Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Saccharolicious, the company!

Dear blog readers! It's been quiet on the blog for a whist, hasn't it? The reasen is that I started a yeast company, which has taken a lot of my spare time. Do you want to continue follow my adventures in the land of yeast? Please like saccharolicious on facebook, follow @saccharolicious on twitter, or have a look at the website (www.saccharolicious.com), where I'll continue blogging about yeast and what strains will be released when. See you there, and thank you for reading my blog! Maarten

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Long time no see...

It's been quite for a while on my blog, I know. The reason? I haven't had the time to experiment as much as I wanted, mainly for family reasons. The last 2 months I haven't brewed anything either. That is at home. At work I have been brewing a lot, since I now work professionally as a brewer. So you'll understand that the urge for homebrewing has somewhat declined. BUT... it's itching, and a lot of brews are in the planning stage. How about a lager with White Labs Belgian Lager yeast? Or a black witbier? Or the all-brett beer I have been wanting to brew for half a year (can't do that at work)... So much to do, so little time. Hopefully a new post will come soon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My next brew: A 2-in-1 blonde

With a family, one often has to improvise when it comes to brewing. I just found out that I'll be home alone next weekend, so I'll have to squeeze in a brew. I also have some yeast to propagate for two big beers I have in the pipeline. Nothing too strong, nothing too complicated: I'll brew a Belgian blonde ale. Or two to be more precise, as I'll split the batch.

Here's the recipe I came up with:

James Blonde (50 l)
OG 1054
IBU 24

9 kg Pilsner malt
3 kg Wheat malt
1 kg Munich Malt

250 g Belgian Saaz, 2% AA, 90 min

40 min @ 63°C
20 min @ 72°C
5 min @ 78°C

Yeast: WLP 530 Abbey Ale

The second beer is based in James Blond and will be called Honey Rider. I'll use another yeast strain, Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes, and add 1 kg of honey to the fermentor. If all goes well, I'll have two nice beers and enough yeast for a quadrupel.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Belgoträffen 2011

Last saturday I was at a local homebrew meeting focussing on Belgian beerstyles. The amount of brews was less then last year (29), but we had about 50 more guests. Not bad. The atmosphere was really great and the response on my beer was good. It's always nice when other people also like what you have brewed. The results of the judges wasn't bad either. All my 3 beer ended up in the final 6. One of them won a bronze medal. I will try to post the recipes on my blog soon. Remind me if I don't. :) The next big event is the Swedish Championships in Stockholm. I have already brewed an imperial wit with some friends, now I have to decide what more to brew. Maybe a weaker version of the 9% ABV sorachi saison I had on tap last saturday? Probably. But what more? A blonde maybe, or a pale ale? Or more of the golden strong ale I had last weekend. It would be a good opportunity to perfect my recipe.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Swedish brewing radio needs your support!

The Swedish brewing radio is a project run by two homebrewers who have invested a lot of time and money in this great service towards swedish homebrewers. As the traffic on the site has exceeded their wildest dreams, they now need your support to keep the project running. Interested? Have a look at bryggradio.com and click on the donation button! I did.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fermenteezer, sorachi saison and tripel

It's been a while since my last post. The family keeps me busy these days, so finding time to blog is not always easy. However, I am writing now, and will start off by telling about my fermenteezer, or fermentation freezer.

I had been thinking about controlling my fermentation temperature for a while, but until I really knew what I wanted I used a 50 l bucket filled with water. In the water was a aquarium heating element to control the temperature, and my 30 l fermentation bucket was floating in the big bucket. Pretty good system, but it only allows heating. Worthless for cold crashing and lager brewing, or when the ambient temperature is too high. Finally, after reading through a lot of post on American, Dutch, Belgian and Swedish forums (being a polyglot has its advantages...) I knew what I wanted. For the fermentation chamber a wanted a box freezer. Fridges don't go low enough (how else am I going to lager my Duvel clone, if I can't reach -3 °C?), and upright freezers don't fit a bucket. The box freezer I bought is rather small (the car also has to fit in the garage) and fits 1 30l bucket or 2 25 liter water containers.
For controlling the temperature I wanted to use a thermostat that can steer both cooling and heating. I also wanted to control the temperature accurately. The TC-10 from Forttex fulfilled all of these criteria. For heating I used a hair dryer. Luckily the cheapest I could find also had the lowest wattage. After all, I don’t want to grill my beer...
This is how it looks: a fermentation freezer steered by a TC-10.

The beer then... I have designed a few recipes, but unfortunately I haven't had time to brew them yet. As belgoträffen, a local competition for Belgian style beers, is approaching it was about time to get going. This is why I will brew not less then 2 beers this week. First I will brew a saison with sorachi ace hops, 20 liter on my own gear. Later this week I will brew the 2010 version of my tripel on the club's braumeister. 2 brews I'm really looking forward to. I am really curious about the sorachi hops. They are suppose to give a nice lemon zest/lemongrass aroma to the beer. I hope it will not be like biting in a lemon. To be on the safe side I'll use some styrian goldings too.
The tripel was the 2009 success story. I was quite proud of it myself, and it scored the highest of my beers on the Swedish championships. Taking the comments of the jury into consideration I will now slightly modify the recipe, control my fermentation temperature and brew enough for both belgoträffen and the Swedish championships. Also the yeast is slightly different, Instead of wyeast 3787 I will now use a starter from a single colony of Westmalle yeast, directly from the source.

Will I brew a price beast? Not sure... but as long as I like it, I'll find people willing to help me emptying the keg.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I finally own a magnetic stirplate. It was about time. As I usually use yeast from my yeast bank, starters can get quite big without a stirplate.Take my last beer for example. Without a stirplate, I would need 3.5 l starter, with a stirplate 1.3. Not only are smaller starters easier, they are also cheaper, you need less malt extract. Commercial stirplates tend to be quite expensive, as they are made to stir big volumes on a daily base. For my purposes, I decided a home-made version would be good enough. So, I went to the local electronics store and bought a box, a 12V fan, a few rare earth magnets, a contact and a potentiometer. All together less then 250 Swedish kronor (25€, 35$). Maybe not as durable as a commercial stirplat, but it works. Here's the result stirring a 100 ml starter, but it's capable of stirring starters up to 1 liter.