Vol. 3 No. 2
IMPORTANT: This Month's Meeting Will be One Week Late!: To leave our
member's Valentine's Day Schedule free, our next meeting at
Mug's Ale House, 125 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, will be on Wednesday,
February 21, 7:30 PM. Be there to celebrate Jim Simpson's win!
To read more about the brewing of Jim's prize-winning beer, read his article on page 2 of this newsletter.
Our January meeting forged forward through snow and very intimidating
temperatures. Once again, Matthias Neidhart proved that beer meetings,
whether heavily attended or not, are top priority. The Malted Barley
members that attended were the first individuals
in the U.S. to sample the Shultheiss Berliner Weisse. Unlike the
previously available Berliner Weisse, Kindl, this beer was awesome! The
sourness and balance are unlike any beer that you will have the opportunity
to try. Several people agreed that though it conforms to the
Berliner Weisse style, it has an almost Lambic quality. This style,
however, is an acquired taste when sampled alone. Matthias will be
bringing in with this beer the syrups that Berliners have long used to
flavor the beer to the individual's palate. The first flavored syrup that
we added to the Weisse was Raspberry. This syrup when added sparsely
removed the tartness of
the Weisse with almost Framboise quality. It was great! Matthias discussed
that traditional Berliners regarded option to experiment with the proper
balance of Weisse to syrup with a deep fervor, and not the inconvenience
many American beer drinker might feel with this
"do it yourself brew."
Next, we sampled brilliantly green Woodruff flavored syrup. This syrup had mixed reaction among those in attendance. Some felt the color and taste was medicinal, while others regarded it as being licorice-like. When added to the Weisse, this blend was a pleasant marriage of candy tartness that reminded me of a sour ball candy.
In closing, Matthias added that this Weisse is without equal in the beer world. Those in attendance agreed emphatically! Matthias Neidhart will be back for our March meeting to debut his new import, a traditional German Alt Beer. That meeting should not be missed!
On December 13, 1995, I flew up to Boston and arrived at the Boston Beer
Co. I met with brewers Jim Periclese and Jim Deborg to discuss my recipe.
They were very busy kegging their latest creation: a Sam Adams
cask-conditioned Ale. In between filling kegs they asked me questions such
as "why so many English ingredients in an American Pale Ale?". My
explanation was that I originally set out making an English Pale Ale, but
split the batch, dry hopping = English and = American.
Not only did they have trouble locating the same malts and hops I used, but they weren't going to use any turbinado sugar and wanted to eliminate the flaked barley! My beer, it seemed, would only be their interpretation of my beer. They kept telling me that in a large brewery, it would be difficult to use so much sugar, (at the time I forgot S.A.'s Honey Porter uses honey and Triple Bock uses maple syrup, so why not turbinado sugar?) and flaked barley is troublesome to mash. Since they had none, I had to give in to the sugar elimination, but I insisted that they use the flaked barley. They were unable, or unwilling, to get English Pale and Mild Ale malts. They said that the right proportion of Klages, Victory and Munich malts would produce the desired malt profile. They also didn't use Challenger hops but substituted them with Northern Brewer. They used an extensive lab report to come up with a recipe to mimic my beer.
After helping load the grain bin, I was treated to some of their latest creations. Too bad that at this point in the evening I had a splitting headache and just wanted to sleep, or I would have enjoyed them more. The newest one, the S.A. cask-conditioned Ale, was a breakthrough for them. The beer is slightly filtered and served with blanket CO2 pressure from a hand pump. This is not traditional, but ensures that the beer stays fresh for a longer time. The beer was slightly cloudy from the yeast and had very little carbonation. I enjoyed this beer's round malt flavor and nice balance of what might be Goldings hops in the finish. The last beer I tried was Triple Bock. This "Beer" is nothing like a Bock or a Triple. It is really hard to call this beer. The complex aroma is that of a cognac and sherry. The taste is nothing like any beer I've had (not even Samiclaus). it reminded me of Harvey's B.C. There is no carbonation and it's served at room temperature. You can taste some of the charred oak from the cask in which it was aged. What really gets you is the incredible smoothness.
After a few beers in the tasting room I was treated to dinner by my hosts, Jim Deborg and his assistant. We dined at Brew Moon, a brewpub in the theater district. The food was excellent and the beer was decent. I tried the IPA, but by this time my head was pounding so much that I couldn't finish my beer. They put me up at The Copely Plaza Hotel (tres chic) and I was instructed to arrive back at the Brewery at 7:00 AM. When I arrived Jim P. was tending to the steam boiler and Jim D. was busy cleaning tanks. We started loading the grain into the kettle and mashed in at 122 F, then rested for 20 minutes. We raised the temperature slowly to 145 F, using steam, and rested for 15 minutes. We raised the temperature up to 158 F and rested for 1 hour.
A photographer arrived and started taking pictures. He took an "action" shot of me and Jim D. doing the iodine test. After conversion was established, the mash was heated to 168 F and pumped to the lauter-tun. It settled there for ten minutes to establish its filter bed. The wort was then recirculated for 15 minutes. As sparging began, sweet wort was pumped to the kettle. When half the kettle was full, steam was applied to the first steam jacket. When the kettle was full, steam was applied to the second jacket. Boiling was achieved in about 15 minutes --- not bad for over 310 gallons. We added the first hops: a judicious amount of Northern Brewer and Fuggles. After 30 minutes, more Fuggles were added for flavoring and it was left to boil for 30 minutes more. Then, our finishing hops were added: Northern Brewer, Fuggles and Kent Goldings. As you can tell, there are very few American hops used. After 10 minutes without heat the wort was pumped to the whirlpool tank to remove the hot break, protein coagulated during the boil, and spent hops. It was then pumped through the counterflow chiller. Oxygen was then injected on its way to the fermentation tank. We collected yeast, their Boston Ale strain, in a sanitized stainless steel bucket and added it to the tank as it was filling.
The whole process took 9 hours from start to finish and at that point I was exhausted. A winning beer was in their hands.
Category: Classic English Pale Ale
Method: full mash
Starting grav: 1.051
Ending grav: 1.013
Alcohol cont: 4.9%
Recipe makes: 13.0 gallons
Total grain: 23.00 lbs.
Color (srm): 6.3
Hop IBUs: 37.1
0.50 lb.. Crystal 60 lovibond
1.00 Lb. Flaked Barley
10.00 Lb. Klages Malt
2.50 Lb. Mild Ale
8.50 Lb. Pale Ale
0.50 Lb. Turbinado Sugar
1.75 Oz Challenger 9.1%, 60 Min
1.00 Oz Fuggles, 3.6%, 60 Min
1.00 Oz Northern-brewer, 7.9%, 60 Min
0.75 Oz Fuggles, 3.6%, 30 Min
1.00 Oz Kent-Goldings, 6.0%, 0 Min
0.25 Oz Fuggles, 3.6%, 0 Min
0.25 Oz Challenger, 9.1%, 0 min
Boil temperature of water: 212 f
Grain starting temperature: 70 f
Desired grain/water ratio: 1.25 quarts/pound
Strike water: 7.19 gallons of water at 164 f, first mash temperature: 150 f
Second mash temperature: 165 f
Boiling water to add: 2.69 gallons
Notes: add 2 oz. Cascade dry hopped in secondary to 6 gallon carboy.
Ferment at 70 f.
As I discussed in December issue, The Malted Barley Appreciation Society is sponsoring an AHA-recognized Belgian beer contest on April 13, 1996. In this issue, I am continuing to discuss the styles that make up the contest, and homebrewing methods of making them. This month, we will focus on Flanders Brown, Belgian Red Ales, and White Style beers.
Oud Bruin: Original Gravity: 1.045-1.060; % Alcohol: 4.8-6; Color: 10-20;
"Red deep copper or deep brown with red tints. Acidic aroma with some fruitiness. Flavor sweet, sour and fruity, esp. cherry-like with some caramel malt character. Lactic, acetic and oak flavors ok. Attenuation low to medium. Medium carbonation, body medium to full. Low bitterness, no hop flavor or aroma. No diacetyl. Richly colored with a fruity, acidic aroma and an intensely fruity, sweet and sour palate. Sourness varies in commercial examples, many of which are filtered and sweetened. Color and body should come mostly from caramel malts."
-Style Specifications, Spirit of Belgian Contest There are only a few commercial examples of Owd Bruin ("Old Brown" ) available in this country: Liefman's Goudenband, Roman Doubellin. The Flanders Brown originated in the town of Oudengarde, in Flanders. The classic example of the style is Liefman's Goudenband. The Liefman's brewery's basic Old Brown, not available here, is brewed to a gravity of 1.048, made from a combination of Pilsner, Munich, Vienna, and roasted barley. The water used is high in sodium bicarbonate, and the boil lasts overnight. The Goudenband is a blend of the old brown and a higher-gravity (1.053) beer that is matured 8 months. The resulting blend is matured in the cellar for three months. The end result has 6.0 percent alcohol by volume, with color of 60 EBC and 20 IBU's.
To homebrew this beer, there are some very good Belgian specialty grains to duplicate the color. The most distinctive flavoring is due to the year, which can be cultured from the bottle. Also, Brewer's Resource has a Flanders's brown yeast. The extreme acidity of Liefman's is hard to duplicate; various methods can be attempted, such as fermenting in a wooden cask, or with wood chips, introducing acid blend or lactic acid, or even using beer or malt vinegar.
Roman Doubellin, a very distinctive beer in its own right, actually does not fit into the style guidelines at all! It has an overly high gravity, too much bitterness, and not enough acidity. If you can duplicate it, I suggest you drink it rather than entering it, as it doesn't fit!
Oud Bruin (with fruit): OG: 1045-1060; A%: 4.8-6; C: 10-20; IBU: 15-25
"As above...with addition of raspberries, cherries or other fruit. Fruit character should be clearly defined and prominent, but blend well with other flavors.
Fruit may provide additional acidity." - Spirit of Belgium
Specifications follow previous entry. Fruit should be added in the secondary fermenter, to avoid infection and get the most out of the fruit..
Red Ale: OG: 1.052 -1.056; %A: 3.7-6; C: 10-18; IBU: 10-25
"A sharp and sour red beer of light to medium body, it contains up to twenty strains of yeast. The taste is tart with a wide range of fruitiness. The red color comes, in part, from the use of Vienna malt, but also is derived from aging in the brewery's uncoated oak tuns, which also creates the flavors of caramels, tannins and acidity. This is not a hoppy beer. Very refreshing." - Dawson
Commercial example: Rodenbach, Rodenbach Grand Cru.
A uniquely tart and refreshing beer, even more so than the Old Brown. There are several other versions available in Belgium, but Rodenbach is the classic originator of the style. Both the regular Rodenbach red ale, and the Grand Cru are available here. The red ale has recently become available on draft. It is brewed to a gravity of 1.045. It is a blend of a young, lower gravity beer, and Rodenbach Grand Cru. The unblended Grand Cru is the most distinctive of the beers, made to a gravity of 1.052, and aged for two or more years in wood! The bacterial activity created by this aging process would be hard to copy at home. You can age in wood, and add acids as mentioned in the Old Brown. Good luck!
White: OG: 1044-1050; %A: 4.8-5.2; C: 2-4; IBU: 15-25
"Unmalted wheat is used, and sometimes oats. Beer may be spiced with coriander seed and orange peel." - AHA Style Guidelines
Commercial examples include Celis White, Hoegarden White, Dentergems.
White Ale has become very popular in this country in the last few years,
with the arrival of Celis and such American versions as Wit, and Blue Moon
White ale is fairly easy to homebrew, at least in comparison with the last few styles! There are several versions of authentic Belgian White yeast available, which are essential. You can use Wyeast or Brewer's Resource. I have noted that you need a pretty hot primary fermentation, usually around 70, and that the primary can last as long as two weeks.
The all-grain version calls for unmalted wheat, which is most easily accessible in a flaked version. Phillip Seitz, in an article in Zymurgy (Volume 18, No. 1), suggests having a 45 minute protein rest in order to avoid stuck mashes. Aside from the yeast, the most important ingredients are the spices. Curacao bitter orange peel can now be ordered from homebrewing stores, and coriander is available from most spice stores. Other possibilities include grain of paradise, cumin seed, and others. These should be added near the end of the boil, as in dry-hopping.
As an extract beer, using wheat extract, and the proper spices and yeast, may result in a convincing version.
Strong White Ale OG: 1078-1081; %A: 8-9; C: 2-4: IBU: 14-22
Pale Wheat Ale, usually spiced...with coriander and orange peel (curagao)... with addition of crystal and other colored malt for a sweet, caramelly flavor. Other spices sometimes uses in small amounts." - Randy Mosher, Brewer's Companion
I believe commercial examples would include Celis Grand Cru, Hoegarden Grand Cru.
This style description came directly from Randy Mosher's book. I, as noted above, am not entirely sure if my suggested commercial variations are correct., for one important reason; neither of the Grand Cru beers contain any wheat! Can anyone tell me of any high-gravity spiced Belgian beer that does contain a significant amount of wheat? If so, I guess that's what he means. At any rate, a Grand Cru style it not to hard to make; a high gravity ale, with a nice flavorful yeast (possibly a Belgian White Yeast), with added spices. That covers the Red, Brown and White Ales. More next issue!!
Just when you thought indulging in your favorite beverage at your local
gourmet beer bar was simple, along comes
Gingerman. Gingerman is located
at 11 East 36th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues. This place is
truly awe-inspiring! With 66 taps and over 100 bottle beer selections,
Gingerman's bartenders offer up one tough question: What beer would like to
drink? Even the most knowledgeable and experienced of beer connoisseurs
would have to think twice
before ordering. The beer list at Gingerman is broken down under the
categories of those on tap and in bottles. Under the tap heading, the
subheadings are by country and the beer's color (which is not 100%
accurate) This vast array of palate wetting art ranges from the familiar,
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to the new, Doppelspaten and Hacker Pschorr Alt
(which are both
terrific) The beers on tap are available in 13 oz., 20 oz., and 23 oz.
Glasses. Gingerman's bottle selection is not any less formidable. The
Belgium and English Ales and German Lagers are available in abundance. The
only beers that are noticeably absent are Orval and Roman Dobbelin. The
beers at Gingerman are served and stored at the right temperatures, and are
quite fresh at the taps.
There is food at Gingerman. Though it is very good, the menu clearly takes a back seat to the beers. Such dishes as the wurst platter and the turkey sandwich are delicious. Gingerman is beer lover's dream!
What would you have if took a traditional English Pub exterior, combined
it with fine murals, added a monastic backroom/restaurant area, and topped
it off with an enticing beer menu? The answer would be Swift's on - East
4th Street, located between Lafayette Street and Cooper Square. The
exterior design is fantastic, it looks as if the pub was taken right off of
Fleet Street in London, with their traditional English Pub sign and
nineteenth century lighting which greets all patrons upon their arrival.
The front bar area has full wall murals depicting an English Study. If you
have never had a beer in church, now you can fulfill this dream, well
almost. Swift's backroom is complete with a carved pulpit, church pews, a
stained glass window, candle chandeliers and old church doors to create the
monastic ambiance to enjoy the Belgium Ales that they offer.
Swift's has a good tap selection, included Paulaner Hefe-Weiss, and a very enjoyable bottle selection, which includes Aventinus, Affligem, Chimay, and the delicious Roman Dobbelin, among others. Their menu offers a nice mix of pub fare and nouveau cuisine. I can think of no other place, other than a Belgium monastery, where I would like to savor the uniqueness of Belgium Ales!
Editor's Note: The Salty Dog is on Vacation again this month. We expect him to return in the March Issue, and boil his wort before it goes sour!
Note: To Receive a complete copy of this newsletter, write or call Hop, Skip and Brew!