Here we are in early March, after brewing and fermenting some fun and interesting beers. The beer styles we envisioned brewing are now all fermented and beginning their next leg of their journey to Chicago. We were very happy with the results in the brewhouse—we hit our target temperatures, gravities, oxygenation and even our yeast cell counts went as planned.
The final recipes included the following beers and qualities:
Saphir Belgian Style Tripel: This beer uses the same yeast we use in Golden Monkey, but the similarities end there. We implemented a highly intensive mash process that yielded extremely fermentable wort. Unlike our Golden Monkey, which uses 15% sugar to achieve a high degree of fermentation, the Saphir Tripel used the mashing process to achieve the same results using a much smaller percentage of sugar. The assertive hopping of this CBC beer with the German Saphir hops really brings out the spiciness of the yeast. Its IBUs, though not yet tested, should be around 40-45, with an Alc/vol of 8.6%.
Belgian-style Pale Ales: We brewed three batches of this beer. All three batches used Hallertau Tradition and Hallertau Select for the first hopping, primarily aimed at achieving a common level of bitterness. After the first hopping, the three batches were treated with different single hops. The first one we brewed used the newer hop variety, Smaragd, also from Hallertau and spicy. Smaragd was used in one of these pale ales and added twice towards the end of boil. After a Belgian yeast fermentation, the bulk of the yeast was removed and the beer transferred to another tank, in which we had placed a fair quantity of fresh Smaragd hops. This “dry-hopping” has the effect of bringing intensive hop aroma and taste into the beer with little or no bitterness. It creates a unique aroma that spotlights the hops used in the process. For the other two Belgian-style Pale Ales, we used Hallertau Mittelfrüh and Hersbrucker hops for the final two additions, as well as dry-hopping. We anticipate about 40 IBUs and 6.0 Alc/vol for each of these.
Bavarian Pale Ale: This is a unique twist on the IPA style. For this gem, we brewed a pale beer with 100% pilsner barley malt (the lightest color of malt we use at the brewery) and used the classic Bavarian decoction mashing technique. This tends to bring out intensive malt flavors, along with increasing the fermentability of the wort. Instead of employing a single hop as we have always done in past CBC beer offerings, we used 5 different Bavarian hops for this ale. Eric chose to use Hallertau Select, Hersbrucker, Tradition, Mittelfrüh, and Smaragd. Probably the most exciting part of this brew was our selection of yeast; we chose to use our Weissbier yeast strain, the one responsible for our Sunrise Weissbier and Moonglow Weizenbock. The intensity of hop aromas and flavors, mixed with the intensity of esters and phenols created by this yeast during fermentation and aging, has yielded what will be titanic in flavor. The IBUs are around 45 and the Alc/vol. will be 7.2%
The current and next step in these brews’ lives is the aging and maturation process. This is the stage where the beer goes from being beer to being a great beer. The hops will continue to leak their aromas and flavors into the dry-hopped Belgian-style pale ales, while the Saphir Tripel will mellow and lose some if its high alcohol flavors. The Bavarian Pale Ale, currently fighting an identity crisis, will come into its own and emerge as the world’s newest beer style.
Folks, we are not far from enjoying these special creations. If you are attending the Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago this April, be sure to stop by the German Hop Growers Booth Thursday and Friday, April 8-9 to learn more about these hops and taste the brews. If you are not attending the Conference, expect a few ‘extra’ kegs to be tapped here at Victory on Sunday April 11. We have no idea how long they might last, honestly. In the meanwhile, we’ll try to keep you up to date on how the flavors and aromas are evolving. Stay tuned.
Co-Founder and Brewer