Bonsai & Brew

beer wars
The Great Mexican-Belgian Beer War of 2017

102 posts in this topic

So, I finally have a moment to post tasting notes from my saison

 

Appearance: Clear, golden-amber with a creamy, diminishing head

 

Aroma: Slight biscuity malts. Mostly pepper. Lots of pepper, with hop aroma there beneath it but easy to miss. Same goes for saison funk.

 

Taste: Well-balanced malts get overwhelmed pretty quickly by a bell-peppery freshness, which wears off for a little lingering hop bitterness, but pretty mild. Heat builds as you drink. Doesn't taste very saison-ish at all, but very good overall!

Sonora Saison.jpg

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4 hours ago, MRB Tim said:

So, I finally have a moment to post tasting notes from my saison

 

Appearance: Clear, golden-amber with a creamy, diminishing head

 

Aroma: Slight biscuity malts. Mostly pepper. Lots of pepper, with hop aroma there beneath it but easy to miss. Same goes for saison funk.

 

Taste: Well-balanced malts get overwhelmed pretty quickly by a bell-peppery freshness, which wears off for a little lingering hop bitterness, but pretty mild. Heat builds as you drink. Doesn't taste very saison-ish at all, but very good overall!

Sonora Saison.jpg

 

Looks pretty saisony to me -- did you have @MRB Josh R score it?

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For Tim's beer, if entered in a BJCP competition, it would most likely go into category 30. Spiced Beer - 30A. Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer and not into the saison category.

 

While the saison character is there (dry, peppery, faint barnyard notes), it is a bit muted by the chilies and spices. Tim was going for a Belgo-Mexi saison, but ended up in India, in my opinion...lol. It tastes almost curry-like, with a very subtle, but perceptible warmth as you drink it. Stylistically, I'd give it high scores on technical merit alone. It would lose a couple of points for a lack of balance (the chilies and spices are pretty forward instead of in the background), but this would only be me judging it according to the style guidelines. To me personally, I really like the forward chili and spice flavors. While I probably would have chosen a cream ale or a wheat beer for something like this, I do like the dryness the saison yeast imparts. It's a really tasty beer, especially if you're a fan of chili beers like I am. I wish it had a bit more heat to it, though. But it's still my favorite beer that Tim has made yet.

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Here's a tentative Hibiscus Wit recipe I'm kicking around:

 

1X Canadian Blonde

1X Golden LME

4 oz Pilsen

4 oz White Wheat

2 oz Belgian Aromatic

1 tsp coriander and zest of 1 small orange X 5 min boil

4-6 oz dried hibiscus petals, steeped for 10 minutes and added 1 week before kegging. (Maybe in a secondary? I usually don't bother)

White Labs 400 Belgian Wit

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First off, you guys are crushing these beers. I mean, this is a transcendent moment and I know that we are changing the world with these beers.

 

While La Noche Fuerte is an outstanding beer and worthy addition, I cannot in good conscience just put one beer into the mix and sit back sipping it for the rest of the year. I am no one hit wonder.

 

SO.....here we go.....

 

Una Otra Noche Fuerte

Base:

2 cans Czech Pilsner

Grains:

1 bag Munich

1 bag Crystal 60

a sprinkling of Chocolate

Additives:

1 cup sugar (type TBD)

1 or 2 Ancho Chiles

1 Vanilla Bean

Anejo Tequila soaked Oak Chips

Hop:

Maybe Columbus, maybe Chinook....still thinking about this...

Yeast:

T-58

 

For this one, I am trying to take some of the sweetness out of the "quads" I've been doing. I want it to be dark and strong, but not AS malty. I'm looking to get the color from the grains, the 60 and the sprinkling of chocolate. And I'm looking to dry it out a bit with the cup (or 1.5) of sugar.

 

BUT DON'T CHANGE THE CHANNEL 'CUZ I'M NOT DONE YET! 

 

Una Sonrisa Brilliante

 

Base: 

2 Cervesa Azteca

Grains:

1 pack pilsner 1 pack munich, 1 pack red wheat

Additives:

1 pale LME

1 cup organic agave

Hops:

Bitter: Simcoe

Flavor/Aroma: Mosaic, El Dorado, Sorachi Ace, Amarillo, German Mandarina

Yeast: T-58

 

This is my take on a heavily hopped Mexigian Imperial IPA. I'm going heavy with citrus style hops.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter dos.

 

Belgium seeks an alliance with France, with their pretentious-sounding hops and fancy yeasts.  Mexico, undeterred, unleashes the full force of its Cerveza and its own formidable hops to counter the surprise offensive.  The Belga-Franco forces march on -- "Your Ancho chilies will do you no good today Ami!  Prepare the way of the Grisette!" their battle cry.

 

Who will be victorious in this epic battle for brewing dominance?

 

Will the Donkey With No Name rise up once again with a mighty bray?

 

Will the French-speaking Belgian coal miners from Hainut Province regret ever having brewed their Grisette?

 

How will we ever know when this war is actually over?

 

----------------------

 

Petit frere de Saison

 

Aztec Cerveza, 1.87 lb.

Rahr 6-row, 0.5 lb.

Weyermann Vienna, 0.25 lb.

Rahr White wheat, 0.25 lb.

Flaked Rye, 0.25 lb.

El Dorado, 0.25 oz., 15 min.

Nelson Sauvin*, 0.25 oz., 10 min.

Nelson Sauvin*, 0.25 oz., @ f/o

Strisselspalt, 0.5 oz, Day 7 dry-hop

Mangrove Jack's French Saison M29 yeast

 

60 min. mash @ 150 F

30 min. boil

 

OG 1.047

IBU 29

SRM 3

 

*Nelson Sauvin hops were developed in New Zealand.  Any references to them having anything whatsoever to do with France are for creative literary purposes only.

 

And finally, this is your fault @MrWhy.?

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TASTING NOTES FROM THE SONORA SAISON

--

 

The other night I was sitting at the edge of my bed. I was strumming my guitar and singing an outlaw love song. I was thinking about what she was doing. And when she'd be coming back.

 

I heard small knock on the door. My heart slowed. I went and tentatively opened it. There she was.

 

My donkey.

 

She'd come back.

 

And tied around her neck was a little bag. And in the little bag was a bottle.

 

And tied around the bottle was a little note and all it said was "Sonora Saison."

 

I gave her a hug. She brayed. 

 

Todos estan bueno.

 

Here are my tasting notes for this beer:

 

Excellent pale gold color. The nose is pleasantly light. I am not familiar with the hop, but it has a mild air and evokes a summertime beer.

 

The first sip brings a sense of belgian-y pepper, and then there is the spicy presence of the habanero. It is is a dominant taste, but not overpowering, if that makes any sense. It is not subtle, but it does not overtake the beer. Behind that there is a light, refreshing, subtle citrus presence.

 

I like this beer a lot. It is definitely a complicated brew. There are elements that make it highly drinkable....the pleasant nose, that light citrus in the background, but the complexity brought by the habanero prevents it from being a beer that is guzzled down. It turns into a light, refreshing, sipping beer.

 

As I continue to sip it and it warms up from refrigirator temps,  I am wondering if there is more than just habanero? The habanero flavor is there, but I am getting different heat. Is there ancho there too? I am also, as it warms, digging the aroma more and more. I love the light scent, very mild and pleasant (in a good way) and then as you sip you just get this pepper and spice and heat and a great habanero taste, and then it ends with again this light, sense.

 

I know this is a "saison" but it reminds me much more of almost a re-imagined belgian wit. 

 

If I had another one (or two!) I would experiment with adding a lime, corona style, or even an orange slice blue moon style.

 

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FINAL RECIPES

 

Ordering Ingredients today.

 

Here is the final recipe listing for my next two entries.

 

Una Otra Noche Fuerte

HME - 2 Pilsner

LME - 1 pale 

Grains - Victory, Crystal 60, Red Wheat

Additive - 1 cup sugar (type TBD), Mesquite Flower, oak chips soaked in Anejo Tequila, 2 Ancho Chile

Yeast - T-58

Hopped with Warrior Hops

 

Una Sonrisa Brilliante

HME - Azteca

LME - 2 pale

Grains - 2 packs 2 row, 1 pack Crystal 15, 1 pack Red Wheat

Additive - 1 cup sugar (type TBD)

Yeast - T-58

Hopps - bitter with Nugget, late additions of El Dorado, Mosaic, Cascade,  dry hopped with Falcon.

 

 

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On 7/16/2017 at 10:58 PM, MrWhy said:

TASTING NOTES FROM THE SONORA SAISON

--

 

The other night I was sitting at the edge of my bed. I was strumming my guitar and singing an outlaw love song. I was thinking about what she was doing. And when she'd be coming back.

 

I heard small knock on the door. My heart slowed. I went and tentatively opened it. There she was.

 

My donkey.

 

She'd come back.

 

And tied around her neck was a little bag. And in the little bag was a bottle.

 

And tied around the bottle was a little note and all it said was "Sonora Saison."

 

I gave her a hug. She brayed. 

 

Todos estan bueno.

 

Here are my tasting notes for this beer:

 

Excellent pale gold color. The nose is pleasantly light. I am not familiar with the hop, but it has a mild air and evokes a summertime beer.

 

The first sip brings a sense of belgian-y pepper, and then there is the spicy presence of the habanero. It is is a dominant taste, but not overpowering, if that makes any sense. It is not subtle, but it does not overtake the beer. Behind that there is a light, refreshing, subtle citrus presence.

 

I like this beer a lot. It is definitely a complicated brew. There are elements that make it highly drinkable....the pleasant nose, that light citrus in the background, but the complexity brought by the habanero prevents it from being a beer that is guzzled down. It turns into a light, refreshing, sipping beer.

 

As I continue to sip it and it warms up from refrigirator temps,  I am wondering if there is more than just habanero? The habanero flavor is there, but I am getting different heat. Is there ancho there too? I am also, as it warms, digging the aroma more and more. I love the light scent, very mild and pleasant (in a good way) and then as you sip you just get this pepper and spice and heat and a great habanero taste, and then it ends with again this light, sense.

 

I know this is a "saison" but it reminds me much more of almost a re-imagined belgian wit. 

 

If I had another one (or two!) I would experiment with adding a lime, corona style, or even an orange slice blue moon style.

 

 

 

Love the stories, @MrWhy!

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Big announcement.

 

I'll wait for it to quiet down. 

 

Thank you.

 

Drum roll please..........

 

I have decided on what tequila I will be using for my Otra Noche Fuerte.

 

Gran Centenario Anejo.

 

I wish could say this came after extensive taste testings, but really I looked up some "well regarded" anejos (whatever that means) within my price range and this was the only one that had in the market.

 

That being said, sometimes you just trust the universe so I purchased and just finished sipping some on ice. I love the flavor and think it and the oak chips will add a lot to this beer.

 

I am still deciding whether I really want to go with an ancho chile here.....starting to think less might be better (a dios mio what is happening to me??????).

 

Just let the oak, tequila, and mesquite flower carry the beer..

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Doing a double brew today.

 

La Otra Noche

Grains - Victory, Crystal 60, Red Wheat Flakes - mashed at 160-150 for 50 minutes

Add 1 Pale LME, 2 cups powdered coconut sugar

Bring to boil

At boil add 1 pack mesquite flour, 2 diced ancho chiles

Add 2 packs warrior hops

Boil all 5-6 minutes

Flameout, add 2 czech pilsner HMEs

Ice bath,

Pitch T-58

Put in the ferment fridge set at 70 degrees.

 

Just finished this and it smelled fantastic.  

 

Already started the Stralende Sonrisa! (Stralende is dutch for bright).

 

Here is the plan for this one -

Grains - 2 packs 2 row, Cyrstal 15, Red wheat flakes, mashing at 160 - 150 for 50 minutes 

Bring to boil, stir in 2 cups agave nectar

Nugget Hops - 10 minutes

Mosiac, El Dorado, Faclon, Cascade - 5 minutes

Flameout, add Pale LME, Aztec HME

Ice Bath, pitch T-58

Ferment at 70 degrees.

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If I've done anything truly wonderful during my short but storied brewing career, it would be dry-hopping Petit frere de Saison with equal amounts of Strisselspalt and Nelson Sauvin on Day 10!  FG is 1.002.?

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10 hours ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

If I've done anything truly wonderful during my short but storied brewing career, it would be dry-hopping Petit frere de Saison with equal amounts of Strisselspalt and Nelson Sauvin on Day 10!  FG is 1.002.?

How much did you put in?

I have also got nice results in wheat beer with the Nelson and Galaxy.

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On ‎7‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 7:31 PM, MRB Tim said:

Here's a tentative Hibiscus Wit recipe I'm kicking around:

 

1X Canadian Blonde

1X Golden LME

4 oz Pilsen

4 oz White Wheat

2 oz Belgian Aromatic

1 tsp coriander and zest of 1 small orange X 5 min boil

4-6 oz dried hibiscus petals, steeped for 10 minutes and added 1 week before kegging. (Maybe in a secondary? I usually don't bother)

White Labs 400 Belgian Wit

That looks interesting, but in making a Wit beer, why not much wheat - e.g. using the Bavarian Weiss HME?

The sweet orange peel does do well in the wheat beer.

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1 hour ago, Nickfixit said:

How much did you put in?

I have also got nice results in wheat beer with the Nelson and Galaxy.

 

Just ¼ oz. or so of each, but nice aroma and flavor in my hydrometer sample have raised my expectation for the finished beer!

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3 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

That looks interesting, but in making a Wit beer, why not much wheat - e.g. using the Bavarian Weiss HME?

 

A few reasons. Having done this for a few years now, using the most obvious choice for the HME seems kind of lazy, or at least not very creative. I love wheat beers, so I've used BW for what seems like 50 beers now, and it's getting a little boring. There are so many choices, why not switch it up? With that said, you're right that it would leave me a little low on the wheat malt. I'll probably either up it to 12 oz white wheat or add another Golden LME. Also, hibiscus is a very subtle flavor, and it wouldn't take much to cover it up completely. The blonde is much more neutral to my palette.

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46 minutes ago, MRB Tim said:

 

A few reasons. Having done this for a few years now, using the most obvious choice for the HME seems kind of lazy, or at least not very creative. I love wheat beers, so I've used BW for what seems like 50 beers now, and it's getting a little boring. There are so many choices, why not switch it up? With that said, you're right that it would leave me a little low on the wheat malt. I'll probably either up it to 12 oz white wheat or add another Golden LME. Also, hibiscus is a very subtle flavor, and it wouldn't take much to cover it up completely. The blonde is much more neutral to my palette.

 

Have you been reading @MrWhy's Brewing Manifesto again?;)

 

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On May 7, 2017 at 10:16 AM, MrWhy said:

 

You had a sample of course. Don't lie! We know you had a sample.....

 

How was it????

 

Sacred brewing pact - let's each save a bottle for next Cinco de Mayo. We will coordinate times and open our bottles and drink them at the same time. We will "live" chat our drinking session.  It might be the biggest event the forum has seen in years. I don't know if the Mr. B servers can handle it.....but they have a year to prep so it should be okay.

 

Bet you thought that I would forget about the pact?  Ha!  I've got an El Tipo chilling in the fridge for Saturday.🍻

 

We miss you, man.:)

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On 4/30/2018 at 8:05 PM, Bonsai & Brew said:

 

Bet you thought that I would forget about the pact?  Ha!  I've got an El Tipo chilling in the fridge for Saturday.🍻

 

We we miss you, man.:)

 

I also want to say I miss @MrWhy.  I don’t think he has been on the boards this year.  Anyone been in contact with him?  I really enjoyed his enthusiasm for brewing.

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6 hours ago, KaijuBrew said:

 

I also want to say I miss @MrWhy.  I don’t think he has been on the boards this year.  Anyone been in contact with him?  I really enjoyed his enthusiasm for brewing.

I sent him beer in the mail and then he disappeared. He never even said thanks or acknowledge anything. I assumed hes either in jail or 6 ft deep 

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16 hours ago, KaijuBrew said:

 

I also want to say I miss @MrWhy.  I don’t think he has been on the boards this year.  Anyone been in contact with him?  I really enjoyed his enthusiasm for brewing.

 

10 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

I sent him beer in the mail and then he disappeared. He never even said thanks or acknowledge anything. I assumed hes either in jail or 6 ft deep 

 

My last contact with @MrWhy was August 4, 2017.  At that time he was getting ready to send me a 750 mL bottle of La Noche Libra (or whatever) after I had sent him some bottles of Tipo de Belga Dobles.  His package never arrived...  I would like to think that after achieving homebrew Nirvana, he saddled his donkey and got lost somewhere between the Sonora and Belgium.  That, or he tried to send beer via the USPS, got busted by BATF and is in jail.  Sorry man -- it was fun while it lasted.🍻

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7 hours ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

 

 

My last contact with @MrWhy was August 4, 2017.  At that time he was getting ready to send me a 750 mL bottle of La Noche Libra (or whatever) after I had sent him some bottles of Tipo de Belga Dobles.  His package never arrived...  I would like to think that after achieving homebrew Nirvana, he saddlled his donkey and got lost somewhere between the Sonora and Belgium.  That, or he tried to send beer via the USPS, got busted by BATF and is in jail.  Sorry man -- it was fun while it lasted.🍻

 

Wow.  I really hope he is all right.  A shame the beer never arrived and it was nice of your guys to share.

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