Sunday, June 01, 2008


Today I transferred from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter the beer I brewed last weekend with my good friend and training/ brewing partner. We did batches in parallel last time, finding it takes as much effort to brew two batches together on the same day as to do them separately on our own.

This time we both chose to work with wheat beers. I haven't made a wheat since I lived in Massachusetts, so it has to have been at least 8 or 9 years.

My partner did a semi-traditional honey wheat. He used the wheat yeast I used when I made my wheats back in Boston. It produces super powerful esters. The banana-like ones dominate the nose, but there are so many others in the mix, it's hard to pull apart the components of the aroma chaos that's assaulting your senses.

I went for a double white. I enjoy Belgian wit beers, and I enjoy barley wines. I figured, why not go after something that's the best of both worlds? A high original gravity Belgian wit style? So I used a Belgian yeast, though not my first choice, but an adequate second, and coriander and orange and a mega dose of wheat malt and some ultra light caramel malts.

When we transferred them today, we got our first whiffs of how we've done.

Both smell amazing. Both yeasts generate some cool esters, and the nose on these beers is unreal.

I have no idea how wine makers can wait years to taste and learn from their efforts. I can barely wait the two weeks to bottle these, and then the additional 10 days or so for them to fully carbonate. This will be a beer I hold onto, I think. If it turns out well, it'll give me the guts to go for a true barley wine. The Hercules Strong Ale from Boston Beer works and the double IPA from 21st amendment in SF are among my favorites. The Triple Dipsea from Marin Brewing Company is also amazing.

The color of my beer, of course is far from right for a wit. It's more amber, but I really don't care about color. If it tastes amazing, it could be green.

The trouble, of course, is in the name. It's a double wit, or "white". And it's a borderline barley wine, which calls for a somewhat over the top name. Will everyone get it if I call it "White Supremacy"?