Showing posts with label red coat export india porter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label red coat export india porter. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Plotting Season

It's that time of year. The sun shines more often than not, the trees are in bud and pollen fills the air like a yellowy green fug. Yes it's spring, the time of year when I give thanks for being short sighted and needing glasses, thus staving off some of the delights of hay fever.

It is also around this time of the year that I start thinking about the homebrew competitions I intend to enter in the coming months, and try to create a brewing schedule to fit around them. This year, for the first time, I entered the National Homebrew Competition. I only entered the one beer, Red Coat Export India Porter, which took gold in the Porter category at last year's Virginia Beer Blitz.

This version is slightly different from the winning batch, being 5.4% abv rather than 5.9%, and about 50 IBUs, which is a little less than the last batch, but maintains the same BU:GU ratio. With the beer entered in the NHC I am hoping just not to get slaughtered in the feedback forms, anything beyond that is a bonus.

In the regional competitions, I am pretty sure that I will just enter the same as last year, which would mean brewing beers for the Dominion Cup and Beer Blitz here in Virginia, and the Palmetto State Brewers Open in South Carolina.

Over the coming months I have a load of projects I want to complete, including a triumvirate of wheat beers based on my LimeLight recipe. LimeLight has become my most commonly brewed beer, and has proven to be well received by those that have tried it. My three way project is to make 3 batches over a weekend, with exactly the same ingredients except for the yeast. The yeast strains will be the classic 3944 Belgian Wit, 3068 Weihenstephan and 1010 American Wheat.

As a result of brewing a historical recreation of milk stout for the International Homebrew Project, I have found myself wanting to brew more historical beers, one that took my particular interest was a 1921 Pale Ale from Barclay Perkins. My interest was piqued by the use of Saaz hops alongside Goldings. Also coming up will be a a single hopped Old Ale, a blackberry lambic, a mild, and perhaps a peated pale ale.

There is a big homebrew project on the very near horizon, something that has been in the works since November, but I will tell you all about it when the brewday has been done.....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Tuesdays and Thursdays are quiet nights in the Velkyal household these days. Mrs Velkyal has re-started her rowing, as in boats not mudslinging, and so myself and the dog just kind of potter around our little flat. Sometimes I'll watch some old British TV on Netflix, I am currently going through All Creatures Great and Small. Sometimes I'll sit on t'internet and read Wikipedia, other beer blogs or I'll get a book and sit, listening to music and just lose myself. I don't often drink, because I generally drink only at weekends.

Last night though, I got round to labelling my growing collection of homebrew. I am no artist and so it is highly unlikely that you would ever see my labels entered into the Brew Your Own label competition, however when faced with a bank of amber bottles each with a golden cap, it gets tiring trying to remember what you put where. I tried using a system of coloured dots on the cap, but that kind of fizzled because I couldn't remember what the dots meant. Yes I made a note of it, but that's seems to have been tidied up at some point and thus lost to the ether.

The answer then, at least for me, has been shipping labels. Simple, printable shipping labels. Download the template and away you go, remembering of course not to label the bottles you are keeping to one side for competition purposes. Although I am as artistic as a "cluster of colour blind hedgehogs, in a bag", I do like words (I know few other people who find it interesting that "center" is the older spelling variant and dates from medieval England). Words, at least in their printed form, need fonts, and so I love to play with fonts to get the right look for the label. Here are a couple of my favourites.

As you can see, I like simplicity - just beer name, style, hops, ABV and the pet name I have given my homebrew "operation" (ahem, cough, splutter). The font, the apparently much overused Algerian font, made me think of journeys during the ages of discovery, which ties in with this beer being in some ways, hopefully, similar to the porters that were shipped from London to India - you know the type, extra hops and that kind of thing.

On Monday evening, admittedly a day late, I bottles my version of the International Homebrew Project Milk Stout - a recreation of the 1933 Milk Stout brewed by Barclay Perkins. Again, keeping it simple is my motto, and the first creation of this label was black text on a white background, but it just didn't work. I liked the font because it bought to mind the styles of the 1930s, but what to do about the look and feel of it? I tried changing the colour of the text, but to no avail, then taking inspiration from the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster, I inverted the black and white and hey presto.

Ok, they are not the most creative labels on the planet, but I like them - probably mainly because I no longer have to play mental gymnastics every time I fancy a homebrew. I do wonder though sometimes if I think far too much about my beer and brewing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Porter Point Proven

This week was the Virginia Beer Blitz held by the Colonial Ale Smiths and Keggers, a homebrew club based in the Virginia's colonial era capital, Williamsburg. The competition itself though was held at the St George Brewing Company in Hampton, just a bit further along from Williamsburg. I entered the following three beers:

  • Red Coat Exporter (recently renamed Red Coat Export India Porter) in the robust porter category
  • Machair Mild, the peat smoked beer I have mentioned before
  • Gunnersbury Gold, a best bitter, single hopped with First Gold
Obviously the Machair and Gunnersbury were easy to place into categories, the Red Coat though posed something of a problem. As I have written about before, Red Coat was brewed to prove a point. Said point being that the Black IPA/CDA/India Black Ale fad that is sweeping the nation is, in fact, nothing more than over hopped porter, and of course using hops like Simcoe and Cascade.

Thus I took the recipe for a clone of Widmers Pitch Black IPA as published in Brew Your Own magazine, cut it down to the size of a single gallon (being cheap and not wanting to waste time and effort on something I thought would taste like crap) and replaced the original hops with British equivalents. Out went the Warrior and Cascade, in came Admiral and East Kent Goldings at the right amounts to achieve 65IBUs. Everything else though was left the same, including the use of a clean American ale yeast.

In the original article, homebrewers were encouraged to enter their Black IPA beers in Category 23 of BJCP competitions, the catch all for anything that hasn't already been micro-managed to within an inch of its life, and to enter Black IPA/CDA/IBA as the "base beer" required in that category. My original plan had been to enter Red Coat in that category, claiming the base beer to be "British Style Black IPA" or something equally meaningless. Eventually though I decided to enter it in the Robust Porter category, after all that is what I am convinced it really is.

Red Coat Exporter took gold in the Porter category.

As far as I am concerned, my little project has proven that Black IPA as an innovation is twaddle, and Ron's posting about Barclay Perkins' hopping rates in EIP confirmed my suspicions. In reality then, the originators of the "style" were doing nothing more than reviving an old British style of beer and giving it an American twist in the form of the hopping schedule. Nothing revolutionary, innovative or even wondrous about that - after all that is what happened with IPA (perhaps Pete Brown will do a a follow up to Hops and Glory but this time with an Export India Porter?!).

Can we please dispense with the hysteria about this "innovation" and just accept the historical facts and give this style its proper name in the competitions and guides so beloved of stylistas, even if "American Style" has to be appended to the name? I brewed Export India Porter, Widmers brew an American Export India Porter, simple really isn't it? Maybe one of the British brewers will jump on the bandwagon and make an Export India Porter using British hops, Thornbridge? Lovibonds? Everards? Fullers even? What about BrewDog doing one for the homeland?

My next task is to scale this recipe up to my normal size brews and brew some more to satisfy the wave of people who have asked me in the last 24 hours for a bottle, and of course for entering in further competitions - I don't think my one remaining bottle will go very far really! On a side note, Machair took silver in the Mild and Brown Ale category, coming second to the eventually winner of Best of Show. The picture is Machair Mild, as I haven't got round to taking pictures of Red Coat yet!

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...