Hello everyone! 2 post in a month? That’s 2020 for you.
Recently I have been spending time on our pilot system at Yazoo fine tuning and developing a few passion projects 15-20 gallons at a time. Back to the early days of this blog. I’ve always strived to make this website a source for correct, easy to understand information and if possible let the brewer tell the story. It got me thinking what are my brewer and blender friends doing to keep their creativity and passion going during the pandemic? As I scrolled through different social media pages I noticed many are going back to their pilot systems or beginning work on some exciting small batch projects. With National Homebrew Day approching I though it would be fun to reach out to these incredibly inspiring friends to see what they are up to and if they would release a unique recipe or ingredient process. Let me tell you their genorosity with their time and process has been incredible!
I will be releasing the recipes and their thoughts over the next few weeks in new “Inspiring Recipes” series. I want to thank all the brewers who have emailed back with their information and all the brewers working to scale down their recipes. Y’all are the best and why I absolutely love what I do.
Our first two recipes and processes come from my dear friends Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King Brewery out of Austin, TX and Bob Sylvester of Saint Somewhere Brewing out of Tarpon Springs, FL. Enjoy!
Jester King Wine / Beer Hybrid Recipe
1. Source your favorite variety of local grapes when they are in season. Contact a winery in your region you like. Chances are they’ll sell you the grapes you need. You’ll need 10# for a five gallon batch.
2. De-stem the grapes (for 10# it shouldn’t be too tedious to do this by hand). Crush the grapes (again, by hand is fine) and have a vessel to capture the juice. Put everything (skins, seeds, juice) into a 5 gallon carboy.
3. Let the must ferment spontaneously for 4-7 days. Once you see nice active fermentation, rack wort onto the fruit (enough wort to fill the carboy, but allowing a little space for blowoff). The wort should be very simple — for instance, just 80/20 pilsner malt and malted wheat. Add just a 60 min. addition of hops (virtually any variety) to impart about 10-15 IBU. Don’t pitch yeast, just allow the ambient grape must ferment do the work.
4. Let the primary co-ferment of must and wort ferment out. Once signs of active fermentation die down (typically after 7-14 days), rack the beer/wine off the fruit into your secondary fermenter. Let secondary fermentation go for a few weeks (or a few months). This is all very subjective. Just taste semi-regularly. Ideally, both primary and secondary will be at cellar temp. (around 60F).
5. When mature, rack into a keg and/or bottles and naturally condition for 4-6 weeks or until you’re happy with it.
5 gallon batch
10% white wheat malt
5% flaked rye
2.5oz Willamette 4.5AA+-
2lb table sugar
Straight Saison yeast of your choice as long as it’s NOT 3711!!
Mash all grains at 145F until conversion 40-60 minutes (yeah, sounds very low but we’re shooting for very high attenuation)
Sparge with 160F(again, low but not looking to de-nature the enzymatic action just yet) to collect 6 gallons.
Boil for 90 minutes
Add hops during final 60 min.
Please be very careful with the next step!!
Do this during the boil…before you’ve had any beer to drink.
Place 2lb table sugar in a dry pot, preferably on an outside burner as it will smoke…A LOT!
Crank heat up to high and walk away. Do not add water. After about 5 minutes the sugar will smoke and liquify at the bottom. Stir carefully as it will reach temps of 400-450F during the process.
Continue high heat until all the sugar is melted and small bubbles are forming at the top but not a rolling boil. You can very easily reach the point of no return and it will completely empty the pot onto the ground like a volcano.
It should look like your favorite American Imperial Stout at this point. Very dark with very fine bubbles on top.
Turn off heat and VERY CAREFULLY adding two cups cold water at a time, stirring between each addition until you’ve added a total 6 cups.
Wear heavy gloves and an apron as it will spit and sputter 400F molten sugar at you but the end product will be worth the effort.
What you’ve made is “Spanish Liquor”. Burnt sugar syrup and it’s glorious!
“Dark Candi Sugar” just won’t cut it, plus this is far less expensive.
Add the Spanish Liquor to the boil along with any remaining solids as they will dissolve.
Chill to 68-70F, pitch yeast and let rise to no higher than 78F.
Ferment to completion, preferably open ferment or a close approximation, to reach a final gravity as close to 1.000 as possible.
Second or third generation Saison yeast would be a great help to get you there.
Age in place minimum 3-4 weeks and package, preferably bottle conditioned or keg conditioned.
Only gets better with age. I recently had a 12yo bottle and it was outstanding!