Summer in Review (No Comments)

Just like previous years, we didn’t brew a whole lot this summer. The only real difference is that this year I had planned to brew a couple of batches, and even get a jump start on brewing for the Halloween Party. All the brewing in May kind of burnt me out and just this weekend I bottled the Farmhouse Ale that I had planned to have ready in July. We also brewed a batch of Beerios on Saturday, which is good because I have been out of it since the beginning of Summer.

Given the silence on the site, you might think that nothing beer related had happened this summer, but a few things did. I mentioned some of them in previous posts, but I’ll recap the events. The beer we sent to conference was a big hit. We brewed a Belgian Strong and a Raspberry Wheat with some success. The Raspberry Wheat is good, but doesn’t have the wonderfully strong aroma that last year’s batch had. The Beglian Strong is not so good. It’s certainly not bad, but the finishing gravity was very high and as a result it is very sweet and has a slightly caramel taste. I wanted the caramel, bit I was aiming for a dryer finish with some warmth from the alcohol. Even at almost 8%, the alcohol is barely noticeable.

I had similar trouble with the Belgian Saison that we bottle on Saturday. The finishing gravity on that one was 1.032, a little higher than the 1.024 that I had hoped for. I fermented it for 2 weeks at 80 degrees and 2 weeks at 70, so I’m not sure why the finishing gravity isn’t lower. The yeast I used has a high attenuation and a high temperature tolerance, but this style typically has a lower starting gravity so perhaps I just needs to plan for less alcohol. Even with that extra sweetness I could imaging drinking it all summer with an orange slice, if only I had finished it in time. It’s a lovely beer with citrus and fruity notes and an almost bubblegum aroma. I’m looking forward to trying the fully carbonated product. I’ve decided to call this a Farmhouse Ale, because that’s the typical American name for this style.

One last item before I go. When we bottled the Strong Ale, I put some of it into 750ml Trappist Bottles with corks. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cages and I foolishly thought that wouldn’t be a problem. I had the bottles on my wine rack and one of them blew the cork and the beer all the way across my storage room. We promptly moved the bottles to a case box and covered them with a towel until I could get champagne cork cages. I still haven’t purchased cages, but only one other bottle has blown and the mess was contained.

– Chris

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