Finally got around to brewing my Bière de Garde for the reddit competition in a couple months. I had planned to brew it a few months ago, but got busy with other things in life. As life tends to do. My intention was to lager it a bit before sending it in so that it would clear and dissipate some of the green-beer flavors. I guess the couple months of lagering will have to do.
While prepping for brewday I decided I might want a drink of a saison I made a couple months ago. Upon opening my freezer I noticed a small puddle of liquid in the bottom. I had this in my larger freezer as well and figured it was some drips from the cobra tap and condensation. I’ve also been battling a leak somewhere in my system so I always check the level of my 5# CO2 tank to make sure the leak is under control. So first things first – grab the tank and check the level. Empty! So the leak followed over to the small freezer.
I had just replaced a poppet on this keg last week and was having issues with it as well because the bottom of the poppet is apparently designed for a different keg. The top of the poppet would angle a bit when taking the quick connect off allowing a bit of air to escape for a second or two. I thought I had alleviated this issue when I bent the tabs at the bottom of the poppet to allow it to seat better. I started cursing this damn poppet again and thought the other side might have gone bad as well.
I charged the keg with about 30 psi and began soap testing every inch of the keg. No leaks. So I checked the disconnect. No leaks there either. It was the damn cobra tap (or picnic tap) that was slowly leaking. That sucks. Had I not had other small little leaks everywhere I would have found this problem months ago and not lost about 15 gallons of decent beer. The saison was pretty good. I only got about 64 ounces out of it and drank it while finishing this batch.
So, back to this batch.
Decided that I would make a pretty simple version of Bière de Garde for this go around. I’m also entering the imperial stout category and spent a good deal of time and energy on that batch. Not to mention money. With simplicity in mind I took to a great book with plenty of helpful guidance:
I used the Artisinal Brewery Version on page 89. I did however forget to add the sugar and will probably add that during fermentation. Or just omit it as the gravity was pretty close to what I was shooting for. I might have ended up a point or two under, but I did collect a bit more than I wanted. So all is not lost. Aside from the muggy heat everything went without a single hiccup. Well, the weather and the forgetting the sugar.
Here is the recipe as I used it:
Recipe Specifications -------------------------- Boil Size: 7.26 gal Post Boil Volume: 6.76 gal Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal Bottling Volume: 6.00 gal Estimated OG: 1.074 SG Estimated Color: 9.1 SRM Estimated IBU: 23.1 IBUs Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 % Est Mash Efficiency: 81.5 % Boil Time: 60 Minutes Ingredients: ------------ Amt Name Type # %/IBU 11 lbs 10.7 oz Pilsen Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.0 SRM) Grain 1 73.2 % 2 lbs 5.3 oz Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2 14.6 % 12.4 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.9 % 8.7 oz Amber Malt (17.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.4 % 3.0 oz Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain 5 1.2 % 0.7 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 6 0.3 % 6.0 oz Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 7 2.4 % 42.50 g Fuggle [5.30 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 19.9 IBUs 15.00 g Hallertauer [3.10 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 9 3.2 IBUs Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out Total Grain Weight: 15 lbs 15.0 oz ---------------------------- Name Description Step Temperat Step Time Mash In Add 21.45 qt of water at 160.4 F 147.0 F 75 min
I used East Bay Yeast’s Kölsch yeast and will be keeping the fermentation around 65 F in the freezer I had to clean out. I will try and post some updates as they come. Still deciding if I should bottle this or keg it. If I do keg it I’m planning on buying new posts for all my kegs. Pricey, but will put my mind to ease. I will also be actually building my keg freezer to have my taps on it. One more peace of mind issue over the cobra taps.
And now, here are some pictures: