Sunday, November 21, 2010

Belgian-Style Spiced Porter Bottled

Bottled up a "winter brew" which was planned as sort of a Belgian-style porter, but so far it's looking and tasting much more like a Belgian dubbel. (I used Wyeast #3787 which is purported to be the Westmalle strain.) It's gravity is on the low end for a dubbel, but all the characteristics (color and bitterness namely) are right on the mark. I did add some spices in the beer; just a little bit of juniper berries and star anise along with some cumin and sweet orange peel. The juniper and anise is detectable, but not the sweet orange. Perhaps with those spices this beer was destined to become a dubbel. My tasting notes at bottling are as follows:
"Smells of fruitcake laced with gin with a touch of anise. Some caramel malt flavor mingles with a bit of grainy huskiness followed by a coffee-ish bitterness (more like black tea I suppose.) Finishes pretty dry with a caramel note along with maybe a bit of toasted marshmallow. Really a bit shocked at how light in color this beer is so far."
I ended up filling 22 12-ounce bottles, 11 22 ounce bottles and one two-liter swingtop bottle with this brew. Again, definitely not a porter, but it is fairly tasty so far. The recipe is here, but again, it's definitely not a porter.

Meanwhile, I've started to drink the hop-bursted pale ale I put in one of my Party Pigs. It's turned out pretty tasty with a real smooth, yet assertive hop flavor and bitterness. I expected a little more hop aroma from the half-ounce of pellets I added to the Pig, but I'm impressed with the smoothness of the hop flavor. I'm not sure I'm sold on Chinook for single hop beer though. I'm thinking some Columbus might've been good as a dry hop instead of the Chinook. The recipe for this hop-bursted pale ale is here.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Owd Engwisch Harkens Back to Homebrewed Old Ale

Had a good English Barley-wine called Owd Engwisch (or something like that) at Three Floyds this past weekend. It was great getting back there to sip some fresh Floyds. It also got me thinking about an attempt I made at an Old Ale that I brewed back in January 2009. It's holding up quite well, but I think it's a recipe that could use some tweaking. (It's an old ale so perhaps it just needs another couple years in the bottle - ha.)
It pours with plenty of carbonation and I'm left with about a quarter-inch of head, but no lace. The color is amber to red and nose is very fruity with banana and maybe some peach. Not sure that these esters are completely appropriate for an English Old Ale. I no doubt fermented this too warm and maybe used not quite the right yeast. It has a very smooth mouthfeel though and tastes of toffee and a sort of toasted marshmallow flavor. There's an English hop character (spicy, earthy) towards the finish despite the fact I used Cascade and Willamette hops (I guess Willamette has some Fuggles character.) The finish is a bit bitter but coated in tawny caramel malt sweetness. Not bad for an English Old Ale although I think it would have really been better had I done a partial mash with a few pounds of some Maris Otter and used some Kent Golding hops instead of Willamette and probably a different yeast than the Timothy Taylor (Wyeast 1469.) In fact, I'd like to try this again (with Maris Otter replacing some of the extract) with Wyeast 9097 PC Old Ale. Here is the very simple 95 percent extract recipe:

Olde Grey Cat 2009

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines -

19-A Strong Ale, Old Ale

Min OG: 1.060 Max OG: 1.108
Min IBU: 30 Max IBU: 80
Min color: 10 Max color: 26 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics -

Batch Size (Gal): 5.00 Wort Size (Gal): 3.00
Anticipated OG: 1.082 Plato: 19.86
Anticipated SRM: 13.5
Anticipated IBU: 40.6
Brewhouse Efficiency:50 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts -
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 3.53 gallons
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.121

Grain/Extract/Sugar -
12.00 lbs. of Briess LME- Amber
0.50 lbs. of Briess Crystal 90L

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.

Hops -
2.00 oz. Cascade pellets@6.3% AA for 50 minutes
1.00 oz. Willamette Pellet@4.4% for five minutes

Yeast -
Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Party Pig Problems

Ack. I can be so impatient sometimes. Up a bit too late after encountering problems with one of my Party Pigs. I heard a little "pop" (which normally is a good thing when setting up a Party Pig) but it was actually one of the screws that I may have over-tightened and stripped. Needless to say I couldn't get a good seal and pressurize the little piggy so I opted to use my auto-siphon to fill as many 22-ounce bottles as I could. I'd already added priming sugar and a half-ounce of Kent Goldings pellets, but I figured "what the heck" and attempted to bottle anyway. It went about as well as it could since I really couldn't stop the flow of the siphon (a lot of beer ended up on the floor) but I did end up with 10 bottles filled, and of course, one full Party Pig. This five-gallon batch is a pale ale that I decided to brew about eight days ago on a bit of a whim: it's just six pounds of DME, one pound of 60L crystal malt, a half ounce of Chinook hops added at 40-minutes left in a 60-minute boil and three ounces added (hop bursting) at 15 minutes left in the boil. I fermented this mixture with Fermentis SafAle US-05. I also added an ounce of dry hops in the pig(s). It will be interesting to see if the hops settle out in the half of the batch I bottled but intended to pig or if they float in the neck.
My first pour of this beer (hydrometer sample) smelled a bit cheesy, but this did fade. The beer is very young so I'm hopeful that this will subside or that the dry hops will improve the aroma. Other than that the bitterness was potent but remarkably smooth; it sort of had accumulated with each sip. I credit this to the hop bursting, but I could be wrong. Of course, I realize that packaging the beer after just eight days could be a bit too soon, but I hit my expected final gravity so I threw caution to the wind (I normally let the primary ferment go for 10 days.)