Cast your mind back many months, you may remember I got a 10l herb liqueur barrel. Well, I’ve finally used the damn thing.
It’s been sitting in my kitchen with holding solution inside it just waiting for some beer. Holding solution by the way is 1.5tsp potassium metabisulfite and 1/2 tsp citric acid per gallon. I think a lot of people don’t realise how important it is to not let your barrel get dry or to not leave it sitting around acquiring mould. You should change the holding solution every few months if not in use.
I’m a huge fan of brewing saisons. It is probably the style I have brewed the most. I wanted to run a saison through the barrel for the first fill. I have some nelson hops in the freezer and feel they may marry well with the herbaceous flavours in the barrel along with the earthy, spicy characteristics of the saison yeast (in this case Belgian Saison I).
20 litre batch
20g Nelson 15 mins
20g Nelson 10 mins
OG for this was 1.060 and it finished up at 1.010
This yeast, as always, got down to 1.020 then did nothing for a week until one day I was sat eating my breakfast and the airlock suddenly blew off and whacked me on the head. Hooray it had started again, a week later it was ready. I transferred 10 litres to my barrel and 5 litres to a demi john which I dry hopped with a bit more nelson. After a week I blended both of these and transferred them to a corny keg. I only left it in the barrel for a week as I was worried that the barrel would rub off too much on the beer due to the large surface area that was in contact with the beer.
This was going to be the first beer I force carbed in a keg and bottled using a Blichmann Beer Gun. Big thanks to Pete for helping me out with how it all works. We of course were missing a small connector so couldn’t bottle the beer as planned so I managed to drink 3 litres of it from the keg in a week. The part arrived and I used the gun, which is a bloody dream! It was so quick, however I must have fucked something up somewhere as the carbonation has dropped somewhat in the bottle. Top tip for bottling with the beer gun, ensure everything involved is in the fridge and chilled beforehand otherwise you’ll be trying to bottle foam.
The taste of this beer though is fascinating, it’s herby and citric and very refreshing. It’s initially like a standard saison but then you get this almost Nordic herb liqueur twang followed by a big lemon drop. Very happy with this, just need to get the beer gun down for next time.