Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Brewer's night: UnPale Ale

Two beer-related items tonight. First, I brought a few bottles of Sweet English Bitter to choir rehearsal tonight for the after-singing snacks, and they were well-received. The only problem is that they're way too carbonated; I realized when I got home and reviewed the log, that I doubled the poor yeasties' priming sugar ration when I bottled.

Second: Fired up the new 5 gallon beer rig tonight for the first time. Decided to basically completely freestyle a recipe, possibly something in the porter family, but with aspects of pale ale too. Will update with observations and notes as they come in.

UnPale Ale

3.3 lb (1 can) Briess Traditional Dark LME
3 lb Briess Golden Light DME

This gives a calculated gravity of 1.050 in a 5-gallon brew, which is a nice middling; but also, it means that the boil gravity is really high. If I could have brought the boil volume up to 3.5 gallons, it would have meant a boil at 1.072 gravity intstead of the <2 .5=".5" and="and">1.100 that I actually had to work with; and apparently hops just don't want to give up the alpha when the sugar content is that high. (The limiting factor was the largest cookpot in the house... This strikes me as likely to be a recurring problem.)

This was also my first brew doing my own bittering (ie only using unhopped extract), so I secured

1 oz. Columbus (14% alpha), pellets
1 oz Liberty (4% alpha), pellets

I boiled the Columbus for 60 minutes, half the Liberty for 15 minutes, and the other half for 10 minutes. The boil wasn't all that vigorous; the burner was only just keeping up with the wort. (I wasn't using the biggest burner for most of the boil, because I had an early boilover and didn't want to cook very dark sugars onto Ms Heelfilcher's stovetop. Ugh. (See likelihood of recurring problem.)

After cooling the wort in the sink-turned-ice-bath, I poured it and pitched a tube of

White Labs Cry Havoc

which is supposed to be an odd little beast (it will ferment at both ale and lager temperatures) but is known for producing a clean flavor profile with a little fruity sweetness.

No gravity measurements, I don't currently bother with them (or even own a hydrometer).

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