Welcome to the World!

Tonight, I added the 1.5 pounds of frozen pineapple and 1.5 pounds of fresh coconut to the Witbier I brewed to celebrate the arrival of our latest son, Ewan.

I was dismayed to see that after almost three weeks in the primary it had only gotten down to about 1.030. I used Saison Dupont yeast (Wyeast 3724), and I’ve heard and read about this yeast doing exactly this. It is very finicky and frequently slows down nearly to a halt, even after a rapid start.

I added the fruit to a clean carboy and decided to go ahead and rack the stuck beer, hoping the extra sugar will help get it going again. As another prod to get it going again, I’ve moved it out of the basement and into the kitchen – which is a good 4 degrees warmer. I’ve read that warming it up near the end of fermentation helps to keep it going – even as high as 85 degrees! So hopefully the shift from 74 to 78 will get it back in gear.

I have to admit that, even grossly under-attenuated, the beer tasted awesome. It was sweet, but the sweetness will go away once it is finished fermenting, so I’m totally stoked about the final result. I just have to be patient and possibly let it sit for several more weeks before it is ready.

By the time it is done, it will be disgustingly hot and sticky here in Georgia. Oh, wait – it already is! In any event, a cold, tropical-cocktail-inspired Belgian Wit will be just what the doctor orders to cool off.

Toucan Stout

Today I nabbed ingredients for our next brew: Hump’s Toucan Stout.  This will be an “Export Stout” – a version of stout brewed for export to tropical markets. It is generally fuller and much, much stronger than a standard “Dry Stout”, and often fruitier, too. The classic example of the style – Guinness Export Stout (not available in the US and not to be confused with Guinness Draught and Guinness Extra Stout which are) – isn’t particularly fruity but is punched up with subtleties of brett fermentation. Or so I’ve read. I’m not sure which markets still get Guinness Export Stout, but I didn’t see it the past two times I looked for it in the UK and Europe.

This brew will be hopped exclusively with German Perle hops, and I’ll be using Wyeast 1187 – an English/British style of yeast known for its complex fruity esters.

Brew day will be this Sunday. The opportunity to brew will be my father’s day gift…


Hump’s is now home to four hop plants. The Chinook plant we started last year is doing really well. It started slow but is a monster now, already covered in spurs.

We added three more this year: one each Centennial, Horizon, and Willamette. I actually bought others and gave the rhizomes to a friend of mine. He had a couple more Willamette (both of which have unfortunately already passed), one Cascade (which may produce grapes since the rhizome was apparently fused to a grape rhizome!), and one Glacier.

I thought the Centennial died, but a little over a week ago it started getting some new growth. The other two new ones, Horizon and Willamette, are doing great – much better than the Chinook did last year when it was fresh in the ground.

Hopefully later this season we can cook up some frighteningly bodacious wet hop ales.

Georgia and Beer

Over the past several months, numerous new breweries have come to the Georgia market: Moylan’s and Bell’s most notably. We’ve had some other new brews popping in here and there, too: Yeungling and New Belgium on the almost-micro-brew-but-not-really front and French Broad (from Asheville, NC) on the authentic micro-brew front.

Last night I was able to try an interesting specialty from Sierra Nevada: Brown Saison. This beer, unlike almost every other Sierra Nevada brew I can remember, was exactly as described. It was Belgian, it was fruity, vaguely Saison-like, and brown in color (though not too dark). It was distinctly missing hops. This from the brewery whose “doppelbock” (Double De-Bock-le) tastes like an American IPA.

I’ve been stockpiling interesting brews from a new beer, wine, and homebrew supply store in the city. The store’s called Hop City. Their homebrew supply selection is weak (but of course I’m spoiled, since Just Brew It is probably the best in Georgia). But their beer selection is phenomenal. Of particular interest: Struisse Black Albert and Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale. I’ll post reviews once I try them. I’m quite excited about both of them (and about numerous other bottles hiding out in the stash downstairs).