Two Brews Certainly Make a Right

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Again, Chief Assistant Brew Demon Joel was up to the challenge. This time, instead of simply one beer, we brewed two, simultaneously. Careful attention had to be paid to not mix the ingredients between the two. This vigilant attention was hampered somewhat by the sheer amount of beer consumed during the brewing process.

The good news is, the beer we drank was the Russian Imperial Stout we brewed together last time. It is very drinkable. It has a roasted nut and chocolate taste up front, and finishes with a really prevalent molasses flavor (though no molasses was used). It pours a severe black, with a chocolate milk-colored head. Tons of carbonation puts a bite on the tongue, and cleared the 2” head quite quickly. Weighing in at 8.4% ABV, the beer quickly leaves a buzz if you have no food in your stomach, which we didn’t. A success!

This two brew extravaganza included a total of 7 different malts, 3 types of hops and 2 flavorful adjuncts. Further, an aggressive yeast was used to get the most out of our beers.

The recipes:

Southern British Brown Ale

1.25 lbs. American 6-row Pale
1.25 lbs. English Mild Ale
0.50 lbs. American Chocolate
0.25 lbs. British Black Patent
0.25 lbs. Black Roasted Barley
2.5 lbs. Dry Extra Light Extract
0.25 lbs. Molasses
0.25 lbs. Oats Flaked
0.3 oz. Admiral (60 m)
0.50 oz. Fuggle (15 m)
0.50 oz. East Kent Goldings (1m)
Yeast: WYeast 1332 Northwest Ale

Target OG: 1.041
Actual OG: 1.043
Target ABV: 3.6%

Sweet Stout

1.5 lbs. American 6-row Pale
1.5 lbs. English Mild Ale
0.5 0lbs. American Chocolate
0.5 lbs. British Black Patent
0.75 lbs. Black Roasted Barley
0.25 lbs. German Light Crystal
3.25 lbs. Dry Extra Light Extract
0.25 lbs. Molasses
0.25 lbs. Oats Flaked
0.25 lbs. Dark Candi Sugar
0.8 oz. Admiral (60m)
0.50 oz. Fuggle (15m)
0.50 oz. East Kent Goldings (1m)
Yeast: WYeast 1338 European Ale

Target OG: 1.056
Actual OG: 1.052
Target ABV: 5%

The beers are close to one another, which is appropriate, given that many British Brown Ales are a dark enough brown to be nearly black (think Tom Payne Brown Ale).

So here’s hoping that our beers are a success. We pitched the yeast finally at about 7:00pm EST last evening, and by about 8:00 this morning, a fine foam had already appeared on the top of the beers in the fermenters, and the blow-off tubes were bubbling steadily. So far, so good.

I welcome comments on my recipes, as I strive to perfect them!


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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gods, but work has been crushing lately. With additional clients and the "busy season" of the legislature in full swing, I have had nary a moment to blog, having replaced blogging with seeing my family for a few moments a day...can't wait for this all to calm down.

But Memorial Weekend is upon us! And I can think of no better thing to do during memorial weekend than brew.

Here's the sotry: I will be at a "trade association" meeting in August. I have been tasked with bringing beer. I was asked to bring some of my own brew, which is flattering! The struggle has been what to bring a group of people who will not be looking for huge Russian Imperial Stouts or massive, hoppy American Brown Ales. This is a milder crowd, so I have opted for milder beers.

One of the pivotal moments in my own beer career was my trip to England. I was an American Light Beer drinker all the way. My idea of fancy beer was LaBatt, with the occasional Guinness to prove my manliness. England opened a mild beer drinker up to a world of fantastic, flavorful, yet still mild and understated beers.

Given that experience, I have chosen to brew a British Brown Ale-style beer (BJCP # 11B)and a Sweet Stout-style (BJCP # 13B ) beer. British Brown Ales are known for their fruity flavors; mild, low carbonation, sweet, malty beers with hints of "deep" fruits like plums or prunes. Sweet Stouts, while roasty and a little on the heavier side, are much less, shall we say, offensive to a palate that is not used to giant beers. Had I a Russian Imperial Stout as my first shot at "fancy" beer, I would probably have never left PBR. These sweet stouts retain a roasted character, but have a sweetness to them from using lactose-based sugars as additional sweetener.

My Brown Ale, tentatively called Mongoose Brown Ale ("Mongoose" for the mock name of this Association), is actually a Molasses Oatmeal Ale. It's looking at an O.G. of 1.041 and a T.G. of 1.013. Included amongst several malts and specialty malts are molasses and flaked oats for extra flavor and character. Two types of chocolate malts are being used here (Belgian and American), as well as 3 kinds of mild hops: Admiral, Fuggle and East Kent Golding. Should be nice, fruity and smooth, with a hint of oiliness from the oats (which will also impart a creamy mouthfeel and a residual sweetness). I will use WYeast1332 Northwest Ale for the additional fruitiness it should impart.

Uncreatively, my stout is tentatively called Mongoose Stout. It will be a Candi Stout. Along with several kinds of very dark, deeply roasted malts will be molasses, flaked oats and a quarter pound of dark candi sugar. This not only boosts the ABV, but will hopefully impart a great sweetness to the beer. My O.G. is a little high for this style at 1.056 (target), with a terminal gravity of 1.018. 5% ABV is what I am shooting for, which is decent. I am planning on WYeast 1338 European Ale for the sweetness and fruity flavor is will give to the beer, without being too dry.

I will start these beers sooner than later. That way, if I have totally fucked them up, I have time to recalculate a recipe that will work before the conference.

All that's left is buying the ingredients and selected a Chief Assistant Brew Master.



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