Showing posts with label hanssens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hanssens. Show all posts

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Flanders Red with Blackman F4 Yeast


Barrett Tillman is an award winning US homebrewer who took the unusual steps of finding someone to dry his yeast, lacto and pedio mixes and then release them commercially as dried sour mixes. I ordered the full gamut towards the end of last summer and have been slowly getting around to them. Barrett is a nice guy, I've had a few exchanges with him via email and he even went so far as to include a hand-written personal note with my order. From reading on-line, this is not unusual. Great to see someone who knows customer service out of the box.

The first brew I did was with A4, the American Sour Mix, and I wasn't happy with the results. I didn't blog about it as basically the screw up was my fault. I left the beer to develop in my shed which was too cold for the lacto (probably no more than mid teens centigrade at the best of times), so the sourness never developed. In an effort to kick start it I raised the temperature to around 28°C at which point I was too late, and the yeast just gave off peppery phenolics which some people liked but I didn't care for... and the end result was a million miles from where it was supposed to be.

Early last November Roger (second best sour brewer in Ireland ;)) contacted me to see if I'd be
interested in contributing a Flanders Red style beer to the ex Bushmills barrel in his shed. I hesitated as that barrel used to be in my shed and the Imperial Stout that was in it achieved a whopping 93% attenuation on Nottingham Ale Yeast, clearly not right. Additionally Roger's shed is like mine, unheated. But in the end I said feck it, Roger's a good brewing mate whom I've known for a long time... I'll double batch and it'll give me the chance to try the Blackman F4 Flanders Sour Mix.

40 litre batch, brewed November 30th 2015.

Amount Item Type % or IBU
8.26 kg Pilsner (2 Row) UK (2.0 EBC) Grain 62.29 %
2.40 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 18.10 %
0.50 kg Aromatic Malt (51.2 EBC) Grain 3.77 %
0.50 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (118.2 EBC) Grain 3.77 %
0.50 kg Special B Malt (354.6 EBC) Grain 3.77 %
0.50 kg Wheat, Whole (3.3 EBC) Grain 3.77 %
0.40 kg Acid Malt (5.9 EBC) Grain 3.02 %
0.20 kg Amber Malt (43.3 EBC) Grain 1.51 %

A handful of shitty hops in the mash. Roger's original recipe called for EKG which I didn't have, but I have plenty of stale hops for this kind of brew.

Est Original Gravity: 1.074 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.074 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.019 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.021 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.16 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 7.06 %
Bitterness: 0.0 IBU Calories: 90 cal/l
Est Color: 33.9 EBC

The mash was fairly thick but I hit all targets, and after a one hour boil I hot-filled two 25 litre jerry cans and left them to cool overnight. Next day the one for Roger got a dose of Mauribrew 514 Ale Yeast and mine got the F4.

This time I decided that the fermenting beer would stay indoors, close to a radiator (just in case!), and I'd be in no rush to move it out. Within a day there was a good krausen on the F4, but that didn't really concern me as the A4 did something similar. It was the lacto and pedio that I was concerned about.

18 January 2016 tasting

Fast forward almost two months and it's time to taste. The results this time are far better than the A4 and the extra warmth of the kitchen seems to have helped. There is a pronounced lactic acidity, no perceivable acetic acid, and the pH of 3.5 confirms that it is moderately tart. The gravity has dropped to 1.021, but with the bacteria in there it's not necessarily 7.06% abv as some of the sugars are now lactic acid, not alcohol, but it's not far off. It's also kind of murky, I'm not sure if it's from me hoofing it around or from the no-chill, it doesn't really matter either way as it's not for drinking yet. Also, and a first for me in any beer, is a huge bang of autolysis, i.e. a strong Bovril flavour.

As there are no Brettanomyces strains at all in this Barrett recommends adding some for added complexity, by way of bottle dregs. I would agree: there is no funk or hint of funk in this beer, and nor will any develop. I think in this case I would go even further and say that brett is not optional as that autolysis needs to be cleaned up, and brett is known for feeding on dead yeast cells.

I always keep a stock of dregs, but unfortunately none are from the Roeselare, but when racking this off the yeast cake I did have a good stock of Hanssens Artisanaal dregs from their Oude Geuze, which is particularly plentiful where I live at the moment, and quite reasonable too at €4.20 a 375ml bottle to take away.

Hopefully time will improve the wobbly start that F4 got off to. These kind of beers are best not rushed anyway, so the racked beer has been put into storage to be revisited in 2017.

10 February Sneaky Peak

Well I'm glad to say the Hanssens dregs were obviously alive and kicking as a nice pellicle has formed :)

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Golden Pint Awards 2015

Better late than never, my take on these popular awards.
  • Best Irish Keg Beer: Tough one as it's such a moving target. Some stalwarts have dropped in quality, and at the same time there are some great new entries... but you can always rely on Porterhouse Hop Head. Honourable mentions go to Carrig for Poachers Pale Ale, and Metalman for their once game-changing Pale Ale, which is still a great beer all these years later.
  • Best Irish Bottled Beer: That basically throws the whole floor open. I quite enjoyed Black's Black IPA, one of the best black IPAs anywhere, as I did The White Hag's excellent Black Boar imperial stout, and their Beann Gulban (Ben Bulben) sour heather ale. Pokertree's Dark Nirvana is also excellent, and a little different, but I'm giving this one to a new-comer: Kevin Dundon and his King's Bay Irish Pale Ale.
  • Best Irish Canned Beer: Not a lot to chose from but the concensus seems to be Black's KPA. I'd go along with that. 
  • Best Overseas Draught Beer: We're fortunate in that some of the best new breweries in Britain are getting an outing in Ireland, among them is Siren. While not widely available, it can usually be found in the better bars and it goes to their red IPA, Liquid Mistress.
  • Best Overseas Bottled Beer: Boon Mariage Parfait. All day long. Close seconds are similarly sour beers from Belgium that are easily gotten in Ireland: Liefmans Cuvee Brut (formerly Kriek), Liefmans Goudenband, Gueuze/Oude Geuze by Hanssens Artisanaal, Tilquin and Cantillon. Oh, and Siren Calypso.
  • Best Overseas Canned Beer: We've had an increasing number of imported canned beers, and Beavertown produced Quelle Saison, I think the only Saison that I've truly enjoyed enough to buy again.
  • Best Collaboration Brew: I'm not sure if it's a beer collaboration brew as such, but my buddy in beer Alain Dekoster of RadikAle did Curious Brew with gin botanicals from Blackwater Distillery. Alain is Belgium's premier Irish resident brewer, so it's not altogether unsurprising that he's making great beer.
  • Best Overall Beer: The White Hag's imperial stout, Black Boar. Kinnegar's Geuzberry comes second.
  • Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label: Brú probably have the clearest and most instantly recognisable branding, but I think Galway Bay go one better with more interesting names, the non-core beers especially.
  • Best Irish Brewery: For sheer business acumen, dogged determination in the face of criticism and meteoric rise this has to be Rye River, one of the biggest players in the Irish micro scene. In beer terms this goes to those who will take the biggest risks to brew great beer: Boundary and Simon Lambert & Sons.
  • Best Overseas Brewery: It's been a great year for the Brits and I've really enjoyed brews from Wild Beer Company, Buxton, BBN, and Siren this year, but ultimately it goes back to Belgium and Boon takes it as I got to visit it this year and spend two wonderful days at a beer festival there as part of Toer de Geuze.
  • Best New Brewery Opening 2015: Going to give this to the small guys, again for showing their willingness to take chances. Boundary, Simon Lambert & Sons, The Old Schoolhouse, and if contract brewers are allowed, RadikAle and James Brown Brews.
  • Pub/Bar of the Year: Brewbot Brewbot Brewbot. Brewbot of Belfast. Head and shoulders above the rest. The best selection of beer under one roof in Ireland. Great staff, great food, and all beers available for offsales at a 20% discount. Honourable mentions to the Porterhouse (Parliament St), 57 The Headline and the Beer Market.
  • Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2015:  Brewbot. Honourable mention to the Beer Market.
  • Beer Festival of the Year: Would you prefer to see your favourite band in Vicar Street or in the 3Arena? Exactly. Out this year were the mega festivals and in were the smaller boutique festivals where the vibe is more important than piling them high. Kilkenny Craft Beer Festival, as run by beer buddy and owner of Costello's Brewing Company, Gerald Costello, pips it. Fantastically organised and run by Ger and his family this was a lovely way to spend a few hours. There is nothing negative I could say about this festival. Close seconds were those run by Simon Broderick and Wayne & Janice Dunne. Overseas festival it would be Tilquin English Beer Festival, so good that it's to be repeated this year... where else could you drink Calypso and Oude Gueuze Tilquin à L'Ancienne under one roof?
  • Supermarket of the Year: I'm somewhat reluctantly giving this to SuperValu, for beer selection alone as I find SuperValu to be one of the most expensive supermarkets in Ireland for everything, including beer. A reluctant recommendation.
  • Independent Retailer of the Year: Bier Tempel. In Ireland, Drinkstore, with honourable mentions going to Worldwide Wines in Waterford, and Belfast's Vineyard and Lighthouse Wines.
  • Online Retailer of the Year: Belgium in a Box.
  • Best Beer Book or Magazine: Unusual Railway Pubs, Refreshment Rooms and Ale Trains. Considering every major railway station in Ireland had a "refreshment room" and now only three have (Connolly, Heuston and Belfast Central), this is a reminder of what we could still have.
  • Best Beer Blog or Website: Without doubt Milk The Funk, which has lifted the lid on sour beers and increased our understanding of them more in one year than any other website or publication. Though the real value is in the 5,000 strong Facebook group.
  • Best Beer App: I'm still using BeerSmith 1.4 almost daily, so I guess that must be it. Honourable mention goes to the mobile app BeoirFinder although it is decreasing in usefulness more and more now that craft beer has become so prevalent.
  • Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer: Not big enough of a Twitterer to recommend anyone.
  • Best Brewery Website/Social media: Eight Degrees, simply as they are the only brewery selling beer from their website (I'm aware that Galway Bay are also selling via their website, but from what I can work out this is technically off-sales from one of their bars, and not the brewery itself selling direct).