First we have our growing season, then we have our brewing season. Our brew sessions are from October to the first of the year. Every 3 weeks we are brewing and bottling. Typically two ten gallon batches per session. Seems every batch is an experiment and we are discovering all along the way.
We divide our batches into two five gallon fermenters. We then treat them to different yeasts and different “dry herbing”. This has really helped us to understand the power herbs have over beer.
We brewed our award winning Gruit again this season. It was awarded 1st Place in the spice/herb/vegetable category and placed 3rd Best of Show in the 2016 Indiana Brewer’s Cup.
- 26 ½ lbs pale malt
- 1 ½ lbs rye
- 1 lbs crystal 40
- ½ Alecost
- 3 oz Yarrow
- 2 oz Lemon Balm
- 2 oz Sweet Marjoram
We add all ingredients at the beginning of the boil and used WLP500 Monastery yeast in both fermenters. We did not dry herb this beer.
We have an OG: of 1.068 and an FG: of 1.008 giving us an ABV of 7.61%.
Ian’s Tasting thoughts
When I smell this Gruit I immediately pick up on nice citrousy lemon notes from the Lemon Balm and Sweet Marjoram which blend into the Monastery ale yeasts signature Belgian scent. You can also pick up the floral aroma of the Yarrow as well. The flavor of this beer is light, crisp, and complex. I can best describe this beer as being in layers. The base layer is what the yeast has contributed which is a smooth Belgian taste. This Monastery ale yeast was chosen specifically for its great flavor and for its long brewing tradition. The next layer is citrus and lemon which blends nicely with the Belgian character of the base layer. These citrus flavors are from the Sweet Marjoram and Lemon Balm. The citrus will linger on your pallet and intensify even as you pick up on the light bitterness of the Alecost. The final layer is the smooth and floral flavor of the Yarrow. The yarrow really ties the Belgian flavor together with the bright crisp citrus which creates a beer that is full of flavor, easy to drink, and complex.
We’re going to review one of our early beers in the 2016 brew season. A Porter.
- 25 lbs two row pale malt
- 1 ¼ lbs crystal 60
- 2 ¼ lbs chocolate malt
Hops and herb bill:
- 3 oz Chinooks
- 1/3 oz Wormwood
- 1/3 oz Wood Betony
- 1/3 oz Horehound
- ½ oz Chocolate Mint
- ½ oz Yarrow
We add all ingredients at the beginning of the boil, then separated into two five gallon fermenters. One we used WLP 001 CA ale yeast the other we used WLP 530 Abbey ale yeast. We did not feel the need to dry herb either.
We had an OG: 1.065. and an FG: of 1.012 for the WLP001 with an ABV of 6.96%. The WLP 530 gave us a FG: of 1.010 with an ABV of 7.22%.
Ian's tasting thoughts
Abbey Ale yeast version:
This is a complex beer in both taste and aroma. The aroma is that of light roast mixed with mint and classic abbey ale yeasts Belgian aroma. The first thing you taste is a bright herbal bitterness which is followed by a nice chocolate and roast character. On the back end is a lasting herbal and light mint flavor. Throughout the sip you can taste the abbey ale yeasts Belgian influence on the beer. This is a beer that balances the classic porter flavors of roast coffee and chocolate with a minty herbal flavor. The complexity of the herbs, yeast, and style create an enjoyable beer.
California Ale yeast version:
The aroma of this beer is that of a classic porter with rich roast, light chocolate and minty herbal undertones. The flavor of this beer is rich, smooth, and balanced. There are wonderful coffee and chocolate flavors as you first sip this beer. It makes a nice first impression but where this beer really shines is when the smooth herbal and mint flavors make their appearance on the back half of the taste. The subtle complexity of the herbal mint complements this dark and rich beer which creates a special tasting experience.