Greetings beer lovers!
Looks like a lot has "gone down" in the 7 days I was away visiting the Struise brewers in West Flanders, Belgium. I had the unique opportunity to brew with one of the best brewers in Belgium Urbain Coutteau of the Struise Brouwers. The brewery they use, Deca, pre-dates World War 1 and yet these guys finesse some of the most sought after beers in the world. Pannepot is perhaps the most well know but they produce many styles including Black Albert, a Belgian Royal Stout at 13% abv!! I brought my Kate the Great recipe over and with a little tweaking we brewed a batch of KtG at Deca. The brewery has a mash tun made of cast iron, copper and stainless with an antique rake/mixing system equipment (to say the least). I have some video which I will try to edit and post this week so you can see what the Struise brewers are dealing with. Back to the brew with Kate.... the extract came out of the mash tun well and the boil, also, went well. We had to substitute some European hops for American varieties as Urbain does not use many American hops, so Kate is going to be a little different than what we make here. We used a "Chico" style yeast as well as some "Fullers" style yeast. Soon Urbain will pitch some of the Struise house strain to give KtG a bit of Belgium character. Kate was quite lonely sitting in Fermentation vat #1 all alone so Urbain was kind enough to brew a batch of Albert the following day to keep Kate company in Fermentation vat#2. Who knows what might happen next!!? Kabert perhaps? We'll have to wait a few months to see the outcome of maturation.
Anyway, it looks like Tyler and Tyson kept the beers flowing while I was away. The 5 C's was a huge success (go figure!) as was the Biere de Garde which have gone. So now the Alt and Kolsch are flowing and are quite delicious. Two different German style ales that both were conditioned for a good amount of time. The Kolsch, lighter in color and flavor, is delicate and crisp; whereas, the Alt is more full bodied and malty as well as finishing quite dry. We did use the same yeast to ferment both beers. Check them out soon as I am sure they will not be around too long!! Next up we have the Berkshire Brewing Co.'s Lost Sailor IPA as one of guest taps for two weeks to be followed by the Cabin Fever ale. The Lost Sailor is a well made malt forward IPA with lots of mid flavor hops and good hop aromatics making for a great drinking IPA.
Lastly (on my "to talk about" before I go to Sunday school ) is the Kate the Great ticket sales came and went faster than greased lightning! I know many people are not happy with the outcome of what we thought would be a unique and fair opportunity for people to have a chance of procuring a bottle or two of Kate. Sadly, not everybody can win. There are only 900 bottles available. That is all there is and will be. We have no more space available to expand the brewery and therefore have a finite space to make as much beer as we can.
Well, that's all I've got for now. Cheers! Tod