My Lime Saison

Once upon a time I absolutely nailed this beer. It was an awesome beer. People drank it like Bud Light Lime but it was a beautiful little craft beer. Killer citrusy aroma, the lime zest in the end of the boil played nicely with all the hops, and life was good.

The problem was the version I really liked was on White Labs 566 Belgian Saison II, which was a seasonal offering at the time. My sanitation at the time was iffy and I used a ton of late hops so I didn’t re-use the yeast. Plus re-brewing ANY batch, no matter how good, was usually unheard of for me. I always wanted to do something new.

Since then I’ve taken a few more shots at it with mixed results. BeerSmith lost a number of my recipes (with all the brewing notes) during the move here, so I’ve been digging through old notebooks deciphering chicken scratch.

Anyway, on 6/10 I gave it another try using one of the versions I had of this recipe floating around. Six brave & generous limes sacrificed their zest for the boil. I used a good amount of Motueka (lemon-lime aroma) for flavor and Motueka, Galaxy, & Pacific Jade for aroma. (Previously successful attempt was Motueka, Palisade, & Citra.)

On 6/20 I dry hopped with Galaxy & Pacific Jade. On 6/26 I needed its bucket so I transferred it to a glass carboy. I tasted it after transfer and wasn’t in love with it. I was a little worried there may have been some residual PBW cleaner or something. Whatever. I have Thug Life tatted on my carboy and shizzle.

On 7/3 I sampled it again and decided it was probably fine from a safe-to-drink stand point, but it wasn’t blowing my mind. At that point I added some WLP 644 Brett B Trois because I was bottling a couple batches with that yeast and why the hell not.

That brings us to today. For some reason I’m toying with the idea of doing some strange Imperial Shandy IPA debacle of a beer and my mind drifted to physically putting limes in this beer.

I sampled ye olde Lime Saison again and while it had a nice aroma & the flavor profile had mellowed a little, I still decided a couple limes wouldn’t hurt.

I did a little research on Homebrewtalk & listened to Jamil’s show on fruit beers. I was worried about wild yeast on the peel sneaking in, so I used Jamil’s idea to dunk the (uncut) limes in boiling water – just for a minute. Then I cut 2 limes up into pieces small enough to fit and dropped them on in. I was initially going to go with 4 limes, but Jamil does make the excellent point on occasion that adding is easier than subtracting in this arena.

At any rate, limes are floating around in my strange Saison-Brett-fruit endeavor now. The gravity hasn’t changed since adding the Brett, so maybe the limes will help it get its act together.

No matter what the result, I’ll be moving on from this debacle and taking another crack at it soon. I’ll probably streamline the grain bill and I’ll need to track down some Citra. The good batch had somewhere in the neighborhood of 3oz at flameout.

Alright, time for bed. I got brunch plans with my lady and then SNAFU is having a Q&A at U Bottle It at 1pm. Come one come all.

Proost y’all.

NZ Union Jack Brew Day and The Trouble With Cat Brewers

I’ve been scheming about it for months. Just salivating at the thought of cloning my new favorite IPA, but replacing the American tried and true with gorgeous New Zealand hops. Today was finally the day! I woke up, pounded my chest, and chugged an Amp energy drink. An amazing IPA was going to be brewed today!

Then I actually started trying to brew it. First I thought my digital thermometer was reading a little high, so I dropped my glass floating thermometer in to check. Dropped being the problematic part. This is why we can’t have nice things. Goodbye 5 gallons of RO water and tiny glass shards of broken measurement dreams.

No worries. I had enough RO & distilled to cover the mash. I just had to run to the store for RO water for sparging while I was mashing. I bet that sentence reads nicely for non-brewers. Anyway, life was still good.

Then during the mash, as I was stirring the grain, I noticed a sizeable hole in my bag. Mind you I’ve been overdue for a new bag. They’ve just been backordered at Austin Homebrew and I hadn’t bugged Heather at U Bottle It to stock them. Regardless, there was a hole. A dozen or so grains were floating around in my pot. Less than ideal. Boiling grain could lead to some astringent grainy flavors. Now I was making Husky Jack. I fished them out as best I could.

At some point I also sloshed wort onto my flip flop. Come to think of it, my foot and flip flop are still sticky. It’s a hard knock life.

However, my favorite moment of the brew day was when I was cooling the wort in the bathtub (with 64lbs of ice from the Breeze Right In). My usually trusty co-brewer, Sapphire, rolls in and proceeds to piss on the very towel my feet are on in front of the tub. People talk about Citra & Simcoe hops having a cat piss aroma but we here at Go Big Or Go Home believe in using only the freshest actual cat piss. It’s a wonder I don’t have suspicious chunks floating in all my beer given the cavalier attitude of my assistant. She couldn’t be reached for comment at the time of this post.

All in all, Husky Jack brew day went pretty well though. The wort tasted great, I got about 5 gallons at 1.072 (1.070 was aim), and generally I felt like I did all the necessary things to make legit beer. Oh, White Labs 002 flocs so well that I ended up accidentally dumping my stir bar into the bucket with the yeast. See you in a few weeks stir bar!

For anyone interested, the recipe for Firestone Walker Union Jack was given out on Brewing Network’s Can You Brew It. I followed that with a few minor changes. My Munich was Great Western organic (15-25L), I used organic crystal 15 in place of Caramalt, & I used Riwaka to replace Cascade & a Motueka/Wataku mix to replace Centennial. I also added an ounce of Galaxy at flameout and bittered with Southern Cross. Practically the same beer. 😛

That’s my Wild Dubbel. I bottled the tamer version a few days ago and named it Throw Up The Dub Dubbel. A reference to one of my favorite Westside Connection songs.

Wow! My furry co-brewer just knocked over my beer in reckless pursuit of a bug. I’d fire her if she weren’t union. Oh well. I suppose every homebrew blogger needs a little beer in his keyboard and mouse to be legit.

Anyway, I thought the wildness might have been starting to settle out but as you can see, that party is in full effect.

Oddly enough, 2 days in the bottle left The Agnostic Tripel tasting much better. I’m really excited about that beer now. The Nelson Pale, now called I Am Nelson, is nice too. There may be an S on my homebrewing chest before you know it.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll leave you with a fun fact I learned today: a refractometer doesn’t read gravity correctly on finished beer. When I acquired this handy tool I thought I was done with breaking glass hydrometers. It turns out that is not the case. It is quite handy before any alcohol gets involved though. In the beer I mean. 🙂

Proost y’all!