Monday, January 18, 2010


The 2010 KLCC collaboration brew was brewed on Saturday. An interesting project for myself, as the recipe required three grains, three strains of hops, and a yeast that I've never used before. The ratios of the grains were predetermined, but the hop drops were up to each brewery. This is billed as a Belgian Cascadian Dark Rye Ale, and I was so glad the the brewers avoided the tragedy of calling it a Dark IPA.

The sparge progressed rather slowly, I suspect due to the presence of the rye and the dark munich. They seemed to shatter to a higher degree in the mill than the other grains. I don't have the luxury of being able to adjust the fineness of the grind for the different grains; the mill is set right where I want it for the bulk of what I brew and I'm afraid to tweek it.

The yeast is another matter. It is the WY3522 Ardennes yeast, a Belgian strain, that I harvested off the bottom of one of the conicals at Oakshire. While I collected a full quart jar, by the time it chilled and settled here at the brewery it had packed down into less than a pint. This gave me no small concern as to the risk of underpitching. Too late to fetch more, though. Its behavior was unlike the usual dry British strains that I use, so I'm having to use observation and the nose to determine as best I can as to how things are going. I thought it had a slow start. Right now, Monday morning, it has a nice brown crust and the aroma is starting to develop. The krausen is not real thick and foamy, but maybe this is just the way it behaves. There is not a whole lot I can do about it, though. I'm expecting to hold the temperature a little warmer towards the end so as to mitigate the likelihood of diacetyls due to the potential of having underpitched. Geeky stuff, eh? More to come.

If this turns out alright, it is possibly the first ever cask-conditioned Belgian Cascadian Dark Rye ale ever produced in a commercial brewery. Who knows.


Unknown said...

Oh boy, I can't wait. Thanks so much for sharing the geeky stuff!

Jeff Alworth said...

Good luck--that Ardennes yeast is a bear. They used it a couple years ago at Cheers to Belgian Beers in Portland, and many of the beers turned out underfermented, heavy, and sweet.

It's probably good that you've got rye in there. What did you hop it with? At what level?

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Some of the other brewers down here said that they had a slow ferment, but that it completed.

The hops that were chosen are Ahtanum, Sterling and Millenium. Each brewery gets to choose the which, when and how much. All three are also to be used in some combination for dry hopping. I'm using Millenium for bittering, and then three separate drops of a mix of the other two for aroma and flavor.

I've put together a starter of my house yeast this morning to give the batch a kick start. This will dry the beer somewhat, and hopefully raise the temperature towards the end. Also, hopefully, it will save the beer!

Dave A said...

This is a very tasty beer Ted. I was impressed and I think everyone will love it!!