Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stonebridge Ale Part 2

One of the owners of the company I work for has a cabin in the waythehellfargone north woods of Wisconsin. Like, once you get to Green Bay, you drive north for 3 more hours. Last year on the way up, I started fiddling with the radio dial. I was trying to see if I could get any Russian radio stations in.

We go up there once a year in a sort of corporate retreat. I say sort of, because most corporate retreats probably do not involove all of the following: fireworks, canoeing, a strip club, Playstation 3, and copious amounts of alcholic beverages.

I'm not really the power bender kind of guy, so I'm more about the canoeing and making sure we always have a roaring fire. This year though, will be extra nice, as I will be drinking my own beer. That was what I brewed on Sunday.

The recipe was about as simple as you can get. The idea was to make something that had a nice balanced taste, somewhat hoppy flavored, but with enough malt to make me feel like I'd eaten something nutritious if that's all I happen to consume that day.

The recipe-
2 row pale ale- 8 pounds
Victory malt- 1 pound

Hallertauer New Zealand- 1 oz- 60 minutes
Mt Hood- 1/2 oz- 10 minutes
Mt Hood- 1/4 oz- Knockout

White Labs East Coast Ale- pitched directly on to the yeast cake from last weekends Rye beer

153/Mashout- 2 water infusions

This is different simplified Pale Ale to what I brewed a while back. The idea is to come up with a nice base recipe for Pale Ales that I can refine. I think the hops schedule was pretty close to what I did with the Rupert Lager, and that turned out to be the best tasting of my lagers, so it should be yummy. I may try a different yeast next time, but I do like the White Labs one that I used. Having pitched it on to the yeast cake, I had bubbling in the airlock 20 minutes after I was done, and by the 24 hour mark, it had settled into the conditioning phase already. The temperature was a little high for fermentation, but hopefully that will just add a little estery complexity to the brew. The room I do the fermenting in was already warm, so I think the yeast were pretty acclimated to the conditions.

The brewing itself was the smoothest brew day I have had yet. The lautering had no sticking problems, although my starting volume was a little high, so the gravity ended up a couple of points low. I'll be making a dipstick for my kettle that should help me avoid that problem again. All in all a very good brew day.

We're not going until the middle of July, so this one will have over six full weeks to come into it's own. Then I shall drink it. All of it.

Thanks to the following...er...people-
Ted- for convincing me to only use one pound of Victory. Two would have just been weird.
Mike Jones- for stopping by right as the boil was starting. It was looking like a potential boilover, but ol' Mike Jones made sure that didn't happen.
Kerry- for getting me some lunch.
Bill McGill- for eating all the barley I spilled on the kitchen floor. If that's not a helpful brew dog, I don't know what is.

Last but not least- some people say brewing is an expensive hobby. I say nuts to that. Here's an example. I had a couple of beers with one of my coworkers Friday on State Street. After tip, my tab was $28 for four beers ($7 per beer). The grain for this batch cost $13.29 at Brew and Grow. The hops cost a total of $3.75 (purchased before the rise in prices). I won't count the yeast cost, as I've used it for 2 other batches already. Total bill- $17.04, or a whopping 34 cents per beer.

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