venerdì 5 dicembre 2014

Barley Straw Wine: about beer Maderization...

Maderization is an oxidative process tipycal of some wines during aging. Wine loses some carachteristics, and aquire an amber color and a typical Madeira flavour. In wines like Porto, Madeira, Marsala, that is a part of aging process, so it's not negative for the product.

Like many tipical food, Madeira wine was born  randomly.
Im Madeira island, since 1600 a wine was produced for local consumption and export. In some area of the island, grapes didn't reach the rght amount of sugars, so, to lower the acidity of the wine, cane sugar or alcohol from cane sugar was added: they discovered that this wine, reinforced with sugar or alcohol, could keep hisflavours and get new ones. Part of the vinification process consist in aging in barrels for some months at 50°C.
Inspired by this, I decided to make a maderized Barley wine, a high gravity beer fermented with sherry yeast and left oxidising for 6 months at warm temperature after adding alcohol:

4kg pils
1kg munich
100g cane sugar
15 g willamette (90')
15 g amarillo (90')

I used the first 7 liters from sparging for the Barley wine, adding bittering hops at the boil, 100g cane sugar. After boiling I got 5 liters at OG 1100, those were inoculated with Wyeast 4021: champagne/sherry yeast (what a shame, one pack for just five liters!).

I did an easy APA with the rest of the filtration: it was summer and I needed something fresh to drink!

After 7 days of primary fermentation, I added 20cl alcohol and left the beer in a glass carboy for six months. Here is where the oxidativeprocess took place, from june to december. Then I bottled without priming.

I tasted the beer after one yeas (6 months maderization + 6 months bottle): it has typical aromas like Porto, Vin Santo or Marsala, a strong chestnut honey smell (for the lucky ones that ever tasted it), heavy body. Perfect after dinner or dessert pairing. If you ever tasted Xiaoyu from Baladin, that's really similar: at first seems like a straw wine, but when in your mouth you notice all the fruity flavours missing.

After this experiment, I tried to add maderized notes to a Belgian strong amber ale: the beer (9% Alc.) layed four months maderizing, then I primed, bottled and put in the cellar aging three months ago. Too young now, but stay tuned!

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