Showing posts with label dark island brewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dark island brewing. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There's A Gale Coming

Today, assuming no lapse in common sense, will be my first bash at using some of my new brewing equipment. I decided to get myself a bigger cooler for mashing in, going from 2.5 gallons to 5, though I am keeping my batch size the same. This basically means that I can do any strength beer I want without resorting to using malt extract to bump up the gravity.

With a bigger mash tun comes more wort, so I have temporarily borrowed a friend's flat bottomed brewpot until I am employed again and can get one of my own. With more wort comes the need to finally break out my wort chiller, which has sat in its box since I bought it about 18 months ago. All in all, I am looking forward to getting some brewing done, especially as this batch is destined for Mrs V's uncle and his annual gift baskets for his clients.

The beer I plan to brew today is a strong ale, though not barleywine strong, essentially it is an 'old ale' in BJCP parlance (although there is no real difference between old ale and barleywine), but I like to think of it as just a Strong Ale. The recipe is:
  • 86% Golden Promise Pale Malt
  • 5% Munich Malt
  • 4% Malted Oats
  • 4% Pale Chocolate Malt
  • 1% Peated Malt
  • 21 IBU Kent Goldings for 90 minutes
  • 9 IBU Kent Goldings for 15 minutes
  • Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield apparently)
You can see a couple of twists in there, the use of malted oats and peated malt, which are intended to give the beer a warmth and smoky background ideal for sitting in front of the fire during the dark days of winter. According to Beer Calculus, that little lot should give me the following numbers:
  • O.G. 1.073, 17.7° Plato
  • F.G. 1.018, 4.6° Plato
  • ABV 7.5%
  • SRM 16, light to medium brown
  • IBU 30
The name for this brew? Dark Island Winter Gale.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Session

Today is Memorial Day over here, and as well as being a day to remember those that fell in combat, it is also traditionally understood as the beginning of the summer season in the US - and given temperatures in the high 80s this week (low 30s in Celsius), that sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Memorial Day is a public holiday, and so this morning, rather than writing all ready for the office, I am slumming it. Originally I had planned to brew both yesterday and today, but then on a whim I decided to just get it all done in a single day. As a result of which I now have two carboys fermenting away furiously, one with a honey malt and ginger saison and the other with my attempt to clone the magnificent Williams Brothers Scottish Session Ale.

I had to make a last minute change to the Dark Island Blonde as when I went to Fifth Season to get my grains, they didn't have any Bohemian Pilsner malt, so I upped the amount of Golden Promise and Vienna and used the following recipe:
  • 50% Golden Promise
  • 25% Vienna Malt
  • 13% White Wheat Malt
  • 6% Munich Malt
  • 6% Caramel 20
The beer has, according to Hopville's Beer Calculus, 25 IBUs of First Gold, Cascade and Saaz and I am using the dry Windsor yeast strain for fermentation. Having mashed at a slightly higher temperature than normal, I am hoping for a beer with a reasonable amount of body and somewhere in the region of 3.8-4% abv.

Essentially I hope that Dark Island Blonde will be a good beer for sitting on the deck of our new house (once the deal finally goes through and I can stop caring about it all the time), with a bucket full of ice keeping several bottles cold. Never having had a lawn, I have never seen the need for "lawn mower beers", but the 1.6 acres of land that go with the house will no doubt see to that.

I will be doing plenty of brewing in the weeks to come, both for the inevitable house warming party and the forthcoming Dominion Cup homebrew competition, so there should be no shortage of beer for those lazy afternoons on the deck...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Input Wanted

I mentioned in a post last week that I am planning to perfect my homebrewing of 5 particular types of beer when Mrs V and I move into our new house. Top of that list to nail down is an Ordinary Bitter, which would I hope eventually become my house ale, once I have a kegerator and starting kegging my beers.

Bitter is one of those sadly overlooked styles here in the USA, very few professional breweries have one in their portfolio and given the low alcohol content they rarely get shipped from Blighty. There are many, many days when after work I would just love to sit down with an imperial pint of something like .

You would think then that having won a gold medal for my Ordinary Bitter at last year's Dominion Cup that I have a recipe pretty much sorted. However, that was a partial mash beer and converting a beer to all grain brewing is more than just replacing malt extract with pale malt. The main consideration is which pale malt to use, Maris Otter, Golden Promise or Optic? Here is the grain bill for a recipe I recently brewed, in preparation for an upcoming Pro-Am preliminary competition:
  • 67% Maris Otter
  • 13% Crisp Amber Malt
  • 13% Crisp Brown Malt
  • 7% Briess Caramel 10
Having done a little research, it would seem that using brown malt is fairly unusual in a bitter, of any strength, but as this was a recreation of my medal winning brew from last year, I felt it would be incongruous not to use it. The question remains though, should it stay as an ingredient in the new Dark Island Bitter? That then is the first set of tweaks for the recipe, pulling out the Brown Malt and upping both the Maris Otter and the Caramel, so the grain bill will look something like this:
  • 77% Maris Otter
  • 13% Crisp Amber Malt
  • 10% Briess Caramel 10
I am looking forward to eventually trying the two variants next to each other, and hopefully with a few learned friends from the local homebrew club, to decide which grain bill is better.

Naturally I am open to thoughts and input from brewers, both home and pro, on the grain bill as written, so feel free to weigh on in!

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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