Monday, October 8, 2012

Bottling Chardonnay Blonde Ale 10/05/12

Welcome, to yet another installation of my Brewing blog. I meant to make this post a few days ago, But had some other things to take care of. I am now sitting in front of my laptop, with a 16 oz glass of New Belgiums Shift, rambling on thus wasting more time!
So, a While back (August 8th, 2012), I brewed up a pretty basic Blonde ale. Used Pale malt for the Base, backed up with a bit of pilsener to give that nice Belgian/German characteristic to the Blonde ale. In addition to that I used a small quantity of Crystal malts and Torrified wheat, To kind of tweak the color a bit, and hopefully gaining some heading properties from the Torrified wheat.
The mash was also very basic. Just a simple Single Infusion mash, Sacchrification rest at 150F for 75mins. At the time I was having small troubles with efficiency so I employed a longer mash rest to make sure I had conversion. This worked. Then I used a basic Fly sparge around 175F, and collected my wort.
For the 65min boil, I used a single bittering addition of 1oz. Williamette (5.7%AA) at 65mins.
Post Boil I had 5 gallons of wort, OG: 1.054. I cooled the wort and Pitched one vial of WLP001 Cali Ale yeast for primary fermentation.
Once Primary was complete I racked the beer onto 5.44 oz of Oak I had soaked in Italian Chardonnay. The oak started out as an Oakboy I purchased from Northern Brewer. I then Sawed the Oakboy into 4 pieces and soaked it in the Chardonnay for somehwere around 2 months. At this time I let fermentation continue for a few days. Then threw it in the Lager fridge, Around 33F, and left it there for 38 days. 
On Oct. 5th, Last Friday, I took the fermenter out of the fridge in the morning, and set it out to warm up just a little and get to bottling temp. I used Northern brewers priming calculator for my amount of priming sugar. Andrew Hood from Tallgrass Brewing Co. suggested to use Cane sugar (sucrose), since it is 100% Fermentable and leaves very little residual sweetness once conditioning is complete.
2.69 oz of Cane Sugar for 4 gallons
Then boiled the sugar with 1 pint of water
Boiling priming solution
Once the solution was boiled, I cooled it down a bit in the sink, then threw it in the freezer while I made the rest of my preparations. At this time I gathered my Brettanomyces, my auto shiphon and tubing, as well as everything else I would need, and started my siphon. Quickly after I started the siphon I added the priming solution. The beer was amazingly clear.
Siphoning Blonde ale, So clear you can see right through it
In advance I had decided to bottle some of the beer straight, without Brettanomyces so I could drink some while the Brett bottles were conditioning, as well as taste some of the un soured beer. So I picked up a six pack of 22 oz bottles earlier that day, for this purpose.
Six 22 oz Bottles of Chardonnay Blonde Ale
That took up about a gallon of beer, and I was left with 3 gallons of beer. I then measured and added my brettanomyces.
I used Brett Lambicus from White labs. I had talked with Andrew Hood a week or so before I brewed this up, and He mentioned having success with using 6mls of Brett. Per Gallon. Which was the route I was going to go. However, I was not thinking and Let my Brett Sit out for a few hours before bottling, BAD IDEA. The vial exploded when I opened it, not literally but there was Brettanomyces spewing all over the place (This is the reason I prefer WYEAST to White Labs, Almost always have bad experiences with White Labs) and I ended up with 10mls of Brett Lambicus for 3 gallons of beer. Which is 1ml more then half of what Andrew Suggested. I am pretty bummed with the turnout so far, but who knows, Maybe the amount I added will be enough for my taste. Until then, Who knows.
10 mls of Brett Lambicus, Sorry for the blurry photo
I added the brett to the 3 gallons of beer, and bottled it up in Cork top Belgian Bottles, 375's and 750's. Plan to age the 750's and drink the 375's once they are ready. I am a huge fan of young Brett Conditioned beers. About a year or so from now I will post some tasting notes for the Brett Bottles. Maybe a review sooner for the Un Soured Bottles.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I enjoyed the experience, and have learned quite a bit. Hopefully next time my vial will not explode!
Thanks to Andrew Hood For all the help with Conditioning with Brett. and Thanks to my Girlfriend for helping me bottle this batch, as well as many others.
Until Next Time.

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