Getting Funky with a Brett Saison

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted here so I’ll start with an update of the past few months.  It’s been busy and we’ve only been able to brew 3 beers so far this year, we’ve really got to step it up.  We entered a couple homebrew competitions and our Synesthesia Pêche took 2nd for its category in one of them.  Our 2nd year Centennial hops are coming in really nicely, hopefully we’ll get some cones this year.  In a couple of weeks we’ll be serving a beer we brewed with Burnt Hickory Brewery (Chocolate Coffee Porter with Raspberries) at their 3rd Anniversary Party, if you’re in the Atlanta area come on out and join us.

Brew Dog Boo rocking her medal for Synesthesia Pêche

Brew Dog Boo rocking her medal for Synesthesia Pêche

Now that we’re all caught up let’s get on with our latest brew, Synesthesia American.  If you’ve followed us for a while you know we brew a lot of saisons, we’ve had very good results with them and gosh darn it, we like them.  With Synesthesia American we took our standard Synesthesia Saison recipe and switched out the yeast to WLP670, an American Farmhouse strain with Brett.  This one will take 4-6 months (from what I’ve read) to reach its potential and should produce a moderate funkiness.  I wanted to test this recipe brewing the beer exactly as we have in the past and only changing the yeast.  Our base recipe had a whirlpool hop addition and we kept it in there although it may not do much for the finished beer due to the extended aging.  We recently opened a bottle of our first batch that was 14 months old and it aged extremely well.

This will get fermented up to 85°F for a couple of weeks then we’ll move it off the trub and into an upstairs closet for 3-4 months.  After that we’ll bottle-condition, I look forward to seeing how this one changes over time.  I’ve never been the most patient brewer but have to say that seeing positive results on past beers make it a bit easier to wait things out, it also helps to have a few in the pipeline to quench your thirst while you wait.

Action Shot! Synesthesia American boiling away

Action Shot! Synesthesia American boiling away

UPDATES AND TASTING NOTES

05/06/15 | Transferred to secondary, purged with CO2.

06/10/15 | Just short of 2 months since brew day.  Gravity at 1.004.  Flavor is a fruity saison with (maybe?) a very light funkiness.

06/27/15 | Bottled.  Gravity was still at 1.004.  Huge pellicle on top, no sign of pellicle on 06/10.  Starting to develop some of that Brett funk.

Pellicle on a Brett Saison

Pellicle on a Brett Saison

TASTING NOTES

09/07/15 | At just over 4 months old this beer really started to hit its stride.  Good amount of funk and very fruity with flavors of pineapple and mango.  It recently took 2nd for the Belgian Specialty Ale category at the New South Brew Off.

I’ve seen a lot lately about the love for green bottles for funky beers to allow some lightstruck character.  I bottled some of this in brown bottles and some in green bottles to compare the two.  Early tasting shows a distinct difference with the green bottles being noted as having an herbal quality.  I took one 750ml bottle of brown and one of green and placed them on a shelf that gets only indirect light, I’m going to leave them there for 6 months then try each one side-by-side to note the character differences.

Winner!  Synesthesia American took Silver for category at the 2015 New South Brew Off

Winner! Synesthesia American took Silver for category at the 2015 New South Brew Off

Session Rye IPA Brewday and Hop Farming Update

Since Saturday was National Homebrew Day / Big Brew Day we pretty much had to brew some beer.  Mother Nature looked upon us most favorably and the weather was absolutely perfect for hanging outside and brewing.  A few friends joined us and enjoyed a day of brewing, drinking, eating and smoking cigars – not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

For this brew we collaborated with several friends on the brew.  We’re all going to brew the beer then send a couple bottles to each other to see the differences we each get.  We’re pretty widely distributed (GA, OH, FL, TX and MO) so it will be interesting to see the differences we get from this recipe.  We’ve wanted to do a session beer for a while and this was a good chance to make it a bit more fun.  The recipe is based off of Denny Conn’s Wry Smile IPA tweaked to a target of 4.2% ABV and 61 IBU.  This was our first brew milling our own grains and we got a bit more gravity than expected.  We hit 1.047 with a target of 1.042, looks like our actual ABV on this one will land around 4.8%, still sessionable IMO.

We’ll check the gravity this weekend and see how it’s coming along.  This one will probably have to stay in the fermenter for a few weeks as I have to go out of town the weekend of the 17th, hopefully we’ll get it kegged up on the 24th.

Not a long video, but here’s a little Instagram snippet from the brewday.

Our hops are coming in nicely.  It took them a while to break the surface but they’re growing an inch or so each day now.  We’ve got 6 shoots that I can find with a couple of them much more aggressive than the others.  I wish they’d hurry the heck up.

Hop Sprout - 05/02/14

Hop Sprout – 05/02/14

 

Hop Sprout - 05/06/14

Hop Sprout – 05/06/14

First Year Hop Growing – Part 2

Finally!  The hops are in the ground and the supports are re-strung for the hops to climb.  I added some mulch to the top to keep everything moist and minimize erosion.  The bed has been well saturated with some Miracle Gro fertilizer and I hope to see the shoots breaking free very soon.

In my first post on our attempt at hop farming I mentioned that the twine that was recommended to us (tomato twine) by the guy at Home Depot just wasn’t going to make the cut.  It was very weak and brittle and broke with very little force.  I took to Googling to see what was a good choice and found several people recommending jute twine.  I ended up using 5-ply jute twine that is rated at 108 lbs.  One of the Amazon reviewers noted that he’d used it for 20′ runs to grow hops and another said they’d used it to hang planter baskets, sounds like this should be perfect.  We also added a piece of angle iron and an L-brace to support the center post.  I didn’t drive the post in the ground as I wanted the full 8′ for the hops to climb (since many of them can grow 20′ or more) so I only supported it by anchoring the upright post to the center brace, and that was a bit shaky.  We drove about 1′ of a 2′ piece of angle iron into the ground and then anchored it to the upright post, seems pretty strong now.

So now we wait.  I hate waiting.

Centennial Hop Rhizomes

Centennial Hop Rhizomes

Happy Birthday to the ground!

Happy Birthday to the ground!

Hob bed planted and new twine added

Hob bed planted and new twine added