Friday, April 19, 2013

Beer recipes #233 & #235 - "Bourbon Barrel" Aged Barleywine and Godfredus Wing's Flemish Red

Fear not! Although last month's epic rant took a lot out of me, I'm still kicking, and still brewing. Today we have two recipes - one a variation on my holiday barleywine, Solstice Celebration, which variation I'm brewing as a reward for friends who came and picked up their holiday sampler 6-packs. (Yes, I'm saving some for myself!) The other is something new, a first attempt at brewing a sour beer, releasing the dread Brettanomyces into my brewery. Well, into one fermenter anywhere, where, Ninkasi willing, it will kindly and politely stay...

(In case you're wondering, #234 was another batch of #220 Vanilla Smoked Porter, brewed at Dr. P's request.)

Bourbon Barrel Solstice Celebration

I sympathize with Santa Claus - 300 bottles a beer is a lot to deliver to good little boys and girls (basically, everyone on my XPmas list), particularly when you don't own a car. So a couple of years back, I started asking people to come to my apartment to pick up their own holiday samplers. When the response was lackluster, I made a party out of it (serving beer, naturally). That still left me with lots of beer to hand-deliver, so this year, I added a bonus - a raffle for a free case of a beer of their choice, for everyone who picked up their beer before New Years. That managed to get about half the beer out the door. What the hell do you want, people?!?

Anyway, the winner asked simply for something BIG and STRONG, so I decided to brew a version of my holiday barleywine, but aged on bourbon-soaked oak chips like my Zwarte Piet Imperial Stout. The barleywine itself has changed over the years. The last few, I've actually used the recipe for Magnolia's Old Thunderpussy, which I cribbed stole was delighted to receive when I helped them brew it, as part of my reward for taking best-in-show at the first Oakland Eat Real Festival homebrew contest, with my saison.

10 lbs domestic 2-row
1.25 lb 120L crystal malt
1 lb wheat malt
0.25 lb English brown malt

Additional fermentables
3 lbs amber malt extract
2 pts caramel syrup (2 cups table sugar, caramelized, dissolved in 2 cups water)

3 oz Target @ 10.1% AA 60 min.
3 oz  Challenger @ 8.2% AA 20 min.
1 oz Challenger 5 min

Yeast: White Labs Dry English Ale Yeast WLP 007

Extra: At racking, dry hop with 2 oz Target; add 0.25 lb medium toast French oak chips soaked 1 week in bourbon. Age 8 weeks.

Godfredus Wing's Flemish Red

So, after much nagging cajoling hectoring haranguing encouragement from Dr. P, I finally decided to try my hand at a beer I never thought I might, namely a sour.

Sour beers, as we've discussed before, are made so usually by a long secondary fermentation with either the wild yeast Brettanomyces (as opposed to the Saccharomyces that's typically used to ferment beer, and is used here in the primary fermentation), and/or the bacteria Lactobacillus (benign, and also used in making yogurt, cheese, and pickles) or the related Pediococcus (also benign, and used in making sauerkraut). It's often introduced by aging the beer in used barrels, where the organisms permeate the wood and infect successive batches of beer. These organisms produce lactic and acetic acid as metabolic byproducts, which cause them to be sour. They also produce other byproducts that Saccharomyces doesn't, whose tastes can be variously described as "cidery," "earthy," "leathery," or "horsey;" or in more unpleasant cases, "metallic" or "plastic."

Because "Brett" and the other organisms as "wild," their behavior can be somewhat unpredictable. They also tend to take much longer to do their jobs, so sour beers need to age long months or years before being ready to drink. And, the organisms tend to be tough to kill, so one needs to take great care in sterilizing one's fermenting and bottling equipment (or getting a separate set of gear altogether) lest they infect everything you brew.

I decided to name my new beer after my recently-discovered ancestor, 12xgreat-grandfather Godfredus Wing (1526-1597) of Liège, now in Belgium (at that time a prince-bishopric within the Holy Roman Empire). And, I'm calling it a Flemish red, although technically:
  • I used the bruxellensis (Brussels) varietal of Brettanomyces, and Brussels isn't in Flanders; or at least, being the capital, it's the most mixed part of Belgium. It's sort of in the middle of the spectrum of souring organisms.
  • Liège is in Wallonia, AKA the French-speaking part of Belgium, not Flanders, the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. Don't be a smart-ass. Nobody likes a smart-ass (and I should know). It's my blog, and my beer!)Walloon beers tend to be of the non-sour Belgian varieties - brown, amber, pale, and golden ales, and of course the local pils varieties.
Anyway, Godfredus married an Englishwoman, Levina Grant, and apparently moved to England, likely Oxfordshire in the 1540s. His great-grandson Daniel Wing (1617-1697) would leave Kent for the New World, and Daniel's 5xgreat-granddaughter, Emma Louisa Wing, would marry my great-great grandfather, James Kern Polk Garner.

5 lbs pilsner malt
5 lbs Vienna malt
1 lb Munich malt
0.25 lb Belgian aromatic malt
0.25 lb caramunich malt
0.25 lb Special B malt
0.25 lb wheat malt

1 oz East Kent Goldings @ 5.3% AA 60 min.

Primary: White Labs English Ale Yeast WLP 002, 1 week
Secondary: White Labs Brettanomyces Bruxellensis WLP 650, as long as I can stand to wait (at least 6 months, preferrably 9-12); add 0.25 lb medium toast French oak chips, steamed 5 min.