Hops you’re not using but should be

Palisade. Palisade Palisade Palisade.

Brought to you by the hombres of Yakima Chief, who also brought you Simcoe and Warrior (you like Simcoe and Warrior, right?). Parentage includes Swiss Tettnanger (and you like the Swiss, right? They brought us Samichlaus). It’s an aroma variety, but its alpha levels are respectable enough for light to moderate bittering duty. Read more

WLP037: Parting is such sweet wort

Know what sucks about Limited Edition/Platinum/Private Collection series yeast strains? They’re here long enough for you to learn to love them, then they’re gone. Out of your life. Pffft.

Case in point: the porter I’m drinking right now. My goodness, but it’s dense and full-bodied, not a bit too much CO2, bready and toasty and chocolatey, an almost creamy mouthfeel … aspirations to oatmeal stout but with the soul of a dark mild. Credit where credit is due: WLP037 Yorkshire Square Ale.

Oh, it was a unicellular stallion … blew hoppy floccs all over the carboy during primary, settled right out in secondary and left the beer the most lucid garnet color. Repitched it into an English strong, which is right now getting the real ale treatment in a keg with some isinglass, priming sugar, and Styrian Goldings.

And then the 037 was gone. Sold out, off the shelves. No word when it’d be back. No goodbye; maybe it’s easier that way.

Good thing I washed the yeastcake … something to remember it by. Hello, Yorkshire Square Ordinary!

Finnish your beer

Ahh … sahti . It’s like drinking a Christmas tree. F or those of you who may be rye-curious, here’s one way to craft a pint of piney cheer:

Kalevala Sahti: the recipe
(five gallons)

  • 9 lbs Munich 40 EBC
  • 9 lbs malted rye
  • 1 lbs flaked oats
  • 1 lb rice hulls
  • 1 oz Northern Brewer pellets (mash hop)
  • 2 lbs (approx) fresh, non-chemically sprayed juniper branches (watch out for Xmas wreaths, y’all)
  • Wyeast 1007

Kalevala Sahti: the process

Layered juniper branches over false bottom in mash tun; add grist, mash hops, and strike water.

Step mashed with rests at 90, 120, 150, and 160 F. Ran the wort off and let cool overnight (if it’s -20 F air temp, you’ll be authentically Finnish). Pitched yeast the following morning. Fermented at 68 F for about 8 days … then kegged. Yup, she’s boozy, yeasty, and ready to drink.

Kalevala Sahti: the tasting notes

Appearance – golden orange, turbid, dense white foam (we carbonated it more than is traditional)

Aroma – balance is way towards intense, pungent, resiny juniper (pine sap and needles) with spicy grain at the back

Flavor – more of that juniper character, strong in the front and tapering through the middle, grudgingly sharing room with bready malt, spicy rye and a suggestion of oats and alcohol. Surprisingly smooth and balanced for a beer of this gravity with nothing but mash hops. Prickly, piney evergreen tree in the aftertaste.

Body – oily and warming

Overall – not as unfamiliar or weird as it might sound … it’s not such a huge leap from Chinook and Simcoe to actual pine bough flavor. And definitely drinkable! Juniper does a nice job standing in for hops and offsetting the sweetness of a doppelbock-strength grain bill.

And finally …

Optimally enjoyed next to an ice floe in a t-shirt on a cold Minnesota day. Don’t forget to pour a little out for your homies in Lappland!

Beer Planet Travelog: Bamberg

Bamberg, Germany is a UNESCO World Heritage site, full of medieval buildings that survived WWII. Walking its streets and squares makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. History is great and all, but on my trans-Bavarian beer trek I was more interested in its nine breweries, all within walking distance (or stumbling distance). Read more