Skip to content

Piney the Turtle, designed by Beancurdturtle Brewing LLC
Piney the Turtle, designed by Beancurdturtle Brewing LLC

A friend asked if I could give some big clues on how to brew this beer...

Piney the Turtle is a specialty American Rye Ale. The dry and spicy character of a cleanly brewed rye ale is supported by piney/resinous hops, blue spruce tips, and a touch of juniper berries to create a uniquely refreshing beer with invigorating aromatics. This beer was designed by Beancurdturtle Brewing LLC and brewed (so far) at Phantom Ales in Anaheim California.

Don’t expect to be blown away by some huge palate walloping beer like a DIPA or BBA Stout. The concept calls for an American Rye Ale 6% ABV and about 40 IBU, with additions of select hops, blue spruce tips, and juniper berries used to contribute restrained yet decidedly piney/resinous characters. Balanced and approachable enough to invite a second pint.

This is all a well informed brewer - knowing their overall brewhouse efficiency and brewing calculations - should need to duplicate the recipe brewed at Phantom. Duplicating the recipe will get you close, but process, water chemistry, and all the other factors will effect the final beer. All measurements are in American units to simplify for US homebrewers.

Mash:
US 2-Row Pale 73%
US Malted Rye 13%
Flaked Rye 9%
Vienna Malt 5%

Mash schedule:
1.25 quarts water per pound of grain
Protein Rest 122F 20 min
Saccharification 150F 50 min
Mash out and sparge

Boil:
US Magnum 60 min for 22 IBUs
Chinook 30 min for 8 IBUs
Opal 10 min for 5 IBUs
Chinook 10 min for 4 IBUs

Herb addition at 5 min:
Blue Spruce tips at 0.042 ounces per pound of grain
Juniper Berries at 0.016 ounces per pound of grain

Fermentation:
Appropriate pitch of WLP001 California Ale Yeast from White Labs, or a trusted West Coast Ale strain
67F until you get to 75% of calculated total attennuation
Let temp rise to 72F max for 4 days
Reduce to 67F and finish

Dry hop at 2 days before cold crash and packaging:
Blue Spruce tips at 0.042 ounces per pound of grain
Juniper Berries at 0.032 ounces per pound of grain
Chinook at same weight as total Chinook added to boil

Try it. Let us know how it turns out. If you're a commercial brewery - please let us know and credit Beancurdturtle Brewing LLC.

Cheers!
--
=BCT=

Statue de la Grisette, Paris France.
Statue de la Grisette, Paris France.

I have this urge to brew something edgy, but not. Do you know what a Grisette is? I'll tell you what it is, It comes from the French speaking part of Belgium, to the west of where my friend Dany Prignon of Brasserie Fantôme lives and brews, originating in the Hainaut province. Similar to a Saison but lighter in alcohol, and born in the Industrial Revolution so the processes and yeasts are cleaner than an heirloom Saison.

So I want to use the grain bill for this crisply refreshing farmhouse-ish style, ferment it with a wild native Southern California yeast and lacto mixed culture, and hop it similar to a New England style IPA (though less aggressively).

Have you guessed what an IPG is yet? How'd you like to try an India Pale Grisette?

À votre santé!
--
=BCT=

Brewed for a charity event - and as a pilot for a staple commercial release Session Saison.

This is not a fruit beer. Sure, kumquat is used in the making of the beer, but it is meant to contribute to the core characters of a Session Saison - not take over the beer. Like a touch of salt on a great dish, the salt enhances but doesn’t own the dish.

The style Saison was originally the hydration for field hands centuries ago. Water would make you sick. Instead you were given a ration of beer, typically 5 liters a day. So the character of a traditional Saison had to be refreshing, crisp, quenching, and low in alcohol.

What should you expect from this beer? Expect restrained citrus notes contributed by the Kumquat, underlying the traditional character of a terrific Session Saison. It’s low in alcohol, so take a big pour and gulp it down like a thirty dog.

Cheers!
--
=BCT=

Just a little kumquat for character.
Just a little kumquat for character.
Great color even before fermentation.
Great color even before fermentation.
Kegged and ready to carbonate.
Kegged and ready to carbonate.
Kumquat Session Saison ready to drink.
Kumquat Session Saison ready to drink.

 

BCT-88

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!
--
=BCT=

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.

 

BCT-88

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

 

BCT-88

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.

 

BCT-88

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.

 

BCT-88

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.

 

BCT-88

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.

 

BCT-88

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.

 

BCT-88