Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Belgian-style blond with grapes

If you've been around GHBC in the past few weeks you might have noticed a "new" tank in the brewery.  Still labeled  BBT 1, the "new" tank is actually our "old" 15 bbl bright beer tank that we rescued from storage to use as an experimental dish-bottom fermenter.

New Tank!
Experimental batches will be released in extremely limited quantities: some will be bottled, some will be barrel-aged, some will be blended with other batches, some might even be poured down the drain.  

The timing of the installation of the experimental tank was no accident.  Although we struggle to keep up with the demand for Leaf Pile ("the World's best pumpkin beer") this time of year, the local grape harvest would not wait.

Me harvesting grapes
Martha Clara Winemaker, Robin Epperson-McCarthy carrying grapes
This first experimental batch starts out as a pretty simple Belgian-style blond base beer, brewed with German Pils, and Belgian Cara-Vienna and Aromatic malts, and German Northern Brewer and French Strisselspalt hops.

To this base we added 3 5-gallon buckets worth of hand-crushed Sauvignon Blanc grapes (in the mash) and 25 gallons of freshly pressed Sauvignon Blanc juice (in the whirlpool), both provided by our friends at Martha Clara Vineyards.

Grapes floating in the mash
Look for the release of this still un-named beer around March, in cork-and-cage bottles!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Canard Noir ("Duck Black") brewdays

Canard Noir (“Duck Black”) is a long time in the making.  Although we finally brewed it this past weekend, DJ was drawn to the concept of brewing a Belgian-Style Porter more than 2 years ago, before we were even officially licensed.  After finalizing the Black Duck Porter recipe early in the planning stages of the brewery, DJ was sure he wanted to brew a one-off with Belgian yeast.  And, if our licenses had been approved on time, it might have even been one of our brewery’s very first batches - brewed just in time to bring to Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2010.  The authorities acted as they often do and the idea was shelved.

Our recent “Belgian tangent” provided a perfect opportunity to bring the beer to fruition.  Our only real choice was between the Abbey or Saison yeast that we had in the rotation (the Abbey yeast from brewing Havre Rouge and Project Hoppiness: Belgian IPA, the Saison yeast from Spring Turning (Rye) Saison).  A homebrewed Black Saison that I made over the winter helped make it clear that Saison yeast was the way to go. 

Identical in malt and hops to Black Duck Porter, Canard Noir is roasty at it foundation.  The addition of French Saison yeast transforms the beer.  While recognizable as the original, the dry and pepper-like spiciness and tropical fruitiness of the Farmhouse yeast turn the beer into something truly special. What started as a one-off is essentially a new beer.    

Canard Noir is currently fermenting away in FV3. Look for it to drop during Long Island Craft Beer Week.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Summer Ale, batch 1 of many

Although it seems like only yesterday that I was digging my car out of a snow bank, for like the third time in a week, Summer is getting closer, and with it the May release of our much-loved Summer Ale.  And, as much as I would have liked to hide from the daylight, after the 7th Annual Bluepoint cask festival the day (and night) before, there was beer to brew.

First runnings, batch 1 Local Honey Summer Ale
Wicked-hangover notwithstanding, yesterday (and today) marked the inaugural brew(s) of our Summer Ale.  If last year is any guide, over the next few months, we expect one of our five 30 bbl fermenters to house a fresh batch at all times.

A blend of Pale and Pilsner malt and a touch of Wheat serve as the foundation for this sessionable golden pale ale.  Magnum and Centennial hops provide just enough bitterness to balance the malt and raw local honey that slowly steps forward and takes center stage in this beer.  Pleasantly sweet, with a distinctive floral finish, Summer Ale is a welcome addition to any Summer gathering.

Oxygenated wort running into fermenter.
Check it out.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Project Hoppiness: Ahtamatic IPA brewdays

With the launch of Project Hoppiness we decided to roll all of our IPAs into the series.  Lest you think that Project Hoppiness signals the death of our much-loved Disorient IPA, we were eager to offer a Disorient(ish) release early in the life of the project.  We just couldn't resist the temptation to experiment though.  There are just too many hop varieties, hop schedules, and mashed-up hopped-out styles we want to try.  With our boosted fermentation capacity, look for new Project Hoppiness releases about every month.

2 new 30bbl fermenters + 3 original 30bbl fermenters = many fresh new local GHBC beers!
Project Hoppiness: Ahtamatic IPA is a bridge between old and new; Disorient IPA with a twist, in the form of bountiful additions of Ahtanum hops.

With a flavor profile somewhere between Cascade and Amarillo hops, we felt that the Ahtanum hop makes a perfect addition to the blend of Centennial and Columbus hops in the original recipe.  Honestly, we also wanted to give the hop a try.  First wort and flavor kettle additions and at least two dry hop additions should allow the Ahtanum hop to shine through strong.

The grist bill of Pale, Caramalt, and Crystal malt is identical to the original.  Similar to Disorient IPA, Project Hoppiness: Ahtamatic IPA will be defined by a bold, yet balanced hoppiness, offset with notes of subtle malt sweetness. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Spring Turning Saison Brewdays

You could say that Spring Turning Saison started as my award-winning Wry Saison recipe, the winner of the August 2010 Brooklyn Wort homebrew contest.  But its real origin lies much deeper: somewhere in the space between the promise of spring, the long agricultural tradition on the North Fork, and my love of Farmhouse Ales.
This French Farmhouse Style Ale highlights the spicy character of Saison Yeast, Rye Malt (almost 30%) and Saaz Hops.  Pilsner and Vienna Malts, unmalted Wheat, and Golding Hops round our this slightly dry and exceedingly quaffable late spring offering.

If this beer doesn't make you long for warmer weather, you might consider moving to Alaska with Sarah Palin.  Join us for the March 24th release of Spring Turning Saison at Jimmy's 43.