Bretty Claus & The Elf By: Ry Parcell
For my first Love2Brew article, I would like to take y'all back in time to a brew day a couple months ago. This particular brew day has taken me on the fun journey into the world of aging beers and Brettanomyces:
My wife and I are having a baby boy this October. To say that this will alter our lives in ways we cannot even begin to imagine is certainly an understatement. Some may think of this as scary, others may think of it as wonderful, and some may go running into the hills. Me, I like to ponder and plan how to organize my brewing schedule around it.
I remember the night that we found out we were pregnant. It was a very crisp, cold, and still night in Vermont. I was drinking a Lambic. As the news of the pregnancy settled and the tears of joy dried up I came back to my Lambic and began thinking that this was surely a sign to begin making sour beers and experimenting with aging, oak, Brettanomyces, split batches, and the whole works. My wife, and fellow foodie and beer nerd, was now on hiatus from libations and would need something waiting for her when she emerged on the other end of the pregnancy. By the time my favorite tulip glass was empty I had determined, quite matter of factly, that I was doing this for her. Or me. It is still debatable I suppose.
When brewing beer, generally, I tend to think about what I want to drink and what had been inspiring me at my local watering hole lately. This time around I forced myself out of that box and began thinking about when I would be drinking this beer and which beer would fit with that particular time. I had a few things in mind for this beer before it even had a style, I knew that I wanted it A.) To be BIG, B.) To be as inky black as possible, C.) To try a parti-gyle for the first time, D.) To be consumed around Christmas, and E.) To be an experiment with oak chips, homemade Virginia rye whiskey, and Brettanomyces Claussenii.
When the dust settled I decided to brew up a big burly Imperial Porter concoction that would turn into two very different beers. The first runnings, aptly named Bretty Claus, would be what I would put most of my attention and research to and the second runnings, The Elf, would be a great session beer I would keg up and enjoy with friends fairly quickly.
Recipe, Details, & Notes:
Brewed 4/21/2012. Brewed solo as wife was in Portland at Coffee Conference and brewing partner had to bail last minute for other important non beer related matters.
Mash and Boil Details:
Yeast & Adjuncts:
More to come on the Bretty Claus as it develops. I do not plan on touching it again until Thanksgiving. From there I will decide how to proceed; whether that be more aging or bottling in the smaller 375 ml corkable bottles that Vinnie puts his Russian River Sours into and then aging for a bit longer. Here’s to having a baby boy this fall and a big oak aged Imperial Porter this winter! Cheers!