Thursday, September 30, 2010

My triple decoction Vienna Lager

No surprise here, this style emerged near Vienna. First brewed around 1840. It was popular for a time but was overtaken with the introduction of Pilsner.  Nearly extinct around Vienna It is now probably easier to find in Mexico. Immigrant brewers brought it to Mexico and beers like Negro Modelo and Dos Equis are actually Vienna lagers. Unfortunately most of the commercial styles have lost their rich malt taste. This beer should be lighter than an Oktoberfest and should have a clean flavor with no fruity esters. Malt should be front and center but it can have moderate hop levels as well.

This beer is both my first lager and triple decoction. Traditionally this was brewed using the triple decoction so I really wanted to follow that process. It took about twice as long to do it this way, but it was a good learning experience. It spent about eight weeks lagering in my fridge and probably could have sat longer. I just couldn't wait any longer to try it out.This beer is nearly all Vienna malt. It has about 4% Carmel malt for some added color. It also uses Hallertauer hops exclusively. A very simple but tasty recipe.

Recipe: Vienna

Style: Vienna Lager
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 5.00 gal     
Boil Size: 5.72 gal
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated Color: 8.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 26.6 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU     
8.50 lb       Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)                     Grain        95.5 %       
0.40 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)     Grain        4.5 %        
1.50 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.10%]  (60 min) Hops         22.8 IBU     
0.50 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.10%]  (15 min) Hops         3.8 IBU      
1 Pkgs        SafLager West European Lager (DCL Yeast #SYeast-Lager               

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Belgian Strong Dark Ale

As the name suggests this is a high gravity style. ABV is in the 8-11% range and the style is pretty open for interpretation. Today it is mostly brewed by Trappist and Abby breweries. What’s the difference? A Trappist beer is made in the monastery by monks that follow strict rules. Today there are only 7 such Trappist breweries. The most well know is Chimay and the oldest is Westmalle. Abby beers are made in commercial breweries and are licenced to use the names of monasteries. They attempt to recreate the styles of beers that were or still are brewed in the monastery. Some well known examples are Leffe and Grimbergen.

With this style the alcohol can be well hidden or in your face. The body can be medium to heavy. The hop profile can range from 20 - 35 IBUs. Some versions tend to be dry (or as Belgians say “more digestible”). The differences and variations in this style will become apparent when comparing commercial styles such as Chimay Blue to Gulden Draak. All should have some fruity esters from moderate to strong, and can contain raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune notes. Spicy peppery like phenols may also be present. All versions contain a significant amount of sugar in addition to rich malts. This style never uses any spices. Everything you smell and taste will come from the sugars, malts, and yeast that were used.

Alcohol by Vol: 9.6 %
Bitterness: 25.5 IBU
Est Color: 17.0 SRM

This BDS is still an infant really. It is probably about 3 months old and will only start to peak at around 12 months. It is intensely fruity with a lot of raisin and fig aroma and flavor. The hop level is low and the 9.6% ABV is very well hidden. In producing this 4 gallon batch 14 pounds of malt, 1 pound of homemade inverted amber candy sugar and 1 pound of Belgian amber candi syrup was used.

This is an ABV bomb! If you’re a Belgian fan, Bottoms up, but beware!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What is Revival Brewing?

I recently started writing down the history and descriptions of some of my recent creations and decided to start presenting it in a blog format. The focus will be entirely on beer and my brewing.

So what's in this name? Revival brewing means two things to me.
The first is that I chose the name after rejoining the art of home brewing after a long 10 year hiatus. So it represents the reviving of the brew for me. I have now been brewing all grain non-stop for about the past 15 months. 
The other reason for the names is that I love history. To me history and beer go hand in hand.  I want to understand how beer has evolved over time, and I want to know what it tasted like. Beer appears along with the earliest know civilizations. Almost every culture that has had access to the right ingredients has created and celebrated it in some way or another. Not everything I brew has some long history to it, but I am definitely drawn to styles that do.
I hope my friends enjoy the beers as much as I enjoyed making them. I hope I do them the justice they deserve!