Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Brewing A Session Beer

Is it wrong that I'm getting all of my calories from beer?
I'm learning very quickly that when you're brewing beer in large quantities on a daily basis, you drink way too much!

Session Beer

Let me re-phrase that... you're tempted to drink too much but because all of the beers that are on tap are 6% abv. or more you have to monitor yourself to the point of it being uncomfortable. That's no fun. The solution, a delicious session beer to quench the thirst while the low alcohol allows for focused attention on the brewing task at hand.

Case in point, the new Cerveceria Dos Aves Session Ale. Classically speaking it fits into the English ordinary bitter category. This beer is only 4% abv. but with a nice maltiness balanced well with a moderate bitterness that satisfies the craving for an easy drinking malt beverage and doesn't weigh you down.

I designed this recipe to brew my last Beer School class and found the results so profoundly delicious and drinkable that I brewed a full 16 cases worth to present at the next Dos Aves function here in San Miguel. This beer drinks easy, satisfies my beer tooth and keeps me on my feet even after numerous pints. I'm loving it!

The secret when brewing this low alcohol beer is leaving enough residual sugar after fermentation to leave the body in tact. Plus a good balance of malt sweetness and bitterness. To achieve this it's necessary to mash at a higher temperature thus preventing the enzymes from converting some of the complex sugars to simple sugar. In this case I mashed at 156f. for an hour. This makes it harder for the yeast to metabolize those sugar leaving the final gravity of the beer higher, in other words a lower attenuation (67%). Additionally, I fermented with S-04 English dry yeast which is a moderate attenuating yeast from my experience. I also wanted to make sure I had enough bitterness in the finished beer to offset this higher finish gravity and I did this with a good dose of Chinook hops at the beginning of the boil. Finally, I added just a touch of roasted barley to give a little more color.

To achieve the Burton on Trent water profile I follow Martin's Bru'n Water spread sheet and used only 55% reverse osmosis water and the rest was regular (super hard) San Miguel municipal water along with the addition of calcium sulfate and calcium chloride to achieve my water and mash ph. goal.

The cool room
I don't know if I'll be able to add this beer to the regular line up here but will certainly have some on tap on brew days for personal consumption. If you're in the neighborhood stop by the brewery and ask for a sample, say you read about it here.

In the mean time it's really hot here in San Miguel. When I'm brewing four back-to-back beers in a day, the temperature is getting up in the 90's f. and I've attached a fan to the ceiling to keep the hot air from the brew sculpture flowing out the front door. I've enclosed the back room where I ferment and installed an air-conditioner to keep it cool. Sadly, it has to vent warm exhaust into the room where I'm working but it's worth for me to suffer if my beer is staying at proper (cool) fermentation temperatures. Oh how I sacrifice for yeast.

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