Franco-American Strong Ale

Some of you, quite rightly, are scratching you head and wondering, “did the BJCP codify a new style I’m unaware of?”  No, but I did.  As my second on-premises homebrew recipe, I am collaborating with my bother-in-law.  He’s French by birth, but I won’t hold that against him.  Our idea is something that is both French and American, something that reflects our heritages, and our common love for bold, complex, Belgian-y beer.  With a last name like Shoemaker, you may quickly deduce that I’m from German stock, and you’d be right.  Look below and you’ll find an ingredient that’s German- Avangard Pilsner malt.  American Magnum hops, used for bitterness, are German in origin.  The spices used are quite common in French cooking, and to tie it all together, a Belgian style yeast to handle the anticipated higher gravity and to dry out the beer.

This trans-Atlantic brew does not have a name yet, but something will come to us.  Have an idea for the name?  Leave it as a comment.   An added bonus, Benjamin (my b.i.l.) is an accomplished artist.  I’ve charged him with the responsibility of doing the label art.  Our brew date is this Saturday, 3/25/17 at 4 p.m.

Upon completion you can bet I’ll be reviewing the beer.  Will it come out like I’ve imagined it, or will it result in something entirely different?  We’ll see.

Recipe: RED SUPER SAISON F-A.S.A.
Brewer: JOHN SHOEMAKER
Asst Brewer:  BENJAMIN PERRAMANT 
Style: Saison
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0) 

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 6.25 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.00 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 21.6 Plato
Estimated Color: 15.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 30.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 80.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt            Name                                     Type    #     %/IBU         
13.00 lb       Pilsner Malt (Avangard) (1.7 SRM)        Grain   1     83.9 %        
1.00 lb        Crystal Malt - 60L (Thomas Fawcett)      Grain   2     6.5 %         
0.75 lb        Rye, Flaked (Briess) (4.6 SRM)           Grain   3     4.8 %         
0.50 lb        Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)   Grain   4     3.2 %         
0.25 lb        Wheat - Soft Red, Flaked (Briess)        Grain   5     1.6 %         
0.75 oz        Magnum [13.30 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop     6     30.8 IBUs     
1.00 oz        Pepper Corns (Boil 7.0 mins)             Spice   7     -             
0.75 oz        Nutmeg (Boil 7.0 mins)                   Spice   8     -             
1.0 pkg        Belle Saison (Lallemand/Danstar #-)      Yeast   9     -             


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 15.50 lb
----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temp.  Step Time     
Mash In           Add 19.64 qt of water at 169.9 F        154.0 F       75 min        

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 3.20gal) of 168.0 F water
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Cloudy with a Chance of Dry-Hopping: Omnipollo’s Fatamorgana

On the docket:  22 oz. bottle of Omnipollo’s Fatamorgana

poured into:  Innis & Gunn stemmed craft glass

S:  Hazy, lemon-gold body with a frothy white head.  Great retention, and thin, consistent rings of lacing.  It recedes to a gentle wash of suds on top, and though translucent and not transparent, carbonation activity is easily observed.  Also, there is a thin layer of yeast in the base of the bottle, so pour carefully.

A:  At first impression, one gets a  bright lemon citrus and pine front.  Added to this is just the slightest twinge of funk, barely there, hiding in the background.  Could it be the yeast or the wheat?  The malt aroma is very muted, but clean and water-cracker like.

T:  Up front, it’s a big dose of lemon and grapefruit bitterness.  A sweet malt note shows up briefly mid-palate, but the finish gives way to a roar of more hops.  Dry, bitter, clean, brisk… and a touch floral on the end.  This is a Double IPA through and through, with flavor squarely in the hop department.

F:  Medium-light, with fine carbonation and a rather long finish of pine and citrus.  A tad fluffy and creamy.

O:  Interesting take on the Double IPA style, with the addition of wheat and oats.  Easy to drink, dangerous at 8%, no perceived alcohol from either aroma or taste.

Suggested food pairing:  used as base in vinaigrette dressing over arugula and walnut salad, steamed lobster and shellfish, lemon tart, and mild, creamy cheese

Keep Your Eye on This One: Off Color’s Troublesome

Aroma:  Bright lemon citrus, notes coriander, briny sea salt, and a twang of sourness.  What’s not troublesome is the lack of hop presence in the nose.  The lactobacillus and tart wheat profile do the heavy lifting of this delicate beer.

Sight:  Hazy lemonade-like gold body.  The stark white head builds than wilts quickly.  Like most gose, the head on this one is evanescent (not to be confused with effervescent, more on that later).  All that’s left on of the head is a thin ring around the outside of the glass, and a small atoll of bubbles in the middle.  The hazy makes determining bubble activity nigh impossible.

Taste:  Tart lacto-lemon twang, salt, coriander and the fluffy wheat all play a part in making this beer taste greater than the sum of its parts.  The coriander comes through in the middle, but the salt and acidity finishes out each sip, scrubbing your palate and prepping you for the next sip.  The wheat does provide a subtle doughy, bready flavor, providing a contrast to the sweet and sour assault.

Feel:  Light and spritzy with a fine, champagne like effervescence.  The finish cuts off abruptly after each sip, just a trace of tangy lemon and wheat remain.

Overall:  Sessionable, refreshing, and a beginner’s gose.  With a 4.3% abv, this will certainly keep you OUT of mischief and screams summer barbecues and drinks by the pool.

S:  3.5  A:  3.75  T:  4.0  F:  4  O:  3.75

Food pairing suggestion:  Tossed salad with lemon or raspberry vinaigrette dressing, lightly seasoned chicken or oily/fatty fish, fruit tart, rich Triple-cream cheese