Monday, July 13, 2015

Brewing for Blending

Blending is a vital skill in brewing that is often over looked or not possible on the homebrew scale. Professional breweries blend beers in order to create unique flavors that are not possible from a single batch and also to keep a consistent flavor profile.  I’ve been brewing the same “lambic” like beer over the past three years. In the next few months I will be blending them to create a “gueuze.” Blending is something I would like to start to do more often, but it requires me to have beer either sitting around or brew often. 

Since my barrel is starting to create more and more acidic beers I want to have something to blend into it to lower the acidity. If I brew a basic Saison I can use it to cut down the acidity in overly sour wild ale and I can blend back some of the sour beer to increase the complexity in the Saison. The goal of blending is to make each of the components greater together than they would be separate. 

On top of wanting to brew a beer to blend with my last barrel sour, I needed to refill the barrel again. I went with a pretty simple base beer as I normally do for wild ale and for the Saison to let the yeast do their thing. I wanted a simple Saison that wouldn’t take away from the complexities of the dry hopped wild ale and would be equally dry so that it doesn’t add extra fermentable sugars. 

I came in a few points under my target gravity, which is probably because I forgot to add the flaked oats until the end of my vorlauf. I wanted to add the oats because I wanted a little perception of body and smoothness for a beer that will get pretty dry. Other than that it was a pretty easy brew day. 

Beer Stats
Batch size: 10.5 Gallons
Boil time: 90 mins
Estimated OG: 1.054
Measured OG: 1.049
Measured FG: 1.007
ABV: 4.9%
SRM: 4.7
IBU: 23

Grain Bill
16.5lbs - Pilsner Malt
1.5lbs – Flaked Oats
2.5lbs – White Wheat Malt
1.5lbs – Acid Malt

Hop Schedule
60 minutes – Magnum – 1oz

Mash Schedule
148oF - Single Infusion – 90 minutes

Lallemand – Belle Saison

7/3/15 – Brewed by myself. Aside from forgetting to add the oats until forlauf I didn’t have many problems. Added 2 grams of CaCl and 8 grams of Gypsum to the mash along with 3 grams of CaCl and 12 grams of gypsum to the sparge water. Collected 14 gallons of wort at 1.039. Collected 5 gallons to put in my barrel and added the left over Strawberry-Rhubarb Yo Soy Un Berliner yeast to start fermentation. Collected 5 gallons of wort oxygenated with pure O2 for 45 seconds and then pitched dry yeast.

7/4/15 – Fermentation started for each beer.

7/12/15 – Gravity down to 1.007 on the Saison half.  

7/19/15 - Did some blending to find ratios of beer that I felt worked best.  Ended up with around a 1.5 gallons left over that I'll probably add cucumber juice.

7/27/15 - Bottled the sour version with 128 grams of table sugar. Bottled a total of 4.5 gallons.

8/3/15 - Bottled the Saison version with 100 grams of table sugar. Bottled 4 gallons. 

8/5/15 - Added one cup of cucumber juice to the remaining gallon of Saison and bottled with 30 grams of table sugar.  

8/12/15 - Racked off the barrel sour onto 7lbs of blueberries.  

8/26/15 - First tasting of the tart Saison verson.  

10/3/15 - Added 137grams of table sugar to 5 gallons of blueberry sour.

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