Monday, September 28, 2009

Approaching maximum capacity

Well, tonight I filtered our F5 Altbier brewed with WLP 320 (which, incidentally, will be served at THIS SATURDAY'S Oktoberfest party--details and tickets HERE) and realized that every keg is filled except one (filtering requires two kegs, hence I had to keep one empty). I always thought I had way more kegs than I could ever use, but apparently not. Here's the rundown of what's in which keg:

F5 Altbier (WLP 320) - Terwilliger
F5 Altbier (WLP 038) - Nahasapeemapetilon
Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat - Quimby
Hoar Frost Oktoberfest (filtered) - Frink
Hoar Frost Oktoberfest (unfiltered, uncarbonated) - Wiggum
F6 Sticke Alt - Syzlak
Black Moon Black Witbier - Krabappel
Springfield Lemon Co. Lemonade - Krustofski
Flossmoor Station Ruby Brown Dunkel (donation for Oktoberfest) - Hutz

The only other functioning keg I have is Lovejoy (which held the Alt until I filtered it this evening). I'm somewhat surprised I've got all these kegs accounted for, but at the same time two are almost gone (the Syzlak and Frink kegs) and two more should be gone/almost gone after Saturday (Terwilliger and Hutz), so things should be back to normal soon. In the meantime, it's kind of cool to see all the beer I've amassed. Mmm... beer.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quick Gose update

After three weeks (that damn WLP 320 ferments sloooooooowly) I went to rack the Gose today when I noticed a slight problem... mold. Yes, that's right. Mold. Fortunately, there were only a couple dime-size patches on top of the Kraeuzen (I apparently spilled something on the outside of the carboy when taking a gravity reading and the mold started on the outside and worked its way in because I didn't crimp the foil cap tightly). I racked to the keg leaving the top three inches of beer (and the mold) behind, and the sample I took for a gravity reading didn't seem to yield any off-flavors. To the contrary, it was pretty damn good. The last time I took a sample it was at 1025 and was way sweet (and sweet plus sour may work for lemonade but not for beer). By now it has dropped to 1014 and is noticeably sour. I'm not sure it's a sour as Döllnitzer, but it's definitely more sour than Bayerischer Bahnhof. That being said, it wasn't as earthy and yeasty as I'd like, but I'm assuming the yeastiness will come with the natural conditioning (I added 76 g table sugar). If it still doesn't have that mineral bite when it's done, I may actually add a little more salt to the keg; we'll see.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm in a tornado warning so I'm going to go figure out what's going on.

EDIT: In my hurry to seek shelter from a tornado that never existed, I forgot to mention that the Gose is in the Quimby keg.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FotoFriday #14

A double-shot for the first FotoFriday of fall:

Above, Jonas gets comfortable on the first day at his new job as night watchman of Metropolitan Brewing. Below, Dorrie relaxes on a couch made of grain that Doug and Tracy made just for her.

Best of luck to Doug and Tracy, as well as Chicagoland's other fine brewers--but not Matt Van Wyk of Oakshire Brewing since he abandoned us (and specifically Flossmoor Station) for Oregon ;-) --at this weekend's Great American Beer Festival.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yet another Oktoberfest reminder

We're now less than two weeks away from the HOPS! Oktoberfest party. If you're in the Chicagoland area, I strongly urge you to attend. We've got tons of beer, ranging from our F5 Altbier to Flossmoor Station's Dunkel to Metropolitan's Krankshaft Kölsch. We've got tons of food--everything from traditional German brats to authentic homemade Lithuanian kugelis. And we've got the Polkaholics. If you've ever wondered what happens when you cross polka with punk, well, you gotta hear the Polkaholics to witness it firsthand. So if you're not doing anything on Saturday, October 3 from 2-7pm, buy your ticket here. And if you are doing something on Saturday, October 3 from 2-7pm, cancel your plans and buy your ticket here. You shan't regret it.

In the meantime, if you're craving some Oktoberfest action, feel free to stop by my church's Oktoberfest party this Sunday. Yes, being the good German Lutherans that we are, we members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church (31st Pl. and Racine in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood) throw an Oktoberfest party in the church basement every year. For $20 you get a traditional German meal with Bratwurst and Schnitzel, a variety of beer (including our Hoar Frost Oktoberfest) and the more traditional polka sounds of the Ron Smolen Trio. The festivities start at noon.

'Tis the season for Gemütlichkeit, so hope to see you at one if not both Oktoberfest celebrations!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Juice (?) day: Springfield Lemon Co. Lemonade

Not sure what to call this, as it's not a brew day, but here's the scoop... I have one tap on my keg that's dedicated to non-alcoholic beverages. In the past, we've alternated between our Swearengen's Old Tyme Root Beer and our Ten Percenter Seltzer. Well, last spring we visited some friends in Seattle and while enjoying a game at Safeco Field I noticed that they dispensed their "fresh-squeezed" lemonade from kegs and just threw half a lemon in the cup before pouring. That gave me an idea which today became Springfield Lemon Company 100% Natural Lemonade.

The idea is pretty simple: lemon juice, sugar and water go into the keg. When you want a glass of lemonade, you throw a handful of ice into a pint glass, squeeze half a lemon into the glass, throw the lemon rinds in, and fill 'er up with lemonade from the keg. The tricky part was coming up with the proportions. I made several test batches and determined that a pint glass with 2.5 oz. simple syrup, 1 oz. lemon juice, one half lemon, about a third of a glass of ice, and water made some damn good lemonade. But issues of scale complicated things; namely, estimating how much the ice and lemon skewed the volume of the glass so I could figure out what should go into the keg. I ended up calculating the following for a 2-gallon test keg:

2.5 cups lemon juice (~6 oz. made from fresh lemons in my juicer; the rest store-bought)
6.25 cups simple syrup (4 1/8 c. sugar heated in 4 1/8 c. water)
1.5 gallons water

The first glass wasn't bad, but it was a little sweeter than my test batch. Maybe I screwed up on my proportions, or maybe it's just an issue with the simple syrup not being fully mixed yet (I've noticed my first couple pints of root beer always seem to be stronger). The other issue is it still has a slight root beer taste. I've also noticed that with the first pint or two of seltzer; we'll see if it goes away or if I'll need to get a new keg for non-root beer products.

Oh yeah, one other issue... I don't have separate regulators for the separate kegs in my kegerator. As such, this keg would normally be under 12 psi, which will yield carbonated lemonade in a matter of days. What I've done is turned off the valve to the keg and purged most of the CO2 so it pours slowly and hopefully isn't under too much pressure. When it starts pouring too slow, I'll just give it a kick of gas. We'll see if that proves too tedious, or if we end up with carbonated lemonade soon. I'll be sure to post how things turn out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reflections on two deaths

So, generally speaking, this blog is intended to serve as a record of Leah's and my brewing adventures. I realize some others enjoy reading this as well, and I'm glad to let others learn from our mistakes, but any entertainment derived here from is purely incidental. That being said, I would like to take a moment to discuss a couple people who died this past week. One is serious, and one not so much, and both are only tangentially related to beer. But I'd like to use this platform, insignificant as it may be, to discuss each of them.

On a serious note, last Sunday witnessed the passing of an individual who likely saved more lives than anybody else who has graced this planet. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Congressional Gold Medal, and a National Medal of Science. Some estimate he saved over one billion lives, and yet most people have never heard of him. His name was Norman Borlaug, and he was an agronomist. By developing modern agricultural techniques, he allowed countries such as Mexico, India and Pakistan to avoid mass famine. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan offered the following words in tribute to Borlaug: "As we celebrate Dr. Borlaug's long and remarkable life, we also celebrate the long and productive lives that his achievements have made possible for so many millions of people around the world . . . we will continue to be inspired by his enduring devotion to the poor, needy and vulnerable of our world."

So what does he have to do with beer? Well frankly, I'm happy to pay tribute to such a great man on this blog even if he had nothing to do with beer. However, I do think he's impacted everybody who brews. See, making beer is very inefficient. You're taking grain that could otherwise be used to make food--not to mention using drinking water and valuable energy--and creating a luxury product. You can brew with organic grain, find ways to cut down on your energy use and re-capture your waste water but it doesn't change the fact that it's still an incredibly inefficient product. If you don't eat meat because you see it as wasteful (you have to feed a cow x pounds of grain to yield y pounds of meat, etc.) you really shouldn't be making or consuming beer. However, we have the luxury to use barley (and wheat and oats and, if you're Anheuser-Busch or Miller, rice or corn) in such a manner because we don't need all of it for food. And we don't need all of it for food in large part because of the work of Norman Borlaug.

Now there's also a practical lesson here that goes beyond brewing. You may choose not to eat genetically-modified organisms (GMO's), or to stick to an organic diet. But those are luxuries you can afford (as is beer) because of the plentiful world in which you live. What troubles me, however, is that anti-GMO zealots in the U.S. and Europe have pressured six sub-Saharan African countries into banning GMO food aid. One of those countries is the Sudan. Now it's one thing to make a choice for yourself to not eat certain types of food despite a complete lack of scientific evidence that those foods are harmful. Presumably, you've never had to worry about where your next meal will come from. However, it's another thing to tell people in a country like the Sudan--a country classified by the World Food Program as a food-deficit, low-income nation--that they should force their citizens to follow the same restrictions. As Borlaug once said, "[Critics have] never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."

I know I'm getting on my soapbox here, but my point is that technological achievements such as Borlaug's Green Revolution have allowed us to live the comfortable lives we lead. We all owe a debt of gratitude to scientists such as Borlaug who have helped maintain a peaceful and prosperous world where we can afford to dedicate time, effort and resources into making such trivial items as beer--items which enrich our daily lives.

Speaking of enriching our daily lives, the other person I'd like to discuss who passed away this past week did just that (at least for me). Patrick Swayze, and specifically the movie Road House, is woven into the fabric of our brewing history. If you look back through our early brewing records (back when our notes were all on physical paper), you'll find the following note in the entry for our Lake Effect Kölsch-style ale: "Brewed with Evan while watching Road House." Later on, we would name our Irish Red Ale "Road House Red" (with Swayze gracing the label). And when we brewed on Christmas Eve, we just had to include the video of our favorite Christmas carol, "Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas" when we recapped the brew day on this very blog.

Now does Swayze even deserve to be in the same post as Borlaug? The short answer would be no. But at the same time, Borlaug did the heavy lifting so we could spend time engaging in relatively meaningless tasks such as brewing beer, watching Road House, or brewing beer while watching Road House. And I guess I just wanted to take a few minutes of my time and yours to point that out.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You had better do as you are told. You better listen to the radio.

As I mentioned last week, Steve and Sean from the Drinking & Writing Brewery (pictured right) were kind enough to have me on their monthly radio show this past Sunday to plug the HOPS! Oktoberfest party. You can now listen to the September show via podcast here. There's an awesome interview with Dan Carey of New Glarus Brewing as well as lots of other goodies, so check it out (this month and every month). And, if you're in Chicago--or will be on October 3rd--buy your tickets to the HOPS! Oktoberfest party here.

One funny anecdote from the interview. In between segments they always play songs, and with the show airing around Labor Day, this month's songs are work-themed. After the interview, Steve asked me if I could recommend any work-related songs. Being the music geek that I am, I started racking my brain and came up with a few initial suggestions ("Working Undercover for the Man" by They Might Be Giants, "Finest Work Song" by R.E.M. and "Move to Work" by Fine Young Cannibals). I then added, "my favorite band, Camper Van Beethoven, has a song called '(We Workers Do Not Understand) Modern Art' but it's kind of weird and it's an instrumental so I'm guessing it's not what you're looking for."

Fast forward to yesterday, when I leave my house for work and throw on my iPod, eager to hear how goofy I sound on the interview. What song does Steve play leading into the interview? "(We Workers Do Not Understand) Modern Art." I should have suspected as much.


Stuff that will likely be of no interest to anybody but Leah and I:

Given the increased brewing output lately, I have lots of kegs floating around so I figured I should get info on the record about what's in what.

The Oktoberfest I filtered last week is in the Frink keg. The other keg in the fridge (I forget which one offhand) is the unfiltered Oktoberfest.

The Altbier brewed with WLP320, which was kegged last week, is currently in the Lovejoy keg. As of today it's at 1014, which I would assume is its final gravity. The Altbier brewed with WLP036, which I kegged this morning, is in the Nahasapeemapetilon keg. Curiously, it's still at 1020 so I'm hoping the transfer, and the warming up to room temp, will help it finish out in a week or so. The Lovejoy Altbier keg will have to sit at 60°F for another week until the Gose is done fermenting. Never thought I'd run out of storage space, but the kegerator is full, the garage fridge can only fit two kegs when carbonating (since I need room for my large CO2 tank), and I can't drop the chest freezer down to lagering temps when I have a carboy of Gose in there, so I can't condition the Alt just yet. Oh well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

FotoFriday #13

Stirring a decoction. I like how the swirls remind me of a painting from Van Gogh.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Final analysis: Black Moon Black Witbier

Style: Specialty Beer (black version of a Witbier). Original gravity: 1044. Final gravity: 1014.
ABV: 4%. IBU's: 17.

So what started as a quest to make an "oxymoronic" beer turned into the pint you see above. Much like a Schwarzbier, my goal was to take an existing style at turn it black without having it be too roasty (since that would basically be a porter or stout). We've had it on tap a couple months now but it still tastes pretty fresh. Here's the review:

Appearance: I definitely achieved my goal here. If you hold it up to a light you can get slight mahogany highlights around the edges, but otherwise it's black, black as the ace of spades. A decent off-white head caps it off.

Smell: The aroma is mostly a balance between a coffee-like roastiness and a tart yeastiness. You can catch a slight whiff of coriander but the orange peel doesn't really come through.

Taste: Up front you get a slight citric bite with some wheat and barley malt sweetness. In the middle you get that distinct tartness that's characteristic of a Wit yeast. Most of the flavor seems to come in the finish, where you get roastiness, orange (both the sweetness and the bitter pith) and just a hint of coriander. To be honest, I'm having trouble picking out the coriander, but when I brought a bottle to my homebrew club's meeting, a couple people noticed it right away so maybe I'm just not that sensitive to it.

Mouthfeel: It feels somewhat full because of its effervescence, but it's thin enough to stay drinkable. I would think it compares favorably to Hoegaarden.

Overall: I was pretty happy with this. I thought it could use a little more coriander and orange peel, and maybe a little less roastiness, so next time I'll likely up the spices and cut down on the chocolate wheat (maybe add a little more carafa III as a cap). While it was roastier than I had anticipated, I thought the orange peel plus the yeast still gave it that characteristic Witbier bite, and I don't think anybody would mistake this for a stout. This definitely fit the bill for a dark summer beer.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Brew day (2 of 2): Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat

Our Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat was a two-day affair (you can read about day one here) and today we finished up our attempt at a Leipziger Gose AND took care of a few other tasks as well. I guess Labor Day lived up to its name for us.

After enjoying chocolate chip pancakes courtesy of my lovely wife (this weekend: two brew days, two pancake breakfasts; life is good), I carried six gallons of lactobacillus-inoculated wort from our second-story bedroom out to our garage. In the just-under-48-hours since I pitched the lacto, it went from a pH of 5.5 to 3.81 and from a temperature of 104°F to 82°F. It had also gotten a milky white webbing that looking kind of like Kraeusen but not exactly and was stinking fairly bad (I would describe it as similar to tomato soup). I tasted it and it was sweet and tangy (much like our starter) but also a tad funky. I was a little worried but what could I do, right?

After siphoning into the brew kettle, I noticed it smelled kind of corny, and that's when it hit me: I was probably smelling DMS. It seemed logical since the beer was 50% pils, was only boiled for about ten minutes, and was then left around 100°F with bacteria in it. The good news is DMS is very volatile, so with this in mind I decided to do a 90-minute boil to drive it off. I added 15 IBU's of German Tradition hops at the beginning. With two minutes left I added 0.5 oz freshly ground coriander and 5 grams of salt (sorry to mix English with metric; addition pictured to the right). I then chilled to around 70°F and pitched on top of the WLP 320 yeast cake from our Altbier. I'm a tad concerned about pitching a sour wheat beer on top of the cake from a bitter Alt, but I siphoned off any visible liquid so I don't think it should be a big deal.

While chilling, I drew a sample and was shocked to find it was at 1065, well above my target of 1047. It then occurred to me that, when scaling my recipe from ten gallons to five, I stupidly cut my estimated boil-off in half even though your boil-off for a given vessel is independent of the amount of liquid in it. Plus, I boiled for 90 minutes instead of 60, so you put two and two together and I ended up with just over four gallons of 1065 beer instead of five gallons of 1050 beer. The good news is that's pretty easy to fix; after lunch I picked up a gallon of water and dumped it in the carboy. Voila! My final gravity after dilution was 1050 and my pH was 4.01. At first I was confused as to how the pH could have gone up after the boil, but then I realized I added salt to the boil, which raises the pH. Good thing I paid attention in chemistry class.

I guess I should add that I tasted a sample at the end and I'm VERY excited. It's definitely got a tang that I'm assuming will be enhanced once the sugars are fermented out, and the salt gives it a nice mineral bite but isn't salty. Oh, and it appears that the boil indeed got rid of any unwanted funkiness.

A couple other things I did today that are worth noting. First, I racked the 6.5 gallon carboy of Altbier (it would have been difficult to pitch onto the yeast cake without racking the beer first). It's down to 1016 but that's still a little high so I'll leave it out to hopefully drop a few more degrees before crashing the temp. Tasting it, it's definitely a little more malty and a little less hoppy than my last version, but I think it actually needs more hops. Apparently I was right in concluding that I screwed up the IBU's in my last batch as, according to my notes, this should be the same bitterness as the last one. I still think it's pretty promising even if it needs further tweaking.

Finally, the last thing I did today (well, technically it was the first thing but it's the last I'm writing about) is I filtered one of my kegs of Hoar Frost Oktoberfest (the Frink keg is the filtered one, for the record). I had some issues with the threading on my Culligan housing unit which resulted in a very, very small leak but overall it seemed to filter just fine. It's brilliantly clear and tastes great. I have another keg that I've yet to filter so I can do a side-by-side comparison. It takes a while (particularly to back-flush afterward) but overall is pretty simple for filtering my lagers and German-style ales so that I can schlep my kegs around wherever without worrying about kicking up sediment.

So that was my beer day/weekend. That makes 45 gallons of beer that we've brewed since mid-June. Whew. I think I'm ready for a break (by which I mean maybe three weeks?). Of course, I've already got our Christmas beer on the brain... Look for a return of our Scottish-style Christmas ale (which was last brewed before we even started blogging).

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Brew day (1 of 2): Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat

So, after all of my Gose talk, I finally got off my fanny and put my research into action today. Our Gust Front Leipzig-Style Wheat (technically a Leipziger Gose should be from Leipzig, hence my designation "Leipzig-Style") is actually going to take two different brew days, so this is just recapping the first leg of the journey to Gose.

In preparation for today, I made a 500mL lactobacillus starter on Thursday. I pitched around 115°F and kept it wrapped up to try and keep the temperature somewhat steady. Whenever it dropped to 80°F or so we would immerse it in hot water to raise the temperature back to around 110°F. We probably ended up doing this two or three times a day.

This morning, I brewed up six gallons of a 50% barley-50% wheat wort. I mashed in at 152°F at 9:50am, adding 1/4 tsp. acid blend to the mash. After an hour I decocted one gallon for fifteen minutes, bringing my mash-out temperature to around 164°F. I recirculated for ten minutes and sparged from 11:20 to 12:20, collecting six gallons. I boiled the wort for ten minutes to kill any nasties and chilled to 110°F. My temperature-corrected gravity at that point was 1046 and my pH was 5.5.

At that point I pitched my lacto starter. I took a pH reading and found my starter was down to 3.8, which yielded a noticeably tart taste (along the lines of lemonade) but nothing as extreme as a Berliner Weisse. Initially I was shooting for a pH of around 3.6 because the brewer at Bayerischer Bahnhof said the final acidity of the Gose should be 3.2-3.6. I thought it was odd that another professional German brewer said he shot for a pH of 4.0 before boiling when brewing a Berliner Weisse, which is more sour than a Gose. However, it occurred to me that pH actually drops during fermentation so maybe I should shoot closer to 4.0. Of course, given my inability to keep my temperatures up (right now I literally have my carboy under about four blankets; that's my means of temperature control) I'm not too concerned about the beer being too sour.

Anyway, the more I read about pH and brewing, the more I come across all sorts of potential issues I can't control and/or don't understand (let's just say water chemistry isn't my strong suit). For now, I'll just wait to see what happens. Barring something totally unexpected, I'll bring the soured wort back down to the garage on Monday morning, bring it to a boil, and add the hops, coriander and salt. Then I'll pitch onto the yeast cake from my Altbier (fermented with WLP 320 American Hefe yeast). Look for a wrap-up of the rest of the process Monday evening.

UPDATE: Just under 24 hours later, it's still at 96°F. Good to see those blankets are doing a pretty good job of insulating!

UPDATE 2: At roughly a day and a half, the wort is at 91°F. I took a sample and immediately noticed the wort is starting to smell funky. The wort has dropped to 3.95 and has a tang to it but is not what I would describe as particularly sour. That being said, it's already down to the pH that Christoph Bhenke recommended and, given how much the pH typically drops during fermentation I would assume we'll definitely get into the 3.2-3.6 pH range recommended by the brewer at Bayerischer Bahnhof. It'll be interesting to see how much further it drops by tomorrow.

UPDATE 3: For a recap of the second brew day, click here.

Friday, September 04, 2009

FotoFriday #12

Nothing beats family fun at the ol' brewpub.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Listen to me! I'm on the stereo, stereo.

If you're really bored on Sunday evening and you live in Chicago, you can hear me (as well as many other, far more interesting people) on the Drinking & Writing radio show, which airs the first Sunday of every month at 6 PM on WLUW 88.7 FM. Host Steve Mosqueda was kind enough to have me on to talk about my homebrew club's upcoming Oktoberfest party which you may have heard me mention once or twice. You really should listen--not for me, but for the cool interviews they'll have from the Great Taste of the Midwest. The show is also available on podcast (this month's will probably be uploaded early next week) and I strongly encourage everyone to subscribe. It's a great show.

A few random notes while I'm posting . . . Our Altbier should be done fermenting by now. I took a reading last Wednesday and it was already down to 1022/1020 (I want to say the WLP320 yeast was the one that was fermenting faster). I'm planning on racking this weekend, probably while brewing the Gose. . . . I tried to filter one of the Oktoberfest kegs on Monday so I could carbonate and send a couple bottles to the Schooner Homebrew Championship, but I ran into a small snag--I couldn't get my brass fitting to thread into the plastic housing unit correctly. Fortunately Amazon has a very customer-friendly return policy and a replacement is on the way. Unfortunately, this probably means we won't enter anything into the Schooner, as it doesn't seem worth the effort to enter only our F6 Sticke Alt (which, despite being over nine months old, still tastes damn good!). . . . Finally, if you enjoy Kölsch-style beer, keep your eyes open for Metropolitan's Krankshaft Kölsch, which should be hitting Chicago-area bars and stores any day now.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

It's almost go-time for the Gose

So I've decided to pull the trigger on brewing my own Gose (as evidenced by the picture of lactobacillus delbrueckii to the left). After much deliberation, I've decided to go with the procedure described by "Øl-sheik" on (who I believe is Christoph Bhenke, head brewer at Søgaards Bryghus in Denmark):

Grist load: half malted barley, half malted wheat, designed to give about 15 EBC in Color and 11,5 Plato

Mash Intensivly for up to 2 hours

Collect runs offs and keep them at about 50 C or 122 Fahrenheit, inoculate with homofermentive lactobacillus, keep at 50 C until PH droped to about 4-4,2. This might take up to 48 hours

Boil and add hops for only bittering to reach 10-14 IBU,

I would add the salt (sea salt) at knock out rather then during mashing, although it would be more authentic. How much? No idea!

I would as well boil coriander in water separatly and add it after fermentation, rather then during the boil, to be able to control the level of intensity better.

Ferment with a bavarian hefeweizen yeast or belgium wit that has a high attenuation at usual temperature, mature for 2 weeks. I imagine that the refrehsing quality will profit from higher Co2 level.

Now, I'll be tweaking a couple things and am still trying to figure out some logistics. First, the tweaking:
  • I'm not sure what "mash intensively" means but I'm thinking I'll just do a single decoction at mash-out, as is my usual procedure.
  • I'm going to do a quick 15-minute boil before pitching the lacto.
Now, the logistics... How the hell do I keep the lacto-inoculated wort around 90-95°F? My initial thought is to run it into an insulated cooler and just hope it stays fairly warm. Sure, it'll drop, but the weather's supposed to be in the 80s this weekend so hopefully it'll stay in the neighborhood. However, my bigger concern is sterilizing the insulated cooler. We're talking wort at 95°F--prime real estate for bacteria. Hopefully the lacto will beat the crap out of anything else that gets in there, but I don't want to risk it.

Other ideas I had were buying a brew belt (though that only raises the temp five to ten degrees F above ambient), buying some sort of heating element, or building some kind of hot box, but I doubt I can get any of those done by Saturday morning (when I plan on mashing/inoculating). So for now I'm thinking I'll just make a starter on Thursday and hope that it'll have enough of a head start that it sours fairly well in 48 hours, even if it drops from 95°F to 80°F during the inoculation period.

Anyway, the plan for now is starter Thursday, mash/sparge/inoculate Saturday, boil/chill/pitch Monday. Stay tuned for the exciting results.