Right now it is blowing its guts out outside, we had some rain last night, about 30ml, and this seems to be some kind of storm following through. It felt almost tropical last night, warm but raining, and frogs everywhere. I escorted six of the little buggers out of the back porch last night. I’m not a frog guru but I believe that we have some pretty rare ones around home, namely the growling grass frog. Anyway frogs are supposed to be an indicator of the world being healthy so I guess having them around is a good thing. They are living on the edge hanging around near the back door of my parents place though; getting stepped on is apparently bad for frogs. To hear what these frog sound like, a noise I grew up with and never really knew what it was click here. The sound pretty cool.
In addition to the frogs the rains that are major pain in the arse for so many right now are doing good things. Most easy to spot is the lakes near my folks place starting to fill up – the likes of Lake Corangamite, Gnarpurt and Roseanna have all been empty for about 10 years. Not so any more. The smaller lakes are more or less full and the bigger ones, like Corangamite are getting close. The trees are also growing. In the last six months I think most of the trees have put on about a foot in height and gotten greener.
For farming though generally the rain has been a pain in the arse, at least short term, causing a large downgrading of the wheat and barley crops, and giving general headaches for livestock (feet and flies). The wheat I’ll be using in the Witt today will be of questionable quality but that’s just part of the fun of farmhouse brewing. I doubt the old school Belgium brewers ever had the wheat tested or didn’t use it if it the season was a little off.
Anyway the brew day is going well apart from the wind that’s going to make getting a boil going slow work.
Time to go find some wheat.
It’s now just a bit after 1pm and saying the brew day was going well was a bad idea. Firstly I had the drill running backwards. This runs the rollers that mill the grain to make the beer. I could not work out why it wasn’t working. I kept tightening the gap on the mill yet no difference. Had me stuffed until I looked at the rollers. Problem solved, wheat milled. Now to the wind. It if funnelling through the shed making a boil near impossible. After waiting over an hour and a half to get the boil going I moved the kettle and burner setup inside and it now looks like the boil will get going. Eventually. The day will be a long one, but I will get there.
As for the saison to be bottled after a taste I’m less than inspired to bottle it. There is the usual saison twang or funk, but also a hint of lacto. Not really sure where it will end up. It was a kind of screwed up batch anyway, big on the abbey malt and not at all the recipe I was after so I guess it being a little lactic is just going with the trend.
The boil appears to be getting closer to a reality rather than an ideal. The difference shutting a door makes. Time to start the Witt mash shortly.
Witt mash on, 30 minute hops added to the pale at 20 minutes (shortening the boil time by 10 minutes here to balance out the time the first wort hops had in the beer – oh that may be interesting how that goes??) bottles sanitised for the lacto-abbey-saison. Sanity returning as the brew day comes together. It’s still windy as buggery.
The Witt went by with more or less no issues; I didn’t bring enough coriander, but pinched some camomile tea from Mums weird tea stash to add some more spicy twang to the beer.
I also bottled the abbey saison, I tasted it again and with no real hint of lacto. Must have been a bit of sour stuff living in or around the tap. The beer will certainly have a saison twang, but not like a malt vinegar.
The recipes – both based on 70% efficency and a 22l to the fermenter
This beer is based on the Brewing Network CYBI Firestone Walker Pale 31 recipe, with Goldings instead of Fuggles, and the boil shortened to 60 minutes.
4.00 kg Marris Otter Pale (5.9 EBC) Grain 80.81 %
0.60 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 12.12 %
0.25 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC) Grain 5.05 %
0.10 kg Wheat malt (5.9 EBC) Grain 2.02 %
23.00 gm Cascade [5.00 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops –
8.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [4.80 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 5.7 IBU
23.00 gm Centennial [9.70 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops –
8.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (30 min) Hops 6.3 IBU
23.00 gm Cascade [5.00 %] (1 min) Hops 2.6 IBU
23.00 gm Centennial [9.70 %] (1 min) Hops 5.1 IBU
4.11 gm Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale
Amount Item Type % or IBU
0.45 kg Light Dry Extract (15.8 EBC) Dry Extract 7.96 %
3.00 kg Pale Malt (2 Row) US (3.9 EBC) Grain 53.10 %
1.90 kg Wheat Raw Grain 33.63 %
0.30 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 5.31 %
11.00 gm Magnum [14.00 %] (60 min) Hops 20.0 IBU
1 Pkgs Belgian Witbier (Wyeast Labs #3944) Yeast-Wheat
Also 45g of fresh orange zest, 4g of coriander seeds crushed, a pinch of camomile tea, all added in the last 5 minutes of the boil.
I’m tired now. Having a beer. James Bond is shooting someone on the telly and it’s a bit too hot. Oh and here are some pics of my brewing setup, a collection of bits that are in no way connected.
|my getto brew rig, a plastic fantastic in the woolshed smoko room|
|The boil bit of the brew rig, again very flash, wort transfer from the mash to the boil kettle occurs by bucket and foot|