Monday, January 10, 2011

Final Brew (for awhile)

I wanted to make one last beer before I leave town for 6 months. I had decided it was going to be something that would age while I'm gone and most likely continue aging when I get back. I was toying with the idea of an Adambier that I would oak age and add some black cherries to. The inspiration was Hair of The Dog Cherry Adam From The Wood. I also was thinking of doing a big Russian Imperial Stout that I would maybe oak and add cherries. In the end I decided a Flanders Red would be the way to go. I will have just enough time to ferment it, then stick it in my closet and let the bugs do their thing while I am gone. I have asked Jen to refill the airlock but other than that it will just sit and be left alone.
I went with Jamil Zainasheff's recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. Having never made a Flanders Red before I figured I would start with his recipe and make adjustments down the road.
The grain bill was:
36%  Pilsner malt
36% Vienna
6.8% Munich 
6.8% Wheat
4.8% Caramunich
4.8% Special B
4.8% Aromatic.
I hopped it with 16 IBU's of East Kent Goldings at the 60 minute mark of a 90 minute boil. I also tried to match the high bicarbonate water of West Flanders as described in Jeff Sparrow's Wild Brew's.

I pitched a packet of the Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Blend at the primary stage instead of letting a neutral ale yeast do the primary work and pitching the bug blend at secondary. My thought is that if it's too sour, I can always make another batch when I get back, ferment it with the neutral ale yeast then blend. Time will tell on this one. It's pretty fun to brew a beer that you don't have to think about for a long time. Depending on how it's tasting I may split the batch and add some sour cherries to one half and make a Kriek, or not.
The final photo is what used to be our laundry room but I have pretty much taken it over. It is nice because I can heat just that room, plus there is a deep utility sink that makes cleaning a breeze. I am lucky to have a very patient and understanding girlfriend.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiday Ale

For the holidays this year Jen and I decided to make a holiday spiced ale for our friends and family. We wanted to make it like an English old ale but with spices. This is not by any means a new idea we just wanted to make a good beer for folks to enjoy. One of my favorite winter seasonals is Full Sail's Wassail and that was sort of what we went for with the base beer. Jen was in charge of picking the spices. Below is our ingredient list.
Thomas Faucet Maris Otter, Munich, C-60, Special-B, Chocolate malt, Chocolate Wheat malt, and Black Patent.
For Bittering hops we went with Nothern Brewer. We then did a 15  minute Mt. Hood addition, a 5 minute Willamette addition, and a Liberty addition at flame out.
The spices were all added at 2minutes before the end of the boil and they were, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. We used Wyeast 1968 ESB yeast.
In the end the beer turned out well. Of course I would change a few things, but for a first time brew it's good. It reminds me of either gingerbread or apple pie. It's a nice drinkable beer.
We took a nice "family" photo to go along with the bottles we are handing out.
Below are some photos of the yeast dump and the keg transfer.