Monday, October 31, 2011
With all of the things that require a decent amount of fussing-over when brewing beer, including the 4 - 4 1/2 hours to actually brew, chill and pitch the yeast, one would think that brewing is stressful or at least a pain in the ass. For me, it's anything but. All the fussing, all the things to be hauled, cleaned, sanitized, stared-at and stirred, is relaxing. Plus, there are great spans of time in which I can peel away and still be an active member of my household. It's like a two-fer for Mrs. Smitty; she gets beer, and still gets help with kids!
At Mrs. Smitty's request, this weekend's brew is a Scottish 80 Shilling. That's their "export" beer, meaning its alcohol content and general malty robustness makes it travel-worthy (a lot of beer actually doesn't travel well). The name refers to its cost Way Back When; 60 shilling, 70 shilling, 80 shilling - the price went up as the beer got stronger. This, given old Scottish culture, was not designed to deter the consumption of higher-alcohol beer; rather, it reflected an increase in the amount of grains used. More grains, more expensive beer.
|Cracking the grains|
The grain bill only weighs-in at about 10 pounds (9 pounds of a nice biscuity malt called British Golden Promise, and 1 pound of English Medium Crystal for some color and roasted flavors), and the recipe only calls for 1 oz. of Fuggle or East Kent Golding hops (I used Fuggle), making the beer just barely bitter. Fuggles and Goldings are extremely mild hops and are really there as a natural preservative and to remind you that this is a beer and not just grainy sugar-water!
The beer is happily fermenting away in its dark little cabinet thanks to the big fat yeast starter I made. I added Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale Yeast to a little bit of wort - made from 2 cups of water and 1 cup of dry light malt extract, which was happily fermenting by the time I pitched the yeast into the cooled wort. 2 weeks primary, 2 weeks secondary, and a few days as I force carbonate it; we're drinking it by December 3!