Friday, May 28, 2010

New zealand motueka hops

Recently I brewed a belgian blonde with motueka hops. Everybody seemed so positive about NZ hops... Anyway, it's not my cup of tea. Left me with a strange tropical aftertaste. Luckily I had a bottle of Boon oude geuze to change the taste in my mouth. Sour funk is da shit!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beer shopping in Belgium

In 2 weeks I'll be in Belgium visiting the family. In addition to the compulsory chocolate, mayonaise based sauses, dry sausages and children DVDs (not for me) I should have some free space in the luggage for some beer. Well, I'll make some place. I'll try to book a crate of Westvleteren 12, alternatively try to by some in Café De Vrede next to the brewery. It's a nice area, so a visit to the area is never wrong. In addition I'll try to drink and buy home as many interesting beers as possible, not the least saisons, gueuzes and rare brews from tiny breweries. Maybe the new Sint-Amatus from De Struise? After all, Oostvleteren is very close to Westvleteren! My God, my mouth is already watering. If you know an interesting Belgian beer I should try while there, suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Now on facebook!

Saccharolicious is now on facebook with an RSS feed. At least that is the idea. I don't know yet if the feeding works, but the page is there! Just click on the badge in the right column.

Yeast (nerd warning)

Today I counted how many cells I have in my starters. As expected, the stir plate starter has about twice as many cells as the simple starter. As we also have a very nice microscope at work, I even took a 63x magnified picture of my Wyeast 3944 culture.
You can see 3 budding yeast cells. The mother cells are fully equiped with the vacuole clearly visible. The black and white spots are granules, the white ones being fat granules and the black ones glycogen granules. The white "moon" next to the vacuole is the nucleus of the cell.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stir plate starter

On saturday I'll be brewing a 50 liter batch of Belgian witbier(13.2 gallons for those of you living in Burma, Liberia or USA). As I have Wyeast 3944 Belgian Wit in my yeastbank, I took some yeast from a slant to propagate. Normall I brew 20 l batches, and making a 2 liter starter for that is OK. For 50 l I would need a 5 l starter, which is a lot. So, to save some money on DME and also for the sake of experiemtation, I decided to make a 2 liter stir plate starter. I have been planning to build a stir plate, but for the time being I have to borrow a stir plate from my workplace. I also borrowed a few erlenmeyer flasks. Don't have those at home either. For the sake of comparison, I have a smal starter on the side without stirring. If I have time tomorrow, I'll do a cell count and compare the two. You'll notice that one flask has a bigger volume. That is because this one has a stronger magnet allowing bigger volumes to swirl without the stir bar going bananas. I'm really curious how many more cells I'll get from the stir plate starter! Will it be worth it?

Much ado about nothing...

I told you it was impossible I had an infection in my Zotte Stella beer! Well, here are the results of the test fermentations.

It is clear that the ardennes yeast attenuates better then the Duvel yeast, so a lower FG for the Ardennes version made sense. But surprisingly, the yeast I took from my fermentation ended pretty much where the ardennes yeast ended. Much higher then the saison yeast. Conclusion: I took the right strain.How to explain the low FG then? I opened a bottle of the beer and tasted it. It tasted a bit different, but that is just because I used strange hops (New-Zealand Motueka). No sign of infection though. Puzzled, I took a new reading and guess what: 1.009! Perfectly within range. It seems that the only thing that was wrong, was my first FG reading. Problem solved: there was no problem after all!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Who pulled down my FG?

Last saturday I bottled "Zotte Stella", a belgian blonde fermented with two yeast strains in parallel buckets. Starting at 1.063, the one with Duvel yeast ended pretty much where I intended it to end, at 1.018. The other bucket, fermented with Wyeast 3522 Belgian ardennes ended up at 1.002. A bit lower then anticipated. First thought: infection! Although not impossible, I started looking for other reasons. I kind of believe I know sanitation, so there should be other reasons. Then it struck me: 3711 french saison! Could it be that I picked the wrong yeast from my bank? There is deffinately one more reason to think so: flocculation. Previous batches with Belgian Ardennes yeast flocculated like no other, while the sediment from Zotte Stella looked very non-flocculent, fitting with the saison hypothesis. So how will I confirm my hypothesis? I could wait and see what the beer will taste like, but that's not me. In addition, I'll do a mini fermentation. 20 ml of wort, inoculated with either a single colony isolated from the sediment of my fermentor, the belgian ardennes from my fermenter or the french saison strain. After 2 weeks I'll check the FG, and if the colony from my fermentor has attenuated like french saisonand not like belgian ardennes, I'll pretty much know. I hope I've brewed a saison and not an infected beer!