Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fletcher; Sour Brown

Fletcher; A Sour Brown

Granite bird bath & gear bowl
Last weekend was a busy weekend for me in terms of brewing.  I was able to bottle up a Pale Ale experiment I did with a couple different strains of yeast; both regular brewers yeast and Brettanomyces.  This was the clean version of Harpale Ale. I also brewed another Pale Ale for a competition here in New England this coming October.  Wish me luck.  Both the tasting notes from the Harpale Ale and the write up from the other brew day will be write ups this week.

This was also a big weekend for me in that my son, Harper William Parcell, was born shortly after this brew day was completed.  Talk about close timing.  He was 2 months early and is doing very well.  This beer will be special in that I will be drinking one every year on his birthday, starting with his 2nd birthday, with his mother till they are gone.  That will give it a couple of years relaxing in the carboy until bottling.  I was planning on doing this even before he came out shortly after pitching they yeast but now it seems more appropriate than ever.

As of late, I realized a while back, I have been consistently stepping out of my comfort zone with lots of things.  I got married about a year ago, started my family up, and am trying new things with brewing that could easily go wrong and negate a lot of hard work.  I really like the invigoration that it has caused me.  I haven't felt so motivated to research, sample, and try new things since I began piecing together information from lots of sources to begin all grain brewing some number of years ago.
Little sour treat for brew day

This journey into wild/sour beers, aging, oak, and other such things has been great.  I have met lots of new people who are just as passionate about the subject as me and who love to share information and experiences.  They are also helping me out by tasting my beers and providing me with great constructive feedback and criticism when necessary.  The home brew community is a wonderful place.

P.S. The beer is named Fletcher after Fletcher Allen Children's Hospital, the place where he was born and is still hanging out until he is ready to come home.  Those folks there are truly amazing, caring, calm, and wonderful people.

Recipe, Notes, & Details

·         7 lbs German Pilsner
·         .5 lbs Flaked Maize
·         .75 lbsCaramunich
·         .75 lbsSpecial B
·         .25 Black Malt

·         152 for 60 min

·         75 min

·         1 oz Tradition at 75 min

Yeast & Adjuncts:
·         Primary Fermentation done with White Labs 001, no starter.
·         Added corn sugar to boost up gravity before ending boil
·         Secondary: vial of ECY01, 2 ounce medium toast oak that have been soaking in Pinot Noir for a few months, and the Pinot Noir.

·         Pre Boil: 1.035
·         Original Gravity: 1.042
·         Collected 6.5 gallons pre boil

·         30 seconds pure oxygen.

8/18/2012-  Brew day went fairly smoothly.  Very windy so the flame blew out a couple of times.  Caused the boil to be longer than expected, although actual time the wort was boiling was 75 minutes. 

My old road sign "wind screen"
Had to add corn sugar (not sure how much) to get gravity up to where I wanted it during the last 1o minutes or so of the boil.  I would dump some in and take a refractometer reading until it got where I needed it to be.

8/28/2012- Fermentation took off sometime after midnight on brew day.  Not sure when.  Has been fermenting well at about 69 degrees since then.  As soon as gravity tells me it is done, I'll be transferring to secondary and pitching the bugs, oak, and wine.

9/1/12- Racked to secondary. Gravity at 1.008.  Beer is beautiful.  Light brown with some hints of burgundy around the edges.  This beer is surprisingly clear right now considering the sacch yeast wasn't completely flocculated out.  The aroma was very malty.  You could really pick out the black malt and pils.  I already adore this beer and it has inspired me to take another go at a brown ale.  It has been about 2 years since my last brown ale brew.  Whew.  There is no aroma of hops when you get your nose in here but you can definitely taste the bitterness and how it balances out the malt character/body.
Pitched starter of ECY01 BugFarm into secondary as well.  I would estimate I pitched two vials full...not including the beer...that is just the yeast slurry.

9/5/2012- Racked 3lbs 10 ounces of cherries and 2 oz medium toast oak chips that had been soaking in some nice Pinot Noir (Pinot pitched too; about 12 oz).  Should be interesting.
Pellicle had already been forming from the ECY01 I pitched 4 days ago.  Not much head space left in the carboy.

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