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More news of the Spanish Robust Porter brewed at Mateo & Bernabé with the help of Sublime Imports. 1000 liters went into red wine barrels. 200 liters was packaged as is. Here's my notes on the beer from one of the test bottles that didn't go in the barrel.

Appearance: Slightly warm brown color. Light head.

Aromas: Pumpernickle bread, dried fruit, caramel. Palo Santo or cedar notes.

Flavors: Dark dried fruit (figs and plums), brown bread, caramel - well balanced with slight hop bitterness and tannins and roast from the cold extracted dark grains. Again, wood like notes similar to cedar or Palo Santo.

Mouthfeel: Hovering around medium, but the pepper and wood notes in the dark grain tannins create a restrained and balancing astringent/dry finish.

Overall Impression: It's wonderfully nuanced. Somewhere between a Belgian Dubbel and a Robust Porter. Yeast esters are British, fruity. Malts, bitterness, and tannins are all balanced well. I think it will marry to the characters from the Rioja red wine barrels perfectly.

Spanish Robust Porter test bottle.
Spanish Robust Porter test bottle.

 

BCT-88

BCT Quad 2014 (a small batch for friends and me) gets some hot wood. I've got this Hungarian oak stave I've already used in a Wee Heavy, and a crazy coconut water mead. I'm toasting it up, one half protected, then heavy toasting one face on one half.

Complexity and balance. It's always the way to go. The stave - post toasting - goes into the fermenter for the next eight months. Soon the whole deal goes into the 55F (13C) chamber.

I'm so looking forward to pouring this one. And I've only eleven months to wait.

Before toasting
Before toasting.

 

Half toast, one face dark toast.
Half toast, one face dark toast.
One Eighth Face Dark Toast
Looking forward to a touch of Crème brûlée bitter caramel.
Dropped it in while still hot
Dropped it in while still hot.
This end wicks the complexities between liquid and gas in the fermenter
This end wicks the complexities between liquid and gas in the fermenter.

 

BCT-88

Like "Just an English IPA". One of the claims Beancurdturtle Brewing makes is "fresh interpretations of classic styles".

Today I brewed an English IPA. Sure, there's a sneaky English adjunct addition, and a new fangled hop treatment. But it is 100% English - barley, adjunct, hops, yeast, and water profile. And if the tasting of the wort going into the fermenter is any indication - this is going to be an arse kicking ale.

I love a classic style well done. And love even more - a classic style done weller. Or is that more well?

English IPA booting up
English IPA booting up.

 

BCT-88

BCT Quad 2014 (a small batch for friends and me) on transfer to bulk conditioning vessel. Siphon to glass. I use glass for the personal brews that will condition for longer than eight weeks. This Quad will be in bulk cold conditioning for eight months altogether.

I will add a small charge of simple sugar so the yeast can drive off any oxygen introduced in the transfer. When the airlock is still, I will drop a re-toasted - three times used - Hungarian oak stave in and let it ride at 45F (7C) until late September then bottle it.

Of course I tasted the gravity sample. I think there's probably some obscure Belgian law that says you can't predict how good a Quad will be after only two weeks fermenting, but I'm an outlaw, and I'm going to call this one. The sample was delicious! I still have a good feeling about this one.

Transfer begins.
Transfer begins.
Specific gravity of 1.020 means 9.7%
Specific gravity of 1.020 means 9.7%, but it will go lower.
Ready to go back in the fermentation chamber.
Ready to go back in the fermentation chamber.
Perfect color, great aromas, great flavor.
Perfect color, great aromas, great flavor.
Tucked away in the fermentation chamber.
Tucked away in the fermentation chamber.

 

BCT-88

A cold virus is killing me. The only effective antidote is taking it easy, and lots of hops.

I'm enjoying a really nice Double IPA, because compounds in hops are proven to have moderately effective anti-viral properties for Rhinovirus (the common cold). Plus reducing the ache and tension from the virus.

Here's a summary from one research project:

"In summary, iso-a-acids and xanthohumol were shown to have a low-to-moderate antiviral activity against several viruses. These hop constituents might serve as interesting lead compounds from which more active anti-HCV, anti-Rhino and anti-herpesvirus antiviral agents could be synthesized."

Tomorrow I rest. I have to study for my Chemistry of Beer class anyway.

 

BCT-88

BCT Quad 2014 (a small batch for friends and me) after 10 days in primary. Time to remove the blowoff and top it with an airlock. While doing so I added 100 grams of a simple sugar adjunct. It should rouse the yeast and get them to drive the gravity lower for a drier finish and a higher ABV percentage.

Ambient temperatures are expected to be 88F (31C). It's good to have automated temperature control, as I want this beer at 70F (21C) for a week still.

The aromas are still intoxicating - both literally and figuratively. I have a good feeling about this one.

Switched from blowoff to airlock.
Switched from blowoff to airlock.

 

BCT-88

Someone told me today that what was happening at Beancurdturtle Brewing wasn't really clear, because I hadn't made an announcement. So, here goes...

Thanks to the generous support of Sublime Imports, Beancurdturtle Brewing LLC is an actual Gypsy Brewer. As real as any other Gypsy Brewer like Mikkeller, Pretty Things, and such - just fewer batches. I traveled to Spain in late November and concept collaboration brewed with two craft breweries to produce two fine beers that will be imported into the US. The Beancurdturtle Brewing logo will be on the label of beers at your favorite bottle shop, and the beer will be on draft at some exclusive craft beer venues.

The first, named "Valencia Saison", is a Saison with Valencian orange peel, rose hips, and orange blossom honey. I tried this off the fermenter, and was really pleased with everything about it. It's already conditioning in bottles and kegs - and the feedback from people who have tried it is very good. It should be available in the US, in two to three months, in limited markets. This beer was brewed at Premium Beers from Spain, the makers of unique and delicious craft beers like La Socarrada and Er Boquerón.

The second, as yet un-named, is a hybrid Robust Porter targeted to complement the characters of the Rioja wine barrels that it is now aging in. It should be chocolaty caramel rich, and carry the berry (red wine) and wood characters from the barrels very well. When it will be imported is based on the whims of the barrel. When the character is right, it will be bottled and kegged, and imported into the US. I'm going to guess around June. This beer was brewed at Mateo & Bernabé, an excellent craft brewery in the Rioja wine region of Spain.

So there you have it. My "Super Hobby" has transitioned into Gypsy Brewing thanks to Sublime Imports. So how can you be sure to get your hands on one of Beancurdturtle Brewing's beers? When you are at your favorite bottle shop or craft beer venue, ask them when they will be getting some of the great beers from Sublime Imports. A push from the bottom up will create the incentive necessary to get the distributors to take notice.

Mash ingredients for Valencia Saison
Mash ingredients for Valencia Saison.

 

BCT-88

... in the life of a Quad.

BCT Quad 2014 (a small batch for friends and me) after a week in primary. The krausen has fallen, but I'll leave it on the trub and yeast. It will continue to work slowly at 70F metabolizing funky byproducts of the active fermentation which peaked at 76F. The chamber smells wonderful - the gas blowoff from fermentation is drowning in dried fig, caramel, and spices.

It's amazing the characters that come from this beer style which is essentially Pilsen malt and Belgian Candi Syrup as fermentables. The magic is in the yeast esters and what you draw out of them through temperature control, time, and tightly crossed fingers.

When it goes to secondary in a week, I'll goose it with 90 grams of beet sugar so the yeast will consume any oxygen, and drive the gravity down a little more. I'll be adding a medium toast Hungarian oak stave (I'll re-toast it lightly) that has already been in a Wee Heavy, and a Show Mead. I just want gentle barrel character to support the yeast esters.

Then it will rest gently, bulk conditioning at cellar temps for eight months. I'll transfer to bottles with Champagne yeast in September. It will be ready to serve in early December of 2014.

Active primary fermentation is complete
Active primary fermentation is complete

 

BCT-88