Sunday, April 5, 2009

Last Minute No Recipe Pale Ale

I had planned on doing a retooled version of my Rye Pale Ale this weekend, but had a last minute change of plans. I got a call from Ted Saturday morning inviting me to be part of an event based around building arcade games from reclaimed materials. Being a part of a fun event like that was too good to pass up.

The invite itself presented a couple of problems. I would have four weeks to brew, ferment, condition and carbonate a beer. This would mean kegging it. The recipe I had planned on brewing was not the sort of beer that would be ready that quick. I was no where near any brewing software to come up with a recipe. So, I walked into Brew and Grow, grabbed a bunch of grain, and sort of made it up on the spot.

LMNR Pale Ale-

Maris Otter- 7 pounds
Flaked Barley- 1 pound
Crystal Malt 60L- 8 ounces
Crystal Malt 90L- 2 ounces

Fuggles- 1.25 ounces- 60 minutes
Wilammette- .5 ounces- 13 minutes
Willamette- .5 ounces- Knockout

Wyeast 1056 American Ale- I had a yeast cake from my 1 gallon barleywine. I made a 1000 ml starter to help roust the yeast, since this needed to take off right quick. I ended up pitching this as the just as the krauesen was on the way down, which, as I understand it, is the best time to pitch into your brew.

155/172- hot water infusions

Gravity target/actual

As I was first considering this recipe in the car, I was thinking something like a bitter might be good. But Ted had just brewed one, and I didn't want to serve the exact same thing as him at this event. So, a smallish Pale Ale would be in order.

This should be a really good beer. I've been reading Extreme Brewing, and Randy Mosher recommends getting as much color from your base malts as you can, hence hte Marris Otter, which I've never used before. The high mash temp is going to make it feel like a bigger beer than it really is, the flaked barley should make it look like a bigger beer than it is, and the quick cooling time (I went from knockout to under 100 degrees in about 10 minutes) should make the hoppiness really pop. The yeast I was using tends to work with what you give it, so I think I made a real nice clean flavored pale ale. I was a little high on the OG, which has to do with evaporation more than anything. That's something that I'd like to get a little better at predicting this year. All in all, close enough.

The brew day itself was miserable. It was rainy, cold, and starting to snow as I was finishing. I usually do most of my clean up as the beer is chilling, but today I was not in the damn mood to plunge my hands into cold waste water in a 39 degree drizzle. It makes me wish the Illinois Lottery would have pity on me and see fit to award me enough money to build a proper brew shack.

As far as having it ready on time is concerned, I saw the first bubbles in the blowoff bucket about 20 minutes after pitching the yeast. That is a definite good sign.


Adam said...

The only way to brew :-)

Ted Danyluk said...

Hey Kevin, I didn't realize you already had plans for another Rye beer. I wanted to thank you one more time! It's going to be a lot of fun, having you along side and sharing home made beers at this arcade event. I will be writing about it in an upcoming post very soon. Looks like it'll be good. Can't wait!