Sunday, July 12, 2009

Come Hell Or High Water Ale

My plan this weekend was to do a Saison. The warm weather is perfect for just letting a fermentation take off without worrying about how warm it gets. The trouble was that when I got to the brewing store Saturday afternoon, they didn't actually have a single ingredient that I had gone in there to purchase, the most devastating of which was the yeast. My Saisons last year were all done with regular Belgian Ale yeasts, but this year I really was looking to brew them with a true Saison yeast to see how they improved.

Faced with this crushing defeat, standing in front of the disappointingly empty racks shelves where grain usually sit (lots of specialty malts, but very little base malts), I decided that come hell or high water, I was going to brew on Sunday. I came up with the following recipe:

Officially: CHOHW Ale

Muntons Mild Ale- 5 lbs
Maris Otter- 2 lbs
2 row pale- 1 lb
Victory Malt- 8 oz
Crystal 90- 4 oz
Black Patent- eh...oz. I used up whatever I had left. I think it was about .125 oz

Chinook- .5 ounces- 60 minutes
Chinook- 1 oz- 15 minutes
Chinook- 1.125 oz- 1 minute

Wyeast 1968- London ESB

154/168- Hot water infusions

Gravity- Target/Actual/Final/ABV

The thing I'm most excited about with this beer is the yeast. Most of my regular American Ales I've done have been done with the same yeast strains (one from White Labs and one from Wyeast, but I think from the same brewery). I've never used this London ESB before, and while Chinook hops wouldn't normally be your first choice with this strain, I had some that needed to get used, and it seemed like a fun thing to do. It was also my first chance to try out hopping a pale ale with an eye toward super charging the hop flavors by doing most of the hop additions later in the boil. The grains were mostly chosen from what they still had at the store, and what I had left over in my pantry that needed to get used up (i.e., the single pound of regular 2 row pale malt, and all of the specialty grains).

I liked the way my Stonebridge Pale Ale turned out earlier this year with the higher mash temperature to make the beer seem bigger, so that definitely informed my mashing decisions. I plan on kegging this beer for use at a BBQ or party in our garden later this summer, so regular readers of my blog (all three of you) can start kissing up to me now if you want to be invited. Joking.

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