13 March 2010
From the Troegs Blog:
Don’t know about you, but this recent run of nice weather has me in the mood for a nice, lighter, hoppy beer. No, I’m not talking about Sunshine Pils in this particular case, although I have to say the early-season Pils we brewed for the World Beer Cup is in fine mid-season form. I’ve missed that beer, and I think it’s gonna be a great addition to the Troegs Anthology summer variety pack. Mmm Pils…
Anyway, the pale hoppy beer I’m talking about will be another in our experimental Scratch line-up, this time combining a pale base beer, a healthy amount of earthy/floral hops, an abbey yeast strain, and Pennsylvania oak. Oh, and it’s going to be bottle-conditioned (like most brewers I heart bottle-conditioned Belgian-style ales). Hopefully that’s enough interesting components to whet your beer appetites. I know it’s got me psyched.
Q: How did this all come about? A: Well, we got a hankering for a hoppy Belgian-style pale ale and just recently received a shipment of Bravo hops, which are new to us and arrived in really fresh condition. Also, we just got a bunch of new Pennsylvania oak barrels in, which we’ve been itching to use. Empty barrels in a brewery, the horror! Put all these ingredients together and voila, you’ve got yourself a Scratch beer.
Now for the question everyone wants to know: what’s the timeframe for this batch? We brewed the beer a few weeks ago and racked it into barrels just last week. With fresh oak we’ll get the woody flavors we want pretty quickly, so we have to taste the beer every couple days or so, so we don’t over-wood this batch. Tough work, but that’s why we get the big bucks… As soon as we get the right flavor profile, we’ll take it out of the barrels, allow it to mature in one of our bright beer tanks, where we’ll dry-hop it with more hops. We’ll then dose it with fresh yeast and extra sugar, and package it. If the yeast does it job, we’ll have some effervescently carbonated beer a couple of weeks after that. So basically, we’ll let you know, relatively soonish.
Incidentally, John is adamant that we not call this beer a “Belgian”, which is fair since we don’t brew in Belgium, but I have to say that the B-word is a useful descriptor for beers brewed with that famous handful of yeasts. Anybody who comes up with a better term, hey, let us know. Early tasting confirms that this pale ale is pretty strong, with a bunch of oak character, yeast flavor, and some earthy hops peeking through. In the finished beer, the wood should also add an an extra, oaky dimension. Like a California chardonnay. Well okay, maybe not that much oak…
P.S. We’ve got yet another Scratch beer a-brewing, but we’ll save that for a later day. I will say that it’s an atypical style, but it should be seasonally appropriate, especially if this warm weather keeps up. It might even be ready before this batch. Cheers!