Sunday, August 24, 2008

Black Dog Stout

Stouts are a style I don't drink very often, but that I still love. It is also one I've been looking forward to brewing. My beers this summer were all light colored, but as fall approaches, I've started straying more toward the darker beers, which is going to culminate in some darker German beers that I'm going to start formulating recipes for.

It's a little unnerving for a new brewer to do some of these darker beers. The malts that you use to get the colors right can easily stray into something that can be undrinkable. That was on the forefront of my mind when I was putting this one together, but I think I balanced it right.

The recipe-

Organic Pale 2 Row- 8 pounds
Flaked Barley- 1 pound
Roasted Barley- 8 ounces
Black Patent Malt- 8 ounces
Faucett Crystal 40 L- 4 ounces

Nugget- .75 ounces- 60 minutes
Fuggle- 1 ounce- 13 minutes (it was supposed to be 15, but whatever)

White Labs East Coast Ale- Yeast cake from Brown Ale

153/170 mashout- Hot water infusion

Again, my main concern was going to be that I used too much of the darker malts where it could potentially be acrid, but I tried to sweeten it some with the Crystal. The flaked barley should add some nice smoothness and thicken it slightly in a similar way to using oatmeal, but without depleting our breakfast cereal. It had a nice thick look to it when I was draining it from the brew kettle. And dark dark dark.

Stouts have also had a history of having very strange ingredients on occasion. Like oysters. I considered cooking my traditional brewing lunch hot dog in the boiling wort, but elected not to considering that a vegetarian or two will probably drink some of these.

Obviously, this one is named for Patterson, the original super brew dog.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Brown Ale

Sorry about the name of this beer. I came up with this recipe over the course of about five minutes, and gave no thought to a name. I suppose I could say it has some amusing connection to The Brown Album by Primus (it does contain the song Kalamazoo), but that would be a lie. Brown Ale. Terrible.

The beer, on the other hand, should be great. I was trying to come up with a nice, low alchohol beer that I could drink during the fall gardening projects. Low on hops, nice malty flavor, and something that won't make me fall over if I drink five of them in an afternoon.

The recipe-

American 2 Row Pale- 7 lbs
Faucett Crystal 90L- 8 ounces
Faucett Crystal 40L- 4 ounces
Chocolate Malt- 4 ounces

Willamette- 1 ounce- 60 minutes
Willamette- 1 ounce- 15 minutes (it was supposed to be at 10 minutes, but I threw it in early as I was trying to brew and watch Olympic cycling at the same time)

White Labs East Coast Pale Ale- 600 ml starter

156/170 mash out- hot water infusion for both

Fairly straightforward recipe. I looked at the Brown Ale style guidelines, and went from there. The chocolate malt gave it a very satisfying dark color during the boil that was fun to watch. I went very simple with the hops, as I happened to have two ounces of Willamette on hand, and all the rest of my hops are more suited to German beers. Hence, one type. I've really liked the White Labs yeast. I've used it for all my ales so far this year, and it ferments very clear, and makes a clean tasting beer.

The brew day was as smooth as you can get. Temps were nailed, lautering was easy, and as I said, I was able to watch some of the Olympics while I was brewing. There's no way I could have done that earlier this year. Doing a beer with the simple mash schedule was great too. Heat up some water, sit back and relax. I love it. I learned a nice lautering trick as well. Maybe everyone knows this, but it had never been explained to me this way. When you first start draining the vorlauf, apparently you are supposed to not close the valve. Just put the tube in the pot and let it go. I used to stop draining and pour the vorlauf in, which apparently had a plunger effect on the grain bed, which was probably causing alot of my set mash problems.

The fermentation is going good as I write this. The closet where I ferment my beers kind of smells like spicy blueberries.