I just couldn’t wait and had to open up a bottle of “Grant Us Eyes,” our hazy IPA with Nelson & Mosaic hops. It hasn’t quite been two weeks in the bottle, but it is developing very, very nicely. I did a carbonation and taste test yesterday (1/31). Here are the results:
Bottle date: 1/20/2018 Carbonation: 2.4 Volumes
Aroma: Fruit medley; apricot, mango, and grapes up front with a nice passion fruit and peach aroma on the backend of the smell. It’s very tropical and it’s a very dense smell. A lot going on, but you can definitely smell each distinct hop aroma.
Appearance: A hazy golden orange, really nice color.
Body: Probably the softest or “cloudiest” beer we’ve ever made. I think we nailed the water profile for this one. Incredibly smooth and keeps you coming back for more… or to use one of my favorite words: crushable.
Taste: This is where the beer shines (thankfully). Huge notes of grape (white wine?), apricots, and mango up front. Then on the backend you get this juicy flavor of peaches mixed with berries. There is a distinct grapefruit and passion fruit flavor as you swallow. Very well rounded and you can taste all of these hops upon drinking it.
Overall, extremely pleased with how this beer came out and hopefully everyone else will be when we are serving it our Super Bowl party. Cheers.
Our previous brew, which I did not chronicle for reasons I will soon get into, was for a “brett” IPA (fermented with WLP644) that we brewed back in 2015. I chose not to document the brew day because it just so happen to be the brew day from hell. Murphy’s law was absolutely in full affect that day. Some of our issues included; a stuck sparge, plate chiller getting clogged THREE times (!!), forgetting to take a gravity reading, and last but not least about 1 gallon of trub in the fermenter. Initial sample tasted… pretty great! We bottled it when we brewed this next beer.
Wheat beers are admittedly not my favorite style, they just aren’t very exciting. We have made in the past two wheat beers; Smeagol’s Precious: Oranges. We tried it with cara-cara oranges which came from our good friend Smeagol’s (Denys) backyard and with cuties. I gave most of mine to friends and let them be the judge. They were both pretty successful, everyone really liked them. I had a preference to the cara-cara oranges because the cuties version seemed a bit too sweet for me.
We decided to brew it for a third time to have it for the summer and for our trip to Hawaii. We both agreed to switch it up, we didn’t want to do oranges again. It was between strawberries and blueberries, and because we haven’t much success with strawberries we decided to use blueberries. I think 6-7 lbs of pureed blueberries should be enough. We will be adding it once primary fermentation has ended.
We were hoping for a better brew day this time around and the beer gods rewarded us with just that. Our mash went off without a hitch and we hit our target temps right on the nose. Our mash out temp was 153.6F and our sparge temp was 168F. We collected 7.3 gallons of sweet wort and started our boil. We undershot our 7.5 gallon wort expectancy by .2 gallons, but it wasn’t enough to where it really made a difference. Pre-boil gravity was at 1.035.
There really wasn’t anything particularly interesting about this brew day, other than the fact that it went off without a hitch. While we were brewing this batch we started talking about certain things we’d like to start doing. One of them was vorlaufing, as previously noted clarity is not something that we have really been concerned with. Now though, as we are getting more and more experienced (and we have a hoppy pilsner on the horizon) we would really like to establish some clarity with our new brews. Granted, we didn’t do it for this wheat, next brew day will be different.
At the 30 minute mark we added the second ounce of hops to the boil and patiently waited for the 45 minute mark. Once that arrived we added our whirlfloc tablet and yeast energizer. We then started to prep our plate chiller and ice bath. I guess the one thing extraordinary that happen on this batch was that our plate chiller, in one pass, cooled our wort down from 199F to 58F in about 10 minutes. This is absolutely insane. When we checked the temp we both thought our thermometer was off, but it turns out it wasn’t. I’ve never seen that type of efficiency on the plate chiller and after the disaster that was last week… it was a nice surprise.
We collected 4.4 gallons of wort and cut it off, trying to minimize the amount of hop and grain residue in the fermenter. We took a gravity reading and it was 1.046, .001 off our target gravity. Pitched one packet of Safale US05 yeast, attached a blow-off tube and tucked this batch away in the depths until it’s time to add the blueberries.
It can’t be stated how easy this brew day was. Nothing went wrong and things actually exceeded expectations. We unfortunately don’t have any of the old batch of Smeagol’s Precious: Oranges to do a side by side, but since this is blueberries it isn’t the end of the world. We had also thought of taking a gallon of this and adding vanilla and cinnamon, like a blueberry pie. Maybe.
Omniscience & Proselytism is an oak aged sour that is refermented with fresh strawberries from an orchard local to the Jester King brewery. Strawberry sours… normally not a phrase synonymous with good taste. More often than not any type of sour beer using strawberries falls under the dreaded category of either “band aid” or “medicinal”, so when Jester King released this beer, I was skeptical. The taste or smell most often referred to as “band aid” is actually a phenol and when it bonds with chlorine forms a chlorophenol. This can be caused from wild yeast or from improper sanitation methods. Since strawberries contain tons of wild yeast, well, you get the picture. Enough about off flavors – let’s talk about the beer!
O&P pours a hazy orange with an underlying reddish tone. The color is pretty akin to most strawberry beers, but they are always nice to look at. Head retention is rather poor, but with a beer as dry as this it’s to be expected. The aroma of this beer is very complex; dried strawberries, leather, and intense brett funk. I’m sure the funk is highlighted because of the natural funk emitted from the strawberries. No off aromas detected on the nose of this beer, so let’s hope it tastes as good as it smells.
Upon first sip you get a burst of acidity and leathery funk. It seems the fruit flavor is really subtle in this beer, the beer finishes dry with a bit of citrus at the end. I let my palate rest for a while before I took another sip, wondering if it would adjust to the acidic nature of the beer. My second sip was a completely different experience; light acidity with huge notes of strawberry, assorted berries, and barnyard funk. O&P tastes just like strawberry pie with subtle hints of lemon and brett funk.
I was a bit nervous after my first sip, but any tepidity quickly subsided after I took my second sip. Jester King offers up nothing but balanced sours that hit on all the right notes. O&P is definitely the best strawberry I’ve had to date and I have feeling it’s going to be very, very difficult to change that.