05 May 2009

May Homebrew News

Looking back....
I. The Stammerer is Stammer-pendous. It is a remarkable brew that, if I were doing a blind tasting, I would swear were a top-dollar Real Article. It's amazing.  And there's not a lot of it, so I'm definitely hoarding this one.  Although another is going to need to be popped open soon, so that Mrs. Perm can write her review!

II. The Josquin Saison is quite pleasant -- same yeast strain as the Stammerer and the APA, making a nice trio of Belgian-themed ales. It's not quite as spicy as if I had used a specifically Saison strain of yeast, and not quite as dry as I was hoping for, but it still delivers the goods.
It's also stee-rong. I was hoping for 7% ABV, and ended up with closer to between 8 and 9.  Not sure how or why that happened, since most of my brews end up UNDER the projected gravity. I can only point to a vigorous, warm primary fermentation: I stuck that puppy in a closet with a space heater and it went to TOWN.
It's a winner with an array of foods (as any saison worth its salt should be) and is also great on its own -- I'm fond of sitting in the solo hammock-chair on the front porch during these spring/early summer rain showers, Josquin in hand, and letting the moment soak in. (Or, as the great Strong Bad once quipped, "On certain evenings in late spring, a Cool One can be very refreshing...")
I'm also holding a few back, as this one is sure to be an all-star in the cellar.

Looking Sideways...
I. The Gaelic Ale clone is in the bottle and will come forth for its tasting in a couple of weeks.  And it has a St. Cecilia name --

Amy Beach Gaelic Symphony Ale

Had to cast about just a bit for this one, but I like the result. Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (self-called in her American-published compositions, Mrs. H.H.A. Beach) (1867-1944) was a late-19th century pianist and composer of New England stock with a penchant and flair for the Celtic Romanticism that was all the rage in those days, penning a number of piano solos with Scottish allusions, as well as the Symphony in E Minor, "The Gaelic." She was a wonderful composer.

Much like the ale from which this recipe takes its cue, Beach's music was solidly American, but firmly rooted in the classic European tradition, and often took its romantic inspiration from the mythology and poetry of Scotland. 

II. I've just started the next brew: a reprise of the Silvius Leopold (Hefe) Weiss, with a reformulated recipe courtesy of Alex at Hops & Vines.  I'm feeling good about this one, and think this recipe will be an improvement over last year's. 
Just for fun, here's another couple of great moments from Weiss:

Looking ahead...
I'm getting excited about incorporating some local ingredients into my 
upcoming brews: in addition to the hops that I'm growing in my friend 
CW's garden, I've also been given the green light to avail myself of his 
plenteous blueberry (and raspberry) bushes. I'm seeing a blueberry 
wheat ale in my future, probably in July (and already have a name picked 
out!). I'm also looking ahead to trying my hand at a Gruit Ale. What's 
that, you may ask? Well, come back to a future post and find out! Suffice 
to say, my version will involve juniper, rosemary, and whatever other crazy 
herbs I can get my hands on.

hoppin' to it! A baby Cascade. They've more than doubled in size since this shot was taken.

So where's the Perm's Pick? It has been quite a while, has it not. Never 
fear, I've not given up that pursuit: it's simply been a goodly while since I've 
partaken of anything new (to me) that's quite worthy of the distinction. My 
recent beer-purchasing/quaffing forays have involved tried-and-true favorites 
such as Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Anderson Valley Boont Amber, and a mighty 
fine Hefe-glass of Weihenstephaner. Oh, and Harpoon's Raspberry Wheat Ale 
gets a solid honorable mention. Don't worry, though, I've got a bottle of something 
over here that I'm eager to break out, and think just might make Pick standards. 
Stay tuned....