June 8, 2016

Tropic Bling 2.0 -- Mixed Fermentation Clone of Funkwerks Tropic King

I know Funkwerks is a subject of divided feelings among saison fans due to their usage of 3711 and relatively tame beers compared to many of the mixed fermentation saisons that are all the rage (happily) these days. Still, I like their beers and think they do an excellent job, if not the best in the country, at the type of beers they intend to brew. A few years ago I whipped up a clone of Funkwerks Tropic King that came pretty damn close to the actual beer. Tropic King is my least favorite of their beers but my wife really enjoys it so I endeavored to attempt a clone. The first batch turned out well but the source for 3711 (an older bottle of Jester King pre-intended mixed culture) has some wild yeast and it turned into a strange peppery beer. I peeled off a gallon and added some bourbon-soaked oak to it. It's been sitting ever since because I haven't had a need or serious desire to do something with it. I have this older beer sitting around and the grains and hops to make a second rendition of the clone so it's time to get all these materials put to good use. I've been building up a mixed fermentation saison culture with dregs from Logsdon Seizoen, St. Somewhere Saison Athene, Fantome Printemps and Perennial Aria. I want to give this culture a whirl and this seems like as good of an opportunity as any.

My vision for this beer is to take the grain and hops from the existing clone recipe but revise it using my mash schedule, water profile and obviously the different yeast culture. Once it's all brewed I'll make some decisions about blending it with the older batch. Whether I end up using all of this batch in the blend of part of it will depend on what I get out of this batch. I intend to age this for a few months to ensure gravity stability and then dry hop, blend and bottle. Funkwerks also does, or at least did, barrel age some of the Tropic King and blend it back into fresh Tropic King to make what they call Exotic King and that idea will carry forward with the blend. It's what I originally intended when I peeled off that gallon and oak-aged it. 

Tropic Bling 2.0 Mixed Fermentation Clone of Funkwerks Tropic King

Batch Size: 2.5
Est. ABV: 6.2%
Est. IBU: 25
Est. OG: 1.053
Est. FG: 1.006
Est. SRM: 6.1
Grain BillPoundsOuncesSRMPct. Grist
Belgian Pale Malt312375.00%
Wheat Malt526.20%
Munich Malt13916.20%
Water Profileppm
Brun Water Yellow Bitter
PH: 5.3
Water AdditionsMashSparge
Epsom Salt.7g.6g
Canning Salt.1g.1g
Baking Soda
Calcium Chloride.5g.4g
Pickling Lime
Lactic Acid.6ml
Mash ScheduleStep Temp.Step Time
Single Infusion at 146F
Mash volume: 1.5 gal
Sparge volume: 1.4 gal
Infuse 1.5 gal at 159F146F45
Decoct 1.4 qt to raise to 156F156F30
Sparge 1.4 gal at 190F
Boil ScheduleVolumeUnitTimeIBU
60 minute boil
Rakau [12.7%]0.18oz60 min.17.9
Rakau [12.7%]0.18oz10 min.6.5
Opal [6.5%]0.33ozFlameout0
Fermentation Schedule# DaysTemp.
Yeast: Mixed fermentation culture
Pitch 250ml slurry
Age at ambient120+Ambient
Dry hop 0.33oz Rakau for 3 days3Ambient
Bottle to 3.5 volumes, blending with 1 gal older batch
4 oz table sugar

Brewday & Fermentation Notes

Brewed 6.8.16.
First runnings: 1.078
Preboil gravity: 1.053
Preboil volume: 2.8gal
Mash efficiency: 80%
Postboil gravity: 1.058
Postboil volume: 2 gal
Brewhouse efficiency: 63%

Added half a gallon of water. Ended up at 1.046 and 2.5 gallons.

10.12.16: Added dry hops. Tasted aged portion. Surprisingly thin flavor. Musty brett and hay. Some acetic acid. Less impressive than I expected after three years of aging but think it will work well as a component in the blend.

10.17.16: Bottled. Tasted aged portion and it was way too acetic/ethyl acetate. Had to get dumped. As sad as I was to dump three year old beer it was better to bottle two good gallons than bottle three bad gallons. Bottled targeting 3.5 volumes of CO2. Initial taste was musty and overripe fruit. Looking forward to tasting a bottle in a month or so to see how I like the yeast blend before committing another batch to it.