Friday, October 30, 2009

Scratch the Chardonnay

Also, I’ve got a Temptation influenced hybrid wine/wild ale in development. This beer will feature fresh chardonnay grapes from a hands-on harvest effort that will occur next month at Saltwater Farm in Stonington, CT.

The Chardonnay grapes have already been harvested and hauled off to the fermenter for processing, so tomorrow I’ll instead participate in the Cab Franc harvest at SWF. Such are the vagaries of New England weather and agriculture. Despite my initial disappointment to learn I missed the Chardonnay, this is actually a great surprise, as I thought I had missed the harvest entirely.

But, given the late audible, I put out the call for help/feedback on the BA homebrewing forum to help with recipe and process formulation. Its copied and pasted below for my ease in reference at a later time.

image credit:

Cab franc grapes

While there are now several commercial examples of beers aged in wine barrels, it is not often that you see a beer actually fermented with grapes (save for a few examples like the bruery's white zin, which is actually a blend of ale fermented w/ zinfandel grapes + lambic).

...anyway, I'm going to saltwater farm vineyard in connecticut to assist in the harvest tomorrow, and we'll toil away on the cabernet franc vines. Originally I had hoped to be able to get some chardonnay grapes to have a go at a style similar to russian river's temptation...but those were plucked while I was out of the country.

their cab franc (unblended) is has a mellow softness to it, with prominent earth and subtle spice, and an even but firm and balancing fruitiness to it. Just enough tannic dryness to snap it clean at the end. Of course there will be year to year variation, but this is what I'm getting from their 2007 bottles. It was aged in stainless. could maybe benefit from some very subtle french oak character.

I would like to showcase the grapes...still thinking of a belgian style base beer, but I really don't want any kind of roasted grains to get in the way of the grapes.

pilsner base, caravienne, flaked wheat, (no sugars, no spicing), OG ~1.070.
wyeast 3944
rack on to ~5-8 lbs of cab franc, picked through + de-stemmed, quick spin through the food processor to break open the fruit. Use large 7.9 gallon fermentor to allow ease in punching down the cap. not planning any acid blend or tannin additions.

wondering if it would be entirely necessary to sulfite the grape must w/ campden before racking the beer on to it. or will I/can I get a suitable/interesting wild character from wild yeast on the grape skins? I understand a lot of wineries do not add yeast to their must, they simply will allow the wild yeasts to ferment their wine out. I'll ask what they did with their 2007 cab franc.

Primarily looking for anyone's practical experience with either wine grapes in a beer or simply wine making.

oh, and just enough IBUs, around 25ish,
subtle spicy flavor + aroma hops. EKG to bitter, hallertauer, saaz aroma/flavor

1 comment:

  1. I have actually fermented grapes but myself and dan aka dreadnatty have each made a beer with wine added to it.

    I definately think the flavor could be a lot stronger and really blend well with the brett

    Dans Recipe



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