the alchemy of FWH

FWH Mittelfruh

“Despite increased bitterness, the tasting panel described the first wort-hopped beers as more pleasant tasting and overwhelmingly preferred them. Gas chromatographic analysis indicated the conventionally hopped beers contained a higher level of hop aroma substances … but panelists nonetheless described the first wort-hopped beers as having a very fine and rounded hop aroma and rounded hop flavor.”

Stan Hieronymous, For the Love of Hops

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basecamp sour 2012: the Brettcurrant edition

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Truth in advertising – deep down, I really only truly love a fruit beer if it’s also sour or wild or Brett-influenced, something more than just a fruit beer. That’s just the way Crom made me.

Which isn’t to say I can’t appreciate a well-made straight-ahead fruit beer, but, sour or not, I do feel that the fruit should reflect the beer’s provenance – the fruit adds another layer of reality to beer as an agrarian product and an extension of its time, people, and place.

Every great meadmaker I’ve ever met, from Ken Schramm to Curt Stock, has espoused the use of high quality, local fruit when making melomel, and that philosophy translates very well when brewing sour and wild ales.

With all that out of the way, this, then, is the story of what happened to the B portion of Basecamp Sour 2012. Continue reading

sours in the night

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Giving it both barrels: five gallons of 2011 sour (really, really sour … plus dark and oaky) red comes off the wood and onto 5 pounds of rhubarb, five gallons of Basecamp Sour (alcoholic fermentation complete, sir) begins its oak nap.

Like ships in the night, these two separate but similar beers pass each other so closely but never quite manage to hook up. They would be so good together, but it’s like they just can’t see it because they’re at such different stages in their lives. Will they ever meet again and, you know … consummate? I hope so – I like brewing stories to have a happy ending.