Showing posts with label international Homebrew Project. Show all posts
Showing posts with label international Homebrew Project. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Mysteries of the East

I have been pondering what to do with this year's International Homebrew Project, especially with 70% of respondents to my little poll over in the right rail saying they would take part depending on the recipe.

As I was looking back at previous years' projects I realised that we have done several styles without ever tackling the most popular craft beer style, India Pale Ale.


That then will be the theme for this year, but don't worry I don't expect you to do a Pete Brown and traipse your homebrew on a ship from Burton to India via Brazil. I am going to avail myself of some historic IPA recipes and then run another poll to decide which one gets the nod.

If you are one of the 7 folks that said your participation was dependent on the recipe, please leave a comment on this post about whether India Pale Ale works for you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#IHP2017?

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed the little poll in the right rail over there.

The question is very simple, are you interested in taking part in the International Homebrew Project this year?

What is involved?
  • Brew a batch of homebrew from an agreed recipe
  • Blog/tweet/post about the results on an agreed date.
You in?

Friday, May 13, 2016

#IHP2016 meets #MildMonthUS - The Tasting

Finally it's ready.

Fermentation is done with, the beer is kegged, and now happily being tapped from my kegerator.

I refer of course to my iteration of this year's theme for the International Homebrew Project, 'American Mild Ale'. If you want to read up on my proposed description of an American Mild, see here, and here if you are interested in the recipe for what Mrs V has christened 'Amber Waves Mild'. For the more visual amongst us, here's a picture.


Evidently it's not completely sparklingly bright, with a bit of chill haze in there that does clear as the beer warms, perhaps I'll tinker with the kegerator temperature. However, given that murk is the new IPA (not sure 'murk' is quite the right phrase, pea souper might be better) I am not unduly worried about it right now. The colour is spot on where I wanted it to be though, somewhere between amber and brown.


Aroma wise we're talking about a really nice sourdough breadiness that I put down to being the product of using Victory and Special Roast malt, also in there is a trace of unsweeetened cocoa powder, and a weak coffee thing that reminded me for some reason of the Douw Egberts instant coffee I used to drink at college. When it comes to the flavours again that toasty breadiness comes to the fore, layering over the grainy cereal nature of American 2-row base malt. The bitterness is clean, evident, and balances the beer really well, and even though I used aroma and flavour hops they are both very faint. Also in the mix was a light nuttiness, like a schmear of Nutella on toast, and just a faint fruitiness that I assume is coming from the Wyeast American II yeast.


Overall, Amber Waves is a nicely balance mild ale, all the flavours I expected are evident but nothing dominates. The body is on the light side of medium, so it avoids being watery. I am very happy with my latest stab at Americanising mild ale, and look forward to bashing many a pint of it of an evening.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#MildMonthUS meet #IHP2016

Last night I finally got round to kegging up my American Mild ale for this year's International Homebrew Project - which seems to have lingered far longer than usual.

The picture below shows the sample I pulled out of the fermenter before transferring the beer to the keg:


The colour is pretty much where I wanted it to be, not a dark, dark mild and not a pale mild, somewhere in between, a nice rich amber which is perfect for the name given the beer by the awesome Mrs V - Amber Waves American Mild.

I used the Wyeast American II yeast (not sure which brewery that came from) and it fermented down from 1.044 to 1.012, giving me 4.2% abv, and enough mouthfeel to prevent the beer from being overly dry. In terms of initial flavours, the Victory and Special Roast malts come through nicely, and work very well together to give the beer a sourdough breadiness which I at least really like, and think it compliments the husky graininess of standard American 2-row malt.

Put it simply, I am excited about this beer being carbonated and ready for drinking, should be at least tryable from the keg by Sunday, as the beginning of American Mild Month, and give it a few days and I think it will be ready for a fuller, proper review.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

#IHP2016 Brewday Reminder

How time flies....seems like only yesterday that those who voted in the International Homebrew Project poll decided to make a stab at creating a new beer style, the American Mild Ale. Thus the time for brewing our beers is almost upon us, with May just 5 weeks away.

I am planning on brewing my beer next weekend, and have already written about my planned recipe in a previous post.

There were 23 people who wanted to brew an American Mild, if you are one of them, add details of your beer and brewing schedule to the comments below so I can get a sense of who is doing what.

Friday, February 12, 2016

#IHP2016 - Recipe Thoughts and Schedule

Usually around this time of the year I am posting the recipe for the forthcoming International Homebrew Project and a schedule for the brewing and reporting there on. This year though is different because there is no single recipe for the project.

As I noted the last time I wrote about the International Homebrew Project, this year participants are being asked to create their iteration on a style, in this case the 'American Mild'. Using the guidelines laid out in a previous post, I want homebrewers to get creative, and if they are also bloggers to write about their recipes ahead of brewing them.

Before laying out my probable recipe, a quick word about schedule. American Mild Month starts on International Workers Day, also known as May 1st, so the aim is for brewers to have their beers ready for consumption on that day. Given a fairly standard schedule of 4 weeks from boil to glass, that would mean brewing no later than the first weekend in April, and I guess it also means folks have time to do a trial batch and make adjustments ahead of then.

For my own recipe, I am planning to take the 'American' bit to mainly refer to the ingredients I use, so I will be eschewing my usual Golden Promise base malt for 2-row from this side of the Pond. English crystal malts will not make an appearance, neither will English roasted malts, even though both are easily available at my local homebrew store. In will come specialty malts such as Victory and Special Roast. The most instantly definable 'American' element of the American Mild is likely to be the hopping, though trying to stay within the given definitions of a mild may prove tricky, but as I pointed out on the American Mild Month post there is a world of difference between 'low' and 'none'. Low to me means perceptible but not dominant, and that's what I will be aiming for.

Here then is my first sketch of my recipe, and I would appreciate any thoughts folks have about the recipe...
  • 74% 2-Row
  • 12% Victory
  • 12% Special Roast
  • 2% Black Malt
  • 17 IBU Calypso for 60 minutes
  • 6 IBU Calypso for 15 minutes
  • 1 IBU Calypso for 1 minute
  • Wyeast 1272 American Ale II yeast
My target numbers for this are:
  • OG - 1.043
  • FG - 1.011
  • ABV - 4.3%
  • SRM - 15 (deep amber)
  • IBU - 24
Numbers are really only a guideline, flavour and aroma are clearly way more important than whether I hit my targets perfectly. Given the malt bill here, I am expecting a lot of bready flavours, a combination of the toastiness of Victory and the sourdough tang of Special Roast is something I am very intrigued by, add in the strawberry characteristic of Calypso hops and the more fruity notes that American II yeast can bring to the party and I have a good feeling that this will be a tasty, sessionable, drop of beer.

Monday, January 11, 2016

#IHP2016 - In With The New

The masses have spoken, well, 23 of them.

Last week I put a quick poll up on here looking for guidance on what to do for the 2016 iteration of the International Homebrew Project. The choices were to stick with the tried and tested formula of recreating historic beers based on the research and work of Ron Pattinson or to attempt to create a new beer style.

As I say, the masses have spoken, and by a margin of just over 2 to 1 it is decided that the International Homebrew Project 2016 will embrace the challenge of creating a new beer style, thus the theme for this year is centred around the, perhaps oxymoronic, concept of the American Mild.

I will be putting my thinking hat on in the coming days to extrapolate further on what would constitute an American Mild, but it's rather fun to have a completely clean slate on which to draw.

Thanks to those that voted in the poll, and if you are planning to take part in the project, please leave a comment here, or send me an email.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

International Homebrew Project 2016 - Crowdsourcing Style

Around this time of year I start the planning for the International Homebrew Project, which will see its 6th iteration in 2016. In previous years those of us who take part have mainly focused on recreating historic beer recipes, usually from the research of Ron Pattinson. Previous recipes were:
This year however I am thinking about doing something a little different.

Last year I started a project called American Mild Month, drawing inspiration from the Campaign for Real Ale's 'May is Mild Month' in the UK. The project had more than 50 breweries participating across the US, and the 2016 iteration is already looking to better that number.


What better way then to encourage more interest in the brewing of mild ale than to get fellow homebrewers engaged and brewing their own mild ales? However, I'd rather not stick to the accepted understanding of mild back in Blighty, and therefore to attempt to crowd source a new beer style, the American Mild Ale. As part of American Mild Month, I encouraged breweries to try and Americanise mild with the following parameters:
Let's start with color. The SRM numbers for English milds range from 6 to 34, which is basically the entire spectrum of beer. The majority of milds though fall in the dark category, starting at 17 SRM, which is a deep orange to amber color. An American mild then would be deep amber, with red in the mix as well, veering up to brown at the upper limit.

Alcoholic restraint is a hallmark of the modern mild ale, and we believe that an American mild should follow that tradition, topping out at 4.5% abv. We imagine most American milds would fall between 3.5% and 4.5% abv.

Everyone knows that many modern American beers are very hop centric while mild ales tend to be very restrained when it comes to both IBUs and hop perception, remember the official description from GABF...

Hop aroma is very low...Hop flavor is very low. Hop bitterness is very low to low

Clearly then the American Mild is not a hop bomb, but neither need it be a hop free zone. 'Low' is not the same as 'none', it is all about restraint, and with the wide variety of American hops available the range of hop flavors is actually quite broad, whether its the spiciness of Cluster, the grapefruit of Amarillo, or the tropical fruit of El Dorado, there is room here for differentiation, and dry hopping is ok too. Remember though, before going crazy with the hops, an American Mild is not a Session IPA, or a Session Cascadian Dark Ale, it's still a mild. Traditional English milds top out at 25 IBUs, but for an American Mild we would suggest an upper limit of 30 IBUs.

One major departure from the English mild style in a theoretical American mild is the yeast. The classic American yeast strain used by many an American craft brewery is known for being very clean, allowing the other ingredients to shine through without contributing the fruity flavors of the British yeasts.

So there we go, a restrained, darkish ale, with gentle hopping and a clean finish so that the malt and what hops are present, shine through.
Or for those more into lists:
  • OG - 1.032 - 1.048
  • FG - 1.006 - 1.014
  • ABV - 3.5% - 4.5%
  • SRM - 17 - 25
  • IBU - 15 - 30
If there isn't any interest in trying to create a new style, I'll revert to brewing historical recipes using Ron's research as a guide. There is a poll up in the upper right rail, let me know your thoughts by Friday January 8th.

Oh, and happy New Year!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Finally - #IHP2015 Truman's Double Stout

This past Saturday, Mrs V and I hosted a little soiree at our place, ostensibly to christen the patio we had built last autumn, but it pissed down from about 11am so we were restricted to the kitchen, which is where the best parties happen anyway.

At the beginning of the day I wasn't sure whether my version of the 1860 Truman's Double Stout would be ready. Having tired of bottling batches of beer, I have started using my 1 gallon cubitainers, which I refer to as 'caskitainers', more and more, and I had 2 caskitainers of stout sitting in my cellar. As I say though, I wasn't sure if I wanted to inflict the beer on friends without having tried it myself, beyond the sample from packaging the beer, which was pretty damned delicious.


A few jars to the good later, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pulled out my little homemade beer engine and the first of the caskitainers. With everything hooked up, I poured myself a sample...


My goodness, this was nice. Huge great dollops of bittersweet chocolate, kind of like the 1lb bars of Belgian dark chocolate you can buy at Trader Joe's. In the background lingered a roasty bite that stopped the beer from being cloying, and the came through in the finish an assertive hop bite. The body was full and luscious, bordering on lascivious, and the densely creamy head could almost convince the unknowing drinker that it had been served through an abomination nitro tap, actually there was a little kink in the line which caused an effect not unlike a sparkler, the natural way to drink cask ale anyway.


Suitably emboldened, I offered our friends glasses of the beer, which went down very well, much to my relief, and so we finished off a caskitainer and a half. Thankfully I still have half a cask in the beer engine, and with no extraneous oxygen getting in, should still be in fine fettle when I finish it off tonight...

Every prospect pleases, and I might have to brew more of this.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#IHP2015 - How Not To Get Project Done

There is a carboy in my basement filled with a wonderful looking black liquid that promises much, if the raw wort was anything to go by. The carboy is still holding my version of the International Homebrew Project 2015 beer, a double stout from the 19th Century originally brewed by Truman's in London.

I have no defense other than being mildly frustrated that the Prime Dose bottle conditioning product from Northern Brewer is out of stock (an excellent product that has cured all my packaging woes, and works great for cask conditioning as well!) and I haven't seemed to find the time for packaging beer of late, including the Extra Alt-Pils that is still in the lagering tank!

Anyway, while I may suck at shit done and organised, others do not, including Szabolcs from Hungary who wrote about his version of the beer here, as well as taking some seriously nice pictures.

If any of the other brewers that made the beer have written up posts about their versions, drop me a line or put a link in the comments.

As for me, I will package it one evening this week into my little casks and write about it in a couple of weeks once it is properly conditioned.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#IHP2015 Brewday Reminder

This weekend is the brewday for those of us taking part in this year's International Homebrew Project, where we brew an 1860 Double Stout from the Truman Brewery in London.

The full details of the recipe can be found here.

As things stand, I know of people from the following countries participating:
  • USA
  • Ireland
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • Israel
  • Czech Republic
Anywhere I have missed from that list?

It's is a long weekend for me as a result of Presidents' Day, so I might even squeeze in two brewdays as it is time to do my annual lager.

UPDATE: As you can see form the comment, Austria is coming to the party too!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

#IHP2015 Double Stout Fun

The masses have spoken...well, 16 of them.

This year's International Homebrew Project returns to the Truman Brewery, but this time to their London location, to brew their Double Stout recipe from 1860.

The grain bill is is fairly simple:
  • 81% Pale 2 row malt
  • 16% Brown malt
  • 3% Black malt
The hop selection likewise is simplicity itself, just Goldings, but lots of them. 130 IBUs worth to be precise.
  • 52 IBU for 90 minutes
  • 49 IBU for 60 minutes
  • 29 IBU for 30 minutes
For yeast, Wyeast 1098 or 1099, British Ale - Dry and Whitbread respectively.

Strike temperatures for the single infusion mash is at 164°F and sparge at 175°F. The boil is 90 minutes.

You should be targetting the following stats:
  • OG - 1.079/19° Plato
  • FG - 1.025/6.3° Plato
  • ABV - 7.1%
  • SRM - 28
For fuller details of the mashing schedule, see Ron's book The Homebrewer's Guide to Vintage Beer.

The schedule for the project this year is:
  • Brewday - Weekend of February 14/15th
  • Writing - Monday March 23rd

Friday, January 23, 2015

#IHP2015 Poll Reminder

7 days......

No, don't worry, the spirit of a dead girl in a well isn't coming for you through your TV. It's just a simple reminder that there are 7 days until the International Homebrew Project 2015 poll closes and the recipe will have been chosen.

As things stand there are 3 recipes in the running:
  • 1860s English Double Stout
  • 1860s English Mild Ale
  • 1850s English Stock Ale
Admittedly the Double Stout is leading by a fair stretch at the moment, but things can change.

If you are planning to brew the winning beer, please email me to let me know (if there are any professional breweries thinking about brewing the recipe on the pilot system, I would love to hear about it!).

Sometime next week I will post a schedule for the brewing/bloggin part of the project, in the meantime, have a great weekend folks.

Monday, January 5, 2015

#IHP2015 Style Poll

Fare thee well 2014, greetings 2015!

It being January, two things are true for me; firstly I am engaged in my annual 31 day booze fast, not for any daft ideas of detox or getting healthy, just because I think it is good to take a break from time to time and just after 6 weeks of near constant imbibing seems as good as any; secondly, it's time to think about styles for this years International Homebrew Project.

As in years passim, we will recreate a beer from the past, the only question though is what kind of beer will it be? Hence the poll in the right rail. I have decided that this years choices all date from about 1850 to 1865, for no other reason than capricious whimsy. Your choices are:
  • 1860s English Double Stout
  • 1860s English IPA
  • 1850s English Pale Ale
  • 1860s English Mild Ale
  • 1850s English Stock Ale
  • 1860s Scottish Strong Ale
Have at the poll folks, it will be open until Friday January 30th.

As in previous years, these recipes are the work of Ron Pattinson, but this year they come from his superb resource, The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer. If you don't own it, you should.

Monday, March 31, 2014

#IHP2014 - The Drinking

It's fair to say that I really enjoy brewing historical beer recipes, and the International Homebrew Project is probably my favourite homebrew project each year. This year's IHP beer was a porter originally brewed in 1834, in Norwich in East Anglia, at a brewery called St Stephen's. 6 weeks ago I brewed by version of the beer, and last night I popped open a bottle...


As you can see from the picture, it pours absolutely jet black, absorbing the light, with dark brown edges, and a lingering light brown foam that lingers and lingers. Damn it looks inviting. The aroma is dominated by bittersweet chocolate and coffee, the classic roastiness of brown malt, backed up with a supporting cast of tobacco, spice, and earthy hops, and just a slight trace of booze.


The roasty theme continues in the taste, again a coffee element with a hefty dose of dark bittersweet chocolate chucked in for good measure, and a pronounced nuttiness, that made me think of a tablespoon of Nutella stirred into an espresso. The bitterness of the hops is very much present, but not in a grimace inducing way, the balance is surprising really.


This is one full bodied, velvety beer, which still has a little bit of boozy hotness which once is settles out will make it dangerously moreish. The thing that surprised me most about this porter is having a calculated 82 IBUs and yet it has a wonderful balance to it.

I imagine I'll be brewing this again at some point, probably when the nights start to draw in again after summer.

UPDATE:

I will be posting links to other versions of the International Homebrew Project as I come across them, or am sent the link.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

#IHP2014 - Write Up Reminder

Seems an age since I brewed my version of a porter originally brewed in 1834...


Well, this weekend I will get to drink the stuff, and then on Monday write about it on here.

Also on the historical brewing front, on Friday I will be at Blue Mountain brewing helping to brew a Burton Ale from 1923, originally brewed by the Courage Brewery in England.

Should be a good weekend all round.

Monday, February 17, 2014

#IHP2014 - Brewday

I like to start my brewdays early, usually mashing in around 7am and getting through the whole of my brewing by midday. Saturday was no different, other than the blanket of snow on the ground, and the fact that the beer being brewed wasn't a product of my imagination. This weekend I brewed a recreation of a porter that was brewed in 1834, at the St. Stephen's brewery in Norwich, as part of the International Homebrew Project.


I tinkered a little with the recipe, going with a blend of pale malts, and having to use from extra light malt extract as my mash tun is tiny and only produces 3 gallons of 1.042 wort. In the end my recipe looked like this:
  • 2lbs Extra Light DME
  • 1.25lbs Brown malt
  • 1lb Maris Otter
  • 1lb Golden Promise
  • 0.4lb Black malt
  • 1.5oz Fuggles for 95 minutes
  • 0.5oz Fuggles for 35 minutes
  • Wyeast 1968 London ESB


Everything went swimmingly, perhaps a tad too swimmingly as I ended up with a 17°P wort rather than the expected 16°P, but a little extra booze never hurt anyone, right?

I will let the yeast do its thing for the next couple of weeks, before bottling and letting it sit for 3 weeks and then do a full write up on the beer itself at the end of March, and if it tastes as great as it smelt during the brewday, then I am in for a treat!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

#IHP2014 - Reminder

This weekend is the brewday for the 2014 rendition of the International Homebrew Project.

For those of you who are planning to brew, I hope you've got your ingredients in; pale malt, brown malt, black malt, Fuggles hops, and an English yeast strain. Nothing too challenging there.

So far I have heard that people from the US, UK, Ireland, Czech Republic, Tasmania, Israel, and South Africa are planning to take part. Anyone else? Poland, Latvia, Argentina?

If you need reminding of the recipe, take a look at the IHP2014 page, up there in the navigation.

I will be brewing my version on Sunday, and plan to continue using the #IHP2014 hashtag on Twitter - so if you have a Twitter account, please do likewise.

Cheers!

Monday, January 27, 2014

#IHP2014 - The Recipe

1834, what a year that was.

The Spanish Inquisition officially came to an end, by royal decree. Charles Babbage began his conceptual designs for the 'analytical engine', a mechanical precursor to the computer. The Zollverein came into effect, abolishing customs duties between the German kingdoms, which would eventually lead to the creation of modern Germany.

The following people first saw the light of day:
And the following breathed their last:
And in Norwich they brewed porter.

According to Ron Pattinson, St Stephen's Brewery in Norwich, made a grand total of 4 beers, an X, XX, table beer and the following porter...
  • 72% Pale Malt
  • 21% Brown Malt
  • 7% Black Malt
  • 60 IBU of Fuggles for 120 mins
  • 22 IBU of Fuggles for 30 minutes
  • Nottingham Ale yeast/WLP002 English Ale Yeast/Wyeast 1968 London ESB
The vital stats for the beer are:
  • OG: 1.066
  • FG: 1.022
  • ABV: 5.9%
  • IBU: 82
When this beer was recorded in 1834, the mash lasted 2 hours, at a consistency of 1.4qt of water to a pound of grain, at 156°F. The boil was also two hours long, and in the words of Kristen England, the beer was:
Massively rich and chewy. Cocoa, burnt biscuits, graham crackers, coffee and carbonized sugars. Loads of raw grassy character with the mouth drying tannins to boot. Finishes thick but not sweet in the least. The dark acidic character of the malts really extend the finish that keeps going and going.
As I mentioned in the post announcing the style for this year's International Homebrew Project, the brewday is scheduled for the weekend of 15th/16th February.

For those that can't get hold of Brown Malt, here are some instructions to make your own.

If you are planning to take part, let me know either in the comments or drop me an email...

Monday, January 13, 2014

#IHP2014 - The Style

Sometimes it seems as though if a style of beer is to become popular then it needs a compelling back story, or a completely fabricated, mythological pile of codswallop. Whether it is the disgruntled citizens of Plzeň smashing up barrels of beer on the steps of the city hall in 1839, leading to the creation of the pale lager that now bears the city's name, or IPA being invented with extra hops and alcohol to survive the journey to the mysterious east, it sometimes seems that tall tales and beer go hand in hand. Another beer with a myth of grand proportions is porter, that dark brew that according to legend was invented to replace a mix of beers known as 'three threads', a myth thoroughly debunked by Martyn.

For last year's International Homebrew Project we brewed Burton Ale, a style of beer which has all but disappeared. This year I decided that it would be fun to turn the tables and brew something which is alive and kicking, and so I decided that porter would be the style.

As ever there is a poll in the sidebar with a list of porters for which I have access to the recipe. If you intend to take part, vote for a recipe, and in a couple of weeks I'll post the project recipe. The schedule for this year's project is as follows:
  • Poll until January 24th
  • Monday January 27th - recipe posted
  • Weekend of February 15th/16th - brewday
  • Monday March 31st - blog about the beer

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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