Tag Archives: beer

Les Brasseries Artisanales de Montréal (The Brewpubs of Montreal)…


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Oh Montreal, how I love thee.

Delicious food, friendly people, hip fashion, beautiful architecture, and of course, GREAT BEER.

This was my 3rd time visiting Montreal, and every time seems to get better and better. I’ve become much more obsessed with beer since my last visit, so I did some digging around to find out where we should go to sample some of Montreal’s amazing selection of beer…

1. Benelux Brasserie Artisanale et Cafe  

245 Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC, H2X 1X7
514-543-9750
 

We dropped into Benelux on our first night in town. We loved the beer and the outdoor patio so much, that we went back a second time the next night! It isn’t much to look at, decor wise, but it has a very friendly atmosphere, and the beers are impeccable. Every beer I tried, not just here, but also at the following 2 brewpubs, were incredibly clean. Very fresh and well cared for. I could tell that the draft lines are well kept and sanitized. I’m very sensitive to dirty draft lines and always feel like garbage the morning after, even if I only have 1 or 2 pints. Not so with Benelux, and I definitely had more than 1 or 2. My favourite was a Continue reading

The Pilsner Urquell Showdown: Decoction vs. Single Infusion… was it worth it?

Standing over my temperature controlled chest freezer, looking down at my 2 kegs of fully carbonated Bohemian Pilsner, is a very pleasant sight indeed. I used the exact same recipe and maintained the same fermentation schedule for both a single infusion and a decoction version to see what differences could be had. (See original post: Pilsner Urquell: Decoction mash or Single Infusion?) It’s been a long time in the making. Two separate brew days, with the decoction taking me a whopping 11.5 hours (!), 14 days in primary, and another 40 days of lagering. The fact that it is ready to bottle this week, lines up perfectly with us being at the height of summer.

So was it worth it?

Continue reading

Enjoying a Belgian style Witbier in the heat of summer…

It’s been scorching here in Toronto this summer, with temperatures reaching as high as 42°C/108°F in the shade one day! As a result, the Belgian Style Witbier I brewed a few weeks back is finding a very happy home in my pint glass. Don’t get me wrong, the heat is great, my garden is loving it and growing like crazy. Downside is, our central air conditioner is broken, and hot, uncomfortable nights don’t always make for restful sleeping. No A/C also means my Belgian Witbier was fermenting in the 73-75°F range, with it hitting 77°F one day!

The Yeast

Belgian yeast strains can usually handle, if not enjoy, higher fermentation temperatures. Stan Hieronymus describes many fermentation schedules for wheat beers in his book, “Brewing with Wheat” being in the 73°F range, so I was hopeful that things would still work out.

Man, did they really work out.

The White Labs – Belgian Wit (#WLP-400) yeast I used in this beer is rocking the classic fragrance that is such a signature in Belgian witbiers. Unlike some German wheat beers that can be heavy on the banana or clove, it’s very balanced. Primary fermentation was quite slow, taking a full 2 weeks for the krausen to finally drop. I did some research on White Labs’ site after noticing that it was taking its time, and many others noted the same thing. The consensus was to just sit tight and be patient, as it would be worth the wait. Worth the wait it was. Continue reading

Reviewing my revised Guinness Dry Irish Stout clone (version 1.1)…

As with all experiments, they don’t always work out the way you hoped they would.

Have no fear though, when things go wrong, it provides you with another opportunity to get it right.

In my first attempt of cloning a Guinness Dry Irish Stout, I started off by using Jamil Zainisheff’s Dry Irish Stout recipe from Brewing Classic Styles as a base. That beer turned out fantastic. I made no water adjustments to it, and the final result was quite delicious. For the second round I wanted to try and match the highly alkaline water of Dublin, as well as add some acidulated malt to try and emulate the Guinness ‘twang’.

Water chemistry in brewing is a very complex subject, one that I certainly haven’t mastered. Most home brewers would say don’t even bother messing with it, but I want to find out how to make the best beer possible. I don’t want to make ‘good’ beer, I want to make ‘great’ beer, so I will mess with everything I can until I find out how to, even if that means having some casualties along the way.

The mineral concentrations as listed in Bru’n Water for Dublin are: Continue reading

Brewing a Belgian Style Witbier using an adjunct mash…

With the onset of summer and the occasional 40°C weather up here in Toronto, it’s about time I get a nice cold keg filled with a summertime favourite: a Belgian Witbier. There’s nothing like the refreshing taste of that orange infused bubbly goodness on a hot summer day.

Witbiers normally contain a large amount of unmalted wheat, either raw or flaked. When using such a large amount, it’s a good idea to give your mash a short protein rest around 122F to help loosen things up. I’ve just finished reading Randy Mosher’s book “Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass” in which he talks about “white beer” as being one of his favourite styles. He also talks about how it can be a difficult beer to brew well and offers some insight from his trials and errors. He suggests an American style “adjunct mash” (or a ‘double mash’ as it’s called in Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide) as the best way to get that real creamy, lubricious body that is a famous characteristic of good witbiers. After researching some historical brewing texts, he claims that this was similar to how some brewers would have made these greatly varied beers in the past in order to deal with the large amount of raw wheat in the grist.

The recipe I chose uses the following grains: Continue reading