Category Archives: Terroir

Rachel and Andrew’s Ginger Hibiscus Saison

My girlfriend and I brewed this one up this past summer, taking advantage of the high-heat to ferment at proper Saison temperatures.  This one was brewed with my sour-beer equipment, which most definitely has bugs living in it.  It was fermented with WYeast 3724 Belgian Saison, but many of the distinct characteristics of that yeast have been muted by the lovely wild yeasts living in my equipment.  First, the recipe, than a full review of the beer.

Ingredients

Amt

Name

Type

#

%/IBU

10 lbs

Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)

Grain

1

83.3 %

8.0 oz

Caravienne Malt (22.0 SRM)

Grain

2

4.2 %

8.0 oz

Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)

Grain

3

4.2 %

1.00 oz

Styrian Goldings [5.40 %] – Boil 60.0 min

Hop

5

17.2 IBUs

1.00 oz

Styrian Goldings [5.40 %] – Boil 30.0 min

Hop

6

13.3 IBUs

1 lbs

Turbinado (10.0 SRM)

Sugar

4

8.3 %

1.0 pkg

Belgian Saison (Wyeast Labs #3724) [125.00 ml]

Yeast

7

Spices/herbs:

4oz. of dried Hibiscus at 15 min

.5oz of dried Ginger at 5 mins

Mash details:

Single batch infusion–Mash at 148 F for 75 minutes.  Sparge with 170 F water. OG= 1.060 FG= 1.002 ABV= 7.6%

Review

Appearance:  Pours with a small, frothy white head.  The body of the ale is a copperish red/pink, getting most of its color from the Hibiscus.

Aroma:  Slight coriander spiciness, hints of fresh rain, straw, and solvent.

Flavor:  Tangy with a hint of hop bitterness on the back.  Very little ginger character, but the hibiscus really cuts through built on top of a hay-like malt profile.  Mouthfeel is thin and bubbly.  The obvious brett/lactic presence adds some layers of acidity and rustic, barnyard characteristics, though at the same time muddling the spiciness that the WYeast strain is known for.

Overall Impression:  Drinkable and stronger than it would seem to be.  It’s a little underwhelming to drink do to some of the flavors just being muddled.  The ginger has little presence, and in future incarnations of this brew I would use fresh ginger, as opposed to the stale dried ginger I used here.  I would also not inoculate it by using sour equipment–I would either go one way with just the WYeast 3724, or the other way with a purposeful lab strain of Brett or a blend of bugs.  For now though it’s a drinkable brew, and a noble first attempt at the recipe.

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Filed under Beer, Brewing, Sour Ale, Terroir

Hop Terroir and the Non-Northwestern-United-States

There’s an interesting post over at Beervana.com about the recent rise in hop-growing in states that aren’t Washington or Oregon.

Hop acreage in these states is miniscule by comparison to the Pacific Northwest. (Oregon has 4,600 acres under cultivation and Washington a booming 24,300; Colorado has 75 and Wisconsin and the Northeast similarly measure their acreages in the tens, not thousands.)

Still, these are real numbers. An acre of hop fields produces over 2,000 pounds of hops, so that wee Colorado planting is going to produce around 150,000 pounds of hops. That’s not going to go far at Budweiser, but these growers aren’t working with In-Bev, they’re working with craft brewers.

The article goes on to describe that these small farmers are supporting and being supported by small brewers, but what piqued my interest is that these hops being grown elsewhere in the US will develop their own terroir.  Just as a tomato grown in my back yard in Michigan is going to taste different (not to mention fresher) than a tomato grown in California, boxed and shipped to a local supermarket, hops grown in different areas of the country are going to have different qualities than if they were grown elsewhere.  It’s one of the many beauties of life.  It makes me thankful that our state has great resources like The Michigan Hop Alliance.

Last week, two friends of mine (Mitch and Chris) and I brewed an IPA with hops grown in Australia and New Zealand–Pacific Jade, Rakau, and Galaxy.  It’s currently sitting in secondary with some dry-hops, waiting until next week for us to bottle it.  I am very interested to see how these different hops contribute new flavors, and I’ll be sure to post a review/recipe when it’s done.  If it’s anything interesting like the Nelson Sauvin (another New Zealand hop–very grape-like) and Vienna Malt SMaSH pale ale I did last winter, it’s going to be a hit.

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Filed under Beer, Hops, Terroir