Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bière de Garde is back

Bière de Garde will shall return to store shelves soon.

Schlafly's first foray into the world of bottle-conditioned beers, the September 2007 release of the Bière de Garde, topped with its jaunty orange crown, has been well received.

This past week, a fresh batch of BdG was krausened and bottled at the Schlafly Taproom. This cousin to the Saison will now spend the next two weeks conditioning at about 70 degrees (give or take a few), before we cool it down to age.

Provided we hit the mark and the dash of freshly fermenting wort added to each bottle doesn't cause the CO2 to exceed the bottle's pressure rating, thus making small rockets out of the Bière de Garde bottles, we should have them back on sale within the month.

For those of you unfamiliar with bottle conditioned beer, a quick primer. A staple for homebewers seeking to carbonate their creations, the method has been used for centuries in brewing.

Bottle conditioning is often used as a finishing touch in the brewing process to provide carbonation, character or add stability to the beer.

The bottled beer is condition through the addition of yeast and sometimes priming sugar or wort to add carbonation.

By measuring the amount of sugar in both the fermenting beer and the amount of residual sugar in the beer to be conditioned, we know how much yeast/sugar mix to add to achieve our desired goal. In this case, a particular carbonation level as well as a certain finished character.

In addition to giving a well carbonated pour, the additional active yeast provides other benefits. The fermenting yeast consumes much of the remaining dissolved oxygen in the beer. Oxygen, of course, being one of the great enemies of beer quality. It can also consume some of the other compounds like diacetyl and acetaldehyde that may be undesired in a beer, depending on the style.

Bottle-conditioned beer continues to age and mature when kept at cellar temperatures of around 50° to 55°.

Schlafly Bière de Garde is ready to drink in a few weeks following bottling. While bottle-conditioning can give a beer the ability to age for some time, Bière de Garde is best consumed before too long. In the Belgian and French regions, the farmers would brew their Saisons and Bière de Gardes in the winter and then drink them while tending their fields from the late spring into early fall. Fortunately, Schlafly Bière de Garde will be available most of the year.


Jeff said...

Hope to see some in Columbia this time around!

Jeff said...

Hope to see some in Columbia this time around!

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