Showing posts with label mild. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mild. Show all posts

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Session #99 - Roundup

Well, that was the Session that was, and this is the round up that is. The theme for Session #99 was on localising mild, and we got an interesting array of responses.

Over in Ireland, The Beer Nut got 'historically pedantic' and pointed out that most modern beer would be considered 'mild' due to the focus on freshness. Staying in Ireland, The Drunken Destrier suggests than making an 'Irish' mild would largely be an exercise in dropping the booze on an Irish Red Ale while asking the question 'do we want or need a 3-4% ABV red/brown ale with little hop character and low gravity?' Meanwhile, my good friend Reuben of The Tale of the Ale, aka 'johnny come lately' on account of his post being a week late, suggested the possibility of going native with an Irish mild by using 'bog fauna like heather and bog myrtle', an idea I have to admit I like, being a fan of Williams Brothers and their collection of historical ales.

Coming back to this side of the Pond, Sean Inman of Beer Search Party wondered how to create a mild that would appeal to a 'Brit living in L.A.' as an homage to both the homeland and the locale. Fellow VA blogger, American Mild Month co-conspirator, and all round good top bloke, Tom Cizauskas took to Yours For Good Fermentables to discuss 'The Audacity of Mild'. Jon at The Brew Site suggested a pumpkin mild for the US or a manioc mild in Brazil, before telling us about a beer called Murican Mild. Stan Hieronymous points out that beer can also be localised when it is 'part of the local fabric'.

Up in Canada, Alan, of A Good Beer Blog, took the opportunity to compare the situation for mild drinkers today with that of the last time mild featured as a topic for the Session. In the southern reaches of the Americas, Bolivian homebrewer The Brewolero engaged in an 'imagination exercise' for localising mild to the ingredients available in East Asia, in particular Cambodia and Vietnam.

Heading over to mainland Europe, Joan Villar-i-Martí of Birraire tells us that mild is not a popular style among his fellow Catalans. Skipping up to Berlin, Joe Stange wants to 'abstract the mild' so that it can fit in his sitz im leben, wherever his leben is sitzing at that time.

And there we have it. Thanks to everyone that took part! If I missed your post in the roundup, let me know and I'll rectify that as soon as possible. Cheers people!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Session 99 - Homebrew American Mild


This month's Session is hosted by, well, me! My theme for this month is around 'localising mild', tying in with the American Mild Month project that I started and that kicks off today, with 46 breweries around the US committed to having mild available for May.

I work in the software industry and localisation is something of a common theme for companies selling their software to different countries and cultures, and it was sat in a meeting one day that I realised that beer has a long history of localisation. For example, in the wake of Josef Groll creating Pilsner Urquell brewers across the world saw there was a market for pale lagers in the Pilsner vein, and so they took to trying to reproduce the original in their own context. Out of the original Pilsner came the German Pils, American Pilsners, and arguably even beer styles like Helles, Dortmunder Export, and modern light lagers, all of them variations on a theme that made the best of local ingredients to create something akin to the original. Thus pilsner was localised, the same could be said of IPA in the modern era as well.


In my own homebrewing I like to make localised versions of the British beer styles I grew up on and still enjoy to this day, such as best bitter, Session 42 for example is a best bitter made with entirely US ingredients, and most especially of late with dark milds. Last year I dipped my toe into a localised dark mild with a beer whose malt bill was American 2 row, Victory, Chocolate, and Black malt, the hops were Chinook, Northern Brewer, and Cascade, and which weighed in at only 4% abv. I probably overdid the hops a fair bit because it lacked the balance I was looking for.

This weekend I am planning to brew an American Mild, as I am now calling them, to conform to the guidelines laid out in the American Mild Month post 'An American Mild?'. The beer is tentatively called 'Mild Mannered Merican' and is as follows:
  • 66% US 2 Row Pale malt
  • 13% Victory malt
  • 13% Caramel 120
  • 6% Flaked barley
  • 10 IBU Calypso hops for 60 minutes
  • 5 IBU Calypso hops for 15 minutes
  • Safale US-05 yeast
According to my brewing software that should give me a 4.5% abv beer that is a rich copper bordering on red colour, and veers to the sweeter end of the spectrum, though I find using US malts also makes the beer a bit drier and crisper, so it shouldn't be cloying. I like Calypso hops for the tropical fruit flavour rather than the grapefruit thing of Cascade and Amarillo, as well as a trace of strawberry in the background. The clean nature of American ale yeast will hopefully let the balance of malt and hop really take centre stage to make it eminently drinkable.

Mild is in many ways in a similar situation today as porter was back in the 70s, neglected, almost forgotten, and ripe with brewing opportunities. With more and more beer drinkers wanting session beers, perhaps its time has come once more and in localising mild to the ingredients and tastes of a new audience, there will be a renaissance of this wonderful beer style.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Announcement for Session 99 - Localising Mild

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. (You can find more information on The Session on Brookston Beer Bulletin).
The topic for May's edition of The Session is Localising Mild.

Each May CAMRA in the UK encourages drinkers to get out and drink Mild Ales. This May is the first, as far as I am aware, American Mild Month, which has 45 breweries, so far, committed to brewing mild ales. Of those 45 breweries some are brewing the traditional English dark and pale mild styles, while a couple have said they will brew an 'American Mild', which American Mild Month describes as:
a restrained, darkish ale, with gentle hopping and a clean finish so that the malt and what hops are present, shine through

An essential element of the American Mild is that it uses American malts, hops, and the clean yeast strain that is commonly used over here. Like the development of many a beers style around the world, American Mild is the localisation of a beer from elsewhere, giving a nod to the original, but going its own way.

That then is the crux of the theme for The Session in May, how would you localise mild? What would an Irish, Belgian, Czech, or Australian Mild look like? Is anyone in your country making such a beer? For homebrewers, have you dabbled in cross-cultural beer making when it comes to mild?

The first Friday of May is also the first day of May. May Day, or International Workers Day, and it is apt that a beer style closely associated with the industrial regions of England should be the theme for the Session. Have at it folks!

To participate in the Session, write a post on the topic of Localising Mild, and leave a comment here with a link to your post on or before May 1st 2015, and I will include it in my Round-up.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

#MildMonthUS is on!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the possibility of having a US based equivalent of CAMRA's May is Mild Month. A couple of days later Tom Cizauskas from Yours for Good Fermentables got in touch to tell me that he and Lew Bryson thought the idea was a good one and that he would be on board, so I decided to test the waters and see if any of my local breweries would be interested in brewing mild ales for May, and overwhelmingly they were.

Thus American Mild Month was born, the domain registered, the Facebook page created, the Twitter account created, and the hashtag #MildMonthUS started.

The website and Facebook pages are very much works in progress, and I hope to be unveiling the project logo in the very near future.

So far the following breweries have committed to having mild ales available in May:
  • Three Notch'd Brewing, VA
  • Blue Mountain Brewery, VA
  • Champion Brewing, VA
  • South Street Brewery, VA
  • Mad Fox Brewing, VA
  • Williamsburg Alewerks, VA
  • Oliver Ales, MD
  • Brewers Union Local 180, OR
  • Jester King Brewing, TX
  • Freetail Brewing, TX
  • Pour Decisions/Brewstillery, MN
The following breweries are possibly taking part:
  • Fortnight Brewing, NC
  • Twin Leaf Brewing, NC
  • Devils Backbone Brewing, VA
As more breweries come on board I'll be adding them to the list over on the American Mild Month website, and I'll be adding details of the milds being brewed as I get them.

If you know of any breweries that would be interested in joining the project, let me know, and let them know about American Mild Month. Other than that, like the Facebook page, follow the Twitter account, and get set for drinking Mild ale in May!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

'Merican Mild Month?

Each May in the UK, CAMRA encourages drinkers to indulge in Mild, a style of beer that is perfectly suited for drinking several of during a session.

CAMRA's definition of mild is as follows:
Milds are black to dark brown to pale amber in colour and come in a variety of styles from warming roasty ales to light refreshing lunchtime thirst quenchers. Malty and possibly sweet tones dominate the flavour profile but there may be a light hop flavour or aroma. Slight diacetyl (toffee/butterscotch) flavours are not inappropriate. Alcohol levels are typically low.

Pale milds tend to have a lighter, more fruity aroma with gentle hoppiness.

Dark milds may have a light roast malt or caramel character in aroma and taste.

Scottish cask beers may have mild characteristics with a dominance of sweetness, smooth body and light bitterness.

Original gravity: less than 1043
Typical alcohol by volume: less than 4.3%
Final gravity 1004 - 1010
Bitterness 14 - 28 EBU
I think I can count on the fingers of a single hand the number of milds I have drunk since moving to the US in 2009, two in particular stand out, Olivers Dark Horse and a pale mild brewed at Blue Mountain Brewery last year.


When I talk to my beer drinking mates, not all of them beer bloggers, craft aficionados, or IPA addicts by any stretch of the imagination, a common theme comes up again and again, they wish there was more session beer available, and what could be better than encouraging breweries to make milds, whether dark or pale, hopped with British hops or not, there is so much scope for brewers to play around with in this particular style?

In my homebrew messing about I have brewed several iterations of American hopped dark milds and have found that hops like Citra and Cluster lend themselves very well to complement the light roasty notes of a good dark mild. If you were to brew a pale mild, I imagine New Zealand hops such as Motueka and Pacifica Jade would work well.

Come on brewers, show us the mild mannered Clark Kent beers for a change instead of Superman!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Go Mad My Son

Yesterday, Mrs V, myself, and my parents went up to DC for a day trip. It's only a couple of hours by car from our house to the parts of Northern Virginia that have a connection to the city itself through the wonders of the metro, and so we parked up and rode into the District of Columbia.

Having bimbled by Capitol Hill, strolled along the National Mall, sauntered around the National Air and Space Museum, we were all well and truly foot weary. Earlier in the day my mother had mentioned that my parents would like to treat us to a good meal. Not being all that knowledgeable about the DC area, and the fact that our car was out near Falls Church, I suggested trying out Mad Fox Brewing.

I have only ever heard good things about Mad Fox, so it was with some excitement, and not a little trepidation, that we took our seats. I say trepidation because so often when a place is praised to the heavens it fails to live up to my expectations.

Mad Fox would be different. From the moment I looked at the beer menu I knew what I wanted to drink. Mason's Dark Mild, a 3.3% English style mild, served on cask, that could not have been any more spot on had it tried, and yes, it was served as cask ale should be, sparkled. I tried a few samples of other beers, a k?lsch, both filtered and keller style, again excellent, an English Summer Ale, superb, and a porter which was entirely magnificent.

The beer was just one part of the deal, as there is traditionally food involved in dinner, and the food was as good as the beer. Whether is was my burger with caramelised onion jam, or my mother's fig and balsamic pizza, there was a general consensus that the food was delightful. Oh, and did I mention yet that the service was absolutely wonderful?

It's fair to say I have become a fan.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Brewday Disaster

There is a story that when Robert the Bruce was on the run, between 1306 and 1307, he spent some time hiding in a cave on Rathlin Island, off the coast of Northern Ireland. Whilst hiding out, so the story goes, he watched a spider spin a web. and every time the spider failed. Rather than give up and take up quilting, which let's face it spiders are not exactly equipped to do, the spider would begin again until he succeeded. Inspired by the spider, Robert the Bruce returned to Scotland, eventually defeated the English and resumed his reign, which lasted until 1329. The story is told to illustrate the maxim 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try again'.

Today I will be channelling the spirit of that spider as I brew my International Homebrew Project recipe again, though with a couple of changes. Given that the target gravity of the beer is 1.079, I used my 5 gallon cooler as the mash tun on Friday when I initially brewed the beer, rather than my normal smaller one. I am not convinced that my 5 gallon cooler holds the temperature very well, and as such I got terrible conversion and ended up with an original gravity of just 1.044. Having substantially dropped short of my gravity I decided to ferment my wort with a different yeast, and so I have 2.5 gallons bubbling away with Munton's and Fison's Premium dry yeast. Also, the hoping is crazy, calculated at 135 IBU.

The changes I am making for today's brew are really very simple, I am going to do a smaller mash in my 2.5 gallon cooler, which I know holds the temperature very well and gives me about 75% efficiency rather than the 53% of the 5 gallon job. I will then supplement that mash with a couple of pounds of extra light malt extract to reach the target 1.073.

Once I am done, I think I will drink the final bottle of last year's International Homebrew Project which I found in the back of the cellar the other day...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Please Sir, I Want Some (Balti)More

As I mentioned in Monday's post, I spent last weekend in Baltimore being shown the delights of that city by my best friend.

My friend and I have spent many, many hours in pubs in various countries in the thirteen years we have known each other. We have enjoyed beer in dives, expat hangouts, brewpubs and basically anywhere that sells alcohol, there was a time when we would buy a case of beer on a Friday afternoon to drink on our balcony in Prague before hitting the town. We have drunk in Czech cities, towns and villages, Slovak cities, towns and villages and now American cities, towns and villages.

In the weeks before our trip I did plenty of research on places that I wanted to go to while in Baltimore, even though, as I admitted on Twitter the other day, I am a useless beer tourist. I am not much of one for visiting breweries and doing tours, there are only so many mash tuns that I am interested in seeing, my interest in beer is primarily based on the fact that I like drinking it. Having arrived in the city in the early evening our plan was simple, get checked in and get checking out the pub scene, starting with a place to eat as well as drink.

That place ended up being in Fells Point, a pub called The Wharf Rat, which I had only learnt about on Tuesday or Wednesday last week, courtesy of Joe's post on cask beer in the USA. Having walked in, the first thing I noticed was a bank of five handpumps and made a beeline for that part of the bar. I could almost have whooped for joy when I saw the magic words "Best Bitter" on one of the pump clips. The bitter was from Oliver Breweries, whose head brewer follows my Twitter account and had warned me that he didn't think the bitter would be available at Pratt Street Ale House over the weekend. Moments later a proper pint of rich copper liquid with a nicely sparkled head was nestling in my grubby mitt, and what a delight it was, a perfect example of one of the most criminally underrated styles of beer.

Oliver Breweries was to become something of a theme of our weekend. Nursing hangovers on the Saturday morning after a somewhat boisterous crawl of pubs and bars, we wandered from our hotel to Pratt Street and the eponymous Ale House, home base of Oliver Breweries. I was hoping that they would, by some happy fate, have more of the bitter to act as a hair of the dog that bit us, though in all honesty the dog that bit us was more rye sized than bitter. Let me take this moment to thank the inventor of ibuprofen for his sterling service to the drinking classes, a handful of pills and my headache was on the wane.

With places at the bar duly taken, the bar itself being my preferred location to drink, I ordered a pint of Dark Horse, Oliver Breweries' mild - what a weekend, bitter and mild in the same city! Dark Horse was the ideal pick me up after the excesses of Friday, a subtly malty beer with just enough hop bite to give some balance and an superb moreishness. Our barmaid soon learnt that when we had two fingers worth of beer in the glass, it was time for a fresh one. It was almost like being back in Central Europe with an endless conveyor belt of beer deposited in front of us. When her shift came to an end, we decided to move on and try some other places, one of which I will talk more about on Friday. Eventually though we ended up back at the Wharf Rat for more best bitter, more banter and more just being a proper pub, eventually kicking the cask.

Pratt Street Ale House and The Wharf Rat appeal to two different sides of my love for beer and the drinking of it. The former has a classic American sports bar environment, good beer and good food, a place to sit and watch the game with plenty of tasty beer, but thankfully lacking pretension. The latter what I regard as a "proper" pub, a place where socialising is at the very heart of your visit, lubricated with quality session beer, a place that is unfalteringly down to earth. These are the kind of places where, in my unhumble opinion, beer and beer drinkers are most naturally at home, I loved them and whenever I am in Baltimore again, I will most certainly be stopping by for more.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brewday Approacheth!

I brew more Saturdays than not at the moment. I think part of that has to do with the fact that during the summer I really need to use the storage room, that doubles as my beer cellar, to keep the temperature for primary fermentation around the 68°F. Given the amount of other stuff in the cellar, I only have space to keep a couple of carboys on the go at any one time. During the winter though I can ferment inside at reasonable temperatures and use the cellar for lagers and those ales that work at lower temperatures, thus giving me more fermentation space. To say my cellar is starting to creak and groan with homebrew is an understatement.


This weekend I will be brewing again, though as part of the International Homebrew Project. If you recall, those that took part in the poll decided to brew a historic Scottish mild, from the 19th century. Being a 19th century beer, the term "mild" has a different meaning, which was that the beer was still young and hadn't developed any of the raciness of an "old" ale. A mild ale was not necessarily, if at all, the low gravity session beer we expect today, indeed the beer we are brewing has an estimated 91 IBU and 9.1% abv, putting it very much in barleywine country by today's style guidelines - indeed, I am thinking about letting a couple of bottles of this age for the rest of the year to enter in the Palmetto State Brewers Open to defend my Strong Ale gold medal.

The recipe is posted over on the IHP 2012 page, but I have to modify it a little for my purposes because I have a small mash tun, which handles about 5lbs of grain, so I will be topping this up with judicious amounts of dry malt extract. My exact recipe is as follows:
  • 4.5lbs Golden Promise Pale Malt
  • 4.25lbs Munton's Extra Light DME
  • 2.25oz Kent Golding hops @ 90 minutes
  • 1.75oz Fuggles hops @ 20 minutes
  • 0.5oz Fuggles hops for dry hopping
  • Dry Windsor yeast
I will be tweeting during the brewing, using the hashtag #BrewdayIHP, so if you are also planning to brew and have Twitter, let us know about it, and also put your final numbers in a comment to this post. Happy brewing everyone!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

International Homebrew Project - the recipe

So here it is, the recipe for the International Homebrew Project. Just a quick recap, I took an executive decision that this year we would brew an historic recipe from 19th century Scotland and gave you good people the choice of a pale, mild, stout or some random surprise. When the voting was done with there was a clear winner, mild.

When many people think about mild these days, they think low gravity, dark session beer, and admittedly this particular iteration of the tradition is something I love to brew and drink myself. It was, though, not ever thus. The origins of the term "mild" refer to beer that was sent out into trade before it had a chance to become old, thus the flavour was "mild" rather than the raciness you would get with older beers. "Mild" did not refer to the strength of a beer, which is just as well, because I think this recipe is going to mess with people's heads on a couple of levels; on what constitutes mild and what defines "Scottish" ales.

This recipe, kindly provided by Kristen England, comes from the William Younger's Abbey Brewery in Edinburgh, and was brewed in 1853.

Firstly then the grain bill:
  • 100% English Pale ale malt
There we go, that was simple wasn't it, the kicker though is that the target Original Gravity is 1.114, or almost 27o Plato.

For the hopping you are looking at:
  • 65 IBU of Goldings for 90 mins
  • 26 IBU of Fuggles for 20 minutes
  • Dry hop with 1.25oz of Fuggles (assuming a 5 gallon batch)
As far as fermentation goes, use the Windsor strain or Wyeast's 1318 London Ale III, as we are looking for this beast to attenuate down to about 1.046, giving our 91 IBU monster an ABV of 9.1%.

Now for some more technical details. The mash should be done at a ratio of 0.95 quarts per pound of malt, or 1.98 litres per kilo, for 120 minutes at 150oF/65.6oC. The boil should last 90 minutes.

Here are Kristen's tasting notes:

"Big, thick and rich. Biscuits, sweetened Vienna bread dough. Green tea, hay and marmelade. Ripping tannins and thoroughly bitter. The finish lasts forever and keeps from being sweet by the bitterness. What a bloody nice dram!"

Over the IHP 2012 page you can see a more orderly description of the recipe for you to adapt according to your system. The planned weekend for brewing is the 25/26 of this month, and given the simplicity of the ingredients I think most people should be able to get hold of them. I for one am looking forward to this!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Mild Victory!

The poll are closed, the votes have been tallied and there is a clear and decisive winner, and if I may be honest, a somewhat surprising winner it was too. The chosen beer style for this year's International Homebrew Project is Mild, more specifically Scottish mild from the 19th century. Ron posted just this morning about the differences between a Scottish mild and its English counterpart.

As I say, I am surprised that Mild came out on top, especially with pale ale and stout also options on the poll. I really thought people would go for the stout, even though we did a milk stout last year. When I first did this project, in 2010, the overwhelming choice of beer style was an American Pale Ale. I don't want to extrapolate too far as a result of these results, but it seems that the people who read Fuggled any interested in brewing history and are prepared to try something a little different and out of the ordinary (ordinary here being adding a shit load of hops and using a Belgian yeast strain). I find that really encouraging for some reason that I can't really explain.

Hopefully I will have the actual recipe for posting on Friday. The revised timeline for the project is on the IHP 2012 page, and if you are planning to take part either leave a comment there or send me an email. 

I am always surprised that more breweries over here don't do Milds, especially given that we hear so much about beer being best drunk fresh, and mild is the perfect style for that. Perhaps as a little side project to this, everyone who brews the recipe should give a few bottles to local craft brewers and see if we can stir some interest for more commercial mild?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Hate Pigeonholing!

I find myself in somewhat of a quandry, though thankfully not of the kind that leads to existential angst. You see, I have decided that this year I will go ahead and enter the Dominion Cup, Virginia's leading home brew competition. I also plan to enter the home brew section in the local county fair, though this isn't a BJCP or AHA sanctioned competition, but hey, any chance for some glory and being able to call myself an "award winning home brewer". Sit, ego, sit.

I have four beers to enter for each competition:
  • Samoset 2009 - my barleywine into which I chucked some dried sweet orange peel
  • Black Rose - a very dark Dunkelweizen, almost a wheat stout
  • Old Baldy - a 65 IBU American IPA, dry hopped with Challenger
  • Experimental Dark Matter - the peat smoked mild
It is the last of those four that is the root of my bafflement, or rather which category to enter it into. Given the style guidelines set out by the BJCP for Mild (11A), a starting OG of 1.052 is too much, though at 4.3% abv the alcohol content is within the given limits, as are the 16 IBUs.

However, given that I used a portion of Peat Smoked Malt in the grist should I enter it in the Smoked Beer Section (22B)? If so, then the question becomes, what is the base style? I have played with the idea that the base style closest to the beer I produced is a Robust Porter (12B), but the hopping is wrong for the BJCP's interpretation of Porter, though ideal for Mild.

There is of course the final option, to enter the beer in category 23, the anything goes world of "specialty beer". The problem there is that I am not convinced that my beer is that much of a specialty. Historically speaking we all know that "mild" doesn't refer to the alcoholic strength of a beer, but rather it was a young beer that hadn't yet become "stale" or "old", so from my understanding of Mild, that's exactly what I have made, just with a dash of lovely peat smokiness in there as well.

What to do, what to do?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Backwards to Forwards

My first homebrew was a kit to which I added some rauchmalt, used muscovado sugar instead of the recommended table sugar and fermented using Wyeast's Scottish Ale yeast. It was good, very good in fact, especially the stronger variety, which I labelled EDM 13, and so I want to try to re-create it as an extract with specialty grains brew.

Having used a pre-hopped syrup in the original beer, the challenge is to work out the right specialty grains and hops to use. When I did tasting notes about EDM 13, I described it as follows:
  • Sight - dark ruby, tight tan head
  • Smell - smoke, treacle, dark chocolate
  • Taste - burnt toffee, smoke, dark chocolate
  • Sweet - 2.5/5
  • Bitter - 2/5
I actually think the specialty grains are not wildly difficult to work out, with chocolate a key feature, then chocolate malt is a must, the treacle and burnt toffee in there suggest to me a high Lovibond caramel malt, perhaps going as far as 120?

Hops though are the big question, and one for which I need to make a couple of assumptions. The can of extract in question was Munton's Perfect Pint Dark Mild, so it is fairly safe to say that the hops were most likely an English variety. The two obvious candidates are Fuggles and East Kent Goldings, with the latter being the front runner for its spiciness which wasn't entirely overwhelmed by the rauchmalt.

So, for my usual 2.2 gallon batch, I am thinking about the following recipe as an attempt to recreate EDM 13:
  • 3lbs Light DME
  • 0.5lbs Peat Smoke Malt
  • 0.5lbs Chocolate Malt
  • 0.5lbs Caramel 120
  • 0.5oz EKG @ 60
  • 0.25oz EKG @ 15
  • 0.25oz EKG @ 1
  • 1782 Scottish Ale Yeast
I have decided to replace the German rauchmalt with a peat smoked malt, largely because I prefer the flavour of peat smoke as opposed to classic rauchmalt, although I love rauchbier. Hopefully, I will brew the new EDM 13 next weekend, just after brewing my first American IPA, to be called Hopbomination (although I am toying with the moniker, One For the Hopwhores). I haven't brewed for a while, and am looking forward to the wonderful sound of popping airlocks....

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Challenge to Bloggers/Readers

My somewhat over active brain has been at it again, damned thing really should know when to quieten down and just let me get some sleep. Today's post really comes out of a conversation I had with a colleague from the Starr Hill Brewery yesterday in the tasting room. Sundays are usually seriously quiet and so we have more time to talk, one topic that came up was the kind of range of beers a brewery has, in particular the core brands, using Starr Hill as an example, the core range is as follows:
  • Jomo Lager - a Southern German style lager
  • Amber Ale - an Irish Red Ale
  • Pale Ale - erm, guess what, it's an American Pale Ale
  • Northern Lights - an American India Pale
  • The Love - a hefeweizen
  • Dark Starr - a dry Irish stout
Obviously some breweries have far larger ranges, but I think in general Starr Hill covers the bases of what most people drink in the US. Part of the conversation was what range of beers would we have if we had our own brewery? A challenging thought, especially given all the styles of beer that are out there, but it got me thinking, what kind of beers would I make if I owned a brewery or brewpub - which is in some ways like asking which of the beers I already brew at home would I carry over into a business?

The first thing that I would say is that I would want to push cask ale as much as possible. Having tried the same beer on keg and on cask at a brewpub near Washington DC recently, all I can is that Tandleman knows a thing or two because the cask was infinitely superior. Running concurrent to a commitment to cask ale would be insisting on bottle conditioning. I know of only one brewery that bottle conditions over here (admittedly there are huge gaps in my knowledge of the American scene at the moment), but I think it is no coincidence that Bell's Brewery make my favourite beers at the moment.

As for the range of beers, I would have a core consisting of:
  • Experimental Dark Matter - dark mild, very dark, complex and yet perfectly sessionable
  • Blondynka - a proper pilsner, yes, triple decoction, Saaz hops, only Pilsner malt, at least 45 days lagering
  • Copper Head - a best bitter, like many things British, a much maligned style because it isn't done properly
  • Old Baldy - an American IPA, big malty brew with hops galore, none of your thin hopbominations here
  • Skippy Porter - a smoked chocolate porter, hopped only with Fuggles and it tells
  • 94 - a Dortmund Alt, not a common style over here, but one that I love so it would have to be there
My challenge then to my readers and other bloggers is what kind of beers would you make if you ran or owned a brewery/brewpub? I know a few of my readers already do brew on a commercial scale, what do you think of my line-up?

Happy thinking!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beer and Cheese

When I read around beer blogs, I find that I am in minority when it comes to things such as music in a pub, in that I like a pub to have either a decent sound system and the occasional band. Having said that, I don't like pubs where the music is so loud that it gets in the way of talking with whoever I am there with. I am yet to reach that point where my sole purpose in going to a pub is to drink, I go primarily to meet with friends, or because I know the bar staff and am happy enough to drink at the bar and chat with them. If you ever see me in a pub drinking alone, it is because I am waiting for someone, or because everyone else was busy and so I brought a book with me - downing pint after pint by myself is just not my thing.

Because I like a pub with music, I have recently been wondering if there is any correlation between what is coming through the speakers and what I feel like drinking, so below are different songs and the beer styles (in some cases specific beers) that they put me in mind of, call it a soundtrack to Friday!

  • Sweet and Tender Hooligan (song is important here not the "video") - Wychwood Hobgoblin
  • Yesterday's Men - a nice pint of mild, ah lovely!
  • Dignity (yeah right after 15 pints!) - Gillespie's Scottish Stout, I used to love that stuff
  • Disarm - Budvar, a beer and music you don't need to think too much about, just plain good all round
  • Folk Police - too much of the imperial stout and I am soon getting homesick, the Peatbog Faeries stoke that fire quite easily

So there you have it, some nice cheesy tunes and beery pairings! have a top weekend people, do good things, like buy calendars! ;)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mild or Imperial?

It started with a frantic phone call from Mrs Velkyal; a box had arrived at her school and they wanted money, for her to take it off their hands - 832CZK to be precise, about 25 quid. I had forgotten that there is some strange way of paying for mail order goods here - paying the deliverer the entire invoice amount. It all got sorted, and I got to bring home the ingredients for my first homebrew project, ordered from this website (sorry if you don't speak Czech).

Rather than going straight on in to all grain brewing, due to a lack of space and a disinclination to spend tons of money on stuff only few months before moving, I decided to get myself a Munton's Perfect Pint kit, the dark mild to be precise. However, from reading How to Brew I know that it is probably best to use the extract as a base to add other things to my beer. So I dreamed up making a smoked mild, and decided to get a different yeast to use and some extra hops to freshen things up a little.

My ingredients are:

Munton's Perfect Pint Dark Mild hopped extract
Demerera sugar
Weyermann Rauchmalt
Saaz red hop pellets
Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale

My basic plan is to make 3 batches of 8 litres, owing to space restrictions. At the moment I am not sure how much rauchmalt to use (I have 2kg of the stuff!!!), or at what point to use the hops - any advice happily received.

I have also played with the idea of making a kind of Imperial Smoked Mild (contradiction in terms I know) and using all the extract in a single batch, especially as the yeast is well suited to high alcohol brews. Again, homebrewers out there, any advice would be gratefully received.

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...

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