Thursday, August 27, 2009

Strawberry Short Weisse

Oh, the exciting and ever unpredictable world of sour beers! Bugs - they’re not just for fly fishing anymore. We’re a bit late entering into this aspect of the brewing world, but I like to believe that our pace of experimentation is mindful and deliberate. Or we may just be a bit slow. That being said, we’re about to send out our first sour beer: Strawberry Short Weisse. This started as an attempt to brew a Berliner Weisse for the 2008 Extreme Beer Fest in Boston. The beer didn’t quite make it in time - in fact it’s a year and a half late. However its tardiness is no indication of its tastiness (or something like that).

The original thought was to brew 25 barrels of an 8° Plato wheat beer. Separate off a third of it for souring and ferment the rest with a traditional hefe strain. The soured portion was pitched with a mixture of Chico and Lactobacillus. We hoped to blend the two portions, but after a few months it became clear that the sour part wasn’t going to be sour enough to make the whole batch interesting. We ended up dumping the wheat beer portion and focused on the remaining third. Over the last year we added several additions of first runnings to give the lacto a bit more food to consume. Once we finally reached the sourness we liked we decided to add 300 pounds of frozen strawberries, mostly just for the hell of it. Luckily, when Peter saw all those strawberries he kind of just walked on by with naught but a raised eyebrow. The berries kicked off a bit more lactic activity and added flavor and a real delicate and beautiful aroma. The final beer has a nice clean sour character and is extremely drinkable at 3% ABV. Hopefully you get a chance to try this unusual and rare offering.



Specific Gravity: 8° Plato
IBU: 5
ABV: 3%

Grain Bill:
Pale Malt
Wheat Malt

Hop Bill:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dave’s Spring News

It’s early May and we’re just getting our heads clear from our annual jaunt to the Craft Brewers Conference. This year’s host was the fine city of Boston so there was plenty of Smuttynose flowing throughout town. Luckily the week went without incident and we managed to lose Judi just that one time. We return to blistering weather where we hit 95 degrees in April. Thankfully, we have this year’s Summer Weizen ready to go. The evolution of this beer continues with an addition of chamomile flowers into the end of the boil. We got the idea from our resident cask master, JT. He made a few firkins of Summer Weizen last year that he tea-bagged with chamomile, adding a beautiful and piquant twist on one of our favorite beers.

Our Short Batch Series will soon have another offering. We currently have a Belgian style Triple conditioning on about 25 lbs. of oak chips. The beer’s tasting great right now. The oak character is just starting to show, but there’s a huge fruit nose from the Chimay yeast we used. The grain bill utilized a good amount of Weyermann Pilsner malt as well as some Munich and Wheat malts. We dried it out with the addition of cane sugar, and the beer should finish around 10% ABV. We’re hoping to have it ready in about a month so you should be seeing it out and about this summer.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Schmutzig Hopfen Weisse, our newest Short Batch

Last fall I received an invite from Dave Brodrick to help celebrate the marriage to his beautiful wife, Iris. Dave (of Blind Tiger renown) asked me to brew a beer for the event. Happy to oblige, I tossed around the idea of several different styles but kept coming back to late-addition hoppy beers. I knew I wanted a session beer for the wedding and had recently been enjoying the Brooklyner Schneider Hopfen Weiss. I wasn’t looking for a beer quite that strong and so dialed back the starting gravity to be inline with a more traditional hefeweizen. The beer itself ended up with a bit too much banana character from the yeast as the ’Shire was hit with a massive ice storm the day after we brewed. We lost power for a day and a half (even that wasn’t too bad as some folk were out of power for weeks) which caused a warmer fermentation than desired. Instead of a nice mix of fruit and clove, it was definitely skewed toward the banana character, but the huge, floral notes of the hops actually balance quite nicely. Think Juicy Fruit. All in all, I think it’s an excellent beer.


Bittering: Magnum
Flavoring: Sterling
Dry Hop: Sterling & Centennial

IBU: 15
S.G. 15° Plato
T.G. 2.6°
ABV 5.8%