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TRBeck
01/29/08 08:27 PM  
Impressed with the innovation
I posted a message last night, but it seems to have not stuck around...

I'm new here, and I just wanted to introduce myself. I've been brewing for about 4 years, all-grain since my third batch, and I'm a bit of a Belgian ale lover (becoming moreso everyday). I stumbled on this site recently and I've read about a year's worth of threads in a few short days. I'm really excited by the innovation I see going on here. I read a variety of homebrew forums, but I seldom see as much playing around with Belgian styles, and especially with wild brews. I've recently begun sampling the sour ales that have become available in these parts (we've gotten Liefman's and Duchesse within the past few months), and I'm excited to learn more and perhaps begin experimenting myself.

Thanks for the inspiration and information. I look forward to participating in these forums, if ya'll will have me.

Mike T
01/30/08 08:55 AM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
I'm always happy to see someone new on the boards, there is certainly a good deal of really innovative (and interesting) brewing going on by the posters here.

If you like sour beers, Id say get to it, they can take so long to mature that the sooner you get one going the better.

SteveG
01/30/08 01:42 PM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
Hi Tim, glad you reposted. I hope you're OK with my explaination for your first post going down, that approach to a post really was like wearing a deer suit in the woods during hunting season! Glad you find us unique, if you want to really get crazy this is surely the place to learn how! Steve
TRBeck
01/30/08 05:46 PM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
Hey guys, thanks for the replies.

Steve, I completely understand. I've been on some forums under attack, and I realized after posting that I came along at the wrong time.

As for the sour ales, it'll be a few months, I believe. First, I want to taste a wider variety (have to try to mail-order or trade for some, since we don't get many: prior to three months ago, I'd only ever had Cuvee Rene and a few other Lindeman's...in other words, except for the Renee, not the real deal. Also, I have some yeasts to use up: I bought up a mess of Belgian yeasts about two years ago when I was brewing every two weeks. I then had shoulder surgery and hernia surgery and in the post-surgery phase got away from brewing for some time. I'm back at it with a vengeance, but I have some Wyeast 3724, 3522, and 3726 (bought when it was a VSS and still haven't used it) to use. Saison it is (actually, I think the 3522 is going into a Quad next week), and I couldn't be happier. It's by far my favorite style to drink and brew. I'll post my brews here on the board, and I'll keep reading about bugged-up oak cubes, barrels, and buckets.

I'm actually in the process of trying to procure a barrel or two, also, so I'll let everyone know how that goes.

Anyway, thanks again for the welcome.

SteveG
01/31/08 06:37 AM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
If you don't mind me saying, understanding wild brewing is a marathon. I appreciate your enthusiasm in going for barrels, but IMO it is really important to start basic and work up. Involving barrels out of the gate will probably increase your odds of initial failure. Bad thing for a project whose first attempt might take years to complete. Understand the rules first, then push the envelope.
TRBeck
01/31/08 07:03 AM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
Don't mind you saying it at all, Steve. I hear ya. The plan with the barrels is actually to use them first for a few other brews (e.g., impy stout, barleywine, uninfected Belgian quad, etc.). That should help, over time, to strip out some of the barrel character so that it won't impart overt oaky notes to my sour ales. In the meantime, hopefully, I can play with some bugs and become familiar with the (obviously unpredictable) way they operate. I definitely don't intend to plunge feet-first into any barrel-aged Oud Bruins. Still, I appreciate the heads-up. I do have a tendency to go overboard with brewing (and other) projects. I think, though, my first playing with bugs will involve something along the lines of a porter with Brett; i.e., not an all-Brett beer or even something that's primarily built on the flavor imparted by bugs. From there I may move into souring some saisons and then try a lambic or Oud Bruin sans barrel. Hopefully by then the barrel(s) will be well-used and ready for something wild. I should also mention that these are 5-gallon barrels from a very small distilling operation, so I won't be risking 50+ gallons of anything by using them.
SteveG
01/31/08 09:22 AM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
Avoiding the 50 gallon experiment is a great call! Tim, before going the extra mile with the barrel - which I do respect - you should play with alternative wood sources. BYO a month or two ago did a story about barrel aging, 5 pro brewers (the Vinnies and Tommes of the world) were asked a series of questions on the subject. When I was done I felt very good about having chosen to work with oak beans and not gone barrel.

You may come to a different conclusion, to each their own. But I think it would be a huge mistake to not first rule out the path of least resistance as a solution. Say you take on this multi-year barrel effort. Then after all that work and expense in 2012 you taste homebrews made with just a handful of oak cubes tossed in and the results mirror or exceed yours. If it were me, I'd want to jump out a very high window.

BTW, I tasted a home brew barley wine once that was barrel aged. 50 gallon jobber too, the guy had done several batches and needed to do several more to fill it. It tasted scortched, clearly a defect from the barrel prep. IMO he was in the process of ruining 50 gallons of high gravity wort. Dude - do not let this happen to you!!!

TRBeck
02/01/08 10:17 AM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
Steve, thanks for the advice. I do know that some very good commercial beers (notably, Great Divide's Oak Aged Yeti) are made with oak chips and cubes, not barrels. And I made a very nicely oaked Quadrupel with cubes a year ago that is just now coming into its own.

It looks like the barrel may be tougher to get than I thought, too, based on an e-mail I received yesterday. The distiller just doesn't seem interested - despite an ad on his website - in responding to customers.

At any rate, I'm going to try some Brett soon, I believe in a batch of imperial porter. I'll post separately to get some advice when I get around to brewing that (late Feb., probably). After I've gotten my feet wet, I'll try something more adventurous.

Baums
02/01/08 04:48 PM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
Hey -- if you do end up looking to get a BIG barrel, many local wineries (even in non-famous wine places) will sell the perfect used 55 gal barrel for like 40 bucks.

It's the small barrels that cost a lot...

TRBeck
02/02/08 02:30 PM  
Re: Impressed with the innovation
Baums, thanks for the reminder. I know my wife and I talked to a vintner from the Texas Hill Country a couple of years ago about getting a used barrel for our homemade wine and mead. I think that may be a possibility down the road. The used barrels I was looking to get at 5 gallons apiece probably would've cost me more than 40 bucks a pop to get shipped here.

As I said, though, that may be down the road. I'm looking right now at a Quad and a Dusseldorf altbier next weekend, followed by a saison and an imperial porter in late February. That porter will likely get some Brett, and then there'll be a barleywine before I do any more sour ales.

I'm intrigued by the 100% Brett project, so I may take a stab at an all-Brett saison before I do a sour ale that needs more aging.

Tim

 
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