Saturday, 15 December 2012

AG #11 - Wailing Bike

With a number of important points learned from the last two brews (namely watch your carbonation, and late hopping is great), I sat down to plan out this years Winter was supposed to be Christmas, but I kind of got around to this a little late.

I decided to roll with what I had, a load of pale malt, a vial of White Labs WLP500 Trappist yeast, and a pile of New Zealand Motueka hops from the dark saison I had brewed a while back (which has now been fully road tested, and no one has died). I supplemented this list with a bit of crystal, liking the colouring it gave to the Bluebird clone I had brewed, some light Belgian Candy sugar, and a smidgen of torrified wheat for a bit of head retention. The recipe is here.

As you can see, if all goes to plan, this is a it of a mighty beer. One to very much sup and savour. The tropical notes of the hops should work well in a Belgian beer, according to their blurb, so here goes.

Brew day went without much of a hitch. I also decided to forego my recent ritual of boiling my water and instead opted for using Carbonate Reduction Solution (CRS) to get my alkalinity down. Whatever is in this stuff really works, according to my test kits. A few millilitres in 20 litres of water, and the alkalinity has dropped by an order of magnitude. I look forward to easier brew days from now on.

I forgot to make a yeast starter too. Don't usually bother with White Labs stuff, but this is such a strong beer that more beasties would have helped. I thought I had killed the blighters, and, eventually, took to putting the beer in the airing cupboard after 24 hours. After about 72 hours, I spotted the first hint of krausen, which developed through the day. Once this subsided, the whole beer became alive.....and I am now a bit worried.

I'm a tad concerned now that this is TOO active, the temperature too high. I know that fermenting high gives really fruity esters, especially with these yeasts, but too much can really kill the beer. Certainly, when I removed the lid, the smell was AMAZING....fruity hops and bananas from the yeast. It is now back in the kitchen, and it is still fizzing away. Hope this beer doesn't turn into solvent!

My other worry is the masses of crud that I have generated, presumably from cold break material. I hope this stuff settles out somehow, otherwise this will not drink well! In the relative cool of the kitchen, it now seems to have crashed a little, and I will take a week-on gravity reading soon. I can see some of this stuff settling out....if it doesn't compact well, I may only have 5 litres of this to drink.

Mind you, at that strength, this may be a bonus. Please send all small bottles direct to me.....don't reckon a pint of this will a good idea!

Oh, and a free bottle if you can guess from the above why this beer is so named...


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