July 31, 2011

Notes on a Brew Day for Someone Else's Wedding, Pt. 2: Marie avec Visage-Sale

Rub some dirt in it
and get back out there.
Sometimes, when you wake up with the flu but you've already measured out and acidified the strike water and weighed the grain the night before, and you're now at zero hour for bashing out a biere de garde commissioned for your cousin's wedding reception, well sir ... sometimes you just gotta start heating the water, go puke, wipe your mouth on the brew sheet, and then mash in.

Too much info? Alright, how about this: Marie avec Visage-Sale - it's what I will generously call my own loose French translation of my cousin's and her fiancee's startup farm outside Menomonie, named for a historical figure of the region:
At one time, a rather good looking young squaw, named by the boys "Mary Dirty Face," was purchased by a mill hand, as a wife. Mary utterly repudiated the pale face, and refused to share his bed and board, so [p. 276] he seized the goods he had given for her and burned them, and to have ample revenge out of his wife's relations, he procured a gallon of whiskey, put some ipecac in it, and invited the Indians to have a big drunk with him. Every available red skin put in an appearance, the whiskey was soon disposed of, and such a woebegone lot of Chippewas never struggled together to invert their stomachs. As soon as they were sufficiently recovered for concerted action, they sounded the terrible war cry, and started to hunt him down, but George, realizing what he might expect, and not being willing to become their victim, escaped. While their war paint was on, vengeance against the whole white race was threatened, but the affair was soon quieted.

from A History of Northern Wisconsin (vol. 1), The Western Historical Company, 1881
"Utterly repudiated the pale face" - good on ya, Mary, you could obviously do better. And George The Mill Hand: clearly a class act. Glad you were able to head off the vengeance-against-the-whole-white-race thing after you stole back the "dowry" you had to trade for a partner instead of resorting to, you know, courtship and pitching woo; and then setting fire to said "dowry" right before you gave Mary's kinfolk that doctored frontier hooch that made them throw up. That's pretty much exactly how I remember my honeymoon, too.

Huh. Reverse peristalsis seems to be a recurring theme in this post. I promise I will now shrug it off and move forward, just like I did on this brew day.

Anyhow, the beer: a biere de garde, a classic farmhouse style, in honor of a couple of young farmers. Since the reception will be outdoors on Labor Day weekend and it could be hot, I'm brewing it to a more historically-representative lower gravity than the higher-octane "De Luxe" bieres de garde we're more familiar with today. And because it's for September, I'm going for an Oktoberfest-ish color. And because I like biere de garde, it's a 10 gallon batch:

Try utterly repudiating this.
Marie avec Visage-Sale
10 gallons, all-grain
Target OG 1.052

To the composter!
  • 152 F for 60 minutes
  • 170 F for 10 minutes
  • 2 oz Palisade (whole, 8% aa) @ first wort
  • 0.5 oz Palisade (whole, 8%) @ 15"
  • 2 x Whirlfloc tablets @ 15"

The 029 started throwing lots of sulfur at about 48 hours, as the airlock bubbling began to slow. At the time of this writing, we're a few weeks into the secondary, SG 1.014, with great clarity and a bright malt flavor that's completely supplanted the sulfur.  Next up: keg and carb in anticipation of le grand jour.

Oh, and hey: how about an extract version?

Marie avec Visage-Sale
5 gallons, extract


  1. One day I hope to keep it as real as you, Mr. Dawson. Good on you for keeping your word. And making good beer.

  2. I just hope you didn't archive that brew sheet, Dawson.... :)

  3. Looks great! I'm about to make a Belgian Strong Golden Ale, and then bottle condition with champagne yeast for the toasting beer for my best friend's wedding!

  4. Promising to brew a special beer for an event is almost always a sure fire way to guarantee I'll get sick or have some sort of real life event explode my brew schedule.

    What sort of method/calculation do you use for acidifying your strike water?

  5. Mon Dieu, monsieur Dawson. Vous ĂȘtes aussi un feuilletoniste extraordinaire ;P
    Get well, we need healthy Beer Geek!

  6. @Tim - none of your business.

    Ahem. Buffer 5.2, phosphoric acid, colorpHast test strips ... actually, after 7 years brewing with the same H20, I don't use the test strips anymore.

  7. Learned recently that my niece will get married Nov 6. I have squirreled away some Multigrain Red and Bavarian Helles for the family after-party. I also brewed the Head Scratcher two days ago, so that should be ready too. I have some kind of pumpkin ale scheduled for Labor Day, which will make it young, but what the hell.

  8. For any one who would might be interested, I'm starting a brand new homebrewing blog and podcast. It still in it's infancy now, but hope to make it a comprehensive source for brewing information and updates my project. I hope you will visit it, and add your comments.


  9. I made a rye whiskey rye porter recently for a friend's wedding in October. Adding Willett's cask strength rye and some medium plus oak to a real winner of a porter. Ringwood really pairs beautifully with rye.

  10. @MD Oops! I should have known that asking about water acidification was a faux pas.