Sunday, October 30, 2005

Red Ale Revisited

I've revisited a red ale recipe that turned out well last year and that is loosely based on Rogue's St. Rogue Red. I used 10 pounds of Maris Otter pale ale malt and one pound each of CaraMunich, CaraVienne, Simpsons Light Crystal (10L, I believe) and one pound of German Munich malt. I also experimented with a Scottish brewing technique that calls for boiling a small portion of wort and letting it caramelize. I'm thinking that this technique will add some extra caramel flavors to the beer, off-setting the sharp hop flavors. The hops I used included an ounce of Centennial "flowers" employed half as a "first wort" addition and half as bittering hops boiled for 60 minutes, after which time I turned off the stove and added an ounce of Chinook hops. It's a pretty simple recipe, but one that makes a pretty complex beer, mixing sweet caramel malts with spicy and bitter hops.
I sparged about four gallons into the brew kettle and diluted with another gallon of water after I chilled the wort. I chose an Activator Pack of Wyeast 1332 for this beer to hopefully add a little bit accent the malt flavors a chance to be heard over the screaming 40 IBUs.
No stuck sparges this time or other hangups. Just a bit of mess dealing with the whole hops. I think I need to stick to with pellet hops for bittering and just use whole hops for aroma, because the whole hops tend to absorb a lot of the wort, affecting yield.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Clan Morrison Scottish Ale Bottled

I bottled up the Clan Morrison Scottish Ale (see below) today and I was pretty pleased with the results. There's a bit more bitterness than I would like for a Scottish Ale, but I think this will soften a bit after a month or so in bottles. The malt aroma was very pleasant with the amber malt (grain, not extract) adding a wonderful biscuit or cookie-like aroma to the beer. I'm certain the Maris Otter added to the crisp, cracker-like maltiness. The body was about right, perhaps a bit on the light side. The color came out a little lighter than I had hoped, but I still think it's to style.

I had a problem with a leak from my bottling bucket during my last bottling session. I've since replaced the spigot for the bucket and I didn't have any problems bottling today. The bottling session seemed to take up a bit less time than usual, but that's probably because I scrubbed and washed all equipment in the morning and sanitized everything, racked and filled the bottles in the evening. Breaking up some of the tasks worked well and I think I'd do that again, perhaps cleaning everything the day before and sanitizing the next day.

I think the next beer I brew will be an ordinary bitter.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Clan Morrison Bride Ale

I brewed a Scottish ale today for my friend Ryan's wedding coming up in November. It should turn out to be something like an 80-shilling with a gravity of between 12-13 Plato. I used a total of 14 pounds of grain. This included 10 pounds of British Maris Otter, two pounds of British amber malt, one pound of Scottish peated malt and one pound of flaked oats. I used Kent Goldings hops at 4 percent alpha acid in an amount equal to about 20 IBUs, which I'm hoping is just right for this beer. (You might be thinking that 14 pounds of grain is a lot for a beer of only 12-13 Plato, but I only collect 3.5 to four gallons of wort, which I then dilute with 1.5 to two gallons of water and I've been getting about a 50 percent mash efficiency.) I used Wyeast 1056 for this beer instead of the #1728 which is the Scottish strain, which I thought might produce too many esters, since it's still a bit warm in the kitchen. I like to taste the grains that I use and the Maris Otter malt was wonderfully sweet with a cookie like character -- really good stuff.
The sparge was slower than the other all-grain batches I've brewed this year, taking about 45 minutes. I'm going to assume this is because I mashed more grain than the previous batches. I stopped the flow out of my mash-lauter tun (Gott cooler) to recirculate some of the cloudy wort and had difficulty getting the flow started again. Next time I'll try scooping wort out of the kettle without stopping the flow.