Mar 29, 2009

Black Belgian Ale

Target Gravity = 1.066
Original Gravity = 1.072
36 IBU
Final Gravity = 1.014
81% Attenuated
7.6% ABV
This is going to be my entry in the Copper Creek Creative Libation Contest, and the intent is to make a black trippel with a tad of sweetness coming from a pound of medium crystal. The contest calls for a "bent beer" that does not fit easily in a traditional category. I think the unorthadoxy here will mostly be visual -- I am trying to keep it subtle since I think many of the other competitors will go over the top with their entries which could lead to less drinkable beers. We'll see.

4.6.09 -- Gravity measured 1.014, which was around 80% attenuated. I racked the beer into a keg so that I could condition it in the chest freezer at 34 degrees. The beer is not as black as I wanted it to be, and I am afraid that I have done nothing more than make a sort of Dubbel with the crystal malt addition taking the place of the candi sugar that would normally be there.
4.24.09 -- I took the keg out of the cooler and hooked it up to the gas. I turned the pressure way up (around 23psi) to get major carbonation going. A couple days later, this beer was about ready. The first few glasses had me worried since it tasted a little like rotten garbage, but after the yeast was cleared from the bottom of the keg, the Chimay yeast gave off its signature dark cherry notes. I am still unsure if this recipe is "bent" enough for the contest since it tastes an awful lot like a typical dubbel. I cannot complain though. This beer is light bodied, strong, and flavorful.
5.20.09 -- I turned in one of the five bottles of Black Belgian Ale I filled on 5.15.09 for submission into the contest.
5.24.09 -- Found out a couple days ago that my beer did not make it to the second round. Oh, well. I still like it.
5.29.09 -- got the notes back from whoever judged my beer. It seems as though they did not even taste it. They said it was "phenolic" and stopped there. I am very dissapointed that they did not give it any more time than that. This beer with this yeast is meant to be phenolic, though I would admit the phenols in this beer are a little more pronounced than they should be. I do not think it was anything to prevent someone from going further than just smelling it.

Mar 3, 2009

Good Head Red 2009

Target Gravity = 1.063
O.G. = 1.060
37 IBUs
View the Recipe Here

Good Head Red was going to be the house beer for a while, but then I gave it a rest. That is until I unearthed a bottle of "ass" the other day and it was just lovely. Ass, you might ask. Well, that is the last bits from the bottling bucket that I would squeeze out even though it was full of spent hops and other crud. These bottles usually disappear for years. This particular one was from my first all grain batch. The recipe was a little different than the one here, but the idea is the same.

This one is made mostly from ingredients I have already: Sterling, Mt. Hood, and Willamette hops, and I will be pouring the wort on top of the yeast cake from Extra Challenger Extra Pale.

3.10.09 -- First outdoor brew day. Everything went fine with a few minor instances of trying to do too many things at once. The temperature got close to 80 upstairs yesterday, so I brought the carboy down. This will be the last non-Belgian beer to ferment upstairs until the weather cools off in the fall.
3.20.09 -- Measured gravity = 1.023.
3.29.09 -- Still measuring 1.023, which is confusing me. The temp of this beer should not have dipped too low since I had it mostly submerged in water with the aquarium heater. I will have to add some dry yeast to see if it will start back up. Maybe the yeast was wore out? This would be the third generation.
4.6.09 -- Gravity was down to 1.018. This was without adding dry yeast. All I did was raise the temperature a few degrees and made sure there was as much water surrounding the carboy as possible. The sample tasted very nice already, so I think I am going to skip the dry hop addition. It may be a while before this one gets drunk since it is behind three other beers already.
4.25.09 -- Kegged the beer to get it out of the attic since it is getting hot. Right now I am working to keep this keg pressurized, but am not carbonating it yet. I will probably charge this up more once the other two beers are nice and gassed (Black Belgian Ale and Oily Bohunk)
5.13.09 -- Perhaps not my best work, but still a fine beer. I think Ringwood Ale yeast needs a bit more aggressive hop profile to even out the fruity character it adds. Also, I am thinking the flavor addition of Willamette should be reserved for darker beers, or those with a more caramel flavor. Don't get me wrong, this beer is nice and drinkable, even though I have criticisms. I would give it a solid "B". The malt profile, I like -- and it is very similar to the one I used for my last version of Yippie I.P.A. I think this profile will show up more later. The next time I make this, I will likely use American Ale yeast, or something else a little more modest. I will also use a more continental hop for the flavor addition.