The Thirsty Dog Project is all grown up, and stretched its wings.

Refreshing, brightly complex, slightly spicy, herbal and floral. And the aromas and flavors evolve as the beer warms and opens up.

This is a great beer that suits a warm Southern California - or Canary Islands - afternoon very well. I handed the recipe off to Tierra de Perros cerveza artesanal, the brewery on the Canary Islands for whom I crafted the beer.

There will soon be some lucky craft beer lovers off the west coast of Africa enjoying this unique Specialty Saison.

Cheers!
=BCT=

Thirsty Dogs Pilot Batch
Thirsty Dogs Pilot Batch

 

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Something new for Beancurdturtle Brewing. Project labels. Because (at least not right now) we don't sell beer. The beers we make are of two kinds.

  1. A pilot batch - a proof of concept. The beer is a unique recipe, crafted to meet the equipment capacity of a specific brewery and fit with the typical inventory, while simultaneously embodying the concept for the beer and expressing a little personality of the brewery and/or the region where the brewery makes its home.
  2. A sample recipe - which is a seasonal or specialty ale that usually uses new processes, creative ingredients, or exacting old school techniques. These beers are intended to demonstrate that great beer is always grounded in tradition and process, enhanced with something unexpected but not overwhelming.

The brewery that makes the beer will design their own label when they bring the beer to their customers. Sure, Beancurdturtle Brewing will get credit on the final label - but the beer is crafted so the brewery that brews it can proudly say that they own the concept, and the personality of the beer expresses something about them, and their home.

Cheers!
=BCT=

Porter Alcoiana Project - Pilot Batch
Porter Alcoiana Project - Pilot Batch
Black Lingerie - a sample recipe
Black Lingerie - a sample recipe. And in this case, an evolving reserve recipe.

 

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The Pilot brew for the Porter Alcoiana project was ready for bottling today. A two stage fermentation and a little coffee goes in for the last part. The color is dark and wonderful, especially for a beer with such restrained roast characters. And just enough residual sweetness to balance the coffee characters.

Photos for fun. Have a look. This is going to be a really nice beer.

Cheers!
=BCT=

Ready for transfer to the bottling vessel.
Ready for transfer to the bottling vessel.
Darker than expected, but that makes it pretty.
Darker than expected, but that makes it pretty.
Bottle caps sanitizing.
Bottle caps sanitizing.
10.2 brix - equivalent to 1.022FG - is a good balance for the coffee characters.
10.2 brix - equivalent to 1.022FG - is a good balance for the coffee characters.
That's just a pretty beer.
That's just a pretty beer.
Tres botellas.
Tres botellas.
Capping bottles, love the Grifo capper.
Capping bottles, love the Grifo capper.
This little piggy is ready for bottle conditioning.
This little piggy is ready for bottle conditioning.
Two cases of the Porter Alcoiana Project will go into the fermentation chamber.
Two cases of the Porter Alcoiana Project will go into the fermentation chamber.

 

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So, let's review the subjective target for this beer - the Thirsty Dog Project - I crafted for Tierra de Perros, cerveza artesanal.

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.

Well it is refreshing, complex, and slightly savory from the herbs grown on the Canary Islands where it will be brewed. But today I had a sandwich with cured meat and cheese, and olives - things typical for a light Spanish treat. I decided to test the "as an accompaniment to food" part of the target.

May I just say "Wow!"

It is absolutely on target, and such a perfect compliment to cured meats, cheese, and olives. And I'm sure it will also a great accompaniment to many other foods. Target achieved!

Cheers!
=BCT=

Thirsty Dog, a perfect food pairing beer.
Thirsty Dog, a perfect food pairing beer.

 

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So I'm making a cup of coffee this morning, pouring the water into the drip filter, and this inkling of "Seems like I'm forgetting something." goes through my head. I think, "Coffee, why does coffee shake this thought out?"

Ah! It's Thursday morning. Time for the final coffee addition for the Porter Alcoiana Project.

Cheers!
=BCT=

Torrefacto and natural roast blend, crushed and ready.
Torrefacto and natural roast blend, crushed and ready.
Crushed coffee rafting on the beer
Crushed coffee rafting on the beer.

 

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A quick update for the Porter Alcoiana Project for Cerveza Spigha. Three days after fermentation starts, it's time to switch from a blowoff tube to an airlock. While doing so we can check the color, aromas and flavors, and take a gravity reading. Comments are in the captions.

Cheers!
=BCT=

Looks smells and tastes very promising.
Looks smells and tastes very promising.
Adjusted gravity is 1.023
Adjusted gravity is 1.023, right on target for this far in.
Airlock is on
Airlock is on, and it looks like a 5 gallon café cortado.

 

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I will be brewing in Spain again. This time with Cervesera Alcoiana, the brewers of Cerveza Spigha. Spigha brews three year round beers - a Pale Ale, a Blonde, and a Brown Ale. All are well done beers. I'm going to help them develop a specialty beer that represents the city of Alcoy Spain where the brewery is.

What makes it "specialty"? For a Spanish beer it is richer, higher in alcohol, uses unusual processes (for Spain), and special ingredients. Still, I have crafted the recipe to remain well balanced and very drinkable, so it won't be a shock for the emerging Spanish craft beer drinker (they are called "Freakies")

Blend of Torrefacto and Medium Light roast coffee beans
The coffee is a blend of Torrefacto and medium light roast. Torrefacto is coffee beans roasted with sugar, which creates a deeply caramelized coating on the beans.

When I was in Spain in November of 2013 I met Pau, the head brewer for Cerveza Spigha. Pau is a smart, passionate, and knowledgable brewer. I heard that some people believe he will grow to be one of the best brewers in the country. I'm pleased that I am preparing a special beer for Spigha, and Pau, to brew. I know Pau will brew it well.

Here's the description for the project:

Concept Name: “Porter Alcoiana”
Concept Description: A dark chocolate colored, medium bodied beer, in the style Robust Porter, incorporating the aromatic and flavor characters of coffee local to Alcoy Spain, famous for Aperitivo Café de Alcoy.
Subjective Target: A dark and rich beer with chocolate and coffee characters, and a balancing base of residual sweetness. Spanish coffee beans will be used in brewing the beer to give it a character unique to the region of Spain where Cerveses Spigha brews.

Ok then, enough chit-chat. On to the photos. I've included some information in the captions about special processes, considerations, and ingredients used to brew this beer.

Cheers!

=BCT=

Re-creating the water from Alcoy.
This was an interesting twist. Pau sent me the water profile for Alcoy (they filter the local water to brew). The mineral profile is actually suited well to this beer, so I started with reverse osmosis water, and added minerals to build a proxy for the water that will be used to make the commercial batches.
Mash complete.
Mash is complete - and that's a Porter? Where's the color? No worries - it's coming.
Cold steep the black grains.
The black grains were cold steeping during the mash. Added between mashout, and the beginning of lautering.
Going Black 1
Cold steeped black grains added to the mash. Watch what happens...
Going Black 2
Darkness from the black grains infuses into the mash.
Going Black 2.5
First runnings.
Going Black 3
Darkness is mostly in the kettle.
Gone Black mash tun
Sparge is completing, and the color is all in the kettle.
Gone Black boil kettle
This reminded me of Van Gogh's painting "The Starry Night". Looks like a dark beer with a white head is coming.
Unfermented Wort
A look at the color to gauge what it will be when finished fermenting.
Unfermented Wort
Another look through a shallow layer, to see the warmth in the darkness.
Wort aerated pitched ready
The wort is aerated, yeast pitched, and the fermenter is ready for the temperature controlled chamber.
30 minutes post-pitch
30 minutes after pitching the yeast.
6 hours post-pitch
6 hours after pitching the yeast - that's a krausen de café.
14 hours post-pitch
14 hours post pitch and the beer is at high krausen. Fermenting at a restrained temperature for a clean English ale fermentation.

 

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