Sunday, February 27, 2005

Another Extra Hoppy Amber Ale

Another extra hoppy (read: IPA) amber ale is born. This time I'm mashing with a new system. I've removed the Zymico Kewler Kit from my five-gallon Gott cooler and replaced it with a Phil's Phalse Bottom. Lautering was slower than with the Kewler Kitz and mesh screen, but no stuck mash. I mashed 12 pounds of malt and added a half pound of corn sugar (about four percent of the overal grain bill) to kick up the strength a little bit. Hopped like an IPA, with the expected reddish color of an amber ale, this beer is turning into a favorite. I plan on alternating the hoppy version with a more balanced version throughout the coming year, with an occasional Belgian ale or stout brewed here and there. I replaced the Munich malt used in previous versions of this beer with Mild Malt. I also used a extrodinarily long saccharification rest. The extra long rest for this brew was due to a longer than expected lunch break. At least I know I rinsed all the sugars from the grain! It will be interesting to see if this beer is more fully attenuated than over beers I've brewed with a shorter rest. Here's the recipe for this batch.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Tasting amber waves of grain

The all-grain amber ale has turned out pretty good. No problems with carbonation (which seem to be recurring problem with my beers these days.) The only problem with this last batch is that I'm already almost out of it (well, not really, I'm almost out of bottles.) I still have a mini-keg I have yet to have of this fairly well-balanced amber ale. The hops in this beer are definitely in the background, but the finish is long and bitter. I wish there was a little more complex flavor with malts, perhaps more body. I think the next time I brew this I might raise the temperature of the mash or add some Munich malt for more body. I also might consider dry hopping to add more hop aroma. I guess I should just be happy the it's clean tasting brew with no off flavors.

Meanwhile, the last few bottles of the extra hopped, partial mash version of this beer has a soapy taste and some bottles are gushing when opened. Looking back at my notes, I found that I kept the beer in the primary fermenter (plastic) for 15 days -- way too long. My guess is that the extended time spent on the yeast sediment built of fatty acids in the beer, which can contribute to gushing and a soapy flavor. On the other hand, the most recent all-grain batch I did spent only six days inthe primary and then was bottled. I think the lesson here is to practice short primary fermentations.