Saturday, March 5, 2011

To the Extreme - Je suis Légion

The brew crew and I get together once a month and drink beer, eat grilled meat, talk about women, play cards, and last but never least, brew beer. Well this past get together was at my house and I was originally considering doing an all-grain Black IPA, perhaps even an Imperial Black IPA. When working out my grain bill for the batch I was noticing it's pretty straightforward, I don't like straightforward. I ended up scraping the idea and starting over with something a bit more unusual, just a tad bit epic. I decided to build a French Saison, no spices just straight grain, and then as soon as primary fermentation was complete on the Saison, pitching a legion of Belgian resident nasties to sour this thing to the extreme.

I came up with this:

10 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Belgian
2 lbs Munich Malt
2 lbs Wheat Malt, Belgian
4.0 oz Acid Malt
1 lb Candi Sugar, Clear
1.00 oz Strisslespalt [4.00%] (60 min)
8.00 oz Malto-Dextrine (Primary 2.0 weeks)
1 Pkgs French Saison (Wyeast Labs #3711)
1 Pkgs Belgian Sour Mix (White Labs #WLP655) [Add to Secondary]

So basically I am just brewing a French barnyard ale, which will have a bit of funk to it on
it's own, and then after primary fermentation is complete, I will add a half pound malto-dextrine and pitch the Sour Mix. The Sour Mix consists of three bugs I'm interested in, Brettanomyces and the bacterial strains Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. These are the nasty critters that turn a Belgian Ale into a sour lambic style. Epic.

Je Suis Légion, I Am Legion in French. French for the style of beer, a saison, legion for the legion of yeast, bacteria, and other nasty critters that are going to corrupt this beers soul and blacken its heart, taking it from a young and innocent little pale ale, to a gorgeous french barnyard whore. (How do you like that?)
As if that wasn't enough I then took this recipe to the next level and decided to restart yet another, third fermentation by adding fruit to the secondary 4 weeks into it, fruit type TBD, but I'm leaning heavily toward cherry. I picture in my mind a beer that is so crisp, so pale, so relentlessly sour, so heavily scented of barnyard funk, sweet pears, citrus, and whatever fruit I add, as to be legendary.

Yes, if December 2012 in fact does bring about the apocalypse, I take solace in the fact that I will spend my last summer on earth next year drinking the greatest beer I could have ever produced... quite possibly the best beer on earth. This one is worth following to the end. I'm planning on bottling this in caged and corked champagne bottles with an additional blast of Brettanomyces for bottle conditioning. That will be 4 fermentation stages. Completely epic.

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