Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Country Eyes" Belgian Farmhouse with Red Table Grapes

Brew date: Aug. 27, 2016
#53 - 6.25 gal

This was a fun beer to make! After a summer of waiting for just the right time, my friends the Webendorfers invited several of us over for a cookout and to pick some of their beautiful backyard grapes. A great time, and we enjoyed the last of the rye IPA that we had made for our annual Brew 'n' Smoke event.

The plan for these grapes: Press them to make my first batch of wine, and then add a portion of the remaining grape must to a Belgian farmhouse ale that I had brewed a few weeks prior.

We gathered maybe 20-30 lbs and kept them refrigerated for a couple of weeks while the beer fermented out.

Loosely inspired by a New Glarus Brewing R&D beer, Champ du Blanc, that I was fortunate enough to try at the Great Taste of the Midwest Beer Fest earlier in the month, I knew that I wanted to brew something lighter in character but with enough malt backbone to balance out the likely tart finish of the grapes.

In this, I believe I succeeded, but the finished beer did not attenuate as much as I expected. The Wyeast 3724 saison, petered out at about 1.032 and stubbornly refused to dry out much past 1.020. I had hoped to get it down to 1.014-1.016. Perhaps this could be accomplished with an alternative strain.

Nevertheless, the 3724 saison provides a great farmhouse flavor and plenty of character.

Pressing the grapes was also a blast, with friend Stephanie coming over to help clean and separate the berries from their stems. I rented a small press for only $15 from the Wine and Hop Shop and crushed the grapes in a blender before pressing.

We ended up with about 1.5 gallons of grape juice and a few pounds of grape must. I'll write more about the wine in a separate post, but I dosed the grape must for the beer with some potassium metabisulfite to prevent wild yeast from spoiling my batch and let this sit for 24 hours before adding it to the beer.

With grape must added, I let sit for 8 days before racking to a keg to condition and serve.

11 lb Pilsner malt
3 lb 2-row malt
12 oz White wheat
8 oz Cara 8
4 oz Acidulated

1.6 oz Cascade (Kraemer Brew 6% leaf) (60)
0.5 oz Styrian goldings (3.7%) (60)
0.5 oz Styrian goldings (15)
1 t Irish moss (15)
1/2 t Yeast nutrient (10)
6 oz Clear candi sugar (10)

1.6 L Wyeast 3724 Belgian saison
3 lb Red table grape must - Webendorfer

10 gal - 50/50 Filtered & RO
9 g Gypsum
2 g Calcium chloride

Mash in 6 gal at 161F
Sac rest at 151F (60)
Batch sparge 4 gal
Boil (60)
Chill to 66F

OG 1.068
FG 1.017
IBU 39
ABV 6.74%

1st run 3.5 gal at 1.077
Preboil 7.5 gal at 1.058
Pre sugar 1.069
OG 1.070

Chill to 66/68F
Warm to 70F for first ~8 hrs
Warm to 72F for next ~ 12 hrs
Warm to 74F
9/11 - Gravity still at 1.040. Will pitch more yeast. Heat to 74F.
9/12 - Pitch additional yeast pack
9/16 - Add 3 lb Webendorfer skins, gravity ~1.030
9/24 - Rack, gravity 1.020, keg