Here's an update for the small batch Quad I brew once a year. Beancurdturtle 2014 Quad was brewed on January 5th, went into cold conditioning on January 25th, and finally gets pulled from its dark corner to get bottled today. That's eight months of bulk conditioning, and with the benefit of a Hungarian oak stave that had been in a couple brews before for a bit of barrel character.

I pulled the fermenting vessel and its crate out to find a nice garden of mossy stuff. No worries, the beer is safe in glass. Added fresh yeast and some sugar to carbonate nicely. And bottled it up. No fancy bottles, the beer should speak for itself. Photos follow.

Cheers!
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Beancurdturtle 2014 Quad disinterred from its cozy corner.

Beancurdturtle 2014 Quad disinterred from its cozy corner.

A fluffy mossy garden.
A fluffy mossy garden.
Drenched the bung with vodka to sanitize it.
Drenched the bung with vodka to sanitize it.
Aroma, color, flavor - all are promising.
Aroma, color, flavor - all are promising.
Nothing fancy, something special.
Nothing fancy, something special.

 

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So I'd been tossing this idea around in my head for almost a year, to conceive and brew a beer with my Finnish friends Petteri, Jukka, and Tapio in mind. They are the three guys who make up the rock band Dead Sirius 3000.

Dead Sirius 3000
Dead Sirius - yeah right- 3000

Early last year they were visiting in the USA and I had the pleasure of taking them on a tour of local breweries. I found they have an affinity for American style IPAs. So, I thought, I'll make an IPA that is a bit different (like they are) and has something unusual to represent something about them. Apparently Finland is blanketed by forest, many of the trees being spruce. So...

Born is a Double Rye IPA with blue spruce tips, called "Dead Sirius". I'm pretty sure they won't sue me - because if they do, they won't get any of the beer. I modified the grains from a typical American IPA so it would be fairly easy to brew in Finland. That's assuming a brewery there was all excited to do so. I brewed it last week, so we're already in the second week of fermentation - not unusual for a beer over 8% ABV working at cooler than typical temperature.

So there's the story, and following are a few photos.

Cheers!
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Blue Spruce Tips.
Blue Spruce Tips.
Blue spruce tips in the brew kettle.
Blue spruce tips in the brew kettle.
18 brix. Good enough to top 8%.
18 brix. Good enough to top 8%.
The yeast starts working.
The yeast starts working.
Switching to an airlock
After a week, fermentation slows and we switch to an airlock and increase the temperature to finish dryer and allow the yeast to clean up flavors.

 

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Valencia Saison
Valencia Saison

A keg of Valencia Saison will be on tap today at 4:00pm at Out Of The Park Pizza. But just in case you can't be there, here's the ingredients so you can make it yourself.

Malts:
• Pilsner
• Wheat Malt
• Vienna
• Aromatic

Hops:
• Saaz
• Hallertauer
• Pacific Gem
• Chinook
• Tettnang

Spice and Adjuncts:
• Orange Peel Blend
• Rose Hips
• Orange Blossom Honey

Cheers!
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My good friend Scott, of SNB Brewing, asked me last night, “So what do you think of Valencia Saison?” And I didn't have a quick or easy answer. See, I think of the two pilot batches, the difficulty of getting the exact ingredients I wanted in Spain, the beer I was targeting, the beer we ended up with, the time it took to import from Spain and hit the West Coast of the USA, and more. All these things come together – and I lost the ability to just drink it and get a simple impression.

Chris Coddington, another brewer friend with whom I shared the second pilot batch said this the other day. “I am happy to say that I had the version of this before Daniel went to Spain. So I have something to compare. He made the improvements he wanted to and I really like what came out of it.” So why was it so hard for me to answer Scott’s simple question?

Then this morning I had a conversation with my lovely and level headed wife – who incidentally and ironically hates almost all beer – about my wishy-washy reaction to Scott’s question. See, I always want the beer I make to be extraordinary and to please everyone. I learned I can’t accomplish that. I can only do my best to make enjoyable, unique and interesting beer that pleases me and hopefully most people who drink it.

Ok, so Valencia Saison is just a beer, does it really rate so much angst? No, it doesn’t. Tonight after chores were done and dinner was finished, I opened a Valencia Saison, poured it in a Crooked Stave goblet, cleared my head – and drank it. So what did I think?

Valencia Saison
Valencia Saison

It’s pretty much the beer I was targeting. And if you brew, you know that’s not always easy to accomplish. But besides that – my overall impression? It’s a really enjoyable beer with wonderful complexity – It’ll do for fecking sure!

It pleases me. It won’t please everyone. But I hope it pleases you as well. And that – at the root of it – is why I make beer.

Angst dismissed!
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Well, not really. But maybe a celebration for the first keg tapped in California. Unless Bar Mikkeller in San Francisco is first. Rumor is, they have a couple kegs in their deep queue. And The Brew House in San Juan Capistrano has a keg too. But I'm willing to bet that the first keg tapped will be at Out of the Park Pizza.

So bottles of Valencia Saison were already released and sold out in Southern California. And you may not have had a chance to try it. Well, fear not my intrepid wanna-be Valencianos. A flood (a 30 liter flood) of Valencia Saison will be tapped at Out of the Park Pizza on Thursday, September 18th.

Location:
Out of the Park Pizza
5638 E La Palma Ave
Anaheim, CA 92807

Date and Time:
September 18th, 2014
OotPP opens at 4:00pm

Here's the deal. Dan, one of the partners at OotPP, is a huge supporter. He brought in a 30 liter keg of Valencia Saison. It will be tapped and ready to pour when they open the doors. So sure, be there for the beer. But there's even more incentive to be there.

Dan is great in the kitchen so you won't find a better American style pizza in "The OC". He manages (to do it right you have to put effort into it) one of the best stocked wall of taps you'll find in Orange County. And he's a homebrewer who I once collaborated with to make a really nice IPA level hopped Imperial Witbier.

Why do you need to know all this about Dan? Well, you don't really. But don't you want to come to Out of the Park Pizza even more now?

Be there or be thirsty,
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OK, so I'm 96.8% sure about this...
Remember the Robust Porter with a Spanish coffee blend - Torrefacto and "natural" roast - I brewed at Cerveza Artesana Spigha? Well, Sublime Imports was in Alcoy, Spain 10 days after the first batch was bottled and had a taste. They pretty much agreed with Pau's, head brewer at Cerveza Artesana Spigha, assessment of the beer. Basically - it's really dang good.

So, they pushed hard to get some imported to the USA. That means, we should see this beer, named Café Olé, on shelves in the USA in the Autumn.

Cheers!
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