In the spring I wrote about a brown ale I made with the help of some probiotic supplements containing several lactobacillus strains and some non-beer saccharomyces strains. The old posts about it are here, here and here. I bottled this beer back in June with the hope of getting something with a berliner weisse-like tartness. Wrong. Instead the beer is very strange. There is zero sourness. It has a hint of diacetyl to it but what makes the beer strange is the texture. It has that sort of oily texture of diacetyl but without the flavor. It feels almost like a porter in the mouthfeel but the flavor is very mild. The word that comes to mind is that the beer almost has a ghost-like presence to it. It looks like beer, kind of tastes like beer, but doesn't feel like beer in the mouth. The beer flavor hits like an afterthought. It has a neutral taste, like water, up front. I suspect/wonder with absolutely no qualifications or research to prove it, that the lacto and yeast strains were selected for the probiotic supplement with the ability to break down starches and sugars into proteins. Proteins give beer body (think oat additions) without real flavor. It's very strange but I only had eight bottles so I guess I will drink the remaining six. It was worth the experiment. It leads me to reject those people who say lactobacillus acidophillus is a suitable lacto strain for lactic acid production.
The hops are growing slowly so I don't think I will have any hops this year but our summer season in Texas is very long (it can be in the 90s into October) so maybe there is hope. At a minimum I should have three solid plants next year ready to take advantage of an early beginning to the warm months.
I'm sort of glad I haven't had too much time to brew this year. I'm still sitting on 10.5 gallons of homebrew in the bottle that I need to cut down before I go on another brewing rampage. I still have several non-sour beers that are a couple years old that I need to consume before they really lose their flavor. A few homebrews are ok aging some more like my brett brown, lambic and a couple meads. Those beers alone are about half of my bottles but I am happy to let those beers continue to age. It's the two year old BGSA and tripel and the last few bottles of my winter brett saison, sour mash blond with cherries, wheat wine (it's at a good place now) and the probiotic brown. It's been hard to get to the homebrew since we've been finding so many good beers on tap locally (like this week's Belgian Independence Week celebrations) and in the bottle. We are slowly building up a very reputable beer cellar. Going to Colorado next month will only help expand it. At the top of my list are JP, RR and Lost Abbey beers but I have a long list of beers I'm hunting so we'll see what I haul home.
I recently picked up a medium-sized fridge on craigslist for $40. It's one of the few fridges I've seen that fits an ale pail, even with the airlock. The great thing is that the fridge was actually a kegerator and the previous owner was upgrading the fridge so he took the tower and tap but left the old regulator and a small CO2 tank (I think it's a 5lb tank?) with it. It also has the hole drilled in the top so I can also use it for a kegerator in the future. I was able to pick up a johnson digital controller for free by using a law school promotional program to get amazon gift cards. The fridge is a bit beat up but in good working condition. It's a nasty brown color but I found black chalkboard contact paper so I'm in the process of covering it in contact paper so it will look nicer. Plus the chalkboard paper will allow me to write notes on what's fermenting inside. I'll post some pictures once I'm done.
I decided to take down my beer review blog. I wasn't giving it much attention and I sort of lost interest in it. It's hard to write good reviews about a beer when you have several new beers and might have forgotten some of the highlights of the beer. I don't like to sit and write notes when I try beers at a bar so I only worked off memory. It's probably for the best; it lets me spend more time writing here.
I know I just talked about it but I'm really excited to go back to Colorado! Not only do I have a blast seeing friends up there but there's so many good breweries and bars to visit. I believe a return trip to Odell's, Left Hand, Avery, New Belgium and Funkwerks are in order. I'd also like to sneak in a return visit to Fort Collins Brewing and Oskar Blues. I think we are going to try to hit some of the Denver-area breweries like Breckenridge and Great Divide. I know there's lots of good smaller breweries in the area but our time is limited and we also want to do some non-drinking stuff from time to time. Maybe also some brewing if other people are up for it.
Right now the fermentors are full of the lambic solera (six gallons), one gallon of lambic from last year, two gallons of sour mashed brett saison (which is delicious, FYI), one gallon of sour brown, one gallon of perry (or something perry-like) that I will probably bottle tomorrow and one gallon of wild ale. So all abnormal stuff.
I have lots of beers waiting to be made. I still have a wit, spelt saison, dunkelweizen, ESB and Petrus pale ale clone in the wings. I need to bottle culture yeast for the spelt saison, petrus pale clone and wit. I need to make another batch of my hatch chile beer but I have had so many requests to try it I need to get more grain to do a larger batch. I also want to try making a porter and black IPA with some mesquite pods I recently purchased from a fellow homebrewer in Arizona. I want to brew another batch of the sour mash brett saison, more gratzer and I promised my wife an apricot blonde. I wouldn't mind doing an old chub clone too. But like I said, I need to drink what I have first.
On a final note, my wife and I are planning a big fiesta next February after I take the bar (but during the three month wait to hear results) and I want to brew some beers for the occasion. Most or all of the people will be craft beer drinkers so I can make more than a blonde ale but at the same time I don't want to go really crazy and not all beer drinkers will drink the same kinds of beers. I also, to be honest, do not want to have them drinking all of my lambic or beers I have in limited quantities. I am thinking about an ESB, a Belgian blonde ale or dunkelweizen, and a stout or porter. That captures everybody but the real hop heads but they can make do with the ESB. We bought the *big* bottle of Chimay for a toast, too. It's not the most cost effective way to buy beer (although we got it 25% off) but it's the most festive. Plus the bottle will serve as an awesome trophy of my accomplishment. It's a three liter bottle of Gran Reserve. It's a 2010 vintage so when it's opened in 2013 it will be between three and four years old. So I'll be interested in trying that out.