Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Kveik - It's Advent Season!

The end of November is upon us, and for members of my homebrewing club this means one thing - our annual advent beer exchange. This year we had 25 brewers exchanging beers, which we will enjoy starting today and running through to December 24th. A much better advent calendar than those crummy chocolates!

My contribution to this years exchange is a Kveik, a Norweigian Farmhouse Ale, with a goal with this beer was to “reimagine” what the vikings who settled the north-east coast of Canada a millennium ago may have brewed. So in place of traditional Norweigian ingredients (juniper, European hops) I used instead spruce and wild hops native to Canada's far north.

Recipe and various notes & ramblings can be found below the fold - I'll post full tasting notes on the official day for my beer in the advent exchange.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Black Adder

This year marked the fourth year of my hop farming experiment. I added two centennial plants this year, to go with my cascades and goldings. Over the past few years I've brewed a variant of a black IPA, which I've called the black mamba (year 1, 2, 3). While I've enjoyed playing with that recipe, the new centennial hops plus a desire to try something new led me to develop a new beer for this years hop harvest.

Sticking with the snake theme, this years beer is the "Black Adder the 1st", although that should be taken more along the lines of Rowan Atkinson than of a scary big snake. This beer is still a black IPA, but with a lot of changes from the black mamba of yesteryear. Gone are the rye and wheat malts, with the beer brewed to be drier and more hop-forward. This beer contains 225g (a half-pound) of centennial and cascade hops, and even more oddly, was brewed using a Kveik yeast kindly sent to me by a Norwegian brewer. The vision of this beer was to emphasise the citrus notes of the hops with a yeast strain with a reputation for orange-like esters.

This didn't come out exactly as I had envisioned, and the hop character faded awfully fast, but I did learn two things while making this beer. 1) I am probably drying my hops incorrectly, which would account for their slightly different than excepted character and poor in-beer stability. Apparently I should dry them using a dehydrator or over at ~55C/130F (link). 2) Kveik yeast kicks ass in dark beers. The orange character blends nicely with roast malts, giving a character similar to orange-infused chocolate. A future stout will be brewed with this yeast!

Recipe and tasting notes can be found below the fold...