Homebrew: Three Parts American

Submitted by DM on Wed, 17/05/2017 - 17:47

My wife picked up a bottle of Douglas Fir syrup after Christmas at a big discount and thought I'd like to brew with it.   Quite right too.   I've tried to keep the beer fairly neutral to let the fir taste show through the malt and hops, but at the same time I wanted a beer I'd enjoy drinking in case the syrup was too subtly flavoured.

The three parts American refer to; Cascade hops from Oregon; the Douglas Fir originally from the North American west coast & the yeast is specifically for West Coast style ales.

Mash: 1 hour at between 69 - 65°C

2 Kg Pale malt

90g Crystal malt

Boil: 50 mins

250ml of Douglas Fir syrup (water, sugar, citric acid, Douglas Fir)

25g Cascade hops (a/a 7.5%) 30 mins before end of boil

25g Cascade hops 10 mins before end of boil

The wort was then chilled to 18°C and splashed through 2 colanders to aerate it into the FV.   12 litres of wort were collected at an OG of 1.048 & a sachet of Mangrove Jack's M44 yeast was sprinkled across the top.   This should give a beer of around 4.7% alcohol.

Dry hops removed after 6 days of fermentation.   Bottled after 7 days in the fermentation vessel.

No final gravity measurement was taken as I didn't brew enough beer to stop the hydrometer touching the bottom of the FV.   The beer was a little cloudy, which may be down to me not using Irish Moss at the end of the boil.   In my experience it just means that the beer will take an extra week to clear once bottled.

Verdict on bottling - the pine flavour is present but gentle.   The Cascade hops are certainly present too, but again with restraint.   A little toffee sweetness - but not necessarily diacetyl - is present.   Not bad at all.



I couldn't resist opening a bottle to try it.   While still cloudy, much has cleared & it's gassed up well too.

The Douglas Fir flavour from the syrup is there - subtle but definitely detectable.   The Cascade hops are more pronounced than I thought they would be, but of course I wanted to make a beer that I'd enjoy even if the Douglas Fir flavour failed to come through in the final product.

A little sweet still, but of course the beer is still too young to expect otherwise.   This has potential.

This beer hasn't cleared still, with just a little haziness remaining.   There is still plenty of sweetness & the pine flavour is not being shy.   There is another flavour too that isn't usually present in most beers.   It's a pear-drop estery, sweetness that may be down to the Douglas Fir syrup.   It's not entirely unappealing, just unusual.

Time will tell.   Hopefully another couple of weeks will see this one dry out, clear up & decide what flavours are going to finally come out.