Brew Date: Feb 19th, 2017 Bottle Date: Apr 17, 2017 [Clean] Sep 9, 2017 [Mixed ferm]
OG: 1.066 FG: 1.005 ABV: 8.0% IBU: 25 SRM: 10-12
Bière de Garde is a challenging style to brew to me because it needs to be exemplary in order to be interesting. It’s a very middle-of-the-road beer in many respects, especially with the clean fermentation profile of modern versions. Despite this, since it is a traditional farmhouse ale I can’t help but want to continue to explore the style. This brew builds upon some of the things I’ve learned with my first two bière de gardes in terms of grist, and I am trying out Imperial Yeast’s B51 “Workhorse” strain, which is a particularly neutral Belgian strain. I asked Imperial about its suitability to a BdG if fermented in the low end of the temperature range and was assured it makes good sense to use.
The target with this grist is bready complexity while keeping malt sweetness restrained and allowing the beer to attenuate to a dry finish. Some will be bottled after primary as a more modern interpretation of the style while just under 3 gallons will be conditioned with brett brux for a more rustic, and perhaps more historic flavour profile. I dropped the OG a little on this batch due to the superattenuation expected from the brettanomyces fermentation.
Brew Details (4.5 gallon batch):
6.50 lbs Bohemian Pilsner [52.8%]
2.75 lbs Vienna [22.3%]
1.00 lbs Munich 9L [8.1%]
1.00 lbs Dextrose [8.1%]
0.50 lbs Flaked wheat [4.0%]
0.50 lbs Caramunich II [4.0%]
0.06 lbs Carafa II [0.5%]
1.25 oz Tettnanger @ 90 mins [18 AAU]
0.75 oz Tettnanger @ 20 mins [7 AAU]
Fermentation: Imperial B51 ‘Workhorse’ at 66F for 5 days, then let rise to 72F
Other: 1 tsp CaCl, 1/2 tsp Gypsum added to sparge water.
Brew Day Notes: Mashed in at 11:30am. Mashing at 145F for 25 minutes, then using the lower-wattage element on the Grainfather to slowly ramp up: 20 minutes at 150F, 20 minutes at 153F, 20 minutes at 156F, and finally mash out at 170F for 15. Used a pretty stiff mash : 4 gals in the GF, and a touch under 4 gal sparge water heated on the stovetop. Stiffer mash resulted in noticeably slower sparge drain, though steady and probably better for extraction. Boiled 120 minutes. Added last hop addition & sugar about 10m before starting chiller recirculation to sanitize. Collected 4.9 or so gallons of 1.066 wort at 58F, hit with 35 seconds of pure O2, and pitched a can of Imperial B51. Put in a cool corner of the bedroom to naturally rise to around 66-68F. [24h update] fermenting strong at 67F liquid temp now. Was 62F at 12h in.
[Mar 3, 2017] Gravity sample, down to 1.013. Expected a few points lower at this point. It’s perhaps a shade lighter than my lighter than my last bière de garde but good colour. Aroma is quite different than previous attempts – like a strong Czech pilsner kind of aroma. Pleasant actually, though unexpected. Tastes kind of like a maltier pilsner as well. Nice dry and bready malt character, not coming across sweet despite the gravity. It’s not what I expected at this stage, but I am quite optimistic it’s going to be good.
[Mar 5, 2017] Transferred 2.5 gals to glass carboy and pitched WLP 650 – Brett Brux. Remainder transferred to SS secondary to condition clean for a little while before bottling.
[Apr 17, 2017] Bottled the clean portion at 1.005. Great clarity, taste is clean with toasty malt. Bottled 1.65 gallons with 1.6 oz of corn sugar.
[May 8, 2017] Bottle of the clean version. Carbonation is low to medium. Colour is darker than target, more brown than amber. More importantly, the flavour is much moreso in line with a brown version of the style vs. amber. The carafa addition seems to have also added a nuttiness, not quite roasty but certainly a dark malt character to the beer. A bit more caramel than previous batches as well. Still quite dry, all good there. The change to the Imperial yeast has added a bit more spice but is fairly neutral.