All Things Beer

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bubbling and roiling away in a fermenter is my first shot at a Scottish 80-Shilling ale (by way of a history brief, the heavier and more potent a beer, the more it would cost; this beer would have cost 80 shillings...or so beer lore says). I am really looking forward to this one. I am not bottling this beer; this will go in my keg system in about 3 or 4 more weeks.

This beer had some trouble getting started; perhaps the vial of yeast I purchased was the one-in-a-zillion unhealthy ones and it took a while for the healthy ones to replicate, perhaps I pitched the yeast when the fermenter was just a tad too cold yet and I should have waited a few more degrees, or perhaps I pitched the yeast too soon after I took it out of the fridge. Maybe I should get in the habit of making a starter, but I've never had to worry about that before... Whatever the cause, I went back to my #1 beer-making web site, Northern Brewer, and purchased 2 more vials of English Ale Yeast so I could pitch them right away and kick-start the beer.

Well, the fermentation is now going like crazy, and probably today, I will have 2 vials of English Ale Yeast arrive at my house. This is a nice problem to have. I don't want $12 in yeast to just go to waste now do I? No... But I do need to now brew another kind of UK-style beer. An Irish Red? English Pale or ESB? Brit Nut Brown? English IPA? Porter? So many styles to choose from...

Speaking of beer...if you do not already subscribe to Beer Advocate magazine, you really should. The magazine comes from the web site Beer Advocate, started by two brothers from Boston, Todd and Jason Alstrom. Membership to the web site is free, and includes a fairly robust beer rating system, chat rooms and forums about everything from brewing beer to cooking with beer. I highly recommend becoming a member. It's a fun site.

About 2 years ago, they decided they had enough connections in the brewing community (they do...) to start a magazine where they highlight brewers from all over the world, get the latest on beer-related news, offer sophisticated food recipes where beer is a chief ingredient and so on. It's a really fun magazine. Go here and subscribe. It's a mere $30 a year and is really nice rag to get every month.

Let's face it. The Alstrom Brothers are my idols. They started a web site for rating and discussing craft beer. They created an empire. And now? They get to fly all over the world to interview brewers. The web site and magazine and all of their related festivals that they throw is their day job.

Sigh.

I'll of course do a full report on my 80 Shilling. And get out there and get Beer Advocate magazine. And for you daring souls, my Russian Imperial Stout is unveiled and I am already down to my last 16 bottles. My how quickly that batch goes.

5 comments:

Anonymous,  12:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sopor 10:07 AM  

Sounds yummy Smitty! I brewed myself some sort of strong ale this weekend too. It started as an IPA... and as I kept tweaking the recipe it ended up in Barleywine territory!

As for english styles to brew... I've always felt that the Mild was under-appreciated... But I like them a lot more in the spring and summer.

Smitty 11:03 AM  

A mild, huh? Hm. I don't have a recipe for one. I'll steal a Jamil recipe, and maybe tweak it a little for my own taste. But using one of his recipes as a base surely can't lead me wrong!

Smitty 11:04 AM  

That reminds me, Sopor...now that you are a big time brewer, do you get to interact with or have you interacted with the Alstrom borthers?

Sopor 12:26 AM  

Nope, no interactions with the Alstroms as of yet. I may be in the "big leagues" now... but we're not big enough to get their attention yet!

Though it's funny that you mentioned that today... new copy of BA mag showed up and I was thinking about how I need to send some brews to Todd and Jason.

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