Tuesday, April 6, 2010

McGill's Best Bitter

It's been a while since I brewed. A combination of beers needing to be bottled, along with a lack of empty fermenters and unpredictable weather have kept me from it. But this weekend, I got back in the saddle. I have an empty corny keg that has been begging for a beer to be put in it, and as the weather has gotten nicer, my thoughts have turned to having a BBQ in our garden with five gallons of home brew to serve up.

A low hoppiness, low gravity, but full flavored beer is perfect for that sort of scenario. And with the weather good for fermenting English ales, I thought I might brew a Best Bitter type ale.

McGill's Best Bitter

Crisp Maris Otter- 7 lbs
Flaked Barley- 1 lb
Caramel 20L- 8 oz
Caramel 80L- 8 oz

Fuggles- .5 oz- 60 minutes
Fuggles- 2.5 oz- 10 minutes

Wyeast 1355- British Ale 2- 1000 ml starter

155/170 mashoff- hot water infusion

Gravity- Target/Actual/Final/ABV

The recipe is a version of something I did a year ago for a keg. The thought process revolved around trying to make a smallish medium sized beer that tastes a lot bigger than it is. The Maris Otter is about trying to get a nice flavorful malt with a little color. The flaked barley will work in tandem with the higher mash temps to give it a nice thickish body with a creamy mouthfeel. The Caramel will give a little sweetness/roastiness. The Fuggles was all I had, so the bitterness may be a little low, but I think some of my neighbors are a little wussy about beer (read: they drink Miller Lite), so it won't be too hop forward for their delicate (read: untrained) palates. Hopefully, the size of the late addition will play like the mash temp and flaked barely, and make it more hoppy than it seems.

I was most excited by the yeast. Aside from my Saisons I did last year, I was most happy with the ales that I fermented with the British yeasts. The hoppiness can be forward but more subtle and complex than what some of the West Coast yeasts can give you. Great stuff.

I will be posting again soon on my last lager of the year, which was a Pils, but I am really excited by ale season. I'm always excited by the weather changing, and with it, the chance to brew new styles. With the weather getting so warm, it'll be time for my favorites (the Belgians) again soon enough.

1 comment:

Tom Michigander said...

I envy you your beer making skill and enjoy reading of your next venture. I think I like the idea of making beer more than the actual deed..like going to the north pole on snow machines or over Niagara. All good ideas but I'll leave it to you but I will have to come for a taste someday.:)