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.

Cooking up a 3 Floyds Gumballhead Clone

12/20/2013 EDIT: If you’d like to see some of my more recent Gumball-esque efforts try here and here too.

I don’t often shoot for exactly cloning a beer, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gumballhead and BeerAdvocate rates it a 96. Plus I’ve never tried it!

In this case, I may end up looking to bend it a little to fit into the BJCP 6D American Wheat category (3 Floyds supposedly uses a UK yeast strain) and “clean American ale yeast” is the first thing mentioned in the style guidelines.

It’s also possible that I may brew 2 versions: the clone (as best I can make it) & the version to try to win my bad self an award in 6D.

In the course of my Homebrewtalk searching for a reasonable clone I found most recipes to be over 50% wheat: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3. While perusing those, someone mentioned there was good recipe guidance in Brewing With Wheat by Stan Hieronymous, a book I happen to own. Here’s what I found:

The page you can only read some of states that the grain bill is 25% wheat with English ale yeast. My other Homebrewtalk surfing on 3 Floyds’ house yeast strain led me to Wyeast 1968 London ESB. Then I checked with Mr. Malty and found that the White Labs equivalent is WLP002 English ale and the commercial origin is Fuller’s.

The problem with this knowledge being that I may end up brewing an American wheat beer with gorgeous American Amarillo & Simcoe hops and then not quite manage to squeeze into category 6D because of my English yeast. Maybe I’d enter it in American Wheat AND Specialty Ale to see where it would fly. I’d love to try a Belgian version as well. Brett too, of course. You know me.

The other problem being that I cannot come ANYWHERE close to holding this beer at 32 degrees for 3 weeks. I’ll either have to phone a friend or roll the dice at room temp/swamp coolered. I imagine all that lagering makes it come out quite a bit cleaner and clearer than I’ll be able to pull off. I can probably clear it with fining agents. But at my room temps of 70-75, a clone it shall not entirely be.

Regardless, here’s what I’ve got going on BeerSmith so far:

My Aromatic malt percentage is based on keeping the SRM (color) within the style guidelines. Brewing With Wheat says the beer comes out lighter than their hef too, so the lighter the better.

12/11/13 EDIT: I’ve recently tried Gumball-esque beers with more like 3 or 4 oz of Aromatic. You can find those recipes and discussion here.

There may still be some tweaks here and there. There’s a good Jamil Show on No Recipe Cloning, but no tasting with only recipes cloning is a little different ballgame.

With all that said, I thought it might be interesting to show how I end up throwing together clones and recipes similar to commercial beers I enjoy.

Sleep tight world!