Monthly Archives: January 2016

Batch 17: Corsa

Brewed: Jan 24, 2016      Bottled: Feb 20, 2016

Beer Style:  Biere de Garde

OG:  1.071      FG:  1.009       IBU: 26      ABV:  8%


This was my first attempt at what I would like to be an annual tradition, the brewing of an ale inspired by the rustic French farmhouse ‘Biere de Garde’ ales from many years ago. That said, despite its old-world inspiration, it’s a bit of a modern departure. I used Munich as a base malt instead of pilsner to give it the deeper colour without having to boil all afternoon. I also added Caramunich in small quantity to provide a little further colour and malt complexity. Some simple sugar was added to assist the low mash temperature in reaching a low FG, as low as possible with the given yeast.


One of the drivers to wanting to brew this beer was the use of White Lab’s WLP515 Antwerp ale yeast. Although not a biére de garde yeast per se, its clean Belgian profile and good attenuation sounded perfect for the job. Its seasonal availability towards the end of the year is also appropriate for the traditionally winter-brewed style. I’ve hopped it at a slightly higher rate than traditional although still quite minimally, at about 26 IBU of Tettnang and Willamette.


Recipe (2.5 gallon batch):corsaspeciale

4.25 lbs    Weyermann Munich I

2.50 lbs    Weyermann Floor-malted Pilsner

0.35 lbs     Weyermann Caramunich II

0.35 lbs     Dextrose / Corn sugar

0.25 oz      Willamette @ 60 min

0.25 oz      Tettnang @ 60 min

0.25 oz      Tettnang @ 15 min

WLP 515 – Antwerp Ale



Infusion mashed at 145F for 45 minutes, increased to 152F for 45 minutes, mashed out 165F for 10 minutes (BIAB w. boiling water additions)

Boiled 120 minutes (stove-top)

Fermented 7 days at 65F, let rise to 72F for 14+ days.  Ended up skipping the lagering phase until post-bottling.

Bottle conditioned with 2.7 volumes CO2 (corn sugar) – except 0.9 gallons went into a jug for secondary with port-soaked oak and brettanomyces.


Tasting Notes:


February 9th, 2016 – Pull off primary to check gravity. 1.009 (86.5% AA). Smells a little green still but tastes nice, good malt complexity. Just barely enough bitterness to balance which is what I was looking for. Compelling mix of sweet bread and grainy flavours.

March 1st, 2016 – No taste today, but pitched the dregs of a bottle of Goose Island Maltilda (Aug 2015 bottle) into the 0.9 gallons of “Corsa Specialé” in secondary.

March 5th, 2016 – First bottle. Didn’t wait as long as I intended but wanted to check on carbonation. Well, carb is coming along well and taste is better than I expected. Toasty bread with some plum-like fruitiness. The malts come across sweet, but the beer’s got a pretty dry finish. Hops are barely there but do enough to balance, I think. Very much on track with what I was going for so far.

Oct 16, 2016 – Sweetness sits just below cloying with plum and sugary bread dominating. Other than being pretty sweet this is on point, I think.

Dec 26, 2016 – Bottle of the Specialé. The brett character is nice, but I went a little overboard on the oak and the American oak doesn’t jive as well as French oak would have. Also, there is simply no head retention. But beyond that the flavours are quite interesting and the sweetness of the original has been cut nicely by the brett and tannins.



During ‘sparge’ (BIAB dunked in 1.2 gallons at 173F)


Put away for primary ferment:



Batch 16: Floret (pilot batches)

Brewed:  Jan 10, 2016

OG:  1.076   FG: 1.006   IBU: 15    ABV: 9.0%

This brew day occured because Aimée, my girlfriend, came with me to the homebrew shop for some unrelated ingredients. After her review of the spices available at the shop, we decided to brew up two 1-gallon experiments (exbeeriments) of a simple saison with herb additions.

The boil was split to two pots at 30 minutes left, and at 10 minutes each pot got its own herb additions:  One received 0.50 oz of rose hips and 0.50 oz of pink peppercorns, the other received 1.00 oz of elderberries and 0.2 oz of willamette. These smaller volumes made the ice bath in the sink a lot more efficient, and with gentle stirring the wort was cooled in about 10 minutes to 75F.

Since the grain was purchased with a 2.5 gallon batch in mind but we only brewed about 1.7 gallons, gravity is quite a bit higher than our initial intent. Considering watering down at bottling with the corn sugar addition.


80%    German pilsner malt

10%     Flaked wheat

10%     Malted wheat

Hopped to 15 IBU with Willamette

WYeast 3711 – French saison



Infuision mash (BIAB), 150F for 90 minutes, 170F for 10 minutes

Boiled 90 minutes

Fermented at 72F for 21 days


Tasting Notes:

Jan 30, 2016 – Bottling day. Elderberry version is tasting pretty nice, smells a bit green still but flavour is apricot, berries, and grainy malt. Rose hip & pink peppercorn version is very peppery, not unpleasantly so but hoping it will tone down with some conditioning time.