Sunday, July 13, 2014

Baby Step to a Great Sour - 3 Island Baby Tripel

BelgianPalooza is my yearly summer Belgain Series.  This year is especially special because it is the start of my sour brewing sessions, so, with that said, let's see where this summer takes us.  More respectfully and accurately, let's see where the beer takes us.

In my exploration of peoples' experiences, research and plain old opinions within the funky beer world, there is in fact one (and only one) uncontested point, your best chance of brewing a great sour is to start with a great base beer.  Additionally, I want to learn about the profile of the Belgian Sour Mix 1, so I have decided to adjust a nice Westmalle Clone recipe because the recipe could be considered very yeast'centric', whereas a IPA would be hop'cetric' and a Belgian Strong Dark would be malt'centric'.  

My adjustment in this brew is to bring the beer down on the ABV from the "required" 7% in the BJCP Style Guide.  This is done so when the recipe goes down the sour rabbit hole there is more room for the pedio and lacto to work than if it was a true Tripel.  

Conclusion: I'll brew the clone base beer first, just to get something on tap for the summer (priorities people!!!), and if I like the result, I'll tweak the recipe for souring (see below).  So let's get started.

Brew Plan:  Trappist 500 and Belgian Sour Mix 1
1. Westmalle"ish" clone, aka 3 Island Belgian Baby Tripel
2. If the brew turns out nicely then use the recipe and pitch Belgian Sour Mix
3. 3 Island's yeast is repitched to "The Prince David" - Belgian Dark Strong
4. The Prince David repitch to Belgian-Brett (perhaps named BB King) which will be a mixed culture of an earlier Brett Troix and Saison 568. - Looking at doing a staggered fermentation here.  Saison is initial pitch, under pitch.  Then BIG pitch of Brett at 48 hours. Hmmmmm:)
5. TBD

Goals for the base beer
A - Straw color, solid white head dissipating to the classic Belgian lace

S - fruity, spicy, peppery.  Thank you WLP 500!  Slight maltiness may be present, but not forward, low-moderate floral aroma from the Styrian (and from the sea roses:)

T - low fusels from a planned low fermentation temp (I like this as it makes the beer more approachable).  Restrained by the low pitch temp the esters from the yeast will still shine through this simple malt bill and dry finish.  

M - medium due to the relatively "higher" alcohol content (glycerol, which is produced in the fermentation process lends greatly to mouthfeel.  Bigger beer = more glycerol = more full-bodied beer)  Even though I plan to attenuate this beer down via a free rise fermentation profile (pitch low and end on the high end of optimum), the alcohol produced will make up for the lack in residual sugars.

O - highly approachable beer and simple. A smooth start with, medium mouthfeel and a dry finish makes the beer sessionable, and the fruity character of the yeast will be slightly forward but not overwhelming as it is restrained by the fermentation profile, balanced with the malt and complimented by the floral aroma of the light/late hopping.

E - Split batch.  A portion to be infused with local Sea Rose in bottles and corked.


OG - 1.057
FG - 1.011
ABV - 6.5%
IBU - 24
BUGU - .42 (to style is listed as .39)


Starter - WLP Trappist 500 -  1.5L, 1040, 48 hours
Belgian Pilsen - 12lb - 89%
Belgian Candi Sugar - Pale (homemade recipe) - 1.5lb - 11%

Mash 148

Boil - 90 min

Czech Saaz - 60 - .25oz
Czech Saaz - 30 - .75oz
Styrian Goldings - Flamout - 1oz

Fermentation Profile: pitch 65 and rise to 75 over 10 days (1 degree per day).  Crash for as long as you can before you must drink it:)  Keg and enjoy.

7/9/14: brewed with Danny H.  Pitched at 65.
7/12/14 - high krausen and 73
7/24 - 1012 - placed in fridge - turned dial to 8.
7/25 - 50 degrees - turned dial to horizontal - 
8/1 - came home from skytop to find her at 40 still!  Temp control on old fridge seems to be "on" or "defrost" - kegged via "CO2-push transfer" from carboy to keg, very clean.  Harvested yeast. Force carbed 20psi and shook 4 min.  Carb not settled in and a bit low for initial tasting.  Left on gas at 12psi.

Initial tasting: Very, very nice.  Hits all the points we were shooting for. Needs to remain on gas a week and condition properly.

8/12 -

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