Anything I’m Fermenting

November 6, 2008

Making the ‘Champage of Beers’

(My earlier poll for what to write about is currently tied 0-0-0-0-0, so I feel free to write what I want)

Next summer is my ‘champagne birthday’ – where the age I’m turning is the same as the day of the month on which my birthday falls. The only problem is that I don’t really like champagne / sparkling wine. It’s better than still wine, and I can drink it, but I don’t truly enjoy it – especially for more than a glass or two.

SO, I’ve decided to try brewing a beer with characteristics similar to champagne:

1. Very light colour

2. Fizzy, but without much head

3. Alcohol content of around 8% abv (yes, I know it can be stronger)

4. Noticable acidity

5. Light body

6. Clear – minimal cloudiness

7. Low bitterness and no hop flavour or aroma

8. Fruitiness

9. Dry (i.e. not sweet)

My next few posts will be my thoughts on how to achieve these objectives:

1. Very light colour. This isn’t too hard; I will only use base malt (2-row barley malt), uncoloured sugar, and rice (minimal colour) as an adjunct. The colour from this should be around 2 SRM.

2. Fizzy, but without much head. A bit more involved. I will try a protein rest during mashing at 50 degrees for 30 minutes (see http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter14-4.html). This should break down the protiens that usually cause big heads (foam) on beer when it is poured. This has the added ‘benefit’ of reducing the body of the beer, making it feel more watery (see Characteristic #5).

Another aspect to this will be the use of aged hops for bittering. Hops usually provide chemicals that link with¬† protiens in beer to promote head retention (see http://www.byo.com/departments/884.html). Aging removes a lot of this power. Using aged hops has the added ‘benefit’ of reducing hop flavours and aroma (see Characteristic #7). One downside is that certain hops (esp. US grown Cascades and related hops) can impart a strong citrusy aroma to beer, so using aged hops works against this – which would have helped with Characteristic #9.

Fizz-wise, I think that regular bottle conditioning (together with the lack of body and foam) should be sufficient carbonation.

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5 Comments »

  1. […] 1. Very light colour […]

    Pingback by Making the ‘Champage of Beers’ Part 2 « Anything I’m Fermenting — November 10, 2008 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  2. […] 1. Very light colour […]

    Pingback by Making the ‘Champage of Beers’ Part 3 « Anything I’m Fermenting — November 10, 2008 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  3. […] 1. Very light colour […]

    Pingback by Making the ‘Champage of Beers’ Part 4 « Anything I’m Fermenting — November 11, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  4. […] 1. Very light colour […]

    Pingback by Making the ‘Champage of Beers’ Part 5 « Anything I’m Fermenting — November 13, 2008 @ 2:11 am | Reply

  5. […] 1. Very light colour […]

    Pingback by Making the ‘Champage of Beers’ Part 6 « Anything I’m Fermenting — November 21, 2008 @ 9:40 pm | Reply


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