One Gallon Experiments: Strawberry-Rhubarb and Coffee

I’m running out of bottles, such is the life of the homebrewer. Consequently, I’ve decided to throw time-efficiency to the wind and experiment with some one-gallon all-grain, Brew In A Bag (BIAB) batches so that I can test out some recipe ideas at very low cost. This scale makes testing recipes really easy, since water can be brought up to mash temp and sweet wort can be brought up to boil temp in virtually no time, especially if using a gas or propane burner. I’ve  had some issues with excessive boiloff in my small kettle, but now that I know my boiloff rate, it’s simple enough to adjust my process.

It’s a great way to get in a weeknight brew without having to worry about cleanup, and end up with about 9 standard size beer bottles, easily enough to get a feel for where the recipe needs to go next. Buying base malt and hops in bulk keeps the cost very low.

Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Bière de Garde (1.25 gallon BIAB)

I am aiming for a beer with big fruit character, bolstered by fruity and spicy yeast character. I designed a recipe to provide support to the body (oats and wheat), as well as some colour and  fuller flavour (Caramunich). Bitterness is fairly low, as I want this to be a fruit-forward beer with just enough bitterness to not be cloying. I chose Wyeast 3725 Bière de Garde because it has the qualities I want (fruity, spicy) without the extremely high attenuation of WY3711 French Saison.  The addition of fruit (1 lb each of strawberry and rhubarb) should add lots of fresh fruit character and acidity to balance out the slight sweetness of the beer (the fruit sugars should be mostly fermentable). I’ll be racking the beer onto the fruit once strawberries are in season (about three weeks from now here), then aging for at least a month before bottling. I might even throw in some fruitier Brett strain to see what happens.

Estimated OG (70% efficiency): 1.059
Actual OG: 1.072 (lower volume)
Estimated IBU: 24


2 lb / 68% 2-row pale malt
0.25lb / 9% Caramunich I
0.25lb / 9% Flaked Oats
0.25lb / 9% Wheat malt
2.5 oz / 5% Acidulated Malt

Mash at 150-152 for 60 minutes (BIAB)


0.4 oz / 24 IBU  Hallertau (60 minutes)


WY3725 Biere de Garde (standard pitch rate)

Brew Log 2014/05/30: Mashed in small pot, which was easy to insulate with a soft cooler. Everything went well, but ended up with a slightly lower volume than expected after the boil. Could add water to account for high boiloff rate in the small (~2 gallon) pot. Ended up with about 3.5L in a 3.79L/1 gallon fermentor. Pitched about 30 billion cells of WY3725 Biere de Garde, which took off the next day, kept in a closet upstairs at an ambient temperature of 70-75F (21-24C).

2014/06/05: Primary is done, resting in the dark awaiting strawberry season.

2014/06/21: 2 lb strawberries and 1 lb rhubarb added. Fermentation resumed.

2014/08/06: Bottled. Hazy pink colour, absolutely massive strawberry-rhubarb aroma and great tartness. 1.010, so 8.2% abv – big beer. Promising! 

Recipe: Petit Déjeuner Saison (Coffee Saison, 1 gallon BIAB)

Another beer ‘inspired by’ a Tired Hands original. Sort of a strange idea but I think it will work well – I think the peppery, spicy character some Saison yeasts (especially Wyeast 3711 French Saison) put forward can complement the flavor of coffee, and there are coffees I have access to with a not-so-subtle citrus component that can hang with American hops. Midnight wheat will provide colour and body without astringent or harsh flavours, yielding a mellow, dark saison. I’m going to complement the Centennial (instead of the more expensive Simcoe because I have lots of Centennial sitting around) with a complementary, citrusy coffee – Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Planet Bean – described as having “citrus and floral notes and a mildly addictive toffee finish.” The beer will be fermented in the 70s with Wyeast 3711 French Saison, resulting in a dry beer with a somewhat creamy body from the oats and wheat, and a citrus-coffee-pepper flavour profile from the yeast, hops and coffee. Furthermore, this is an experiment with introducing my favorite technique for brewing coffee to my brewing process: the Aeropress. I find Aeropress coffee brewed properly and chilled immediately  to accentuate the aromatics of the bean and have a fuller flavour than the equivalent amount of conventional cold-brew, and I am hoping this will translate well to beer.  Once the beer is ready for bottling, I will prepare some Aeropress coffee, combine with the priming sugar, and rack the beer on top of that to be bottled.

Estimated OG (70% efficiency): 1.059
Actual OG: ?
Estimated IBU: 31


2 lb / 72% Pilsner malt
6 oz / 12% flaked oats
4 oz / 9% midnight wheat
2 oz / 4% acidulated malt

Mash at 148F for 60 minutes (BIAB)


0.4 oz / 24 IBU Hallertau (60 minutes)
0.25 oz / 7 IBU Centennial (5 minutes)
0.5 oz  Centennial (dry hop 5 days)

34g (bean weight) brewed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee (about 200g after brewing)  immediately before bottling.

Brew Log 2014/06/04:

Broke my hydrometer, so brewed this blind. Beautiful appearance (black with ruby highlights and dense tan foam), volume was more correct than the last batch. Pitched with WY3711 (standard pitch rate) at 70F.

2014/06/20: Started dry hop.

2014/06/25: Bottling day. Bottled~3L with 14g dextrose and Aeropress brewed coffee from 34g beans (Ethiopian Yirgacheffe). Really neat beer – hops and coffee in harmony, some dark malt character, some spice, noticeable oats.






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