Back to Brewing!

I have to say it’s fantastic to be back brewing in my apartment. Three months of empty carboys is really a sad sight. Fortunately, last week I was able to crank out not one, but TWO brew days!

SMaSH Session Saison
The first brew day was a session-style saison using a SMaSH recipe in which I’m calling 3xS (for SMaSH Session Saison). This beer recipe is designed to achieve two goals: to make a nice, light farmhouse-style ale to enjoy during the remaining hot summertime weather and to improve my fermentation process with Belgian-ish style beers. In particular, I’m looking to optimize my saison process, chiefly the fermentation and the associate character from Wyeast 3724 Belgian Saison yeast strain, which is often reported as being a bit difficult. As a starting point, I thought that a simple base recipe (100% pilsner malt + one 60-minute bittering addition using soft-ish water) at a low starting gravity (~1.040) should be a great way of identifying the fermentation character, ester/phenol balance, etc. since the simplicity of this recipe will prevent any flaws being easily hidden (for example behind a load of late hops, speciality malt, etc.). While some of the brew day photos can be seen above, I’m planning to post a more extensive brew day and tasting note series on this brew. More on this later.

Summer Picnic American Wheat
In addition to the 3xS, I also brewed up an American-style wheat beer I’m calling Summer Picnic American Wheat (I know, not a very creative name). My homebrew club’s (the Austin ZEALOTS) summer picnic is around the corner, and since it’s a keg drag (usually 30-40 kegs), I thought I’d brew up something light, fresh, and quenching for the likely 100+ F summer day, and a low-gravity American-style wheat beer fits that bill. Its recipe is based on previous American-style wheat brews I’ve made before, but this time (just to change things up for no apparent reason), I added a small percentage of Munich just to see how much it would impact the flavor and overall character. My hope is that the small Munich addition will add a slight toasty, grainy quality to reinforce the bready, wheaty character of this brew, and through attenuation, prevent the beer becoming too sweet or heavy on the palate. At present, its fermentation is just about over and gravity samples are spot on. I think this brew will be a hit at the picnic. Tasting notes on this brew soon to follow.

Upcoming Apartment Brewing Tech Series on RO Water
From the last post, I detailed several brewing technologies I recently acquired to aid in my apartment brewing. One of the devices I purchased was a counter-top RO system, which has been able to nearly filter out all of the water compounds from my source tap (Austin water is a bit on the carbonate side). For the next few posts, I’m planning detailing my RO setup including why RO water can be helpful in brewing, how RO systems work, and how I use my new counter-top RO system in my brewing process (sneak preview: it works awesome albeit a bit slow, but more importantly, doesn’t take up much space!).

How was your week in homebrewing? Leave your experiences in the comment section below. Cheers and happy brewing!

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