Biere de Garde, yum, One of the styles I find fascinating. I drink about ten times more Saison yet find its French sister even more intriguing, this is most likely due to the lack of information on it, (Farmhouse Ales is great but history aside, I feel it doesn't goes as deep into Biere de Garde as it does Saison).
Farmhouse Ales describes most classic examples as having a "huskiness" or "maltiness" that can be mimicked with additions of munich and biscuit/victory. The preportions of these malts that are recommended seem a bit too high to me though. To me the best bottles of the examples I can get ( La Choulette, La Goudale, Castletain, and Jenlain) only seem to have a very low level of husky/toasty maltiness, the prominent flavor seems to be a candy like sweetness from quality pilsener malt, low hopping and a fermentation that lets the malt flavors shine.
For my recipe I ended up using mostly German Pilsener, Aromatic malt and U.S. 6 Row. What's that you say? 6 Row? that malt used by BMC for its diastatic power to convert shit tons of rice and corn into fermentable suger? Yes! I am starting to love this malt for the grainy/husky notes that it gives when used like a specialty malt. Almost every old school English recipe I've brewed seems to include 6 Row and it has allowed me to get a pretty good handle on it.
The part of my recipe where I am really deviating from what is recommended is in yeast choice. Rather than using a super clean ale or lager yeast Ive decided to use T - 58 a wit beer yeast. This choice was based mostly on
A. I am a cheap ass
B. This yeast gives off big pepper esters that I feel will compliment this brew if held to low levels
C. I want to test how a low fermentation temperature, a larger pitching rate and an extended lagering will effect ester production in beer brewed with an expressive yeast.
Dis - re - Garde
6.5 Gallon Batch
22 IBU - Rager
90 Minute Boil
69% German Pilsener
21% US Six Row
3.4% Aromatic Malt
6.9% Cane Sugar
Mashed at 143 - 146 degrees for 100 minutes, then mashed out at 168 degrees before fly sparging.
50G Willamette - 3.7AA @ 60minutes
Pitched 2 Packets of T - 58 (23 grams, or roughly 400 billion cells)
fermented at 65 degrees.
And equally important...
Mashed in to David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, Hunkydory, and The Fall
Sparged and Boiled to Iggy Pop's Raw Power and Blood On The Wall's self titled.
15 hours ago