Poppin’ our Cherry

28 Mar

Subtle, right?  Nothing like a sex reference when discussing beer.  But it is pretty appropriate considering that Michael and I were taking our first foray into all grain brewing. We’ve been at this home brewing business for going on 3 years now.  We’ve had our highs and lows, but we had not yet made the leap to all grain.  That all changed when Michael received a Home Depot cooler for Christmas, and proceeded to track down the necessary parts to put a homemade mashtun together.

First beer to attempt?  A Saison of course.  With Spring on the horizon (hurry the fuck up, Spring!), we felt something light, refreshing, and slightly tart would be the way to go.  Also, our tour at Flat Tail Brewery with the Beervana folks had got us to thinking about the use of 2-row from parts beyond the U.S.  Head brewer Dave Marliave had mentioned that all the 2-row grown in the States is still, essentially, grown for the Big 3.  That means that it is lacking in the complexities (flavor, etc) that other varieties from across the Atlantic bring to the table.  The big 3 are looking to get the most enzymatic bang for their buck, allowing for more adjuncts to be used in their beers.  Adjuncts are cheaper and fully ferment, allowing for a lighter beer…just like some Americans like it.  The big breweries want to brew lighter-tasting, lighter-colored beers that have the alcohol of a craft beer.  We were inspired by the whole idea of using 2-row from overseas, and decided that a Saison was the perfect beer to try with say…a Belgian 2-row.

A quick stop at our Let’s Brew! for our grains, yeast, and finishing hops (Sorachi Ace! I use the exclamation mark because I always think of a Japanese Manga character shouting those words before destroying some turtle-like creature with an energy ball…but not before grunting furiously for 20 seconds first) and we were on our way.

Yes, we drink while we brew

I won’t bore you with the details of the brewing process, as most of our 5 readers have probably either brewed before, or have read about the process somewhere else.  What I will do is post the recipe below in case anyone wants to offer feedback (keep it constructive).

I promise to review the beer when it’s ready for drinking, so be on the lookout for that little bit of self-flagellation in the coming weeks.

Open Up And Saison

Batch Size: 10 gallons

malts & fermentables
10lb          American Two-row Pale
9lb             Belgian Two-row Pale
2.5lb         American Crystal 10L
2.5lb         Rye Malt
1lb             Wheat Malt

2oz            Cascade            boil at 60 mins
3oz            Cascade            boil at 30 mins
2oz            Sorachi Ace     boil at 5 mins

White Labs Belgian Saison I (WLP565)


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