Belgian Blonde Update

Update on the Belgian:  She’s a quite full bodied lady, dark blonde and at 7.25%, pretty full-figured.  Fermentation is not complete – I’m putting together a starter to finish off the last few gravity points to get a very dry beer.  The Candi syrup gave good color and flavors, caramel without the sweetness of a caramel malt.  She should age gracefully.  I’m looking forward to the finished beer.

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That’s the original starter.  Using a starter results in less stress on the yeast and, I find, more mellow flavors.  Recipe for yeast starter

Second Commercial Brew

May be first temporally.  The Brew Hut in Aurora will soon brew my Grodziskie, a Polish smoked wheat beer, lightly soured, much like a Berliner Weisse.  I’ll definitely participate in this brew day

Benefits of Fining

If you want a crystal-clear beer, here is a picture of what gelatin fining does to a brew, in this case, my Koelsch:

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That is one clear beer!  Tastes good as well – it’s the basis for my Koelleweizen, the beer that will be brewed at the Dillon Dam Brewery.

Making Candi Syrup

Making Candi syrup is stupid-simple.  The syrup is caramelized sugars in water, caramel is made by heating sugars.  Here’s how:

In a heavy saucepan, mix 16 ounces of white corn syrup, make sure it doesn’t have vanilla in it, and 9 grams of Baker’s Ammonia (ammonium carbonate) or diammonium phosphate yeast nutrient.  Start heating over medium heat, stirring frequently.  The syrup mixture will start to darken slowly.  Test color by dropping the syrup onto aluminum foil.  Once the syrup is as dark as you’d like, turn off the heat, let the mixture cool slightly and add water to bring the mixture back to 16 ounces.  If you need 2 pounds of syrup, simply double the recipe.

Hat tip to Randy Mosher for this easy process.

Brew Day Yesterday

Brewed a Belgian Blonde yesterday.  Here it is in the kettle….

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It’s a beautiful wort, about 5 SRM in color, clear, dead on my predicted gravity.  The finished beer will be darker, courtesy of a batch of candi syrup I made.  The starter had a sweet Belgian funk to it, one I look forward to in the finished beer.  I do like this style, having tried Ommegang’s version while in Texas.

In other fermented news, wife’s Gewurztraminer is delicious, clear and bright.  Summer contest season is beginning, I’ll be entering brews in several.  Up tomorrow, how I made that candi syrup.

Fellowship of Brewers

Got this in the carboy today….

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It’s a Belgian blonde ale.  So far so good, once fermentation is going well, I’ll add the homemade Candi Syrup – more to come on that.

Yesterday I visited the Copper Kettle Brewing Co.  Yummy beers!  But the thing that struck me was the willingness of their employees and brewers to talk about the beers, even giving enough technical detail I could reproduce the beers if I wanted.  That is what draws me to this hobby, the fraternity of brewers.  I’ve seen it in every level from craft brewers to brewers for Coors.  The Dry Dock, my “home” microbrewery, will share recipes with brewers already converted to five gallon batches.  I met a Coors brewer at a friend’s house and asked about Batch 19 and got the hop bill.  And the grain bill.  We share freely, advice, recipes, processes, critique.  Being a member of this fraternity is a pleasure to me and I’m constantly gratified by all the help and advice given freely with one aim:  Making better beer.

Homebrew Night at Brew Hut!

Homebrew night at the Brew Hut (Aurora, CO’s premier homebrew shop)

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That’s NOT me!  Lots of good beer, lots of good conversation about beer.  Hey, that’s not even my flight of beers!  If you brew, find a fellowship of brewers, whether it’s a homebrew club or just a group of people who are interested in making good beers.  Your beers will be better for it.  The Brew Hut puts on Homebrew Night every two months.  They sell nothing during the event, they sell volumes as a result of it.  And our beers get better.  Maybe events like this are why Colorado’s Front Range is the Mecca of American craft brewing and why we are producing some of the world’s best beers.