Cooking with Beer: Chocolate Stout Cake

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Brew Day That Wasn't... and other stuff.

So this past Saturday, I got everything ready and then realized I'm missing a piece to connect my valve to the Bazooka screen and so decided to cut my losses and not brew. As we speak, the yeast is back in the fridge taking a nap, waiting to chow down later this week. I'll probably end up brewing Saturday or Sunday.

After brewing the Citra DIPA, I'm going to bottle the saison and cellar it for awhile and probably drink it in May.

At the beginning of May, I am going to try to brew a beer that I've recently become fascinated with, which is Kolsch. I hope you're ready for a lesson in beer geek-ery.

Kolsch is a German ale. What? You didn't know Germans made ales? Well, you'd be wrong. Lagering beer is a relatively new phenomenon and unfortunately, their popularity in Germany led to the marginalization of brewers producing German ale. There are still traditions of German ales though and American craft brewers have helped to keep these traditional styles alive. Hefeweizen is probably the most famous/popular and most people are familiar with Dunkelweizen and Weizenbock, probably because Sam Adams brews a Dunkelweizen and Brooklyn Brewery has a Weizenbock.

There are also some interesting, less known styles. There's Berliner Weisse, which is a sour, low alcohol beer served with fruit flavored syrup, and altbier, which is kind of a German brown ale, conditioned for longer than most ales, and using the "old" tradition of using ale yeast. Both are exceedingly difficult to find. Alt isn't usually exported out of Germany and Berliner Weisse is dying out as a style.

There's also Kolsch. Kolsch is a beer brewed in Cologne, using lighter malt and low amounts of hops, and is fermented at normal ale temperatures before being lagered. The result is a beer that an untrained palate might mistake for a light lager, as flavors like apple and wheat are fairly subtle. The beer is traditional served in stanges:

I've only had the chance to try two Kolschs. I had Gaffel Kolsch and Captain's Kolsch from Captain Lawrence Brewing. Both were quite good and I wish I could explore the style more, but alas. Kolsch is a pain in the ass to find.

So, I'm gonna brew it.

I think this is an important part of homebrewing. While homebrewing is cool in the sense that you can get high quality beer by the case load, there's also something a bit more meaningful to it, at least for me. Brewing is a human tradition and it is something that our ancestors have done for thousands of years, and the beer they brewed was different everywhere. It is a sad reality that today, many of these styles of beer are dying out because of aggressive marketing and business practices of big beer. Luckily, craft and homebrewers can keep these traditional styles alive by making them and educating themselves and others about the tradition of real beer.

So, with that in mind, sometime soon I'm going to have to work on a Kolsch. It should be nice and easy compared to everything else. My recipe only calls for 8lbs of grain. It doesn't have some crazy kind of yeast that needs difficult to reach temperatures (ala the saison). It doesn't have to reach a really high gravity like the DIPA needs. Plus, it will be a nice beer to drink through the summer months. I'm going to have to get some stanges so that I can drink them properly, though.

Here's the recipe:

Lonely Boner Kolsch.
5 gallon batch.

7# German Pils. 87.5%
.5# German Light Munich 6.3%
.5# German Light Wheat 6.3%

1 oz 3.8% AA German Hallertau @ 60 min
1 oz 3.8% AA German Hallterau @ 30 min

White Labs WL029 German Ale/Kolsch

Going to mash at 149 degrees. I think I'll ferment it for two weeks at normal ale temperatures then toss it in the basement for a bit to age for a bit.

OG: 1.045
FG: 1.011
ABV: 4.5%
29.3 IBU
2.9 SRM (a little bright for the style)


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Brewing

Soon, the Saison is going to get bottled. It'll be going into 12 oz bottles and will get cellared for a good amount of time. I'm also thinking of pitching some new yeast at bottling to assure carbonation.

I decided on going a little classier than Saison du Boner, on the off chance I want to give a bottle to a coworker or two. I made a quick label, so I can slap 'em on so I know what's what since this might be getting some extended cellaring.

Decided on Iris since the song by the Goo Goo Dolls holds meaning for my girlfriend and I. Awwwww.

My next project is going to be a double IPA. Brewday is tentatively Sunday and it'll be ready a few weeks later. I'm thinking of kegging this one since IPAs are always better on tap.

Batch size: 5.5 gallons (brewing some extra because with highly hopped beers, you can expect to lose some final volume due to hop sediment)

Malt bill:
15# US 2-row 93.8%
1# US Caramel 40L 6.3%

Keeping it simple with an easy grain bill. Nothing but base malt with a bit of caramel for color adjustment/head retention.

Citra @ 60 min
Citra @ 30 min
Citra @ 15 min
Citra @ 5 min

All Citra hops for this one. Citra is a high alpha hop that gives a citrusy fruit character along with some tropical fruit character.

White Labs WLP001 - California Ale Yeast

Yeast Nutrient

I also am going to be making a yeast starter for this guy because of the high gravity of this brew.

The final stats on this should be:
OG: 1.080
FG: 1.018
8.4% ABV
77.9 IBU (should change, depending on the alpha content of the hops Rebel Brewer sends)
8.3 SRM

Sounds fun. Cheers!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saison Update

So the saison has been workin' away for two weeks now. It still needs a good bit of attenuation. I broke my hydrometer so I'm going by taste testing and well, its still too malty.

I assure you that I did not piss in a cup and call it beer.

The color also leaves something to be desired, but hey. Not much you can do now. I think my error was using the amber sugar to affect the color of the beer and then not making it dark enough. The level of haze is good though.

Today I transferred my saison to a secondary:

Due to the awkward size of the batch because I lost so much wort, my batch was too big to fit into a 3 gallon carboy and kinda too small for a 6 gallon.

In a week, I'm gonna pitch some brettanomyces and throw in some oak cubes for a barrel aged character and then bottle after a week or so.