Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Not long ago, I'd stopped by Jay's Brewing to pick up some items, and shortly after I got home, found an email in my inbox from the folks at Jay's, with a recipe for a gose (pronounced "GOES-uh").  The recipe didn't specify a volume, but based on the ingredients, I assume that it would be about 5 gal.  The recipe is as follows:

3 lbs. Pilsen DME
3 lbs. Wheat DME
2 lbs. Acid. Malt (20min @ 156°)
1 oz.  Tradition(60 min.)
.5 oz.  Tradition(10 min.)
.75 oz. Sea salt (10 min.)
.50 oz. Ground Coriander (10 min.)
Yeast - WLP029

Okay, looks simple enough.  I have no idea how it'll come out, but that's the joy of home brewing, isn't it?

Pg 148 of Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing has a similar recipe for a gose.  As far as goses go, I like Anderson Valley's Blood Orange Gose.  Also, I visited Crooked Run Brewing on 21 May, and had the simply wonderful La Resaca, which is a 0 IBU gose.

During the course of my research, I found a couple of other, similar recipes:
Breakin' the Law Gose
Salty Gose the Margarita
SourBrew Blog - uses kettle souring
BYO Recipe

During my "other" research, I've tried some really good goses, a couple from Anderson Valley, specifically the Blood Orange and Briney Melon goses.

So, here's my first attempt at a gose...

Brew Day: 8 June 2016

Partial Mash:
8 oz white wheat malt
8 oz acid malt

I followed my usual partial mash process.

Boil (60 min):
13 oz Pilsen DME (@ 60 min)
4 g Hallertau (@ 60 min)
4 g sea salt (@ 10 min)
3 g ground Coriander (@ 10 min)

Yeast: Safale US-05, 1/2 bottle of Clarity Firm

I cooled the wort and pitched the yeast using my usual process.  I did notice that the resulting wort was very light in color...I think that minus the acid malt, replacing with Vienna, and adding some flaked wheat might make a really good Belgian wit recipe.

Addendum, 23 Jun: Bottled today with 1 oz of priming sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water; got 9 good bottles out of it.  Tried a bit of the beer that was left after filling the bottles - was a little sweet and not even a hint of sour, but that might be due to the priming sugar.  We'll see how this turns out in a couple of weeks; I may give something like the NB Dawson's Kriek (uses WYeast 3278) a try if the acid malt doesn't really do much; either that or try WLP655, which my favorite home brew supply place has in stock.

Addendum, 12 Jul: Tried one of these tonight.  Light yellow color, very clear, pours with a full, persistent head.  No discernible aroma, not the slightest sour or tart taste, although there is a very mild sense that there is something there.  Came out as a clear wit beer.  Not bad, very light and refreshing...but not a gose at all.

Page 181 of The Homebrewer's Recipe Guide has an inset called "Full Wort Souring".  This inset describes how to sour the wort, simply by letting it set for 12 - 24 hrs.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


A bit ago, I made a cider for my daughter's college graduation.  I'm not a cider drinker, and not really even a fan, so when I tried the partial fill that I had from the bottling, I didn't really think much of it.  However, not too much later, she tried one, and really seemed to like it.  I thought I'd try it again, this time with some small tweaks here and there.

Brew Day: 2 Jun 2016

4 qts Harris Teeter brand Gravenstein apple juice
12 oz frozen apple juice concentrate
3 oz brown sugar

Yeast: SafCider

The previous cider I'd done had a good aroma of apples when opened, but the resulting cider was pretty dry, due to the yeast.  As such, I figured that I might want to start with something a bit sweeter this time.  For this cider, I followed a similar process as the previous cider; however, this time, I started with a 12 oz can of apple juice concentrate.  The ingredients list says "apple juice, absorbic acid", and that's it.  Because it's frozen, I don't need to pasteurize it, but I figured that raising the temperature a bit would make things more amenable for the yeast, and allow me to dissolve the brown sugar a bit easier.

So, I put the contents of the apple juice concentrate and some of the juice from the bottle into a sauce pan and raised it up to 160 deg F, and dissolved 3 oz brown sugar in the warm juice.

The previous cider had a bit of sediment from the juice, and my daughter was a little ooged out by it.  This time, I tried filtering the juice through a coffee filter (cupped in a strainer) as I poured it into the fermenter.

I'm going to dry hop this one with some Jarrylo (which I used last time) and a bit of Amarillo, just to see how the flavor comes out.

Addendum, 5 Jun: Checked in on the fermenters this morning during my usual rounds; there are three fermenters in the bathtub at the moment.  The cider is still bubbling away really well, about 3 bubbles per second, which makes a nice rhythm with the ginger saison, which is bubbling at about 1 bubble per second.  Clearly, it still has a while to go before dry hopping, but so far, so good.

Addendum, 10 Jun: Checked the fermenters this morning as part of m usual rounds.  The other day, I had checked and found that the fermenter cap for the cider had a crack in it, so I replaced the cap, and put the airlock back on.  The airlock cap has been sitting flush with the top of the post since I replaced it, but I know enough now that that is not an indicator of...well...anything.  I put the fermenter on a stable surface and took a close look at it, and I could see very small bubbles still rising in the fermenter.

This is one of the downsides of small batch failures.  However, I'm familiar enough with what can go wrong (for the most part) and prepared...I keep extra caps available all the time, and check the caps on a regular basis.  Fortunately, these are a low-cost item, so it's not hard to have a few on-hand.

I'll be looking to dry hop the cider early next week, and from there, likely bottle before the end of the week.  That'll put the first taste test around 4 Jul.

Addendum, 13 Jun: Dry hopped today with 10 g Jarrylo + 7 g Amarillo (I had it left over, so why not?).

Addendum, 16 Jun: Bottled today with 1 oz of brown sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water.  I got 8 regular beer bottles and one repurposed soda bottle out of the batch.  I also tried a bit of what was left in the siphon tube...a little dry, which apparently is a good thing.  We'll see how this batch turns out in comparison to the previous batch.

Addendum, 3 Jul: My daughter tasted the cider tonight...she liked it and initially said that it wasn't as carbonated as she would have thought, but her mind was changed shortly (and loudly).  I poured a little for myself, and took a whiff...slight apple scent from the glass.  The cider was very dry, with little if any discernible apple flavor.  My daughter said she liked it, and offered up the idea for trying a recipe that let a bit more apple through; as such, I'll need to consider something that's less of a champagne yeast, and go with a wine yeast that will let a bit of the fruit flavor through, or try a dry beer yeast.

Addendum, 8 Jul: I received an email from Northern Brewer this morning that contained a link to a Short Pours blog post on making cider.  In the blog post, there was a really good recommendation to use Red Star Cote de Blanc yeast in order to retain some of the apple character.  I think that's what I'm going to do with the next one...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ginger Saison, Again

The ginger saison I did a while ago was so good, it's time to do it again...

Brew Day: 1 Jun 2016

Partial Mash:
4 oz Belgian Munich malt
10 oz Vienna malt
1.5 oz flaked wheat

The malt I used was primarily the result of what I had available at the time.  I followed my normal partial mash procedure.

Boil (60 min):
1 lb Pilsen DME (@ 60 min)
7 g Hallertau hops (AA: 3.1%, @ 60 min)
4 oz sugar (@ 60 min)
0.5 oz thinly sliced ginger (@ 10 min)

Yeast: DanStar Belle Saison

I followed my usual procedure for pitching the yeast.

Addendum, 16 Jun: Bottled today, got 9 bottles out of the batch.  Looking forward to trying this around the 4th of July.

Addendum, 7 Jul: My wife tried the beer tonight...definitely loves it, definitely a keeper. Interestingly enough, she really seems to enjoy it more when the beer is closer to room temperature.  I tried a taste when she was close to the bottom of the glass, and as I put my nose into the glass, I caught a whiff of the ginger.  There's no doubt, this one is definitely a keeper!