Showing posts with label william younger's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label william younger's. Show all posts

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...

Friday, April 13, 2012

International Homebrew Project - The Drinking

It was eight weeks ago that I mashed my grains, added my dry malt extract to bump up the gravity and chucked in a shitload of hops into a kettle to make a mild, a Scottish mild no less, for the International Homebrew Project. Based on a 19th century recipe from the William Younger's brewery for a 120/- ale, my wort was 1.110 (about 26° Plato). By the end of the boil, having added judicious amounts of Kent Goldings and Fuggles, the estimated IBU rating of the beer was 93, so much for Scottish beers being "traditionally" low on hops. Once primary fermentation had slowed to barely a flicker, I dumped my dry hops into the carboy and then bottled a week later. For 6 weeks now the beer has say conditioning...

Finally the time had come to open a bottle and see what had become of the beer, and with that reassuring pffft that is every homebrewers favourite sound I popped off the cap and poured.

I was kind of surprised at the colour of the beer, a deep, entrancing amber which failed to form a head, though swirling the glass after the initial mouthful produced a decent layer of firm, whipped cream type foam. The aroma was a heady mix of grass, spice, perhaps a touch of tobacco and a little background alcohol. Drinking it though was quite a shock, thoroughly, thoroughly bitter, but at the same time a juicy malt biscuity thing make sure the hops didn't rip my tongue out and stomp all over it. The finish was long, as in progressive rock guitar solo long, and bitter, puckering while not being like sucking a lemon. Goodness me, what a lovely beer! The body was positively voluptuous, the mouthfeel a sensual satiny smoothness, like melted chocolate, goodness me this is a beer that could get me into trouble, so dangerously, and temptingly, delicious it is.

All in all I very happy with how this one turned out, and I am planning to enter it in the Dominion Cup later this year, probably in Category 23, and also in the Strong Ale category of the Palmetto State Brewers Open, in the meantime, I might just have another over the weekend.

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...