Monday, January 12, 2015

Le Chien Bourgeois (Biere de Garde) -- Brew Day

I've always had an interesting association with Biere de Garde.  Somewhere around 8 years back when I was out to dinner with my wife (then girlfriend) and her parents (my later in-laws), I had a wonderful beer with a great amber color, noteworthy rustic qualities and a taste that can almost be described as an ale with slight apple/pear undertones.  That beer was Jenlain Ambree.

Now, granted I was barely 21 then, so I had no idea what I liked or did I realize how into beer I would one day get.  I barely remembered the brewery name, but it was a beer that I casually searched for whenever I went to the liquor store, but I was never able to really find again -- I realize that this beer is basically everywhere now.

Fast forward to present day.  My wife and I went out to a nice dinner here in Philly for our annual Christmas date, and the restaurant had Jenlain Ambree on the bottle list.  When I ordered it up, it really tasted almost exactly how I remembered it.  When I think of a well-cellared, malt-forward beer, this is really the beer the comes to mind.  And, seeing as I love to play around with new-to-me brewing styles, I figured I had to cook up one of these.

This style is one that has a ton of misconceptions around it.  For one, a lot of people use a saison yeast.  This beer really DOES NOT have the peppery, phenolic characters of its Belgian brethren.  In fact, this beer isn't even from Belgium, but instead is from northern France.  Like saison, this is a beer that was traditionally produced in artisanal farmhouses in the spring for drinking in the warmer summer months.  It is usually lagered for a period of time, in my case this will hopefully be around a month, although I would love for it to go longer.

The grain bill that I chose was, as usual, cobbled together from a variety of sources.  There are several Jenlain Ambree clones floating around, but I didn't feel like the malts in the bill would really hit on the flavor notes that I was picking up.  For the yeast, I decided to go with the Wyeast Kolsch.  I've used this yeast in the past for malt-focused beers and it has performed admirably when fermented on the cool side of it's temperature range.  There is a seasonal BdG strain from Wyeast that is rumored to be the Fantome yeast, but it wasn't available at this time, nor do the flavor descriptions of it really sound all that like Fantome's beers, so call me skeptical.

I'm brewing this one by myself, quite a bit more lonely than when we had friends over for the last one.  My mash efficiency came out to a ridiculous 86%, so I imagine I might have to dilute a little bit of this with some water before I ferment it out.

This beer, along with my latest Wee Heavy, my Brett Saison and some more brews down the line will all be submitted (provided I get all the slots I want) to the 2015 NHC.

So, in all honesty, this brew day got a little fucked up.  As soon as I got the boil going, I realized that I had neglected to put in the Amber malt.  My bad.  I ground it up and tried to mash/steep it on its own, fully realizing that there's no diastatic enzymes in Amber malt.  Anyways, then I added the brownish liquor that came out of that.  Then, later on, when I went to go chill the beer, I came out to find that my hose had frozen over the previous night.  Luckily there was some snow on the ground here still, so I used mother nature to chill this batch.  Let's hope I didn't completely fuck this one up.

Le Chien Bourgeois (Biere de Garde)
5.5 gallon batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.080
Est FG: 1.013 (but probably lower...hopefully?)
Est ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 23
SRM: 13

13.5lb Pilsner Malt
2.75lb Munich Malt
1.00lb Aromatic Malt
0.63lb Caravienne Malt
0.25lb Amber Malt
0.10lb Dehusked Carafa III

0.40oz Magnum @ FWH (14 IBU)
2.00oz French Strisslespalt @ FWH (7 IBU)
0.75oz French Strisslesalt @ 20 min (2 IBU)

1250ml starter of Kolsch WY2565

Mash @ 147f for 60 minutes

1/10/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Fuck up abound (see above).  Mash efficiency came in quite strong.  Gathered 5.5 gallon of 1.080 wort.  Bubbling away at 58f in the fridge.

1/13/2014 -- Upped temp to 62f.


Post a Comment