Monthly Archives: January 2017

Batch 34: Lune Bière de Garde

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.


Batch 32: Saison Dorée

Brewed:  Jan 22, 2017    Bottled:  Feb 15, 2017

OG:  1.044     IBU: 22     FG: 1.005   ABV: 5.1%


[May 17, 2017 Update]  This beer won gold at the 2017 Vanbrewer Awards in Belgian strong ale category! Very happy with that! 

I’ve been particularly interested in focusing on farmhouse style beers since I started homebrewing, but in the past few months my interest in crafting the best saison I can has continued to increase. It’s fueled partly by the fact that BC could really use a brewery that focuses on farmhouse styles and does them well (Dageraad is closest to the mark with their Belgian focus), so of course I have a pipe-dream of opening said brewery.

This is a recipe that would serve as the primary mainstay beer in this imaginary brewery, which I plan to tinker with and re-brew throughout 2017. It should be dry with lots of citrus-fruit esters and balanced phenols. It will be quite pale but with some subtle grain complexity, and the hop character should be up-front but not overbearing with citrus and white wine characters and a little bit of spice. I have debated how bitter the beer should be, but based on some notable commercial examples I have decided this beer shall be on the low end of bitterness for the style. Brettanomyces will be introduced to this beer in a later batch but for now I am opting for a clean fermentation with Imperial Yeast’s B56 “Rustic” strain which is comparable to the WY3726PC strain I have wanted to get my hands on for some time.


The following is for a 5-gallon batch, brewed on the Grainfather system (70-72% efficiency)


75%   Bohemian Pilsner malt  (7.5 lb)
10%   Vienna malt  (1.0 lb)
8%    Flaked wheat  (0.8lb)
5%   Dextrose  (0.5 lb)
2%   Acid malt (0.2 lb)

Hopping Schedule:

0.25 oz  Nelson Sauvin @ 60 min (11 AAU)
0.50 oz Motueka @ 15 min (11 AAU)
1.00 oz Motueka, 0.25 oz Nelson, 0.5 oz Willamette @ flame-out


Imperial Organic Yeast – B56 Rustic   Fermented at 72F

Mash Schedule:

45 minutes at 146F
20 minutes at 152F
20 minutes at 157F
Mash-out at 170F


Brew Day Notes:

Brewed Sunday, Jan 22 2017.  Brewed on the Grainfather. 4.25 gallons of mash water with 1/2 tsp of Gypsum added. Sparged with 4.25 gallons of 169F water heated on the stove-top with 1/2 – 3/4 tsp of CaCl added. Boiled 145 minutes, first hops added at 75 minutes. Topped up the Pommebic 3-gal glass carboy with about 0.4 gals, topped up the petite saison with about 0.7 gals. At this point added the whirlpool hops (202F) and let stand for 10 minutes. Remainder into the 7-gallon Brew Bucket. Collected almost exactly 5 gallons. Pitched B-56 yeast at around 78F, moved bucket to cool spot in the bedroom (ambient about 67F).

Fermentation picked up around 7-8 hours in and was very active at 10 hrs. At 16 hrs wort temp was 72F. Settled down to 68F after 4 days, moved to warmer room to finish out.


Tasting Notes:

Jan 28, 2017 – A week in, SG down to 1.009. Huge bubblegum nose with berries. Strange tingly sensation that I can’t quite figure out. Not a lot of phenolics but the esters are heavy on the berry fruit side. Interested to see where this goes!

Feb 15, 2017 – Bottled today. SG down to 1.005, nose is really peppery but flavour is much more balanced with mild spice, gooseberry, and lemon-water.

Feb 25, 2017 – Popped open a low-fill bottle to see how carb’s doing. Decent carb, and tastes great. Yeast character is shining right now – citrus and stone fruit in equal measure, nice and dry with a moderate spice of clove and pepper. It’s still young so we’ll see where it goes but very happy thus far.

May 7, 2017 – A sulphur note cropped up around 3-4 weeks in bottle and is still there presently. It does dissipate though, and underneath is quite a nice beer. Not a ton of malt character – might up the vienna next go, or switch to floor malted pilsner. Hop profile is gentle but nice, could use some tweaking. Yeast is only a little spicy with fruity esters most prominent.

June 10, 2017 – That sulphur note has since disappeared. Those fruity esters and hop character have dropped but a nice dry soft mineral character has picked up. Drinking nicely. Dead clear at this point as well.