Salt-N-Peppa Birthday Gose

snp-gose-01This post is about that birthday beer I referenced in my last entry.  I’ve been meaning to brew a gose (pronounced goes-uh) — a traditional tart German wheat beer with sea salt and coriander — with peppercorns (my own twist on the style) for about two years. August 2nd, my birthday, afforded me the opportunity to finally do so as my kegerator’s sour tap became available.

I wrote a basic gose recipe and made a one liter lactobacillus starter five days before brewday, keeping the starter at 114F the entire time with a sous-vide cooker submerged in a camping cooler.  Gregory and I have had great lactic acid production in the past while making starters or sour-worting at around this temperature, but I talked to a fellow homebrewer who thought the temp. sounded a little high (he recommended keep the lacto. between 85-100F).  I proceeded to pitch the lacto. into the post-boil wort and waited 34.5 hours to pitch my ale yeast.  I didn’t bother to take a PH reading, as our PH meter seems to be malfunctioning.

The beer turned out fine, albeit less sour than I would have liked (ideally, it would have attained the level of tartness of Cascade’s or Westbrook’s  goses).  The homebrewer I mentioned above thought that my temp. may have been high enough to kill the lacto., so I’ll try keeping the starter at a lower temp. next time — perhaps then I’ll reach the level of tartness I desire.

All in all it’s a fine beer, and the peppercorns proved a nice addition.  Below you can find my recipe, process, and tasting notes.

Salt-N-Peppa Gose

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.50
Anticipated OG: 1.043
Anticipated SRM: 3.0
Anticipated IBU: 5
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

Grain

47.06% — 4.00 Lbs. Wheat Malt
35.29% — 3.00 Lbs. Pilsner
11.76% — 1.00 Lbs. Acid Malt
05.88% — 0.50 Lbs. Rice Hulls

Hops

0.20 oz. Sterling (Pellet, 6.8% AA) @ 75 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
0.65 oz. Coriander Seed @ 10 min.
6.00 g. Pink Peppercorn @ 5 min.
0.75 oz. Sea Salt @ 10 min.

Yeast

White Labs WLP029 — German Ale/Kolsch Yeast
White Labs WLP672 — Lactobacillus Brevis

Water Profile

Seattle

Mash Schedule

Sacch. Rest – 60 min @ 150F
Acid Malt Addition — 45 min @ 150F
Mash out — 20 min @ 170F

Notes

07.28.16 — Made a 1 liter lacto. starter and kept @ 114F for 5 days

08.02.16 — Made 1 liter starter of German Ale/Kolsch yeast

Brewed on 08.02.16

08.02.16 — Chilled wort to 103F & pitched lacto. starter without aerating, put onto brewbelt

07.27.16 — Chilled to 80F and pitched yeast slurry

08.03.16/08.04.16 — After 34.5 hrs, decanted and pitched German Ale/Kolsch yeast, aerated & took off of brewbelt

08.04.16 — Vigorous fermentation 9.5 hours after pitch

08.12.16 — Kegged entire batch and began carbonating

snp-gose-02Tasting Notes — 09.07.16 (poured off tap)

Pale straw color with a moderate white head which dissipates quickly and laces thin.  Light bready malt aromas with mineral undertones and apparent fruity-floral peppercorn notes as the beer warms.  Sweet stone ground cracker-like notes on the palate accompanied by the floral-nutty flavors of the coriander.  Sea salt salinity emerges mid-palate to balance the malts with a mineral crispness and a savory zing.  Finishes semisweet with notes of cereal grains and a balancing flourish of peppercorn spice.

Calculated OG: 1.045
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 4.6%

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Harvesting Wild Yeast

Wild Yeast 01 & 02

About two months ago I began experimenting with harvesting wild yeast from different areas in my house.  Since most of my beers are fermented in the basement where our Westland Distillery whiskey barrel resides (and because we inoculated it with commercial wild yeasts and bottle dregs after our clean stout was finished) I decided to try to catch some yeast from the basement.  The process is rather simple, though unpredictable, and so far I’ve been successful with two separate batches — successful meaning I’ve definitely caught some bugs and there doesn’t appear to be any mold or off flavors present at this point.

Wild Yeast 01After Gregory and I finished sparging for the chanterelle mushroom beer, we had about 64oz of wort left over.  Instead of just dumping the wort, I let it cool to room temperature and put it into a stock pot which I covered with a grain bag and left in my basement over night.  The next morning I funneled the wort into a gallon growler, added an airlock, and waited to see what happened.  In about a week’s time, I noticed that a Brettanomyces pellicle had begun to form.  I waited another week then made up a starter wort and fed the bugs I caught, taking the opportunity to smell the yeast: mango- and pineapple-like tropical fruit notes with some light barnyard funk is what emerged.  I have been monitoring and feeding the batch roughly every two weeks ever since, cold crashing and decanting when necessary, and Gregory and I plan to use it in our turbid mash lambic-style ale which we plan to barrel ferment.  It has been exciting to witness the different phases the yeast has gone through since it’s initial capture: a few weeks after the first feeding, it was offering more standard Belgian yeast notes; now it has become fairly complex with hints of fruit, a more profound funkiness, and light Belgian-like phenolics.

Wild Yeast 02 UpstairsThe second batch is from upstairs in my kitchen.  After we finished sparging for our Baltic porter, we had about 32oz of wort left (prior to the addition of the cold steeped specialty malts which were added at the end of our boil) and I followed the same process as above, keeping it on top of a cabinet for the night.  Once again I definitely caught some bugs, and it is my hope that this batch will be more representative of the wild yeast down here on Alki beach since I do not ferment any beers in my kitchen.  So far this yeast seems milder in intensity with a light fruitiness reminiscent of stone fruit and a very faint funk in the background.  It will be interesting to see how both of these catches mature and change over time.

The Cherry Ghost – Cherry & Kumquat Berliner Weisse

CKB 04“A sour wort Berliner weisse aged 8 weeks on cherries and kumquats with a ghost of an ABV.”

Berliner weisse is a classic tart German wheat ale that is traditionally fermented with a mixed culture of top-fermenting yeasts and lactobacillus.  Examples of the style can range from mildly tart to bracingly sour with firm acidity and notes of lemon and other citrus fruits.  In Berlin it is available “straight” but is often served with sweet raspberry or woodruff syrups to blunt the acidity and sourness.  At only about 3-4% alcohol by volume this beverage proves to be an excellent thirst quencher and has become quite popular during the summer months in the U.S.A.

There are different methods of souring a berliner weisse, each with its own involved process and merits.  Briefly, you can pitch pure strain lactobacillus, or lacto with an additional yeast culture; or you can do a sour mash with pitched yeast, or a sour mash with pitched yeast and additional lacto.  If you’d like to read more in depth about these methods, Derek Dellinger has done a great job of explaining them on his Homebrew and Beer Blog, Bear Flavored.  Additionally, you can conduct a normal mash and pull some or all of the wort, pitch your lacto starter at this point and perform a sour wort.

The base for this berliner weisse is extremely minimal.  Gregory and I decided to do a four day sour wort with a lactobacillus starter made from yogurt followed by a 15 minute boil after which we pitched Wyeast 1007 German Ale along with Wyeast 5112 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis.

CKB 03

As the tag line that begins this post suggests, not everything went as planned for this brew.  Although some might consider 3-4% a ghost of an ABV already, the base beer only ended up being about 1%!  How did this happen, you ask?  Well I have a few theories though I’d love to hear others if you’ve got them.  First of all, while hot holding the sour wort at around 100F for the four days, it began to ferment creating some alcohol that would later be boiled off (since we only boiled for 15 minutes to kill the lacto/other bacteria I’m unsure if this had much of an affect on the finished product).  Additionally, I forego a starter for the German Ale yeast (this was brewed at a time before I always made a starter) and assume that the PH was too low, disrupting the ale yeast’s fermentation.

Regardless of the reasons for the lower than usual ABV, the beer went through a 16 day primary fermentation followed by a 56 day secondary on cherries and kumquats.  In addition to the final refreshing brew tasting fantastic, the “sessional” aspect of this already session style beer allowed it to be entered into Xbrew — the Mount Si Brewing Society’s annual homebrew competition that accepts session and imperial versions of each traditional BJCP style.  I am honored that this little beer took the silver medal in the fruit beer category.  I plan to brew this recipe again although I haven’t determined which souring method I’ll experiment with.  The recipe is as follows:

Cherry Ghost Berliner Weisse

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.2
Anticipated OG: 1.047
Anticipated SRM: 2.0
Anticipated IBU: 6.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 15 Minutes

Grain

43% – 3.6 Lbs. Belgian 2-Row Pilsner
43% – 3.6 Lbs. White Wheat
12% – 1.0 Lbs. Acidulated Malt

Hops

0.50 oz. US Cascade (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 15 min.
1.00 0z. Columbus (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 3 day dry hop.
0.40 oz. Galaxy (Pellet, 14.2% AA) @ 3 day dry hop.
0.25 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 9.3% AA) @ 3 day dry hop.

Extras

1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
9.00 Lbs. Pie cherries
2.00 Lbs. Kumquats
0.50 Lbs. Rainier Cherries
0.50 Lbs. Red Cherries

Yeast

Wyeast 5112 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis
Wyeast 1007 German Ale

Water Profile

Seattle
1.00 tsp Calcium Chloride
1.00 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 60 min @ 150F

Notes

04.05.14 – Made a lactobacillus starter from yogurt (but didn’t give it enough time to culture up)

Mash & sour wort 04.07.14 with Gregory

04.07.14 – Hot held wort @ 100F for 4 days

04.09.14 – Temp drop to 80F, pulled some wort, brought it to boil and added back into water cooler mash tun to raise wort back to 100F

04.10.14 – Noticed signs of lacto fermentation

04.11.14 –  Brought wort to boil for 15 minutes to kill lacto/other bacteria

04.11.14 – Chilled wort to 65F before pitching German Ale yeast and Brett.

04.27.14 – Pasteurized 9.0 Lbs. frozen pie cherries by adding them to water and raising to 165F, used StarSan on 2.0 Lbs. kumquats

04.27.14 – Transferred beer to secondary and added the fruits

06.09.14 – Added 0.5 Lbs. Rainier cherries & 0.5 Lbs. red cherries

06.20.14 – Transferred beer into bottling bucket and dry hopped for 3 days

06.23.14 – Bottled Berliner weisse with 6.2 oz. corn sugar @ 3.45 volumes of CO2

Tasting Notes

Great summer quencher — light and crisp with a slight mineral note announcing itself after the tart finish.  The fruit is spot on; big sour cherry flavors and some citrus from the kumquats.  It actually seems that the kumquats have become more apparent over time.  I’m excited to make this one again.

Calculated OG: 1.014
Calculated FG: 1.006
Approx. ABV: 1.05%