Showing posts with label belgian mild. Show all posts
Showing posts with label belgian mild. 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, May 9, 2012

Perfecting Homebrew

There are very few beers that I brew which I go on to brew twice or more, LimeLight is an obvious exception, as is my strong Thanksgiving ale Samoset, though the recipe changes most years. I have been thinking though of late that one of the things I would like to do when Mrs V and I move into our new house is to get a kegerator and develop a range of "house" ales, a couple of which would always be on tap.

In thinking about the types of beer to focus on, I gave myself some fairly simple criteria:
  • at least 2 session beers
  • at least 1 style which is difficult to get in Virginia
  • one lager
  • to cross the spectrum of colours
Having pondered, I decided on the following:
  • 3.5% - 3.7% Ordinary Bitter
  • 3.9% - 4.1% Blonde Ale
  • 5% - 6% Porter
  • 4.2% - 4.8% Pilsner
I wanted to have 5 beers in total though, and it wasn't until I had the magnificence of Oliver Ale's "Ape Must Never Kill Ape" last week that I knew what I wanted to do, a "Belgian Mild" which would have an abv of less than 3.5%.

Yes, they are all styles that I have brewed before, and in the case of my Ordinary Bitter won a gold medal for, but they are the styles that I enjoy drinking the most and at the end of the day homebrewing is all about having beer that I want to drink.

Naturally I will still make bits and pieces that either take my fancy or are brewed for special occasions, such as my Samoset Thanksgiving ale, whatever the International Homebrew Project throws up and our internal Iron Brewer project with the homebrew club, the next round of which requires honey malt, Hersbrucker hops and ginger.

If you also homebrew, what beers would you want to perfect to have on tap regularly?

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...