Homebrewers Meetup at Beer Table

It’s that time again! As you all know (as long as you’re in Brooklyn, I guess) the cool people at Beer Table have been hosting homebrewers meetups on last Monday of every month for the last couple of years. It’s the only brewer meetings I attend because it’s just the most convenient time and location for me, even though there are plenty of others around the town. I remember back in the day there used to be like 20 people, but it’s been rather scarce the last few times I came. So come on! Don’t be shy! Let’s taste and talk about our brews!

Cantillon Iris (2007) Wild Yeast Isolation

Some time ago I got my hands on a bottle of 2007 Cantillon Iris. While the beer, in my opinion, is one of the worst ones I’ve had (dry-hopped woody vinegar hehe) the main purpose for getting it was the analysis of the dregs because it would be totally awesome to brew something with the wild yeast floating around at that brewery.

The procedure was pretty simple: Collect the dregs, shake it gently to homogenize, dilute 1:100 and plate. After waiting 3-4 weeks for something to grow, nothing did and I threw the plates out and almost gave up. As a “just in case” attempt, I decided to plate straight dregs and voila! I got colonies. For this purpose milk lactose + bromcresol green as well as brilliant green agar plates were used (sorry no pictures) resulting in three colony types: matte, rough colonies (C1), matte round colonies (C2), and smooth, round, glossy colonies (C3). I am still not sure whether the first two are the same or not as I suspect one may just be the later stage of the other one, but perhaps they are not due to some observations. The colonies were picked and used to inoculate 5mL of LB. The rough colonies formed pellicles in the tubes while the smooth one did not. Pellicle resulting from rough matte colonies fell away after a couple days, while the round matte one persists to this day. Subsequent plating didn’t give me much for some reason and I will have to replate. Meanwhile, here are some pictures from the liquid cultures.

It seems to me that cells grown in suspension culture have a different morphology than the ones grown in plates. Everyone who’s done cell culturing knows this, but I didn’t think it was true for yeast too. From what I see, though I did not show pictures, cells from plates tend to be shorter and rounder than the ones from tubes. If anyone has any ideas or knowledge, please share.

I also noticed that the rough colonies flocculate well and the medium is crystal clear with a sediment and a pellicle, while the smooth ones, while also forming sediment, remain suspended resulting in turbid medium. That is interesting because I noticed similar behavior and colony morphology from WY Berliner Weisse Blend Brettanomyces strain, but the cells look different.

They also smell different. C1 smells very slightly funky, C2 is quite funky, and C3 just smells like medium. Interesting…

Big and Small Parti-gyle

Today I’m going to share with you something I wanted to do for a while. Namely, do a parti-gyle and taste the beers side by side. So, without further ado, let’s rock!

On the right we have my Weird All In Valley Ale. The story behind it is simple: I had a bunch of malts lying around and needed to get rid of them. That’s about it 🙂

Weird All In Valley Ale

Date Brewed: 8 Jan 2012

Date Ready: 31 March 2012

Wort Volume Before Boil: 6.70 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 5.28 US gals
Volume Of Finished Beer: 4.8 US gals

Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.067 SG

OG: 1.080 SG

FG: 1.017 SG

Apparent Attenuation: 77.4 %

ABV: 8.4 %

IBU: 77.8 IBU

Mash Efficiency: 73.1 %

Fermentation Temp: 52 for 1-2 weeks, followed by room temperature (~70-72) for 10-11 weeks.


US Pilsen Malt 8.00 lb

US Red Wheat Malt 5.00 lb

UK Light Crystal 1.67 lb

US Munich 10L Malt 1.33 lb

Cherry Smoked Malt 1.00 lb


US Summit – 18.2 % – 1.00 oz – Pellets – 60 Min From End

UK Fuggle – 4.9 % – 3.00 oz – Loose Whole Hops – 15 Min From End

US Willamette – 4.1 % – 0.50 oz – Loose Pellet Hops – 5 Min From End

Other Ingredients

Lavender – 0.50 oz

Licorice Root – 0.30 oz

Juniper Berries – 0.20 oz

All at 15 minutes.

DCL US-05 (formerly US-56) SafAle
Single Decoction (55-66C/131-151F) w/Mash Out

Fermentation Notes

March 31 kegged.
12 weeks in primary!

Appearance: Deep red, clear, with good head that slowly recedes, but remains as a thick ring around the beer. Good lacing.

Aroma: BIG! Lavender mingles with licorice resulting is a cola-like aroma. Sweet, earthy, malty, just delicious.

Mouthfeel: Full, almost creamy. Exactly the carbonation I wanted on it – mid-low.

Taste: Complex. Sweet malt first, then earthy and herbal flavors come into the picture, followed by bitterness. The bitterness is firm but not strong… Herbal and earthy kind of bitterness balanced by malty sweetness. In the end bitterness wins and goes into the finish, but maltiness doesn’t give up and follows it for a long time. Long, bitter, and malty finish. Ever-so-slight lavender character present throughout the experience. Some of the sweetness may be contributed by the licorice. No juniper at all until the very end of the finish, when a tiny almost unnoticeable flash of flavor that may be juniper shows up very briefly and is gone…

Overall: Really like this one! Well balanced. Seems to have a hint of oxidation because I kept it in a plastic bucket for 12 weeks which actually adds that big English complexity to it. Not very hoppy. Just nicely done brew IMO.

Smoked Ice Saison

Same grain bill as above (obviously!). I kegged that one the day I brewed the Gruit and it’s been lagering ever since. Before doing so, I cold crashed it for a while and when the time came to rack, I opened the bucket and it was FROZEN! After waiting for a while I got tired and just smashed the ice with the racking cane and sucked about 3 gal from under the ice. So I have absolutely no idea what the actual ABV of this is since when the beer freezes the alcohol migrates into the liquid portion. I’d assume something like 4.5-5%.

OG: 1.034

FG: who knows…


Goldings 4.5 % – 1.00 oz – Loose Whole Hops – 30 Min From End
Goldings 4.5 % – 1.00 oz – Loose Whole Hops – 10 Min From End


WY Farmhouse

Appearance: Bright golden yellow. Good head, but recedes quickly to a thin ring. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Farmhouse musty yeast dominates with hints of light malt. Bright smell.

Mouthfeel: Light.

Taste: Light hop bitterness upfront. Then carbonation takes over and expands like a bubble in your mouth, giving way to spicy and musty yeast, light grain, and honey. Hops make an appearance in the finish, but are overtaken by malt and honey. A bit of metallic taste that I associate with smoked malt (I perceive smoked beers as somewhat metallic).

Overall: Drinkable, light, pretty much just a plain table saison with nothing special. Took with me to the homebrewer’s meeting at BeerTable on March 26, where it was generally well received.

I think it is very interesting how two completely different beers can be made from the same exact grains. Right now I have a Porter and a Braggot prepared in the same way sitting and waiting to be tasted. I just hope I can have them on tap at the same time to do a similar tasting.