Biere de Guarde

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I've been researching Biere de Guarde for the beer swap and there are three sub-styles - blonde, amber and brown (blonde, ambree, brune). So which one to brew ? I need to do a test.

I thought about the at the factory Guinness thread where the discussion led me to the conclusion that Guinness is a SMASH with steeped grains (which I've done and will be bottled next week). So why not do something similar with the BdG as the difference between them seems to be how much and what type of dark malts you add.

The base brew would be the blonde so mash that and split it in three. One third is then the blonde. Add a mini mash with some coloured malt to the second third for the amber. Add a mini mash with some darker malts to the third third to give you the brown. But then I'd have to manage three parallel boils. I have the kit but it would be a pain.

So I did some digging about if you could add the wort from a 'raw' mini mash post boil like you do with sugar or honey or whatever. Turns out some people do entire 'raw' brews. From what I've seen if the wort is pasteurised (which it would be) then all is OK.

So my plan is day 1 - do a 15 litre blonde batch and no chill overnight. Day 2 do two mini-mashes and split the worts between three demis.

I know I'm missing out of doing completely different grists for the three sub-styles and the hops (or probably hop) would be the same for all three. Is there anything else I'm missing (apart from three recipes) ?

🫤
 
Thanks Nick, really useful article.

A few things I've taken from it :-

I'd seen mention in a couple of articles about adjuncts but sort of skimmed over it - doh. It would make sense to add some kind of sugar as it would make it easier to hit the target OG without using a ton of grain.

The fact that I'm planning of doing a couple of mini-mashes for the amber and brown means I can do all three mashes at different temperatures if I want to. For instance low for the main mash so its very fermentable and then higher for the minis to ensure some malty flavours carry through.

From what I've read I can't find reference to a particular hop flavour, just that it is low IBU. Although Alsace hops are mentioned, but do they have to be ? If its just for bittering then I was going to do a bit user-upper and put in something with a high alpha at the start of the boil and not do a second addition (although I do have some Saaz in the freezer).

As the beer was originally brewed in the colder months I was going to use my current favourite yeast - 34/70 and ferment around 13c. It was mentioned in a couple of articles. This does seem to be an area of vagueness, but maybe I should stick to something more to style from your article.

Cheers athumb..
 
The BJCP description is ****. Here's a description of Biere de Garde from 1905 by an English brewer who actually drank one:

"Purposely allowed to become acid, and at the same time acquiring a vinous flavor. This is brewed as described, and vatted for six months or longer; but if the supply runs short, it is always possible to satisfy the demand with a blend of new beer and returns. The taste for this is to be found in a few large towns, but it is decreasing. In Lille, for example, five years ago about 50 per cent. of the beer consumed was of this nature, but now it probably does not exceed 20 per cent."

I don't think he was a fan. Still, it's basically just the French analog to an English stock ale. Also sounds similar to a Lambic, except they used regular brewer's yeast in France.

The full article is available for free online (Evans, J.Inst.Brew, 1905). It also discusses more common French beers and has basic chemical analyses.
 
Thanks Nick, really useful article.

A few things I've taken from it :-

I'd seen mention in a couple of articles about adjuncts but sort of skimmed over it - doh. It would make sense to add some kind of sugar as it would make it easier to hit the target OG without using a ton of grain.

The fact that I'm planning of doing a couple of mini-mashes for the amber and brown means I can do all three mashes at different temperatures if I want to. For instance low for the main mash so its very fermentable and then higher for the minis to ensure some malty flavours carry through.

From what I've read I can't find reference to a particular hop flavour, just that it is low IBU. Although Alsace hops are mentioned, but do they have to be ? If its just for bittering then I was going to do a bit user-upper and put in something with a high alpha at the start of the boil and not do a second addition (although I do have some Saaz in the freezer).

As the beer was originally brewed in the colder months I was going to use my current favourite yeast - 34/70 and ferment around 13c. It was mentioned in a couple of articles. This does seem to be an area of vagueness, but maybe I should stick to something more to style from your article.

Cheers athumb..
The sugar is useful as it allows a higher gravity beer with simple fermentables which help achieve (along with the low mash temp) the required dryness in the finish....it is the upfront maltiness with the dry'ish finish that makes this a challenging style to brew.

The style does not call for a significant hop profile...the pale version gives more leeway for hop character though....I just prefer to use hop varieties, like Strisselspalt, that are from the region for a bit of authenticity...use of hops such as Magnum, Saaz and Brewers Gold is perfectly acceptable. IBU should be somewhere a few points either side of the mid-20's.

The use of lager yeasts, or ale yeasts at cooler temps, is perfectly fine...again, my personal desire to seek out a specific BdG yeast is just that...a personal preference....I brewed one a long time ago using K-97....turned out just fine. Again....you are not looking for much in the way of fermentation character. The malt really is the star of the show in this style.
 
The BJCP description is ****. Here's a description of Biere de Garde from 1905 by an English brewer who actually drank one:

"Purposely allowed to become acid, and at the same time acquiring a vinous flavor. This is brewed as described, and vatted for six months or longer; but if the supply runs short, it is always possible to satisfy the demand with a blend of new beer and returns. The taste for this is to be found in a few large towns, but it is decreasing. In Lille, for example, five years ago about 50 per cent. of the beer consumed was of this nature, but now it probably does not exceed 20 per cent."

I don't think he was a fan. Still, it's basically just the French analog to an English stock ale. Also sounds similar to a Lambic, except they used regular brewer's yeast in France.

The full article is available for free online (Evans, J.Inst.Brew, 1905). It also discusses more common French beers and has basic chemical analyses.
Modern Biere de Garde is nothing like a Lambic.

Whilst the old farmhouse beers of the early 20th century will have had the very character that Evans described, they would also have been much lower ABV beers than what we see today.

Its simply not possible to make a direct comparison between historical versions and modern (post 1950's) examples of this beer, they are clearly two different beers.

However, one of the things that I like about using some of the more "style specific" yeasts (such as 3725 and 3726) is that they do impart a very slightly earthy, funky, very mildly tart note to the beer....which may be a nice balance between modern and historical styles.
 
I've been researching Biere de Guarde for the beer swap and there are three sub-styles - blonde, amber and brown (blonde, ambree, brune). So which one to brew ? I need to do a test.

I thought about the at the factory Guinness thread where the discussion led me to the conclusion that Guinness is a SMASH with steeped grains (which I've done and will be bottled next week). So why not do something similar with the BdG as the difference between them seems to be how much and what type of dark malts you add.

The base brew would be the blonde so mash that and split it in three. One third is then the blonde. Add a mini mash with some coloured malt to the second third for the amber. Add a mini mash with some darker malts to the third third to give you the brown. But then I'd have to manage three parallel boils. I have the kit but it would be a pain.

So I did some digging about if you could add the wort from a 'raw' mini mash post boil like you do with sugar or honey or whatever. Turns out some people do entire 'raw' brews. From what I've seen if the wort is pasteurised (which it would be) then all is OK.

So my plan is day 1 - do a 15 litre blonde batch and no chill overnight. Day 2 do two mini-mashes and split the worts between three demis.

I know I'm missing out of doing completely different grists for the three sub-styles and the hops (or probably hop) would be the same for all three. Is there anything else I'm missing (apart from three recipes) ?

🫤
Blonde tends to be the most popular. The Brune isn't at all like brown ale or stout, it can be kind of sickly sweet and caramelly. The ambrée can be nice, depending on the brewer. But BdeG is wide style- in as much as lager means store, so does garder which means keep. I make a blonde from time to time and I use a Kolsch yeast- K-97 is a good one or CML Høg Norsk.
 
The BJCP description is ****. Here's a description of Biere de Garde from 1905 by an English brewer who actually drank one:

"Purposely allowed to become acid, and at the same time acquiring a vinous flavor. This is brewed as described, and vatted for six months or longer; but if the supply runs short, it is always possible to satisfy the demand with a blend of new beer and returns. The taste for this is to be found in a few large towns, but it is decreasing. In Lille, for example, five years ago about 50 per cent. of the beer consumed was of this nature, but now it probably does not exceed 20 per cent."

I don't think he was a fan. Still, it's basically just the French analog to an English stock ale. Also sounds similar to a Lambic, except they used regular brewer's yeast in France.

The full article is available for free online (Evans, J.Inst.Brew, 1905). It also discusses more common French beers and has basic chemical analyses.
I don't recognise that description. It sounds like an "old-school" saison to me. There are plenty of modern bières de garde, La Choulette is my favourite, Ch'ti is one you used to be able to buy in Waitrose, Jenlain is another; there are loads of them knoocking about in France and they're popular. Don't make the mistake of trying to reproduce something that was made in a filthy farmhouse kitchen a century ago with little knowledge of the science or the process. Things have moved on.
La Choulette Bière de Mars might be closer to the historic style, judging by its description, but I haven't tried it.
 
I don't recognise that description. It sounds like an "old-school" saison to me. There are plenty of modern bières de garde, La Choulette is my favourite, Ch'ti is one you used to be able to buy in Waitrose, Jenlain is another; there are loads of them knoocking about in France and they're popular. Don't make the mistake of trying to reproduce something that was made in a filthy farmhouse kitchen a century ago with little knowledge of the science or the process. Things have moved on.
La Choulette Bière de Mars might be closer to the historic style, judging by its description, but I haven't tried it.
I have a single bottle of the La Choulette Brune in my stock....it is indeed a lovely beer.

Unfortunately here in the UK, other than Ch'ti (and the occasional appearance of Gavroche from St. Sylvestre) the style is about as rare as hens teeth. I really need to hop on a ferry and do a tour of some local shops....maybe tie it in with an order from Westvleteren!!!
 
I have a single bottle of the La Choulette Brune in my stock....it is indeed a lovely beer.

Unfortunately here in the UK, other than Ch'ti (and the occasional appearance of Gavroche from St. Sylvestre) the style is about as rare as hens teeth. I really need to hop on a ferry and do a tour of some local shops....maybe tie it in with an order from Westvleteren!!!
That sounds like an excellent plan.
 
The Brune isn't at all like brown ale or stout, it can be kind of sickly sweet and caramelly.

Interesting, so implies non-fermentables from a high temp mash. I would imagine that the high gravity will give an impression of sweetness across all three types in the way that barley wine tastes sweet.

garder which means keep.

Yes, I was going to stick some in the beer fridge and some in my 'conditioning space' for a few months.

I make a blonde from time to time and I use a Kolsch yeast- K-97 is a good one or CML Høg Norsk.

@nickjdavis mentions K-97 above and in his article if I remember correctly. I'm thinking choosing the yeast is going to be the hardest part. I suppose there is nothing stopping me from making another is there ? (apart from running out of conditioning space having put 44 bottles of 80 bob in there earlier lol).

The one decision I have made (which goes against packaging style I think) is that I'm going to put it in 330ml bottles dues to the ABV.
 
I suppose there is nothing stopping me from making another is there ? (apart from running out of conditioning space having put 44 bottles of 80 bob in there earlier lol).

The one decision I have made (which goes against packaging style I think) is that I'm going to put it in 330ml bottles dues to the ABV.
If you're not sure, then why not make a number of smaller batches to see what you like more. If it's a question of choosing the right yeast, you could split a 20-litre batch into 4 and try 4 different yeasts. Just get some cheap 5-litre PETs of mineral water to use as fermenters.

What ABV were you thinking of brewing to?
 
If you're not sure, then why not make a number of smaller batches to see what you like more. If it's a question of choosing the right yeast, you could split a 20-litre batch into 4 and try 4 different yeasts. Just get some cheap 5-litre PETs of mineral water to use as fermenters.

What ABV were you thinking of brewing to?

See first post, this is already a three way split. I'm doing blonde, amber and brown in one session. Going for 7%.
 
Planning to do an amber for the swap, Struggling a bit with yeast myself. I bought the ingredients the other day and got some farmhouse yeast, but thinking it might be too saisonee...
 
Made it (them). I was going to say more or less as planned but it definitely was more on the less side.

The 15 litre base brew went OK. I'd decided to make up the ABV by using sugar so I brewed it without the sugar yesterday and ended up with 14.5 litres at 1.042. Left it no-chilling over night.

Realised I'd worked out how to do the colour/flavour providing mini mashes completely wrong. I'd constructed 1 litre mash recipes with the right EBC but at the last minute realised this was wrong. So I then constructed 15 litre mash recipes and realised this was wrong too as I was actually doing 4-5 litre batches. Eventually constructed the recipes correct.

Decided to do the mini-mashes in the kitchen in pots (shhh, she might be listening). Amber went OK. The brown I think I put the recipe total grain weight of base malt in as it was just porridge. So heated up some more water and put that into the mash. I also decided to put some hops into the mini-mashes. I also decided I might as well boil them so I gave them a 30 minute boil and cooled them in the sink (that takes me back).

Ended up with the colour part of the amber at 1.113 and the brown at 1.089. Did the maths to work out how much of the base brew and colour parts I needed for the demi-johns and how much sugar to add to the blonde to give the correct OG. By the time those three were in the fermenters I still had about 5 litres of the base brew left so I did another DJ with just the base brew so I'll have three BdG and a SMASH.

Pitched with 34/70 and into the brew fridge at 13.

Heavy going. :oops:
 

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