Iron Brewer is really just an opportunity to challenge yourself to make a beer using ingredients that you might not normally use. They give you 3 ingredients and that is about it... they let you decide on your style and recipe on your own. The point is to be creative and make something that you think will stand out and compliment the given ingredients. I thought the ingredients for my round were a little uninspired but that is where the challenge comes from. I was to use Crystal 120, White Wheat Malt, and Faulkners Flight Hops. I thought the other rounds had a better set up but I was not going to let this put me down. My initial reaction was, "I always wanted to brew a hefe", so I got started on writing that recipe. It was after I went to bed and woke up that I realized that sure, I could do something interesting with the style but that kind of goes against what the competition was about. Originality. Given my list, nothing was original about that. Then I got to thinking and this is where it all starts again. The obsession picks back up and the madness goes completely out of control... I love it... I decided to brew a session ale for the summer. The Saison is always a style I wanted to brew but have never done so. I thought this would work out perfectly. I wrote up the recipe and quickly started getting everything together in order to do it... I also quickly remembered why I wanted to upgrade my equipment.
I am tired of my corona mill. It gets the job done but I am glad this was a fairly small batch. This is one of the most annoying tools in my arsenal. I totally works and I get great efficiency from my crush but the amount of time and energy it takes to do so is questionable at some points. Like back when I brewed my Fat Bastard Barley Wine. About 25lbs of grain in this beer, all crushed with the corona. It sucked. I had made my starter a few days before and once I got the brew going I decided to sample the beer it produced. I figured this would give me an idea of what this yeast is capable of, even though the ingredients going into the beer are nothing like that of just a base malt. Granted it was not carbonated but it was quite a treat. I ended up drinking a whole glass of it just because it was that good. Who would have thought that a starter would be something that I would want several bottles of.
I actually did 2 brew days for this beer. The first was a pilot batch of the same recipe just because I was worried about not having had used my equipment in a while and possible infection. I brewed them 3 days apart and both brew days went surprisingly well. The first had a few issues, but nothing too major. Just problems hitting my first few mash temps. I just had to adjust and move on. I should not have done such a complicated schedule. I usually do a single step mash and have great results and always hit the temp. I guess I was worried about nothing. The wort came up a little short but in my second batch, that was not an issue at all. Then again, what could be bad about having 10 gallons of a Sessionable Saison around your house? Again, this was my first attempt at one so that was kind of scary all in its own.
The final product. I cannot wait to taste it out of the fermenter and get everyone elses feed back as well. I'll throw some notes up here soon enough. Really excited to be brewing again. Though, I had a major problem with flys on both brew days. I wonder if that an east coast thing because I have never seen so many in all of my days of brewing. Anyway, take a look at that.