Sunday, 11 May 2014

Brew Day: Table Beer

Original GravitySummer’s on its way, and I’m running low on grain: what better time to make a low gravity table beer?  Most of my beers are low in alcohol by American standards---its hard to convince people here that for the kind of beers I’d drink in pubs back home, anything over 4% would be on the strong side---but beyond a few berliner weisses, I haven’t made many that have been lower than 3%.  In part that’s because I find that lower gravity beers don’t do so well with bottle-conditioning.  The Quarter Session bitter I made a few weeks ago is tasting pretty nice (tasting notes coming soon), and at 3.5% that’s usually about as low as I’d go for something that wasn’t going to end up highly carbonated.

I’m planning to make a couple of very low gravity saisons over the next few weeks, but this is something altogether different.  The guys at Basic Brewing made a bunch of session beers last summer, and one in particular caught my eye.  Its the second beer they brew in this video: a 1.018 wort made with 3:1 split of wheat and rye malt, hopped in the boil with Mosaic and dry-hopped with Cascade.  The thought is that the relatively high proportion of rye will give the beer some body, compensating for its low gravity and ensuring that the beer does not taste too watery.  It seems that they liked the results, so I figured I’d give it a try.

For my version, I upped the rye slightly to something like a 70/30 split.  I also switched the hops around, adding Cascade for a 30 minute whirlpool, and digging out an ounce of Mosaic from the back of the freezer for a dry-hop addition in a week or so.  I changed the yeast too: I thought this beer would be a good opportunity to test out The Yeast Bay’s Vermont Ale strain again (I made a pretty tasty pale ale with it a month or so ago, very similar to this recipe).  Besides, as I’ve said before, these low gravity batches can do double duty as yeast starters when you’re growing your pitches up from slants, and I have a few other plans for this yeast.

I was aiming for a 1.024 starting gravity.  I’ve decided, somewhat arbitrarily, that that’s what I’ll do in all these table beers.  Even if it attenuates fully (as I expect some of the saisons to), this should still keeps me at or below 3%.  The wort came in at 1.025, which is just fine.  It certainly tasted thin though, there’s no getting round it.  We’ll see what the fermentation does for it.



Measured O.G. 1.025
Measured F.G.
Mash: 153°F
71.4% Wheat Malt
28.6% Rye Malt
Cascade FWH 12.6 IBUs (8g @ 7.2%)
Cascade Whirlpool (30 min) 15.8 IBUs (28g @ 7.2%)
Mosaic Dry Hop 0.4g/l  
Yeast Bay Vermont Ale


1 comment:

  1. Tasting notes here: