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The Pilot brew for the Thirsty Dog Saison project was ready for bottling today. It's a simple single stage fermentation, two weeks on the yeast with a gradually decreasing temperature. This allows the yeast to metabolize some of the yeast esters so the beer has a restrained complexity verses a lot of funk and pepper that some Saisons have. This beer has a very simple malt bill, and a small addition of three herbs grown on the Canary Islands. Aggressive yeast esters would ride all over it.

A pre-bottling sample indicates a very promising, easy drinking beer. Fresh and cold the herbs are restrained and refreshing - just a tickle in the background. As it warms they present a guarded savory profile that is well balanced by the clean malts and medium light body. To me it seems you could pour a glass and it would compliment a fresh salad or a cold soup like gazpacho, and when you get to the entree the warming nudges it into a space where the savory characters will go with a more substantial dish. I'm really looking forward to tasting it when carbonated.

In the next couple weeks I'll tune the recipe a little for a 3 barrel batch and send it to Fran at Tierra de Perros. He should be able to have bottles ready when the warm summer months bring out the thirsty dogs on the Islas Canarias. The original name incidentally comes from the Latin "Canis Area", (land of dogs) because large dogs were roaming the island when the first settlers of Gran Canaria arrived.

Time for the photos...

Chilled to drop the yeast, and standing by for bottling
Chilled to drop the yeast, and standing by for bottling.
An appropriate shirt shields the beer from sunlight.
An appropriate shirt shields the beer from sunlight.
Color looks great
Color looks great, it will probably retain a little haze when very cold from the wheat in the grain bill.
Residual sugars right where expected.
Residual sugars right where expected. FG 1.014 with the adjustment for fermenting wort.
Two cases of 12 ounce bottles.
Two cases of 12 ounce bottles.
And one 750ml for me to stash deep in the cellar.
And one 750ml for me to stash deep in the cellar.



Brewing the pilot batch for an herb infused Saison that will be brewed by Tierra de Perros, cerveza artesanal. Here's the official description for the project:

Concept Description: A light colored, medium-light bodied beer, in the style Belgian Saison, incorporating the influence of spices and aromatics grown on or associated with the Canary Islands.
Subjective Target: Unique and refreshing beer with enough complexity to be enjoyed in all seasons, and particularly appropriate for warm weather, and/or as an accompaniment to food.

So, enough chit-chat. Let's get to the photos. From the brewday five days ago, until this morning.

Thirsty Dog Recipe
Three things make a good beer. A good recipe, quality ingredients, and a good brewer.
Perfect mash temp, perfect pH
Mash temp and pH were perfect from the start. That's a good sign.
Herbs, hops, malts, yeast
A peek at the herbs in Thirsty Dog.
First runnings looking awesome
First runnings looking awesome.
Protein break looking awesome
Protein break looking awesome.
24 hours after fermentation starts
24 hours after fermentation starts, it's nearly done.
5th day and it is clearing
5th day and it is clearing.



Yin was the first barrel project through a red wine barrel hosted by my friend Scott Bennett. A huge true lager Baltic Porter. Now it's time for the second fill, so naturally we move to something - lighter? Balance Grasshopper.

A recipe for a Belgian Pale, grain bill by Shawn, hop bill by Scott, and yeast selection and fermentation schedule by me. We've a few brewers who will make between 5 and 10 gallons, finish primary fermentation, then bring them all together into one 70 gallon barrel. A spicy fruity Belgian Pale kissed by the colors and character of Red Wine and Baltic Porter. Should be quite elegant.

A few photos for your viewing pleasure.


Mash pH is appropriate
Mash pH is appropriate.
First wort hops, an SNB thing
First wort hops, an SNB thing.
Going to the fermenter, the wort is crystal clear
Going to the fermenter, the wort is crystal clear.
4 hours post pitch, a nice krausen
4 hours post pitch, a nice krausen.
21 hours post pitch, mostly attenuated
21 hours post pitch, mostly attenuated.



In “Other Brewery’s Brews” I will present tasting notes and/or thoughts about beers that creatively inspire me.

Fair warning to my brewer friends. Do not give me a beer to review unless you want my bald faced honest impression. I'm not going to publish it if I have a bad impression (unless you insist), but I'll tell you what I think. And I dump a good many beers that other people will finish. So full disclosure, my friend Easton, whom I have known since his first few homebrews, makes this beer. He's the pro-brewer at Iron Fist Brewing Company. Which means he should know how to make good beer and he'll get no gentleness - he asked for my honest feedback.

Appearance: Golden yellow, slightly hazy. Soft white head. Falls leaving fine lace.

Aroma: Clean and slightly sweet saltine like malt aromas. Character of savory herbs and chrysanthemum tea. Mustard and white pepper spiciness. Wulong tea sweet/fruitiness haunts the background.

Taste: Clean and restrained malt character. Bracing peppery and astringent bitterness, finishing long and dry like pomelo pith. Notes of a unifying savory herbal marker from beginning to end like Bay.

Mouthfeel: Light body begins fresh and slightly slick, moves quick to dry and spicy. Followed by a long crisply astringent finish.

Overall Impression: First let me say that Nelson Sauvin is one of my least favorite hops. It usually reminds me of French Onion Soup. So when my friend Easton - who brews this beer - told me I should try it, I warned him. He said, "I get the onion/garlic thing, but it's not in this beer."

You're right Easton, no onion soup characters at all. It's a helluva good IPA tilted "extra pale ale". On top of that, it's bottle conditioned. Clean and crisp, loaded with herbal and peppery notes, and a hop sticky astringent finish. Feels like a ridiculously simple grain bill and probably a single hop. Very well done and very easily drinkable.

In fact, I'll have another - just to confirm my high opinion.


Nelson The Impaler, Iron Fist Brewing Company
Nelson The Impaler, Iron Fist Brewing Company.
Pretty lace
Pretty lace.