I've been brewing up a storm. Many of these have been test-batches of some Belgians I want to try and work on, others are seasonal or session house beers. Some good, some not so good. Always a work in progress. Here is about 3 months worth of brewing.
Brother Russell's Dubbel
Repitched the yeast from the Chanterelle Belgian, which is certainly the best of the string of Belgians. O.G. 1070. Pale, Munich, Aromatic, Special B, and Caramunich, with blackened honey and amber candi syrup, and 3 oz each dried cherries and prunes at the end of the boil. Came out ok, but finished a little sweet, probably due to a little too much Special B and a little too cold a ferment. The blackened honey had a nice toasted marshmellow thing, but it would be better in, say, a Toddy Porter.
Tom Kha Tripel
Fresh yeast, Saf T-58. O.G. 1080. Pilsner, Special Aromatic, Caravienne and Wheat. Magnum and NZ Hallertau. Inverted Thai palm sugar, galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Decent attenuation, up around 80%. Nice and dry, good carbonation. A bit heavy on the lemongrass, 4" at the last 5 minutes was too much.
Picked up 10 gallons of cider this time. In secondary in the cellar until April or May when I'll bottle it. Given that the last batch is 2 for 2, that is, 1st place in the WA Mead and Cider Cup and Best in Class at the Evergreen State Fair, I have high hopes for the next batch!
Pumpkin Spice and Christmas Spice Ales
10 gallon batch. O.G. 1054. Pale, CaraAmber, Crystal 60, Extra Special Malt, Melanoidin, Roast Pumpkin, Pumpkin Seeds, and Invert Sugar. Northern Brewers and Kent Goldings. Windsor Ale Yeast. Spiced half with Pumpkin Pie spice soaked in Liquor 43, half with more gingery Christmas spices in Bourbon. Total nightmare to sparge, chundery and thick in the ferment, pain to clear, finally needing Isinglass. Going to have to use a stovetop partial mash next time to get the pumpkin to sparge better. Otherwise, fairly tasty on nitro.
Free Ballard! Secession Lager
10 gallon batch. O.G. 1050. 100% Gambrinus Organic Pilsner malt. Horizon and Sterlings, about 35 IBUs. Saf-23 dry lager yeast, then some Wyeast Bohemian Lager when the 23 was being sluggish. Currently lagering.
Yggdrasil Mk 1
The World Tree. Designed to be this year's Winter Ale. A jet black, 9% Belgian Strong Dark, oaked, with Aquavit Spices. O.G. 1090. Pale, Munich, Caramunich, Aromatic, Carafa II, Chocolate, and Special B. Magnum and Pacific Hallertauer. Homemade Amber and Dark Candi Syrup. Aquavit Spices in the last 5 min. Repitched T-58 Belgian yeast. Toasted oak chips for a week. Unfortunately I'm beginning to think the homemade candi syrup isn't wildly fermentable, and also that the T-58 is very temperature sensitive. FG was 1030 so I added the dregs of two bottles of Orval and left it to Brett itself for a while, maybe knock that gravity down a few points. Tried again, sort of.
Yggdrasil Mk II
Brewed it again, this time knocking it down to 1084 with the intention being that increased attenuation and lower FG would keep the alcohol level about the same. Dropped the amber and lessened the dark candi syrup and the Special B to make it more fermentable. Swapped the pale for pilsner malt for more maltiness. At the last minute I decided to do a double batch, splitting half off into a different beer. Thought the color would come out ok but it lightened up, the Dark Candi wasn't as effective a darkener as BeerSmith thought. So it's more of a Dubbel. Decided to wood age it, and so it got a 1oz stick of Palo Santo wood for three days. Spicy and intense! Currently in secondary. Can't wait to try it.
The horned squirrel that lives in the World Tree. The second half of Yggdrasil II: an English Nut Brown, appropriately enough. Designed as a little house beer. O.G. 1.050. Fermented with Windsor ale yeast. Crushed a half pound of Victory malt, steeped on the stove at 150 for 20 minutes, then added the strained liquid to the boil to add the needed biscuit malt that was absent in the main grain bill. About 25 IBUs, just some Nugget for bittering and that's it. Going into a keg tonight if I can get a move on it.
Iron Swan Stout
Needed a winter beer that was big but not too big, hoppy but not too hoppy, and what better to do than a big American Stout. 10 gallons. O.G. 1062. Pale, Munich, Aromatic, Flaked Barley, Black Patent, Roasted Barley, Chocolate Malt, Extra Special malt. Columbus and Cascade for hops, about 60 IBUS. Windsor Ale yeast. Serious water mods on this one, estimated that the pH, unaltered, would be 4.8 thanks to the lack of buffering minerals in Seattle's water. Took quite a lot of chalk and baking soda to buffer it to 5.3. Beer came out great! Very pleased with the first keg. Unfortunately I added some bourbon soaked oak chips into the second keg and, while drinkable, it's not nearly as good.