The beer world has a lot to offer, in order to explore new beers we decided to test some unusual ingredients and processes. For this first installment in our Hotel, we bring you a Grisette with Lavender.
Although Grisette is not (yet) a style recognized by the BJCP, more and more commercial, and not only, examples, of this style have been coming up. Dave Janssen of Hors Catégorie Brewing has several publications where he explores this historic beer. It’s a great way to get introduced to the style.
A beer that is intended to be complex, but on a simple base of malt and cereals, highlighting the work of the yeast and the scent of lavender. To achieve that complexity in a low density beer, for the first time we explored sour mash in a small part (10%) of the cereals used.
For the lavender touch, besides adding it to the boil, it was also incorporated into a homemade bitter, so that we can correct the aroma intensity, after the wort is done fermenting, should it be necessary.
As the Grisette is pictured as a rustic style, often produced in rural environments and with limited resources available, often little to no modified cereals were used. The pilsner based grist is complemented by oat flakes and spelt. Oats are rich in beta-glucans and contribute to a velvety mouthfeel in the final product. Spelt, a rustic wheat increasing in popularity these days, in addition to the similarities with wheat, brings also notes of nuts and a note of “grain” that lingers at the end of the tasting.
The day before the actual brewday, a part of the pilsner malt was separated – about 10% of the total used – and the sugars are converted at 67ºC for 2 hours. With the wort cooled to 40ºC, two hands of freshly ground malt are added and the pH reduced to 4.2-4.4 with lactic acid, to prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms. The wort rested until the following day, keeping the temperature at 40ºC, to allow acidification. After 24 hours, the wort did not present any unpleasant aromas, hopefully indicating that there was no relevant production of isovaleric or butyric acid.
The following day, equipment ready, water at the desired temperature and with the all the mineral corrections made, the mashing started in the stipulated regime, with a ph of 5.45. The incorporation of sour mash was deliberately left to the end of the main mash to keep the pH in the optimal conversion zone.
At the end of the several ramps of the main mash, the sour mash was added and recirculated for 5 minutes to homogenize. A reduction in pH to 5.06 was noted.
At the beginning of the boil, we added a mixture of aged hops (roughly 12 months) and lavender. Two complete sprigs of lavender were added to the boil for 60 minutes, according to “The Homebrewer’s Almanac”, by Scratch Brewing. At the end of the boil, the remaining hops were added.
The yeast chosen for this beer, perhaps one of the most important elements of this recipe, was American Farmhouse Blend by White Labs (WLP670). A mixture of saccharomyces and brettanomyces, sourced from a well-known american brewer some claim. The yeast blend develops a complex, slightly acidic profile, a balance between a saison yeast and brettanomyces.
Inoculated after cooling, the wort fermented at 19-20ºC during the initial 48 hours, increasing to 24ºC for 5 days, followed by a maturation period for 15 days at 12ºC.
Total cereal: 4.5 kg.
Original Gravity: 1.043
Efficiency: 70 %
Boil time: 60 minutos
77.8% – 5.5 kg. pilsner malt
11.1% – 0.5 kg. flaked oats
11.1% – 0.5 kg. flaked spelt
30 gr. 12 month aged hops mixture (pellet, ~4.50% AA) @ 60 min.
50 gr. 12 month aged hops mixture (pellet, ~4.50% AA) @ 5 min.
Yeast nutrients @ 5 min.
1 Whirlfloc @ 5 min.
American Farmhouse Blend WLP 670
Cl to SO4 Ratio: 1.15
Acid Rest – 15 min @ 35ºC
Protein Rest – 15 min @ 52ºC
1ª Saccharification Rest – 30 min @ 63ºC
2ª Saccharification Rest – 30 min @ 72ºC
Final Gravity: 1.011
Final pH : 4.3
Bottling on 22/02/20:
Volumes Co2: 2.4
Long day in the yard, brewing, bottling and processing fruit. Full day!
To test some variations, we decided to divide the batch into 4 variants:
- Lavander bitter
- Chamomile bitter
- Lavender flower cold steep
- Control version. For control and comparison, duh.
The chamomile bitter was a bonus. It wasn’t planned but after some tests it showed potential and it was bottled. The concentration was similar in both, about 80ml for 5L.
On the day before bottling, the flower version was transferred to a 5L container, with a contact time of 24 hours.
The base version is for that very purpose. Control and comparison without additions to understand how the beer develops and incorporates the added elements.
Carbonation and maturation to follow and soon we will tell you how it was.