Sunday, November 21, 2010

Old Hardy - Old Ale

As with so many recent recipes, this is another beer that I've had on my to-brew list for quite awhile now. While I've found that my preference has gravitated much more toward the low-alcohol session beer side of things over the last year, the foreshadowing of a quickly approaching winter has brought back cravings for both barleywine and old ale.

Arguably, they aren't even terribly separate "styles" unless you're really into the BJCP guideline thing. Historically, 'Barelywine' was the title given to a British brewery's strongest beer, even if it was not necessarily that strong. On the other hand, the strength of many of these sorts of brews have dropped considerably over the years as English tax law now works based on the strength of the beer brewed.

Before its distribution was stopped in our are, Old Peculiar was one of my favorite beers. The days of me drinking it regularly though, far preceded my discovery of Thomas Hardy ale after I began homebrewing. Now that both are tough to come by around here, I figured it was time to brew some sort of old ale.

Although I love Thomas Hardy ale, I didn't feel up to brewing a huge 1.124 OG beer this week. On the other hand, a beer in the mid 1.050s like Old Peculiar was weaker than I wanted to go. In the end, I looked at some of the Old Peculiar clone recipe already out there and used the specialty grains from some of those as a starting point, then bumped up the base grain to raise the OG to 1.095. In the end, this is very much like an English Barleywine, except a bit darker than most.

It is my intention, once I get in a couple brews with quick turnover, to brew a big American style Barleywine, and an old ale with Brett C. While I usually enjoy writing my own recipes, or at least adapting them from others, I'm also very intrigued by Northern Brewer's limited edition Northern No.1 ale kit.

Anyway, for the time being I've just got this one going. It'll get aged for quite awhile. Here's the recipe:

Old Hardy - Old Ale/Barleywine

brewed on: 11/19/10
OG: 1.095
IBUs: 63 IBUs
mash temp: 150F

16 lb 4oz Marris Otter
1 lb 3oz UK medium crystal malt
5 oz flaked wheat
4 oz chocolate malt
2 oz pale chocolate malt
2 oz cherrywood smoked malt

sugar (dissolved in 1/2 of boiling water & added to the kettle at beginning of boil):
6 oz brown sugar
6 oz mild molasses

Hops (all loose pellets):
2 oz German Northern Brewer @ 9.4% - 80 minutes
1 oz Fuggle @ 4.2% - 15 minutes
1 oz Golding @ 7.2% - 1 minute

3 packs - Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale Yeast

12/10/10 - Transferred to secondary. SG 1.021

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

B.O.M.B. Barrel Fill!

I recently posted a recipe as part of a barrel project I started with ten other brewers. We all brewed similar imperial stouts and then filled a 23-year old, 52 gallon brandy barrel this past Saturday. Everything went pretty smoothly, although once it was full we went upstairs for a delicious dinner and returned to find beer leaking out the top!

It turns out that the staves swelled and pushed some beer back out. Not a big deal. We siphoned 1/3 gallon back out to make a little headspace and let the wood do its thing. Luckily, we ended up with an extra gallon or so of beer, so that is being stored in sanitized growlers (although he may have bottled it uncarbed by now to preserve it) and that will be used to top off the barrel shortly.

Aside from that, we had a great time! People brought lots of great beer to share including a BIG bottle of 2004 Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Jolly Pumpkin Bam, Southern Tier's Cuvee series of oak aged beers, Lakefront Rosie Kreik
and others.

Unlike most of my posts, this one doesn't have a recipe to archive. Here are a few of the pictures from our night though. Hopefully the Barrel of Monkeys Brewers will procure another barrel or two in the future and keep exploring barrel-aging homebrewed beer!

Late Hopped Pale Ale

I've been brewing a lot lately. Twice a week for several weeks straight, actually. There've been sour beers, stouts, chile beers, but it's been awhile since I did a nice hoppy beer. I've been curious for awhile to try brewing a pale ale in which all the hop additions are done within the last few minutes. Theoretically this, while requiring much more hops to get the same bitterness, would also provide a bigger burst of hop flavor & aroma. I brewed this recipe with all the hops added at the 10 minute mark. I will dry hop it as well.

Late Hopped Pale Ale

brewed on: 11/8/10
OG: 1.064
IBUs: 65 IBUs
mash temp: 152F

12.5 lbs Maris Otter
4 oz Carastan malt
4 oz Caraplis malt

4.5 oz Amarillo @ 9.1% - 10 minutes
0.5 oz Simcoe @ 12.7% - 10 minutes
0.5 oz Citra @ 12.3% - 10 minutes
0.5 oz Centennial @ 9.0% - 10 minutes

Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast

dry hopped 11/17/10
1.5 oz Amarillo
0.5 oz Centennial
0.5 oz Citra
0.5 oz Simcoe

11/30/10 - kegged and force carbed.

This beer turned out, probably obviously, *very* citrusy. However, the bitterness just isn't there. So much for that experiment. It'd be a great beer if it were more balanced, and I'm almost tempted to brew a second, very bitter IPA and blend some of the 2.

Deviant Cable Car - Bugfarm 4

I've had some spare bottles of Bugfarm4 blend sitting in the fridge for a few weeks now, staring at me whenever I open the door. It was finally time to get some use out of them and since I've done some really good dark sours lately, I wanted to turn my attention back to a lighter sour beer. In looking over various websites for last minute ideas I came across a recipe on the Mad Fermentationist blog for Mike's 'Deviant Cable Car' recipe and thought I'd give it a try.

I'm excited to see how this turns out. This batch of Bugfarm seems to have a few various bug strains than the last batch, but they all sound great! The list of yeast & bacteria in this blend is as follows:

Brettanomyces custersianus
Brettanomyces Fantome Black Ghost
Brettanomyces Russian River Beatification
Brettanomyces Anomulus
Brettanomyces Boon Oude Gueuze
Brettanomyces Giardin Gueuze
Brettanomyces Rodenbach foederbier
Pedicoccus Cantillon St. Lamvinus
Saccharomyces fermentati Flor Sherry yeast
Saccharomyces cerevisae Saison - 5 strains
Lactobacilli sourdough
Lactobacillus delbrueckii

With a line up like that, how could a sour beer be bad?!

Now that fermentation slowed down a bit, this one is due for a long aging period and possibly some fruit for a portion of it down the road depending on how things are looking. In the meantime, I plan to reuse a portion of the bug blend for future sour brews and the rest will be used for a big starter to pitch into a bug barrel project I am part of! I did up the flaked oats in this recipe, but I kept everything else in line with Mike's recipe from his blog.

Deviant Cable Car

brewed on: 11/5/10
OG: 1.063
IBUs: 15 IBUs
mash temp: 154F

8.5 lbs Belgian Pils malt
2.5 lbs Munich malt
1 lb German wheat malt
1 lb flaked oats

1.2 oz bagged whole Willamette 4.5%? (I used hops I picked from the plants at the local homebrew store, so I estimated the bitterness on this.)

East Coast Yeast - Bugfarm 4

1/10/11 - SG @ 1.006. Tart, lemony and on it's way to lambicness, but completely opaque in the hydrometer tube & glass. Very chunky! With a lot of time, this should be delicious! Photo below after 2 months: