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Tastes of Summer

In a couple words – wheaty, light, summery, and fruity. They best describe the flavors that I’ve focused on for the past few hot months (aside from the stronger belgians)… and they have resulted in some great batches. I realized that I have not posted any tap labels recently, and that I also haven’t talked much about what we’ve had on tap – so here’s a quick pre-independence day synopsis:

Black Raspberry AleThursday’s Tonic Black Raspberry Ale:
This was actually a starter batch for 20 gallons of Amarillo Pale Ale, but turned out to be one of my favorite fruit beers I’ve ever made. We made a relatively light ale with a weird assortment of leftover old grains (which needed to be used or tossed), including some honey malt and a touch of crystal. We then racked the beer into the secondary ontop of 2 pounds of frozen black raspberries picked back in Sept/Oct of 2006. We let it condition on the raspberries for about a month, and the beer picked up a ton of color and flavor from the berries. The beer itself was deep red (almost purple) with a strong berry taste, a long-lasting pink head, mildly tart, and a nice sweet finish. I was very disappointed when this keg blew last week.

Mango WitbierMango Mama Witbier:
A mostly traditional Belgian-style witbier with a twist – it sat on mango cubes for a couple weeks in the secondary. The coriander and bitter orange peel additions were relatively reserved, I didn’t bother with any chamomile, and the malt bill was mostly just wheat malt and pilsner. It is a very good witbier, and has all the right characteristics – but does not have a very strong mango flavor. Last time we pureed the mango, which I think helped alot – this time we were in a rush to get it on tap, so it didn’t condition as long as it should have – and the mango cubes didn’t flavor the beer enough. Lesson learned. But hey! It is a very good witbier nonetheless. And before you all judge me somewhat pervy, the artwork was composed by my wife. She’s so cool.

Summer HazeSummer Haze Wheat:
Another starter batch that has pleased me beyond all expectations – This was a 10 gallon batch of a relatively simple ale fermented with the Wyeast 3864 Canadian Belgian strain – and formulated to fall pretty close to the Belgian Pale category. The addition of a little wheat malt gives it some haze (as well as the yeast strain, notorious for not flocculating well), 1.5oz of fresh ground ginger and several ounces of Sorachi Ace hops give the beer a refreshing and crisp flavor, and the yeast strain – well, its my favorite. It pushes this beer into a whole new world of yumminess. At 5.5%, this is perfect for fortifying (not stupifying) you after mowing the lawn or working in the yard.

I had a few other batches in there that are worth mentioning, but they didn’t stick around long enough for me to even create a tap handle (yet)… one was a peated scottish aged on bourbon oak chips. It’s tentative called “Thistle Dew”… and once the next keg goes on tap I’ll post the label I come up with for it. I also gone through a couple kegs of Amarillo Pale – Man, that stuff rocks.

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