Brewing Synesthesia Pêche

Synesthesia Pêche is our first venture into fruited beers, OK… it’s actually our second but we prefer to forget the abomination that was Kiwi Kaleidoscope.  We’ve brewed a couple batches of Synesthesia Saison with good, consistent results so it was a perfect choice to try a fruit addition.  Since we’re in Georgia it seemed that peaches were the logical choice so Synesthesia Pêche was born.

Saison + Peaches = Yes.

Saison + Peaches = Yes

I did some research on the various methods of adding fruit and after careful consideration decided to ignore them.  While watching Mind of a Chef on Netflix I saw an episode where they played around with some freeze-dried foods and the chef mentioned that this method (with fruit) produced the most true fruit flavor in his dishes.  A bit more Googling showed a couple of people have tried this in brewing but it isn’t a widely used method, it seems a few more people tried it with mead than with beer.  As a side note, I saw several people using the term dehydrated and freeze-dried interchangeably and they are very different preservation methods.  Dehydrated/dried fruit has had most of the moisture removed (usually with a combination of heat and air) where freeze drying works by freezing the product then using pressure to remove the moisture.  With either method there may be preservatives used, so make sure what you get is additive free.  After emailing them to confirm they used only peaches I ordered this can from Honeyville Farms on Amazon.

Freeze dried peaches.  I'm gonna drown them in beer. RIPeaches.

Freeze dried peaches. I’m gonna drown them in beer. RIPeaches.

Most of the others I could find that used freeze-dried fruit in their brew made a slurry in a blender before adding it to their beer/mead.  My fruit came in small dices and I wanted to add it straight to the beer so I got as much of the flavor as possible without diluting the beer with more liquid.  However I wasn’t sure if this posed an infection risk so I dropped an email to Michael Tonsmeire (The Mad Fermentationist and author of American Sour Beers) and he felt that although the fruit wouldn’t be sterile the environment in the beer likely would not allow it to grow.  Good deal, full steam ahead.

Racking the saison onto the peaches

Racking the saison onto the peaches

I brewed the saison as normal and allowed it to complete fermentation which finished at 1.006.  I used 12 oz of freeze dried peaches in a 5 gallon batch.  My Google-fu suggest that freeze dried fruit is 8-9x lighter than fresh so I’m estimating this is equivalent to 6.5’ish pounds of fruit.  I cleaned and sanitized a carboy and added the fruit then purged it with CO2 before racking the beer onto the fruit.  After that I placed it in the fermentation chamber at 65°F and let it work its magic.  Saturday will be two weeks and I sample and see if this one is ready to keg.  I’ll post an update with results once the beer is done.  I think I may even have a bottle of the regular saison around to do some comparison.

You may notice the airlock on my carboy looks a bit different, I’m trying out a new waterless, sanitary airlock called Sterilock.  It’s not available for purchase in the US just yet but should be headed this way soon.  This is my first brew with it but I’ll post a review of that as well as the plastic Big Mouth Bubbler in the near future.

Peaches releasing all their love into my beer.

Peaches releasing all their love into my beer.

Cooking With Spent Grain

BREWHOUSE UPDATES!  Our pumpkin beer (It’s The Great Pumpkin, Timmy D!) is done, and it’s really good.  Last year’s ITGPTD was a horrible failure, we went back to the drawing board and this year have something we really like.  We also brewed another batch of Synesthesia Saison that will get racked onto peaches soon to create Synesthesia Pêche, we hope to have that one ready to drink in about a month.

I’ve been saying for a long time that I was going to make some stuff with spent grain.  Each time I brew I save some and freeze it, then a few months later I throw it away, it’s a vicious circle.  This time I actually followed through and tried a couple of recipes with some grain left over from brewing Synesthesia Pêche (more on that soon) and was pretty pleased with the results.  Brew Dog Boo got some dog treats out of the deal and I got some banana nut bread, everyone was happy.

I decided to use some of the grain as is and to turn some of it into spent grain flour.  Turning the grain into flour was a time-intensive process and you’d be surprised how little you get after drying and milling the grain.  I have a four tray food dehydrator and loaded it up with grain, after all was said and done I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of flour, which was fine as it still covered what I needed for the banana bread.  So here’s how I threw it down…

Spent Grain Dog Treats

Spent Grain Dog Treats (Note that this amount makes 1/2 of the recipe below.)

Spent Grain Dog Treat ingredients.  (Ingredients shown are for 1/2 batch.)

This was the first recipe I tried since it didn’t require any special preparation to the grains beforehand.  I simply used the well-drained grains out of the mashtun, this is a really easy recipe.  Googling recipes for spent grain dog treats I found the exact same recipe on 9 out of 10 sites.  Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, my recipe follows most others.  Note on my batch I halved this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups spent grain
  • 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose whole wheat flour)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Instructions:

  1. Mix everything together until dough forms a firm ball
  2. Spread dough on parchment paper about 1/4″ thick
  3. Cut your cookies out.  I used a beer sample glass as my cookie cutter.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes
  5. Reduce heat to 225°F and let cookies bake for 2 more hours to dry them.  You want them dry and crunch but not hard, you should be able to break them in half easily.  Drying them will help with storage and prevent spoilage/mold.

Let them cool a bit and see what your brew dog thinks about them, Boo gave them her seal of approval.

Fine, human... I'll play your silly games.

Fine, human… I’ll play your silly games.

Cookies cooling off

Cookies cooling off

Spent Grain Flour

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If you have a food dehydrator you can use that for the first step of drying the grains.  Simply line your trays with parchment paper, cutting a vent hole in the center for airflow if necessary.  You don’t need a fancy dehydrator to get the job done.  I have a cheap one (similar to this) and I’ve done dried herbs, fruit, jerky and now grain and it does just fine.  If you don’t have a dehydrator you can do this in your oven.

  • Preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting, no more than 200°F.
  • Prepare grains by making sure you’ve removed as much moisture as possible.  Place them in a strainer and mash with a spoon or spatula to get the excess water out.
  • Spread grain on an ungreased cookie sheet (can also line with parchment paper) in a thin layer, approximately 1/4″ deep.
  • Place pan in the oven for 7-8 hours, stirring halfway through.
  • Boom.  Dried grain.

You can then mill the grain in a coffee or spice grinder if you don’t have a mill.  I did mine in my NutriBullet which came with a milling blade I thought I’d never use, it worked amazingly well for this.  I have a love/hate relationship with my NutriBullet, it works very well but I had some leaking issues and had a tough time getting service, but that’s a story for another time… on with the recipes.

Spent Grain Banana Nut Bread with Dark Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spent grain flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 over-ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (Make sure to set a safe word so things don’t get out of hand.)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven toe 350°F
  2. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar together.  Add the eggs and banana and stir to incorporate.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients a little at a time, mixing well to combine.
  5. Fold in the nuts and dark chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter (batter should be quite dense/thick) in to a well-buttered loaf or cake pan, I used mini-loaf pans and got 4 loaves.
  7. For a full size loaf you will need to bake for about an hour, my mini loaves were done in ~ 30 minutes.  Check about 20 minutes in.  Loaves are done when a toothpick or butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Place on rack to cool a bit and devour.

 

Spent Grain Banana Nut Bread... WITH Dark Chocolate. (Sexy, isn't it?)

Spent Grain Banana Nut Bread… WITH Dark Chocolate. (Sexy, isn’t it?)

Spent grain banana bread, sliced up wile still warm from the oven.

Spent grain banana bread, sliced up while still warm from the oven.