My second brew was crafted with Colleen’s tastes in mind, and in my opinion turned out to be an abject failure. I couldn’t taste it without involuntarily grimacing. It was disheartening to dump the second batch of beer I had made, especially since it was supposed to be my girlfriend’s beer avatar (beervatar?).
Now that I’ve brewed quite a few more batches, including batches for Nick and Jason, I feel once again eager to brew something for Colleen. However, it’s been two seasons since I last consulted with Colleen about what she would want from a beer, and each season seems to evoke a new incarnation of her aesthetic. Any beervatar of hers would have to be similarly seasonally bound.
Therefore I’ve decided to brew her a bière de table whose character can be made to match whether her winter or summer mouth is doing the drinking. In the summer this bière de table will manifest as a citrusy, lightly tart beverage. The mark of a bière de table is its low alcohol content, and therefore this drink ought to be truly refreshing during these hot city summer months.
- 4.5 lbs pale malt
- 1 lb wheat malt
- 1/2 lb caramel L60
- 3/4 lb acid malt
- 1 oz Simcoe @ 10 minutes
- 1 oz Cascade @ flameout
- Zest from 1-2 oranges @ flameout
- 2 oz Simcoe dry hop (7 days)
I did my usual mash technique, except this time it would provide me with all of my fermentables. I mashed with just shy of 13 quarts of water at a strike temp of 163, which got me to a mash in temp of 153 degrees F. I left out the acid malt until 30 minutes through, just in case the drop in pH would interfere with conversion. I dunked the bag a bit to rinse it, and then set it in a colander over another pot and gave it as much squeezing as my hands could endure. The wort is, after all, incredibly hot. I additionally attempted to sparge by washing the bag with hot tap water. Eventually I got up to what looked to be 1.5 gallons in one pot and 3.5 in the other.
I brought the pots up to a boil sequentially, which also allowed me to cool them in a cold water bath in the sink sequentially. The time worked surprisingly well, with the first pot reaching about 90 degrees F by the time the second pot was done boiling. I did a short 15 minute boil since there only low duration hop additions. I transfered the wort to the fermenter and set it in the shower under cold water to cool it additionally while I rehydrated the yeast.
I would estimate my pitching temp to be about 72 degrees. My OG came in nicely on target at 1.032. Unfortunately I forgot to buy oranges, so those were left out today, though I may add them when I dry hop. I’m a little bit concerned what the oils may do to the head of the beer, so I might just leave it out altogether this go round.
In other news I just bottled the Berliner weisse, so with any luck I’ll be able to use it to relax and cool down in a month when I’m faced with mid-summer heat and the stress of moving into a new apartment.
UPDATE (6/27/13): It seems like fermentation reached its end after about two and a half days. The SG is now reading 1.013 (putting it at just 2.5% ABV) which is higher than I was expecting, but it’s tasting pretty thin anyway so I’m not disappointed that it’s stopped. It’s got a nice light tartness, and decent hop aroma and taste just from the kettle hops. I added what looked to be two tablespoons of orange zest and two ounces of Simcoe for dry hopping and in five days I’ll bottle it.
UPDATE (7/3/13): I am going to bottle this tomorrow. Adding the zest and hops to the fermenter seemed to kick off another krausen and off-gassing of CO2. The smells coming off the airlock were deliciously citrusy. The SG now reads about 1.009 bringing the beer to 3% ABV.