Showing posts with label beer clones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beer clones. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2012

Attack of the Clone

Back in May I went to what is probably Washington DC's most famous place for beer, ChurchkKey, a place with something like 50 taps, countless bottles and most importantly 5 beer engines. Other than a solitary pint of Williams Brothers Midnight Sun, I spent the evening downing a reasonable number of Oliver Ales' Ape Must Never Kill Ape, a dark Belgian ale with the ABV and drinkability of a Mild. I loved it, and it is most definitely an early contender for the Fuggled Dark Beer of 2012.

There was only one problem, I wanted more of it and driving a couple of hours to DC for a few Friday night libations is not really something I would do, and Oliver Ales' beers are only available in Baltimore and Northern Virginia as I understand it. What I could do though was brew something vaguely similar in my kitchen. Incidently, my double brewing session yesterday was the last I will be doing in my current flat. We closed on our house on Friday, get the keys today hopefully and start the process of shifting all our stuff to the new place.

The page for Ape Must Never Kill Ape on RateBeer describes the beer thus:

A Belgian inspired dark ale, using english pale malt, dark crystal, chocolate, carafa 3, Belgian biscuit and caramel vienna. Bittered with Kent Goldings and Czech Saaz, finished with Fuggles and German Tenttnanger then fermented with Belgian DeKonick yeast and cold conditioned with vanilla beans

Clearly that gave me the outline of the Belgian Mild I wanted to brew, though I have no plans to age it on vanilla beans. My recipe then was:
  • 66% Golden Promise pale malt
  • 13% Vienna malt
  • 7% Pale Chocolate malt
  • 5% Crystal 20 malt
  • 3% Crisp Amber malt
  • 3% Caramunich I malt
  • 3% Carafa III malt
  • 10 IBU Styrian Goldings for 60 minutes
  • 8.5 IBU Czech Saaz for 15 minutes
  • 0.5 IBU Czech Saaz for 1 minute
  • Wyeast 3944 Belgian Witbier
All of that gave me a very dark beer with a starting gravity of 1.038, 19 IBUs and an estimated colour of 25 SRM, or "Brown to Dark Brown", though to my eye it looks darker than that. As you can see from the picture, the yeast is munching away happily on the sugars, hopefully the beer will have an ABV of 3.9%, a tad higher than Ape Must Never Kill Ape's 3.3%.


Not so much a clone then as a thoroughly shameless homage to the best beer I have had served through a beer engine on this side of the Atlantic. If this turns out well, I am half tempted to take a bottle up to Baltimore with me when I head up there to spend inordinate amounts of time and money with my best friend.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

When Beers Inspire

Back in November I had a choice to make. My parents were going to be in England visiting my eldest brother, and they were taking their car, so I asked if they wouldn't mind taking a case of beer back to France for me. Naturally they were happy to do so, and so I ordered a selection from Beer Ritz.

There was one beer which I absolutely knew I wanted in the selection, the magnificent Timothy Taylor Landlord. I had last devoured a bottle of this nectar in 2008 whilst at the same brother's house for Christmas, which was the last time the entire clan was together at the same time. Knowing that I loved it, I ordered 4 bottles so I could indulge to my heart's content.


At 4.2% abv, Landlord is a beer you can sit with and drink a fair few of without keeling over when you stand up and discover your legs no longer function. I love the fact that the label describes it as a "Strong Pale Ale" and while I may quibble over the use of the word "Strong" there is no arguing that this is as packed with flavour as any, more feted or trendy, beer. I will not bore you with tasting notes, but rather simply say this, if there is a better Best Bitter in the world I am yet to drink it.

Unfortunately I have never seen it in the US, but I will have a stab at brewing a clone version. I have read that the grist is simplicity itself, 100% Golden Promise, the hopping is a blend of Fuggles, Styrian Goldings and East Kent Goldings, and I have a packet of Wyeast West Yorkshire yeast in the fridge. I was planning my first brew of the year to be an 1868 Younger's XP (a Scottish IPA brewed with Saaz), but that might get bumped to the second brew of the year.

Each of the 4 bottles I had in France went down with inordinate ease, hopefully my own version will do likewise.

* again the picture is not from this trip, but there is a very good reason for this, honest.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting Old

One of my most precious beer memories comes not from the hospody of Prague, the brewpubs of Nelson County or even the pubs of Kent on a sunny day. Rather, it comes from an arts festival in Berlin in 2008, when wandering around eating various types of wurst I spied the name Schumacher Alt and made a bee line for it. What followed was a revelation, a beer with the flavours that I love in a warm fermented beer with the crisp dry  finish and prominent hop bite that I love in a Pilsner.

The manly brew of which I speak is of course altbier, which as everybody and his uncle knows translates as "old beer", as opposed to the pale lager which was in the mid 19th century, new. I could argue here that 19th century pale lager was the craft beer of the day, but that would be too much fun.

Ever since I started homebrewing, I have wanted to make an altbier. As I am prone to do, I spent hours poring over style descriptions, the websites of alt luminaries such as Schumacher and Zum Uerige and various other media in order to get a real handle on how my project would shape up. From the outset I knew that I wanted to brew a straight up alt, not a sticke, doppelsticke or any other derivation thereon. I wanted a reasonably sessionable beer, call me crazy but I actively like drinking.

The one sticking point though has been the absence of a refrigeration chamber for lagering the beer in. Recently though I had a idea, and yes it hurt. I quite often buy 2.5 gallon bottles of water for brewing with, and so I wondered if I would be able to fit the 2.2 gallons of beer that I get out of a batch, once it is off the trub, into one such bottle.


As you can see, the hole in the bottle is in a slightly awkward place, so with a measured 1 gallon jug, I poured 2.3 gallons of water into a used bottle and hey presto, it comes to about half an inch below the hole. Suddenly I found myself with a surplus of lagering vessels, but still no refrigeration chamber. Then again the power of the mind fell upon me, with excruciating vehemence this time, I have a fridge! Any spare water in the bottles after brewing, I would store in the fridge, simply turn the bottle upside down and it should work fine, so I put the bottle in the fridge, and as you can see, I have a viable lagering system! Well, viable for doing altbier and k?lsch, which is just as well as they are styles I really like.


Having solved my little lagering issue, I finally got round to designing a recipe for the beer itself, and here it is:
  • 50% Bohemian Pilsner Malt
  • 49% Munich Malt
  • 1% Carafa III
  • 31 IBU of Spalt Select for 90 minutes
  • 4 IBU of Spalt Select for 20 minutes
  • Wyeast 1007 German Ale liquid yeast
Apparently, this will give me the following details with my system
  • OG - 1.048
  • FG - 1.012
  • SRM - 13 (copper to red)
  • ABV - 4.8%
I will be brewing this beer, which I am calling Old Cobbler's, on Saturday, and then lagering it for all of December. When we get back from our Christmas trip to France, I will bottle it in preparation for being able to drink again after my annual beer fast, which many people call "January".

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beers to be Cloned or Bettered!

Last week I picked up the current edition of Brew Your Own magazine as something to read while chilling out by the pool and enjoying the Virginia evening sunshine. On a side note, we have had fantastic weather here since arriving from South Carolina, temperatures in the mid 80s (high 20s for my European readers), and almost wall to wall sunshine. Ideal for sitting by the pool and reading.

Anyway, back to beer, this edition has a selection of clone brews for both the all grain and extract with grains brewer, which got me thinking about the beers in this world I would love to eventually learn to "clone". So far in my homebrewing ventures I have mainly messed around with established styles, such as the smoked chocolate porter I did last time round.

Even so, here are a few of the beers I would love to clone - on that basis that I can't buy the original here in Virginia:

One beer I either want to emulate or better is the English Pale Ale from Primátor, which was Mrs Velkyal's favourite beer when back in Prague, so to have something of that merit would be a cap in the feather!

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...

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