The Latest

2 new brews in the past 2 weeks - a smoked dry stout and a further iteration on the honey-chilie-cocoa beer.  I finally got to try out my new 40-qt kettle on the stout batch, and it considerably shortens my brew day by allowing me to perch it over two burners on my stovetop.  Strike water heats in about 20 minutes, and bringing the work to a boil after the sparge is about the same.  Only problem is that it heats my kitchen up so much that it's pretty unbearable to be in it.  Three burners with 6.5 gallons of boiling wort leads to a nice, tropical atmosphere.  I checked the thermometer sitting on the counter, and it read 105 last weekend... I can see why summer is not a classic brewing season.  In any case, three batches in three weeks, two kegged, and one in bottles.

The saison with Brett C. is amazing - an immediate spicy hop presence moves quickly into a tropical tartness (sour pineapple?), and ends with the characteristic saison yeast flavor tempered nicely by a creamy wheat texture.  Slightly hazy, pale straw, and spritzy on the tongue, this is a saison I will definitely re-brew.

As for the stout, I took a simple dry stout and replaced a quarter of the base malt (UK pale ale malt) with cherrywood smoked malt.  The remaining 9% was good ol' roasted barley for that classic stout dryness and jet-black color.  Finished off with some US Nugget to 32 IBUs and brewed to an OG of 1.047, this is a classic style with just a little twist.  I can imagine sipping this one around a campfire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, talking about the day's catch out on the lake...

Yesterday I brewed my second attempt at a honey-chilie-cocoa beer, inspired by Dogfish Head's Theobroma.  My first batch had some flaws - too thin, the chilies were a little astringent from soaking in vodka too long, and the honey and chocolate were nonexistent.  This one I treated a little different.  I used 12 pounds of 2-row, a pound of dextrine malt for some body and head retention, and a half pound of crystal 90 for color and a little sweetness.  I added a couple ounces of cocoa powder at the end of the boil, along with an ounce of dried ancho chilies and let them both steep while cooling, filtered out when racking into the fermentor.  I pitched a packet of Nottingham dry yeast, sealed it up, and today am listening to it bubble away.  I plan to add three pounds of honey when fermentation slows down a little bit.  Last time I added the honey at the end of the boil, so it scrubbed away all the aroma, and the cacao nibs had little to no effect on the taste.  Good thing my girlfriend likes the first batch, because it's one that I'm not counting as one of my successes.  The new batch had a nice chocolatey flavor with a hint of chili, and the honey will be a nice addition as well.  Here's to hoping it comes out alright!

Two-weekend brewing hiatus coming up, as I'm heading back to Minnesota for the 4th of July.  It'll be great when I get back though, as I'll have an additional 2 batches to bottle up.  Mmmmmm... beer....

No comments:

Post a Comment