Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

My Photo
Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Post-Brewing-Spree Update

This blog is, obviously, near moribund, but I guess it's worth a random note that I'm still alive. Summer brought with it a renewed sense of brewing purpose and I've been kicking some serious ass this past week. Over a five or six day period, the following has occurred:

Bottled a new Bavarian wheat beer (using the new dry wheat yeast); bottled a new Pilsner (Elitist Pilsner, with all Liberty hops); bottled Kyrie (a Dupont-style Saison and the first in a series of Belgian beers with names based on the movements of the mass in commemoration of my participation in a recent choral performance of Bruckner--lengthy enough explanation?).

Kegged "Denny's RyePA" with whole-flower Columbus (hard to get these days) in the keg; kegged an Oud Bruin with raspberries (needs a name).

Brewed the following, filling all but one remaining fermenter:

Belgian Witte (with oranges and spice, intended for summer consumption particularly during K and K's visit).

"Bad Angel" Black Saison, a second attempt at a very odd style (my first try a couple years ago ran afoul of an infection).

Spruce Imperial Porter, a bigger porter based on the basic Smuttynose porter recipe I've been tweaking for years, hammered with Spruce tips from the Buchanan/Wise estate.

1388 Hoppy Pale ale. Also a starter for a Duvel-type beer, this is a slender, dry, pretty hoppy Belgian that'll be dry-hopped in keg with the last of a very pungent lot of Herrsbrucker hops and maybe some Tettnang too. Vaguely inspired by the idea of a Poperings Hommel Bier or Arabier but at De Koninck strength.

3787 Trappist-style Singel. This recapitulates Sunset Singel, one of my best Belgians ever. Very simple, half-pilsner, half-pale grist. Nothing to it really, but should showcase a great yeast, some Mt. Hood hops and provide a yeast cake for a dubbel or tripel.

I just might fill the last fermenter with a Black IPA or a Brown IPA for draft as soon as my back recovers.

There should be another burst of activity in a month when I bottle/keg and use a couple of yeast cakes to make bigger Belgians. Sour pie cherries will also be available in mid-July, allowing for at least one Kriek on draft, maybe two if I bottle my old lambic and throw together a new one.

Two self-gratifying pats on the back: My friend and fellow brewer Randy announced that my recent Primary Pilsner is the best I've ever made. I agree. It's all Tettnang hops from Hops Direct. For the first time, I didn't decoct, proving for me that Pilsner doesn't remotely require that bit of arcana. Elitist Pilsner isn't decocted either; it just switched to a non-noble hop variety. The most popular beer of the last month or so wound up being Equinox Honey Pale, an interesting experiment. I brewed a beer that was a little smaller and more lightly hopped than an IPA, but more assertive than a pale ale, added a pound of local honey at shut-off, and favored fruity-floral, not piney, hops (no dry hops, but a half ounce each of Cascade, Amarillo, Liberty, and Santiam at shut-off). Turned out fantastic and should probably become a regular offering.