydrometer sample tasted fantastic.   John brought the brew day gravity in at 1.049.  With sugar additions the total calculated gravity was 1.052.  Exactly where it should be.   His beer dropped to 1.012.  Again 77% attenuation.   No hint of sickly or cloying sweetness.   Just a delicious beer.   This beer is currently cold crashing and will bottle up this weekend.

So,  our goal was to show you how to make  excellent home brew with malt extract.   Our goal was to teach you techniques that create beers you would be proud to share with muggle friends and beer lovers.   As you can clearly see, our techniques for extract work. I know they are a little different than what you are used to, but they work.  Truth be told these techniques are not new.  They are in fact, very old school.   This is how we did things in the Regan and Bush 1 administrations.   Well,  yeah, but would you change anything? Well to be honest yes.  When I make an extract IPA in the future,  I will buy and add additional hops for flavor, and aroma.    But I do that for all of my beers.  The first time I make it I am almost never satisfied.  I taste it and I modify it to my personal preference.   And when it comes to hoppy IPAs ,  I admit it I am a hop head.   I don't really care what the IBUs are, but I want and need the presence, bitterness, flavor, and aroma of the hops.    Having said that, I truly feel that these kits are damned near spot on, for what they are trying to be.   So...

If you are in a hurry and you need to produce beer quickly, or you just want to do an extract again for nostalgia sake.   I strongly suggest that you consider these kits from Northern Brewer.  And use our tricks for making excellent beer with malt extract.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Where we're heading. Recirculating BIAB

It's no secret... we do a lot of complicated mashing.  We make a lot of Belgian style beers, and a lot of lagers.  We believe in step mashing, and in all of it's benefits.   And to have success with the styles we brew, you have to step mash.  I don't care what you read on some forum.  A single infusion mash, will get you close, but it will not get you the exact mouth feel, spicy yeast character, and digestible wort (mout)  that you are trying to create. Can you make a tripel that is somehow light and effervescent, but still full bodied?  No, no you can't, not if you don't step mash.

Up till now we have had two approaches for a step mash.   Approach 1;  was to us the Cajun injector electric turkey fryer,  and use the heating element that comes with it.  We dough in low, and rise to each step, stirring like crazy while heating.  Now this approach has been very successful, but it is very labor intensive and we can only make 5 gallons at a time.   As you also know, we want to start making 10 gallon (11) batches exclusively as a team.

Approach 2 is to use the 100 quart Coleman Xtreme cooler and perform an infusion step mash.   The problems with this approach are; brew days take forever, brew days are very complicated, brew days require many processes and steps.  I spend most of one of those brew days on the computer doing calculations.   And as you all also know, the simpler you can make your brew day, the better chance you have at success.

So what do we do?   Time is now precious.  Two of our members are starting families, and as much as we all love home brew, we also value family above all else.  So, our time must be considered.  Here is the conundrum, we also want to perfect certain recipes and start competing next year.  We think some of what we are making would do very well locally, and possibly even nationally.   So we are in a quandary, a quagmire if you will.  But sports fans have no fear, thanks to John's birthday gift to the team, we have a solution.   We are  switching to recirculating brew in a bag in our keggle.   And here is what we know about our system,  Our keggle is not large enough to handle most 10 gallon batches with the no sparge method (full water volume method)  Especially since we brew lots of high gravity beers.   Our keggle is easily large enough to pull off almost any batch if we use the biab with sparge rinse method.  Our BDSA will take up 14.01 gallons of space while mashing.  The photo at the left is what we are building.  Of course we still need a few of the components, and we may be wrapping the keggle in reflect-ix insulation.   (alternatively, I may have it coated by a local insulation contractor with ceramic foam, and that will absolutely hold in the heat. It is also very expensive, so I will have to work out some kind of trade... free beer?)

The Great Brew Eh Pump has arrived!
Recirculating BIAB has some huge advantages over mash tun cooler brewing;
  • Easier - no complicated sparging routines or calculations, less water transfer.   Less risk of screwing up a sparge calculation
  • Safer - no risk of burning or scorching the wort. 
  • Easier Step mashing - re-circulation during heating creates consistent temperatures in the wort and allows you to heat the wort from one step to the next while recirculating.
  • Clearer Wort - Re-circulation - acts as a natural filter
  • Faster Brew day - Brew in a bag is just faster, and our 231,000 BTU burner is extremely fast at heating the wort.  I'm guessing that brew days will be under 4 hours from lighting the flame to final clean up.  Even with complicated mash schedules.
  • Familiar - My team learned all grain with the BIAB method.   They have learned 3 vessel oveer time, but they really know BIAB, their instincts are more focused on a BIAB brew day.   
  • Easy to nail your gravity -  don't believe me... Well let's think it through... so what if you screw up a calculation?  What if your efficiency is too low.   With BIAB with a Sparge rinse... you just adjust or shorten up your rinse.. checking gravity as you go with a refractometer... you can hit your numbers and adjust your hop additions before the boil.   Meaning you can make the beer you intended to make every single time.  You can't do that with batch sparge.  Sure you may end up with a gallon, or half a gallon less beer... who cares if it is the beer you wanted to make.  
Look round eye, brew how you want.   But for us, this is by far the best, most consistent way to brew beer, at least for us.   It allows you to make adjustments during your brew day... heck even during your sparge.   It allows you to recirculate while heating your mash from one step to the next, protecting your mash from burning.  It saves you valuable time.  It is far more efficient.  And most importantly,  for us,  it conserves precious time, allowing us to enjoy this hobby even when we are busy, and life pressures are closing in on us.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Focusing on 8 and only 8 beers... and some sours...

So we have made a decision as a team.  A monumental decision to focus on 8 beers.   We want to perfect these 8 recipes.  We want them to be competition worthy and commercial quality. And with two of our team members about to have babies, we will be brewing less often, and brewing larger batches. 10 and 15 gallons each time. But sports fans have no fear, Mark Anthony and I will still be making sours, and other test and crazy batches (hoptonite, a heady topper clone, etc).   But the team will be reducing brewing to about 1.5 x a month.  So, Ill be brewing a lot on my own as well.  For the most part I will be brewing 1.5 gallon test batches of our chosen 8.  

Here are the 8 beers we are really going to focus on.  We invite you all to brew along with us.  If we work together we can really make some great recipes.  We will begin this quest, after we make a pumpkin ale from the great people at Northern Brewer and a milk stout to sustain us through the winter (the left hand of fate).

The recipes will be posted on the right hand side of the blog near the top... under Hoptonite.

Desir et la Nuit -  Belgian tripel.  Our triple based originally on La fin du Monde.  My personal favorite beer.   Trying to find a better attenuating Abbey yeast.  The last batch was just a little too sweet. And I think we're going to up the spices a bit.   The beer is currently made to our liking, but not to BJCP standard, to get it to standard, we have to make it attenuate more completely. We also need more spice notes from the yeast, so we will be extending our acid rest.  The current plan is to use T58 and WB06 as the yeasts for this beer. WB06 is technically a wheat beer yeast, but it offers excellent attenuation and produces great esters. This will be a fascinating one for you all to keep up with as we are staggering the yeast additions.  I think this will do the trick.  I have seen on forums that people are using this yeast for La Fin clones, so I think we'd better try it.   We may also just break down and buy some Wyeast Canadian Abbey yeast. 

Allegement - this is our raspberry flavored Belgian blonde. I don't want to change anything about this beer. It's truly amazing.  We just need to find time to brew it more often.  This beer should be renamed MILF slayer.  Every woman who has tried it has loved it.  So if your SWMBO doesn't really like craft beer... this is the one to make. But be warned, you'll have to make it again and again. 

Ein Heldenleben - Munich Helles.  Triple decocted Helles.  It makes for a long brew day, but it is so woth it.  When we originally made this beer John was on the disabled list due to a torn Achilles (but he did manage to eat 10 lbs of pilsner like pop corn)  So his lovely bride Beth stepped up and we powered through the brew day. What we produced is technically the best beer we have made a nearly perfect example of the style.  If you can not lager, you can not make this beer.  Ale versions are just not the same.   

L'humble Moine - the Humble monk -  An abbey single.   This beer was an accident.  Mark Anthony and I were making a session-able Czech pilsner... and I accidentally pitched some washed abbey yeast I had on hand. The result was a beer that we all love.  We originally though of this beer as a Belgian blonde... then we came to learn more about the patersbier style.    It is a delicious entry level Belgian beer.  An easy drinker, and it never lasts long.   We have read recently that some patersbier recipes feature cinnamon and mace, or cinnamon and coriander.  So we'll experiment with that too. 

Saison de Pipaix clone -  This beer needs a name.  This beer is inspired by the last steam powered brewery in the world. Brasserie a Vapeur in Pipaix Belgium.  It is a spiced, orange colored Saison, and it is delicious.   We want the color to more closely match the deep burnished gold almost orange color of the original. This is the kind of Saison that makes your beer loving friends, who have only tried DuPont, Henepin, and Tank 7, take heed and show respect for your brewing mastery.

C4 pale ale -  Hey, sometimes you need something hoppy.  And we have certainly made more than our fair share of hoppy beers.  So very many... (and 15 more gallons recently)  This one will never be to BJCP standards, but we think it has huge potential.  We all felt like it could use a little more up front bitterness, and a bit more color.   An odd thing about this beer is that it actually tasted better in the bottle at about 6 -8 weeks than when it was fresh.  So we have work to do on our hop schedule and on our water chemistry.  Yummy delicious work to do.  

Belgian dark strong ale -  I have decided that we are the holy brotherhood of de abdij van cerise.  I'm not sure that the monks of St Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren make as much Belgian beer as we do.  We love abbey beers.  And we love BDSA.   I have been making this recipe since the dawn of home brew.   Our most recent batch is too approachable, this beer is for beer lovers not sorority girls. It is not nearly spicy enough but in fairness it is still delicious. So 5 of the 10 gallons is getting hit with Bourbon soaked oak chips and bourbon soaked cherries.  Hey why not?  Everything else gets this treatment.  And the next batch we will extend the acid rest to produce more ferulic acid and therefore more "phenolic" spice.  But other than that this beer is good to go.  A tried and true winner.

A Clean, clear cream ale!
Big John's Cream Ale -   Listen to me round eye.   You have to make Cream Ale.   It keeps your processes sharp, and it is delicious and easy drinking.  Your friends who don't like craft beer will still love this beer.  It is my house ale.  I have a friend who only drinks Miller Lite who will drink 2 or three of these every time he shows up.   John's recipe is an improvement on the recent 3 grains craze. John adds not only flaked corn but also flaked barley, which gives it more mouth feel, more "grain" taste, and better head retention.   An excellent beer.  I am always excited when I find a couple of these in storage.  I just found 6 of them, and I still have 5... ok 3,   Ok fine I'm out.   We need to brew this again.  

So there it is the 8 beers we will be focusing on.  The 8 beers that we think we can do some special stuff with.   You may be wondering... where are the sours?   Where is Hoptonite?   Well as to the sours, Mark Anthony and I will be keeping those alive and well.  We will protect our cultures, and keep them rocking.  We are about to bottle a sour, and when we do, we will certainly have another brew to put right on top of it quickly.   As to Hoptonite... to be honest, it is awesome, but it is also crazy expensive to brew.   A 10 gallon batch is well over $100.00.  So I will be brewing it solo in 2 and 3 gallon batches.    That is a little more pallet-able to the old wallet. 

I will say that we have reached a point where our home brew is superior to almost anything we can buy commercially, and that is very exciting.