Summer ferments, the long story.

beer brewing brett beers ct home brew hot ferment saison steam ale summer beer making wine making wyeast sour

It is hot outside! Most folks I know take that to mean "time to enjoy my wine/beer, I'll make it later." Well, okay, if you're stocked well and like that cycle... no, wait, there are some pointers to think about anyways.

 

Heat does NOT hurt all fermentation. No, it's not good for that white wine with the delicate flavors, or the American ale that just shouldn't have that ester... but what about wines and beers that work well with ester profiles? Or phenols that develop in higher temperature ferments? 

 

I've mentioned many times, brewing a Saison is perfect for the heat. They are delicious, mature quickly enough to enjoy in those still-hot-days in September, and want 85 degrees (give/take 5 degrees) ferinheight.  What other beers brew well in the higher (but not that high) temperatures? Ever try a steam ale (known as California Common ales, though the process lends the name steam ale from the original and trademarked name via Anchor Brewing)? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_beer for reference. 75 degrees is perfect. Really nice beer, ready to drink pretty quickly. Other ideas include tropical Stouts (they benefit from the ester profiles, and can age a bit), or if you're able to stay in the 70 degree range, wheat/rye ales. 

 

Notice the trend: mainly these are beers that should have yeast profiles. Yes, it is all about the yeast -- that is of course the reason people shy from brewing right now: "it's too hot!" So there are other options, and they are good ones! 

 

What about wine (Brewers, don't stop reading yet... more to come)? Red wines benefit from yeast profiles when using alternate yeast choices, but one must be careful. The big bold yeast profiles can come with a cost of tannin rich wines, so this is a choice for the "fruit bomb" or "fruit driven" styles of wine making. Don't try this on the Amarone kit wine, it'll make a mess of the flavor. California styled Cabernet Sauvignon or Red Zinfandel can really benefit from a yeast that produces big esters, fermenting at over 75 degrees is great! Don't push past 80 by much, as the wine will hit higher temperatures than the ambient space. I like White Labs Cabernet yeast for the big nose, and it is tolerant of 90 degrees. 

 

Then we get into bacteria. Want to make that big Brett Beer? 85 degrees or more for best results. This is the time. Check this out: https://www.wyeastlab.com/vssprogram.cfm?website=3 -- yeah, seasonal sour strains. Neato!

What else?

Kombucha! 

I'll write more about that later. Off season for fermenting? Ha! Not a chance.


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