The Deal With Jutsu

Today marks a pretty special day here at Bellwoods, because it's the first time in Jutsu's history that we'll have two versions of it on draft at the very same time. We've done this because we'd like you to be able to come along for the ride with us, tasting and comparing notes as we delve ever deeper into the development of A Beer We Want To Bathe In.

But before we get down to details about each version's personality, we feel that it's high time to formally introduce this beer, as it's now made several appearances, worn a couple different suits, and fertilized the grape vine so to speak. With 4 versions in rotation, people have (understandably) begun to ask questions and demand answers. What is this delicious beast and why do you keep on changing it?!

First of all, you should know that 2015 has most certainly been the year of ingredient testing, with an eye to the future. We've been ordering new yeasts, base malts and specialty malts and pushing ourselves to modify and improve our brewing techniques. We've deconstructed many of our recipes and built them back up again, tweaking and modifying miniscule elements to create the best versions possible. With Jutsu, our goal has always been to create a super juicy, aromatic, well-attenuated pale ale that utilizes a different yeast than many of our other hoppy beers. Witchshark, Boogie Monster, and Wizard Wolf are brewed using a California ale yeast that tends to attenuate well, leaves very little residual sugar, and is relatively neutral in flavour -- and while we like the way this yeast behaves, we've been seeking a yeast with a different personality for Jutsu. In choosing a new ale yeast to use we decided to do a head to head comparison of two very expressive yeasts often associated with some of the Vermont breweries that we're fans of. Within the Jutsu series, we are essentially trialling a Vermont Ale yeast, and Wyeast 1318 to see how they behave under slightly different technical regimens.

Something we feel is really important to understand about hoppy beers before we go on any further, is that they're not just an amalgamation of the hops you choose. Jutsu isn't different from Witchshark or Wizard Wolf based solely on the our selection of hops. Every beer encompasses and is determined by a dizzying multitude of factors interacting simultaneously. Everything from your first mash rest temperature, to the pH of your sparge water, and even the volumes of C02 that are used to carbonate the beer will affect the final product. Malt bill, body, mouthfeel, yeast-derived esters, bitterness, flavour, aroma -- these are facets of a beer that can be changed, improved, and of course, balanced. The different versions you've seen on draft and in bottles speak to our penchant for experimentation (and perhaps the intangibility of perfection).

Fermented with 1318 yeast, Version 1 utilized Mosaic, Amarillo, and Citra hops to create a juicy beer with notes of apricot and stone fruit. Version 2 showcased more citrus peel and pine flavours, and was slightly drier which we can attribute to the blend of California ale and 1318 yeasts pitched, along with the alterations to the malt body. Versions 3 and 4 were made with much lighter malt bodies to test the limits of how dry we could go, and to allow the yeast strains to shine. More specifically, version 3 was fermented solely with 1318 yeast, hopped with Citra and Galaxy, and showcases distinct papaya and melon characteristics. Version 4 uses Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe hops, Vermont Ale yeast, and is all about pepper, citrus, and cedar aromatics. More importantly, you can try V3 and V4 on draft, side by side, for the first time, TODAY!

We're barely out of the infancy stage as a brewery, but as we get older, and as our second location is just a few months from seeing its initial construction phase (more on that soon), we've thought a lot about what the brewpub model means to us, and how it'll develop as we expand. Eventually our Dupont location will allow us to finally keep up with and support demand, but our tiny Ossington location will always remain as a centre for R&D. Brewing several small-batch versions of one pale ale in the noble pursuit of deliciousness is just one of the perks of having a small brewpub. The struggles of operating in a tiny nutshell of a space? Well, I could compose a novel about them, which is even more reason why we enthusiastically pour our creative efforts into projects like Jutsu, that embody the benefits of a close relationship with our beer drinkers.

Our vision for Jutsu remains consistent, but the execution is under construction for the time being, and you'll probably see a few more iterations before we pick a winner from the 6 or 7 that we'll ultimately make. And some would argue that all the new versions are not necessary, we made a good pale ale and could simply call it a day -- but I'm sure you probably know by now that we've never been ones to call it a day. We're more of the wheels-in-our-head-are-always-spinning type, commonly referred to as insomniacs, often known to text each other in the wee hours of the morning to discuss malt bills. So now you know, that Jutsu is the journey of a group of crazy people, and every time we release another version, we've lost one more of our marbles.

But at least they're very very delicious marbles.