Saturday, April 18, 2009

Too Busy to Blog?

Wow! I've been kind of busy lately. Since my last post, I've made several beers and assisted in the making of some more. I finished up my teaching gig in early March, so I thought I'd be busily blogging here and elsewhere but, instead I've just been busy doing other things, none of which seem important but just had to get done.

Here is a little bit of what's been going on in the life and times of Beerme, beer-wise:

The tweaked, second attempt at the perfect English Dark Mild came out a bit sweeter and a bit earthier, due to the Goldings hops. I am going to enter it as a Southern English Brown Ale. Cross your fingers! I like the first one better, though, so I will enter that as the perfect English Dark Mild!

I racked a Robust Porter onto the yeast in March and it finished a bit weaker than a US version of Robust Porter should be (less roasty and not as much mouthfeel), so I may enter it as a Brown Porter. Competitions simply do not respect historical (restrained) guidelines. Bolder beers (only just incrementally so) seem to do better, in my humble opinion. Here is the 10 gallon grainbill:

20 Lbs. 2-Row (US)
2 Lbs. Crisp Crystal 45
1 Lb. US Chocolate Malt
.5 Lbs. Roasted Barley
2 Oz. Nugget (Homegrown) 60 Minutes
1 Oz. Cascade (Homegrown) 20 Minutes
Irish Moss
Yeast cake of WLP 002 English Ale Yeast
OG: 1.054 FG: 1.012

On April 11, I brewed a big Barleywine. It finished at 1.091 and the additions of homemade caramel syrup and beet sugar brought it up to 1.106. I added these incrementally during the first week of fermentation. I just racked it to secondary and it is already a hefty 9% ABV! The gravity check yielded a still sweet 1.030. It has a ways to go but it tastes pretty darned good right now! Vinous and very sweet, there are heavy dark fruit notes and a spicy and hoppy counterbalance to the malt-heavy backbone. Here is the 5 gallon grainbill:

20 Lbs. 2-Row US
4 Lbs. German Pilsner Malt
2 Lbs. Crisp Crystal 45
1 Lb. Belgian Caramunich
1 Oz. Nugget (Homegrown) 60 Minutes
1 Oz. Cascade (Homegrown) 20 Minutes
Irish Moss 1.5 Teaspoons 15 Minutes
2 Lbs. Beet Sugar (prepared as equal additions of syrup, one of which was inverted and caramelized)
Yeast Cake of WLP 002 English Ale Yeast (Finally retired!)
OG: 1.106 FG: 1.026 (Expected) currently at 1.030.

I will leave it in secondary until mid-May and then rack to a keg and bottle in 7 oz. bottles for keeping. This one will not be ready for competition until Fall, at the least.

The Lapeer Area Brewers is a growing concern! We have a new member nearly every month and the brewers are getting better and better! We have a brewing demonstration scheduled for Big Brew-National Homebrew Day, on Saturday May 2, 2009 at Replays Sports Tavern just North of Lapeer. At least two beers will be brewed: one all-grain and one extract. We will have some samples on hand and a host of experienced brewers to answer questions and give advice on this great hobby. Anyone in the area is encouraged to come by and enjoy the fun! There may be some trivia games and even a Red Wings playoff game to watch, after the work is done! The bar beer menu is limited to BudMilCoors and Oberon, on'll have to do. Hey, Miller is "triple-hopped", ya know!

Until the next post, Prosit!