Monday, September 29, 2008

Come try my beer

I had the privilege of serving a keg of homebrew to some friends last night. Some old friends, some new friends. It was well received, though I'm going to keep tweaking the recipe. The feedback was very helpful. We kicked the keg in about two hours.

I was calling the beer an American Red Ale, though it was really more like an American Brown in the BJCP style guideline sense. I often think back on the beers that I drank in brewpubs back in the mid-90's when brewpubs were first coming on the scene here on the east coast. It seemed like every one of them served a Red Ale - ruby colored, full bodied, slightly hoppy - and this was the kind of beer that I was trying to conjure up.

I felt like I missed the mark, but I wasn't really all that far off. It was too dark, a bit too chocolatey, a bit too bitter, and maybe not malty enough. I took another stab at brewing it yesterday. This one will be served at Brewtopia on Friday night at the NYC Homebrewers Guild table. If you're there, stop by and say hello.

Here's the recipe I went with yesterday:

7 lbs Briess Organic 2-row
3 lbs Weyermann Light Munich
.5 lbs Munton's Medium Crystal
.5 lbs Munton's Dark Crystal
.25 lbs Weyermann Carafa Special

Mashed at 148º for an hour, 3:1 liquor to grist ratio. Added approximately 2.5 gallons boiling water to raise temperature to 168º. Recirculated until clear, sparged to collect 7.25 gallons wort. Boiled about 2 hours and 20 minutes down to 5.75 gallons (stupidly collected too much wort, plus boiling on the stove top is not the most efficient and I like to make sure I drive off all of the DMS) .

17 grams Target hop pellets, 10.4%AA for bittering
5 grams Willamette whole hops, 4.5%AA added with 20 minutes remaining in boil
5 grams Willamette whole hops, 4.5%AA added with 10 minutes remaining in boil
5 grams Centennial whole hops, 9.7%AA added with 5 minutes remaining in boil
5 grams Centennial whole hops, 9.7%AA added at flame out

Added whirlfloc tab with 15 minutes remaining in boil, rehydrated yeast nutrient with 10 minutes remaining. Whirlpooled briefly, cooled to 63º and collected about 5.5 gallons in primary fermenter. Pitched ale yeast slurry and gave about a minute and a half O2.

The big differences between the beer served last night and the one that will be at Brewtopia are:

1) Used Carafa Special this time instead of Chocolate Malt. Hopefully this cuts down on the chocolatey finish and brings out the maltiness a bit more.
2) Used Target instead of Summit for bittering hop and shot for lower IBU.
3) Used Willamette instead of Northern Brewer as flavor hop.

Come to Brewtopia on Friday night to let me know what you think of it!

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