Archive for the 'Partial Mash Brewing' Category



PM#11 – Big Dawg Imperial Amber Ale

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It’s funny. I had a blog post all ready to go about how I was going to make improvements to my “Big Dawg Amber IPA” – to lighten the colour, reduce the bitterness, increase the attenuation etc. Well, it’s supposed “flaws” drove me to re-designate the amber IPA to “Big Dawg Imperial Amber Ale” as the dark malt flavours made it seem much more like a super-charged American amber. I entered it in the “Specialty” category of Ireland’s first national homebrewing competition where it scored a very respectable 40 points and took the bronze medal in that category. While I’m sure there’s still room for improvement, it seems a bit silly to go tinkering with the recipe now. Here, for posterity is how I was planning to turn the recipe around to make it more like an IPA:

  • I’ll be omitting the Crystal 100 altogether. Even though there’s only a small amount of this grain, I think the heavy caramel flavour comes through and I don’t think it’s appropriate here.
  • I do still want this to be an “amber” IPA, but I’m going to be much more conservative with the colour adjustments this time. I’ll sub the chocolate malt with the pale variety and use half the amount.
  • I’ll be reducing the Crystal 40 to 150g but adding 200g of Crystal 15. This will lighten the colour considerably I hope.
  • I’ll be upping the amount of base malt to 2kg, up to the limit of my mash pot capacity. Instead of taking the easier option by drastically increasing the amount of corn sugar in an attempt to dry out the beer, I’m going to try to achieve this by decreasing the mash temperature. I’ll be aiming for 65C. However, I’ll also be increasing the amount of corn sugar slightly from 180g to 250g.
  • The hop schedule will stay the same as the hop flavour and aroma is fantastic. I’ll be shooting for the same level of IBU aswell, even though I’ll have less residual sweetness in the beer. Hopefully it will work out. I’m going to aim for 7 days of dry-hopping this time.

There’s a lot of merit in these changes I think and they will prove useful when I get around to actually doing an amber IPA again.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to do a re-brew of Big Dawg Imperial Amber Ale, an exact copy if I can. I got some feedback from the judge in the competition who said that it was just slightly too bitter for the gravity. I went back and looked at my recipe and realised the AA rating on my Summit hops was incorrect. When I adjusted the AA, the IBUs in the beer climbed to 72.5. So I’ll be paying close attention to my hops this time and I’ll also be reducing the IBUs to around 67. I also want to reduce the carbonation ever so slightly, as the beer was just a bit too lively.

Recipe

Boil Size: 16.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 14.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.071 SG
Estimated Color: 16.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 66.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2.200 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 52.5 %
  • 0.350 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 8.4 %
  • 0.160 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM), 3.8 %
  • 0.120 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM), 2.9 %
  • 0.039 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -100L (100.0 SRM), 0.9 %
  • 0.039 kg Chocolate Malt (530.0 SRM), 0.9 %
  • 10 g Summit [16.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 34.1 IBUs
  • 1.100 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0), 26.3 %
  • 0.180 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 20 min], 4.3 %
  • 0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 8.0 IBUs
  • 24 g Summit [16.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 16.4 IBUs
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 5.0 IBUs
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
  • 24 g Summit [16.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
  • 1.0 pkg Safale Fermentis US-05
  • 28 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Notes

16/04/2013 Mash Day – Mashed at 67-68°C.

17/04/2013 Boil Day – Nothing much to report. Used my 15 litre fermenter to sparge. Didn’t bother taking an OG reading.

24/04/2013 – Dry-hopped with 28g of Cascade leaf hops. I used my new marbles to weigh down the hop bag! I used 300g of marbles which was over half the bag, but it still didn’t make the bag sink. I guess I’ll be going for the full bag of marbles next time. Surprising for such a small dry hop. I’ll give this 4-5 days before bottling – depends on when suits best to do my bottling.

28/04/2012 – Bottled with 85g of glucose. The beer was a total of 11 days in fermenter,  just one day less than the first batch. Had no problems with clogged siphon this time and I got 12 x 750ml swingtop bottles and 8 x 500ml regular bottles. Fantastic hop aroma from the dry-hopped Cascade.

18/05/2013 – Pretty good, but it still tastes a little young as it’s not even 3 weeks in the bottle. Will give it another 2 or 3 weeks. Definitely the same beer I brewed before, but the darker crystal malts need a little more aging. Looking good though.

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21/09/2013 – Comparison with Brewdog 10 Heads High – I was very excited to see a few weeks ago that Brewdog had not only released what they were calling an “Imperial Amber Ale”, but that it was 7.5% ABV, the same as “Big Dawg”. I snapped up a bottle as soon as I saw it in my local offie.

Appearance – The Brewdog beer is a definite shade darker than the Big Dawg. Much better head formation and retention in the home brew. Huge globs of yeast in the Brewdog bottle. Please, oh please Brewdog, tell us when your beers are bottle conditioned rather than filtered. This is the third time this has happened to me with BD bottles. We seasoned Brewdog drinkers are just not used to unfiltered beer from yourselves. Sort it out.

Aroma – A little stronger in the Brewdog. Aroma is of dark caramel and tangerine fruitiness. The Big Dawg is quite old at the moment though, and is likely to have lost much of it’s aroma.

Taste – The first difference that hits you is the whack of roasted malt in the Brewdog. That’s not present in the Big Dawg. The difference in hop character is not huge but the Brewdog has slightly more residual sweetness, perhaps lots of that CaraMalt that Brewdog likes using in a lot of their beers.

Mouthfeel – the mouthfeel is pretty much the same in both beers, as is the level of carbonation.

Overall Impression – my chief taster, in a blind taste test, preferred the Big Dawg and pointed out the “smoky” note in the Brewdog which is the roasted malts I referred to earlier. I quite agree, the Big Dawg trumps the pro beer just slightly, though I’d love to taste both beers with a little less age on them.

That’s the last bottle of Big Dawg. I’ll definitely be doing many rebrews of this beer. Excellent.

PM#10 – Way to Amarillo Brown Ale

Hops

Most of the dark beers that I brew tend to be of the English variety – milds, bitters etc. As much as I like those styles of beers I always find myself asking “I wonder what this would taste like with a huge blast of Amarillo or Cascade?”. I suppose I just love that American hop flavour. I’ve had my eye on an American brown ale recipe in Jamil’s “Brewing Classic Styles” since I bought the book over a year ago. For one reason or another, I never got round to doing it. This time though, I’m determined to use lots of my fresh 2012 Amarillo hops in this brown ale recipe. I’ll be making just a few changes to the published recipe, replacing the Nugget bittering hops with Magnum and adding an extra charge of Amarillo, just because I don’t think you can have too much Amarillo in any beer. I’ll use pale chocolate malt instead of regular chocolate malt as the US chocolate malt tends to be kilned a little lighter than the varieties we get here. I used a smaller amount of pale chocolate malt in a recent mild I did and I really liked the result. Plenty of my favourite specialty malt in Jamil’s recipe too – biscuit malt! I’ll be following Jamil’s bitterness-gravity ratio and hopefully this will make a tasty, hoppy beer.

Recipe

Boil Size: 16.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 14.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 l
Bottling Volume: 20.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 19.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 35.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

2.000 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) 48.5 %
0.300 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) 7.3 %
0.225 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (300.0 SRM) 5.5 %
0.200 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) 4.8 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) 4.8 %
0.150 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) 3.6 %
0.100 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 75L (75.0 SRM) 2.4 %
10 g Magnum [14.20 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 20.1 IBUs
0.950 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0), 23.0 %
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
25 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 7.7 IBUs
25 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 6.4 IBUs
50 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

Mash & Brew Day 29/03/2013 – Mash and boil conducted together. Treated 17 litres of water using campden tablet and set aside 6 litres of sparge water in small pot. Doughed-in at 74°C and after a little adjustment with both hot and cold water, settled at a mash temperature of 67°C. Sparged again in my 15 litre fermenter and allowed to steep for 10 minutes or so. The wort had that distinctive cooked corn smell you get when using CaraPils. Wort is a fantastic colour – deep mahogany. Topped-up to just under the 20 litre mark and got an OG of 1.050. Pitched about 500ml of US-05 slurry from the Downtown Train Pale Ale and a big fermentation had taken off less than 12 hours later. Nothing to report apart from my immersion chiller dismantling in front of my eyes and spraying water all the kitchen, just a loose jubilee clip.

09/04/2013 – I got only 33 bottles out of this batch which is surprising for what was supposed to be a 33 litre batch. Had slow siphon problems again – this time the culprit was those funny little seeds that you sometimes get in hops. I need to do some research on what these actually are. Primed with 130g glucose.

24/04/2013 – First taste. It might have been whatever I’d eaten or drank beforehand, but this hasn’t turned out at all like I expected. I expected a bit of a hop bomb but it’s like the chocolate malt is masking the hop flavour. Maybe it needs a couple more weeks conditioning, but with the huge amount of Amarillo that went into this, I expected it to be a more hop dominated beer. Though it is very tasty – the pale chocolate malt and crystal are making themelves known. Try again in a couple of weeks. Maybe row back on the chocolate malt next time.

23/06/2013 – Someone tasting this remarked that it reminded them of another beer, which happened to be a black IPA. After I reeoved this feedback, I can’t get the thought out of my head and I’m now myself thinking of this as a scaled-down version of a black IPA. It’s got quite a subtle roast flavour, but it doesn’t use an de-husked roasted malts, as most black IPA recipes seem to include. I presume this is because the pale chocolate malt is more subtle than the regular version. The flavours seem to have softened and mingled a little more and I think it’s drinking a lot better. It’s funny though, how someone else’s comments can change your perception of your own beer.

06/07/2013 – Wonderful stuff. A few months aging have really done wonders for this beer. It’s definitely got overtones of ‘black IPA’. Hops and caramel melting into each other, but some lovely notes of coffee and chocolate also.

PM#9 – Black Widow – Anniversary Stout 2013

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Recently, I got the idea of brewing a big beer for consumption in October to celebrate my third year of being a homebrewer. A barleywine is an obvious choice, but I think I prefer the idea of a high-gravity stout which will fall somewhere between a foreign extra stout and an imperial stout. It will be around 8% ABV and I’m planning on using some darker crystal malts which will smoothen out over 8 months aging and should lend the beer some intense vinous flavours. I’ll use a good quantity of roasted barley also which will also mellow into a smooth roastiness during the extended aging period. Hopping will be kept simple with a single bittering addition of Magnum and a large charge of Northern Brewer for flavour. I’ll be targeting a robust bitterness of 55 IBU which will mellow slightly between now and October.

I was planning on using this beer to make my first foray into the world of oak-aging, using an ounce or two of medium-toast American oak chips. But I’ve decided to leave the oak for my next stout, which is going to be a bigger Imperial stout.

Recipe

Boil Size: 15.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 13.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.082 SG
Estimated Color: 37.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 55.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

2.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) 47.0 %
0.275 kg Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) 5.6 %
0.240 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) 4.9 %
0.160 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 75L (75.0 SRM) 3.3 %
0.160 kg Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) 3.3 %
0.160 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) 3.3 %
0.400 kg Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) 8.2 %
14 g Magnum [14.20 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 34.1 IBUs
1.200 kg Light Dry Malt Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0 SRM) 24.5 %
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
40 g Northern Brewer [9.00 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 16.5 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

Mash Day 04/03/2013 – At the last minute, I decided to increase my gravity to bring this beer up to 8.5% ABV. I mis-calculated with the temperature of the strike water. It was 72°C and after doughing-in it had dropped to 65.5°C. I attempted to put some heat under the small mash pot but I was worried about the grain bag melting on me. I also figured that a more fermentable wort might be a desirable in such a big beer. (Thinking about it now, I’m not sure I’d want this in a big stout. I like them to be pretty chewy.) Let the mash stand for 60 mins anyway. I didn’t stir during the mash.

Brew Day 05/03/2013 – Pretty uneventful brew day, until I measure my OG. I had confidently topped up to the 15 litre mark on one of the large fermenters and took a gravity reading. My OG stood at 1.076 instead of 1.082. Not entirely disastrous but still not what I was shooting for. I’ll likely end up with a beer just under 8% now. The wort looked and smelled great but not the syrupy consistency I expected. Could this be the lower mash temperature? I suspect the drop in mash efficiency was due to the lower temperature mash, but it’s also conceivable that I was off with my volume of top-up water. I think the beer will still be pretty good; it’s hardly likely to be thin in body when it’s 7.8% ABV. But I am concerned that the gravity and body won’t stand up to the extra 10 IBUs I added to compensate for the increased target OG. The sample from the trial jar did not taste hugely roasty either – but there was a huge amount of sweetness there which could have masked it. Fresh sachet of US-05, rehydrated with boiled water.

06/03/2013 – Small layer of kreusen on top this morning. I’m expecting this to be a very volcanic fermentation given the high gravity and the high proportion of roasted malts.

12/03/2013 – Surprised to see the kreusen has completely dropped in this, which is most uncharacteristic for US-05. Maybe I had a bigger pitch rate than I thought? 1 sachet in a 15-litre batch? I’m worried that the recent cold temperatures may have made the yeast drop out. Moved into kitchen to warm up, just in case it has gone to sleep.

13/03/2013 – No activity this morning and it looks and smells like beer. It’s still got a few small bubbles rising to the top, so it looks like it’s fermenting or at least cleaning up. I’ll leave it a few more days and take a gravity reading. If it’s fully fermented out, I’ll probably leave it another week. With such a big OG I don’t want to be rushing this off the yeast.

22/03/2013 – Bottled using 80g dextrose. Got 14 bottles regular stout, 10 bottles of vanilla bourbon stout – each primed with 10ml of vanilla-infused bourbon, and finally two bottles of an experimental stout: bottled aged with chipotle chilli. Each bottle got half a chipotle with the seeds and pith carefully removed.

11/08/2013 – This is actually my second taste of this, and it’s really good. Great caramel and body. Could probably use a touch more roast to balance all that caramel, but the balance is not bad at all. The burnt aftertaste is really nice. It’s quite boozy, but the alcohol isn’t hot or overpowering. Even though it’s at the lower end of the scale of ABV for Russian Imperial Stouts, it certainly drinks like an RIS. It’s got the body and the alcohol presence to push it firmly into the “Imperial” category. Plenty of balancing bitterness there, I just hope there will still be plenty of bitterness for next years competition.

26/08/2013 – Had a bottle of this last night. Didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the last bottle, but that could have been because my palate was shot with several hoppy IPAs. It’s really smooth and caramelly. The alcohol is noticeable but it’s quite smooth also. I’m not sure if the bitterness level is going to stand up to another 6 months aging, but we’ll have to see. I’m planning on opening a bottle of the bourbon version soon too.

28/08/2013 – I was just reading on John Palmer’s online version of “How to Brew” that roasted barley has “less of a charcoal bite to it than does Black Patent”. This might explain why I’m not getting the same lovely burnt toast aftertaste that I got with my Pork Chop Porter, which used black malt.

See here: http://www.howtobrew.com/section2/chapter12-1.html

06/10/2013 – Even though I planned on “cellaring” this beer for my 3-year anniversary, there’s actually few bottles left. I gave a few of them away and have been periodicaly sampling the odd bottle too. But I do have a couple left with which to toast my 3-year anniversary as a home brewer. The beer did not turn out quite as I hoped; it’s not nearly as roast as I like my big stouts. It also missed it’s gravity by quite a few points and the low mash temperature also means it’s lighter bodied than I’d hoped. Having said that, it’s still a great beer and the alcohols have aged out to the extent that you’d never know this was an 8% beer you were drinking. While the body is relatively light, there is plenty of caramel malts peeking through. It’s very complex, in fact. The bourbon version is also delicious, plenty of vanilla and bourbon flavour showing through, but not overwhelmingly so. I might even push the dosage to 12ml (or even beyond) on subsequent versions of this. I hope to crack open another bottle of this on the 10th!

17/10/2013 – I finally opened a bottle of the Chipotle-aged stout and all I can say is “wow”! A really good result, but I think the level of heat would be too much for most people. You are left in doubt as to what sort of beer this is. There’s a huge smoke flavour from it too, really complex. I’ll definitely do this again, though I might consider reducing the amount of pepper I put in each bottle. I’ll try a quarter of a dried pepper next time and see what that does to the flavour. I can report that the chili stays intact in the bottle which is something I was a little worried about. But it sinks to the bottom of the bottle and easily drops out of the bottle with the beer dregs. It’s a really good experiment to try as you get a second beer out of your batch of stout. And you can experiment with flavours on a bottle by bottle basis. My next stout is going to be bulk-aged with some ancho chilis, along with some other Mexican flavourings to produce a mole stout.

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11/01/2014 Pre-competition Tasting – Pours with an impressive, thick head. Aroma is sweet caramel and roast. Not a huge amount of alcohol on the nose. Taste is absolutely fantastic! Roasty and sweet and the level of alcohol is really subdued for a beer that’s almost 8%. Great raisin-fruit flavours in abundance, even though the beer is pretty cold in the glass. Should improve immeasurably as it warms in the glass. Finishes dry. Perfectly balanced after the extended aging period. A definite entry for 2014’s competition, but most definitely in the “Foreign Extra Stout” category, not “Russian Imperial Stout”!

12/01/2014 – Wow! The vanilla-bourbon version has held up extremely well! As happened with the last time I did this treatment to a porter, it has taken on an extraordinary chocolate-like quality. It’s got a real smoothness too, which puts me in mind of an intense coffee-chocolate milkshake. For that reason, I’m going to enter it in the competition as “Five Dollar Shake”. Tastes absolutely fantastic. Very impressive head which lasts very well, a half-finger of dense, mocha-coloured foam. Wonderful. Hope the judges think so.

PM#8 – “Pie-O-My” Amber Ale

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It’s New Year’s Day and I’ve already got two brews done for 2013! I was feeling very pleased with myself after getting my second BIAB bitter in the fermenter and I had a quiet house, so I decided to do a partial mash American ale. It was all very “spur of the moment”, both in the planning and the execution. I decided it was time for another stab at an American Amber Ale. My last attempt didn’t go so well due to missing my target OG by 4 points! As such, what should have been a luscious, caramelly beer turned out thin, overly bitter and weak in flavour. Perhaps I’m being too harsh on myself. It wasn’t too unpleasant to drink, but it took me a lot longer to get through the 19 litres than I expected.

So I’ve decided go for a slightly different style of amber/red this time. Instead of relying on dark crystal malts to give colour and flavour, I’m going to do a beer which is more typical of an American pale ale, but I’m going to use a small charge (70g) of pale chocolate malt to give a nice hue to the beer. I’ve not used pale chocolate malt before so I’m not sure whether what colour this is going be when it’s in the glass. Flavour-wise, I want a hint of roasty character, but not too much. I’m using a mix of light and medium crystal malts and a decent portion of biscuit malt. In my haste, I forgot to add something like CaraPils or wheat malt to aid head retention. My last few beers have included malts like these and I’ve been very pleased with the results. However, there is a full pound of crystal in this so I’m not expecting any issues with body or head retention.

I recently got my grubby mitts on some 2012 Amarillo and Centennial so generous additions of these hops will provide the flavour and aroma for this beer. I’ll use a small addition of Columbus for bittering. I’ll be shooting for 40 IBU and watching the AA rating on my hops closely this time.

Recipe

Boil Size: 12.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 10.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 l
Bottling Volume: 20.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated Color: 12.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 39.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

1.600 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
0.250 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 15L (15.0 SRM)
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.150 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)
0.070 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (300.0 SRM)
0.500 kg Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
10 g Columbus [14.20 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 19.7 IBUs
1.100 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0  SRM)
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
25 g Amarillo [11.20 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 7.1 IBUs
25 g Centennial [13.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 8.5 IBUs
25 g Amarillo [11.20 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
25 g Centennial [13.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
30 g Centennial [13.50 %] – Dry Hop 7.0 Days
30 g Amarillo [11.20 %] – Dry Hop 7.0 Days

01/01/2013 – My quiet house inevitably turned to chaos during the brew and the concentration started to lapse – I forgot the late addition of malt extract and only realised my error with one minute left in the boil. I had a choice – add the extract and boil for another 10 minutes (which would extract a lot more bitterness out of my high-alpha flavour hops) or add the extract at flameout and risk an infection with extract that isn’t fully sanitised. I decided to add the extract and keep it on the heat for a couple of minutes (it never came back up to boil). Adding the extract to boiling wort surely killed any nasties in there and I didn’t want an overly bitter beer.

I got an OG of 1.052 when topped up to just under the 20 litre mark. Pitch the dry yeast directly into the fermenter, as the brew day had been long enough at that point with the hassle of rehydrating yeast.

All in all, an unsatisfactory brew day. There’s nothing wrong with the recipe per se, but it wasn’t the recipe I actually wanted to do. My forgetting to add the late extract could have been partly due to the fact that my last two brews have been BIAB/AG and I haven’t needed to carry out this step. I think I’ve been bitten by the all-grain bug as the BIAB method I used just seemed really simple. A full-size boiler and the move to all-grain beckons it seems.

11/01/2013 – Dry-hopped with 60g of hops. I jammed the floating hop bag down to the bottom of the fermenter using a sanitised paddle. I think this might be my biggest dry-hop to date.

20/01/2013 – Bottled with 130g of table sugar. Got 33 bottles from the batch. Cold crashed in the shed for two days before bottling.

09/02/2013 – With only about three weeks in the bottle this is drinking extremely well. I wish I could say the same about my series of BIAB English bitters! The amber ale has a decent hop presence but really only reveals its charms when the beer warms up to “cellar temperature”. It’s like a scaled-down version of the Big Dawg Imperial Amber. It would be good to do a side-by-side comparison but I’m fast running out of bottles of the Big Dawg. I think the next amber ale I do will be following Jamil’s recommended 35 IBUs. The 40 IBU of this beer fights the caramel sweetness just a little too much. I was concerned about having no wheat malt or CaraPils in this beer. Out of habit really, I’ve been including it in most of my recent American ales, but the head formation and retention is great.

18/02/2013 – I think I’ve changed my mind about this. The last couple of bottles I’ve had have been quite bitter, astringent almost. I think the dry-hop might have been too much, even though it falls within the generally accepted guidelines for dry-hopping. It does seem very grassy. I’ll leave another couple of weeks before tasting.

20/02/2013 – I think I’ve figured out the problem with this beer. I think the astringency I’m tasting is actually just hop bitterness. I’ve been doing some reading up on the effects of hop steeping or flameout additions on IBUs. Some people calculate their IBUs using the final kettle addition at the 1-minute mark, even if the hops are only added at flameout. It seems to make sense. A lot of the podcasts I’ve listened to have commercial brewers telling us about the bittering contributions they get from whirlpool additions. As an experiment, I changed the two flameout additions specified in the recipe above (25g Amarillo, 25g Centennial) to 1 minute. The result? The IBUs shot up from 39 to 53!! You are definitely going to taste an extra 14 IBUs in a 1.052 beer with a moderate amount of crystal malt. I think I’ll definitely be doing some further experimentation with this. It seems that the last few pale ales I’ve brewed have been really over-bittered. I’d like to do some playing around with hop-bursting also, adding all of the hops in the last 15 minutes or so, with no traditional bittering addition at 60 minutes.

08/03/2013 – Definitely too bitter but the hop flavour in this is just lovely. Big-ass grapefruit from the Centennial. A decent American Amber Ale is still beyond my reach it seems! Next time I’ll be dropping the IBUs drastically and increasing the crystal malt by 50%.

PM#7 – Big Dawg Imperial Amber Ale

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This is going to be my first attempt at a West-Coast American IPA. This generally means a very heavily hopped ale with vast quantities of late hops to preserve the intense citrus flavour and aroma. This will be my first time using the Summit hop, a variety which tends to divide brewers, so I’m hedging my bets and adding equal quantities of Cascade, a perennial favourite of craft/home brewers.

I’ll be taking some inspiration from The Mad Fermentationist and attempting to make this an “amber” IPA. For this I’ll be doing colour adjustments using chocolate malt. I’ve got some wheat malt and biscuit malt in there for head retention and a bready flavour respectively. I’ll also be adding a little corn sugar to increase the attenuation and ensure that this high-gravity beer doesn’t taste too syrupy.

This is the most heavily hopped beer I’ve done to date, with close to 200g going into a 15 litre batch. Brewdog, eat your heart out! 🙂

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 12.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 10.11 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.071 SG
Estimated Color: 16.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 69.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.500 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
  • 0.350 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
  • 0.160 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM)
  • 0.120 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)
  • 0.039 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -100L (100.0 SRM)
  • 0.039 kg Chocolate Malt (530.0 SRM)
  • 0.600 kg Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
  • 15 g Summit [15.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min 37.6 IBUs
  • 0.900 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0 SRM)
  • 0.180 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 20 min]
  • 0.39 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 15.0 min 7.3 IBUs
  • 24 g Summit [15.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min 13.7 IBUs
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 5.0 min 4.5 IBUs
  • 24 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min 0.0 IBUs
  • 24 g Summit [15.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min 0.0 IBUs
  • 1 pkg Safale US-05 Yeast
  • 28 g Cascade [6.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days 0.0 IBUs

Mash Day 03/12/2012 – Heated 8 litres of water to 72°C for mash in small brewpot. Doughed in and mash temperature settled at 67°C. Excellent. Checked after 30 minutes and mash hadn’t lost a degree so I just left it at 67°C and didn’t apply any heat to the pot as I usually would. Mash was pretty loose so I might increase my mash/liquor ratio next time in order to get more grain into my mini-mash beers. I had 5 litres of sparge water heating in the large brewpot (the kettle) but I overheated it. I added a big glass of cold water and added it but that only cooled the water down to 71°C. I figured the higher temperature might help my efficiency as it would function as a “mash-out”, dissolving some extra sugars during my dunk sparge. I didn’t squeeze the grain bag at all but I’ve got nearly 13 litres of wort now sitting on the stove and no idea if I’ll be to bring that volume to a boil. I suppose I can always boil a portion in the smaller pot if necessary.

The wort is a bit darker than I intended, but it might still come out as “amber” in the finished beer. Smells very, very nice.

I’m in a serious quandry over the Summit hops. After doing some more research on ‘tinternet, I’m seeing a lot of negative comments about Summit giving off powerful onion/garlic flavours. And the information is completely inconsistent. Some people are advising only to use as a bittering addition. Others are recommending only to use it as a late addition or dry-hop. I’m going to open the bag tonight and if I think they smell nice, I’m going to use. If they smell rank I’ll replace with Columbus. Either way, I’ll hopefully end up with the dank, powerful, hoppy IPA I’m looking for. (My next IPA is going to be lighter, slightly less pungent on the hops (Amarillo & Centennial) and slightly less alcohol.)

Brew Day 04/12/2012 – I set some heat under the brew kettle and cracked open my first ever bag of Summit hops. Got a blast of tangerines and some pungent piney aromas. That’ll do me. So I followed my original hop schedule and hopped with Summit and Cascade. It took a while to come up to a boil but the cooker just about managed it. Serious amount of hop material which I strained out using a sieve. I was too tired to calibrate my large fermenter as planned so I just topped up with water to just over 13 litres and got an SG reading of 1.078. SO I added some more water to just under the 15 litre line. I didn’t want to overshoot it as there was a lot of foam on top of the wort. I pitched about 400ml of yeast slurry from the “Hoppy Feet Pale Ale” which is just over 2 weeks old. It’s currently foaming away. I hope to get 24 bottles out of this batch given that I’ll be doing a very big dry-hop. The sample from the trial jar was incredibly sweet and very hoppy as expected. I’ll probably leave it go for 2 weeks before dry-hopping for a week.

11/12/2012 – Dry-hopped with 28g Cascade in a muslin bag weighed down with 2 sanitised shot glasses. I also topped up with a little extra cold water as i don’t want to overshoot my FG.

16/12/2012 – Bottled using 90g table sugar, my first time to use plain old sucrose. Based on 14 litres at 2.5 vol. In actual fact I got less than 14 litres out of the batch, so I hope it’s not over-carbonated. I was happy to get two whole crates (24 bottles) out of it, though I did have to pull off some very yeasty beer out of the first fermenter using a turkey baster in order to make up the last bottle. For the first time ever, I didn’t have a taste – hope it’s okay. Smells very powerfully hoppy so I might have to leave this alone for a few months to let it calm down!

12/01/2013 – First taste and the surprising thing is that it’s extremely mature and drinkable after less than 4 weeks in the bottle. The hop flavour and aroma is absolutely awesome – lots of orange and grapefruit underpinned by a smooth toffee backbone. The biscuit and wheat malts are in there too, giving a nice grainy flavour. The only downside in an otherwise amazing beer is that the colour is far too dark. Not that I’m bothered about where it fits into the style guidelines, but the fact that it’s quite cloudy from the intentionally excessive hopping means that the beer looks extremely murky. No bother, I’ll drink with my eyes closed. And omit the chocolate malt next time..

13/01/2013 – Tonight I had a very nice example of the India Pale Ale style from the Norwegian craft brewery, Nogne. Very delicious obviously, but it’s interesting to note the differences between a commercial IPA and my homebrewed version. Even though both beers were exactly 7.5% ABV the commercial beer was so much drier. Extremely dry in fact. I can’t imagine Nogne are using sugar to dry the beer out so I can only conclude they achieve this by using a low mash temperature and judicious use of crystal malts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really pleased with my own beer, it’s just not really an IPA. I think it would be better described as an “Imperial Amber” ale due to the colour and the much higher sweetness and body.

08/02/2013 – Very high hopes for this beer in the forthcoming National Homebrew Championship. I’ve entered it as an “Imperial Amber Ale” in the “Specialty” category – a safer bet as it doesn’t fit into any other category. It’s like a super-charged version of 5am Saint, though it doesn’t have the same dank hop flavour.

06/03/2013 – What a fantastic way to finish this post. “Big Dawg” Imperial Amber Ale won a bronze medal in the inaugral National Homebrew Championship. The beer scored a whopping 40 points (the best of show also scoring 40!) to win 3rd place in the “Specialty” category. The category winners were decided by the following judges:

  • Grainne Walsh (Co-owner and brewer with Metalman Brewing Company)
  • Patrick Gallagher (Brewer at Donegal Brewing Company)
  • Ciaran Kelly (Qualified professional brewer with Carlow Brewing Company, producers of O’Hara’s)
  • John Devlin (Premier International, Beer Importers)

Now, what to do with the remaining 3 bottles… 🙂

PM#6 – Hoppy Feet Pale Ale

I’m looking forward to the new season hops which should be arriving in a few weeks time. I’ll be putting in a big order for hops and grains so I need to make some room for new supplies. Rather than viewing this as a “leftovers” beer, I like to think it more as a blowout. “Hoppy Feet Pale Ale” will be an intentionally over-hopped American pale ale. I’ve got a good amount of 2011 Citra and Amarillo, and even a smidgin of Chinook (about 5 grams). I’ve also got some Munich and CaraPils which are a little out of date, so they’re going in too.

I’ll be using a small charge of Columbus at 60 mins for bittering but I’m planning on hop-bursting with the Citra and Amarillo (less than 10 minutes boil time) so that’s where I’ll be getting most of my IBUs in this beer. I think I might leave out the dry-hopping this time, but I’ll use my fresh bags of Cascade or Summit if I do.

I’ve been struggling with efficiency in my partial mash batches so I’ve decided to try and nail down my process. I decided to purchase a good quality 11 litre stockpot to do my mashes in. Instead to doing mashes in whatever pot takes my fancy I’ll have a dedicated mash vessel with which I can record volumes and temperature in an attempt to get consistency in my mashing process. I’ll be using my large stockpot (which functions as my brewpot) to do the sparging in. I also bought a snazzy digital theremometer as the liquid thermometer is too difficult to read. Hopefully with this new equipment I’ll have my volumes and temperatures sorted.

When I was designing my recipe, I also used a pretty low efficiency of 65%. I can increase this for subsequent brews as my process and efficiency improve.

My American pale ales have suffered in the past from being overly bitter, so I’ll be watching my hop additions and AA ratings closely. I did the mash today and I’ll only be deciding on the final hop schedule when I open the bags and weigh out the hops.

Category: American Pale Ale
Recipe Type: Partial Mash
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 12 L
Mash Efficiency: 65%
Total Grain/Extract: 3.75 kg
Total Hops: 84.0 g

Original Gravity: 1.052 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 8.47 °SRM (5.00 – 14.00 °SRM)
Bitterness: 41.3 IBU (30.00 – 45.00 IBU)
ABV: 5.2% (4.50 – 6.00%)

Ingredients

  • 0.19 kg Munich Malt
  • 0.075 kg Belgian Biscuit
  • 1.3 kg Maris Otter Pale
  • 0.36 kg CaraMalt
  • 0.225 kg Belgian Cara-Pils
  • 0.5 kg Dry Light Malt Extract
  • 0.95 kg Dry Light Malt Extract
  • 0.15 kg Dry Wheat Malt Extract
  • 8 g Columbus (Whole, 14.2 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 28 g Amarillo (Whole, 11.2 %AA) boiled 10 min.
  • 32 g Citra (Whole, 13.8 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 8 g Amarillo (Whole, 11.2 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 8 g Chinook (Whole, 13.00 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets (15 mins)
  • Yeast: Fermentis Safale US-05

Targets: OG: 1052, FG: 1013, IBU: 38, SRM: 7, ABV: 5.1%

Prime to 2.5 volumes using 150g dextrose.

Mash 04/11/2012 – Heated mash liquor to 74°C and added my 2kg of grain. It was slightly over my intended mash temperature of 68°C but I just put the lid on the mash pot and left it anyway. Next time I’ll shoot for 73°C. After 30 minutes of mashing, I stirred and checked the temperature. Pleased to see the mash was at 67°C which was much higher than I expected. Popped the lid back on and left for another 30 minutes. Heated 6 litres of sparge water in the large brewpot and placed the grain bag in there. Gave the grain a good stir and left for about 15 minutes. Wort looks nice and clear. It’s also pretty light.

Boil 05/11/2012 – I was aiming for around 38 IBUs and had all the hops measured out and recipe calculated. Then I realised 10 minutes into boiling that I had forgotten to adjust the AA ratings on the hops. I was using the BeerTools defaults! So much for paying attention. I adjusted the AA ratings and my IBUs were coming out at 43! So I moved my 5 minute addition to 1 minute which brought the IBU back down to 41.3. A little better. Because BeerTools (inexplicably) cannot accept ZERO minute additions, all my flame-out additions are set to 1 minute. Even though my recipe says otherwise, my 1 minute additions were done at flame-out, hopefully bringing my IBUs down to 37. (Of course, I realise I could have simply omitted some the hops from this brew to get my desired IBU but where’s the fun in that!) I also allowed the flame-out hops to steep for at least 15 mins before I started the wort chiller. Never done this before.

I nearly forgot the Whirlfloc which would have been a damn shame in such a pale beer but I chucked some in at 10 minutes and saved the day. Wort looks clear anyway.

I had a little less wheat DME than I thought so I balanced with regular DME. Plenty of hops to soak up the wort so I had to squeeze them a little in a sieve to get the wort out. I hit my target OG of 1052 but that’s assuming an efficiency of 65% which is pretty rubbish. I know now that my efficiency issues are not being caused by temperature so what is it? I know the hop soakage accounts for some loss, but 65% is crap. I need to up my batch sizes with the intention of leaving a litre behind in the kettle.

Wort is really light in colour. Probably the palest extract/partial beer I’ve done to date. Nice biscuity nose and flavour and huge amounts of orange and tropical fruit. Rehydrated a new sachet of US-05 and it was showing signs of fermentation a couple of hours later. Lots of trub in the fermenter. Should be a good one.

20/11/2012 – Bottled using 140g glucose (18.5 litres at 2.5 vol). I got 32 bottles out of this. I think I need to do some calibration of my fermenters. Never bothered taking an FG reading but I had half a bottle left over and it tasted fantastic. A lot more piney/dank than I was expecting. I was expecting it to be all about the tropical fruit but there’s definitely a lot of cattiness coming through. Is this from the small additions of Columbus and Chinook, or has the Citra contributed this? I’ve heard that Citra can get quite catty when used for bittering, but all my Citra went in as late additions. In any case, I think this is going to be a great pale ale.

08/12/2012 – The biggest surprise for me yet as a homebrewer when I opened this beer after only 2½ weeks after bottling and found an amazing beer. Most beers I’ve made in the past have needed much more conditioning time than this. Fantastic hoppiness and firm bitterness but nicely balanced. I think the Munich is adding a certain maltiness too. The aroma is all about mangoes and other tropical fruit (from the Citra), but there’s a huge blast of Amarillo citrus there too.

29/12/2012 – Only a few bottles left and it’s a real winner. The tropical fruit has dissipated somewhat, but there’s about ten tonnes of grapefruit in this bad boy. Could this be from the late addition of Chinook? Randy Mosher has a recipe which recommends such a late addition to add a real grapefruit flavour. I like the way the Munich comes across in this and I like the level of crystal malt sweetness which really does make the hops pop.

PM#5 – Pork Chop Porter

A wise Englishman I know eschews food when out for a few drinks claiming “there’s a pork chop in every pint, mate!”. This brew is in honour of him.

This is my beer for supping over the Christmas period so I’m hoping for something with plenty of mouthfeel, good alcohol warmth and plenty of roastiness. The recipe is based on the Robust Porter contained in Jamil Zainasheff’s Brewing Classic Styles. For robust porters, Jamil recommends a 40/60 blend of lighter and darker roasted malts to give a balanced roastiness to the beer. For this 19 litre batch, that means 225g of black malt and 340g of chocolate malt. I’ve decided to use amber malt in place of his Munich as I liked the flavour when I used it in an English pale ale recently. I’m bittering with Northern Brewer because I have a full bag in the bottom of my fridge which is feeling very unloved. I’m also using two flavour additions of East Kent Goldings. US-05 yeast for a nice clean profile which will allow the malt flavours to shine.

Category: Robust Porter
Recipe Type: Partial Mash
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 12 L
Total Grain/Extract: 4.09 kg
Total Hops: 72.0 g

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Maris Otter Pale
  • 0.45 kg Crystal 40
  • 0.17 kg Amber Malt
  • 0.34 kg Chocolate Malt
  • 0.225 kg Black Malt
  • 1.1 kg Dry Light Extract
  • 1 kg Dry Light Extract
  • 30 g Northern Brewer (Whole, 8.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 21 g East Kent Goldings (Pellets, 6 %AA) boiled 15 min.
  • 21 g East Kent Goldings (Pellets, 6 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets (15 mins)
  • Yeast: Fermentis Safale US-05

Original Gravity: 1.065 (1.048 – 1.065)
Terminal Gravity: 1.015 (1.012 – 1.016)
Color: 29.63 °SRM (22.00 – 35.00 °SRM)
Bitterness: 37.9 IBU (25.00 – 50.00 IBU)
ABV: 6.6 % (4.80 – 6.50 %)

Notes
Targets (Brewing Classic Styles Robust Porter): OG: 1064, IBU: 37, SRM: 35

I did the mash for my first porter last night and I plan on doing the boil tonight. The wort smells and looks great but a few things are concerning me. I was using a new stainless steel steamer basket to protect the grain bag from scorching but I figured there wouldn’t be enough room in my smaller pot, which is around 10 litres. I hastily made the decision to do the mash in my 20 litre brewpot and use the full boil volume of water including an extra litre for grain absorption. So, that makes about 13 litres in total. Strike water was 72C and I used heat to bring back up to 68C. Mash for 1 hour, applying heat at the 30-minute mark to maintain the mash temperature. I also used an extra 30% (or 300g) of base malt to account for a no-sparge. I’m thinking now that I should have upped the specialty malts too. I gave the bag a decent squeeze too but I’d say there’s plenty of goodness left in the grain. I’m hoping it won’t be too lacking in flavour.

I’ve also been reading lately about the challenges of partial mashing dark beers, where the pH level can encourage tannins to be leached out of the grain husks. The wort doesn’t taste tannic or astringent at the moment so I hope there’s no problem there. I didn’t want to squeeze the grain bag too hard for this reason.

If I have problems with this I think the solution might be to steep the darker grains separately from the mash. But this is a bit of pullaver and I wanted to avoid that work this time around. I might also have to examine my water volumes and see how I can best accomplish a “dunk-sparge” after I finish mashing. I might try this for my next beer in any case, just to increase my efficiency.

13/10/2012 – Worried about the lack of sparge, I added an extra 100g of spraymalt in some vague and unscientific  attempt to hit my intended OG. As it turned out, I hit my OG following water top-up, but that was only with the extra base malt and spraymalt. Serious issues with efficiency obviously, but I’m happy enough with this one. Any worries I had about getting enough colour out of the roasted malts were unfounded. This thing is as black as soot. Pitched a good quantity of yeast slurry from the Leann Dearg and it was bubbling away within the hour. Excellent.

23/10/2012 – Bottled using 130g dextrose (actually Dunnes Stores glucose). Looks completely different from the Shamrock variety when it’s dry. Got a FG of 1.014. Had a quick taste from the trial jar and it’s quite promising given the beer is quite young. Lots of sweetness and very pleasant alcohol warmth, but not “hot” alcohol. Plenty of chocolate and roasted character coming through which should develop further as it bottle conditions. I got 32 bottles from the batch.

I also steeped 50ml of Jim Beam bourbon and soaked half a vanilla pod with the seeds scraped out. Steeped for 2 days, the aroma of the bourbon was intense!! I dosed 5 of the bottles as follows: 2 x 6ml, 2 x 8 ml, 1 x 10ml. I’m guessing the vanilla bourbon porter might take a little longer to age into something drinkable. I’d say it will be pretty potent in terms of alcohol, but I think the bourbon/vanilla flavour will go well with the porter. Will open this during the festive season, a nice winter warmer!

06/12/2012 – I was expecting this one to take quite a while to condition but it’s fantastic after only 6 weeks in the bottle. Amazing, in fact. There’s big sweetness and caramel up-front but balanced by a robust hop bitterness. The caramel then morphs into chocolate and coffee. The after-taste is burnt toast with more coffee and burnt toast on the burp. I can’t see myself changing the recipe much with this one. The proportion of chocolate to black malt is spot-on, as Jamil promised.

Although, I might try a dry English yeast as I think it would work well. I might also try using Munich malt (as specified in Jamil’s recipe), instead of the amber malt I used. I wonder what using roasted barley for the black patent would do? A keeper!

05/01/2013 – A “keeper” indeed. At the moment, I can’t even fathom changing this recipe in the slightest way. It’s just perfect. I’m currently sipping a bottle of the bourbon porter (and “sipping” is advisable with a beer like this) and it’s excellent. This is a bottle of the 8ml version. Even in the 6ml version there is a perceptible note of vanilla and bourbon. The 8ml version is sublime – there’s a serious hit of oak coming through from the bourbon and the vanilla is there in spades also. But the roasty porter is still the cominant flavour. If anything, the bourbon only accentuates the chocolate flavour of the beer. After doing the vanilla beer in this fashion, I can’t see the merit in batch aging the porter with the vanilla-infused bourbon. Dosing the bottle is definitely the way to go and I can see myself doing with with future brews. I’ll probably dose a few bottles of the Foreign Extra Stout I plan on doing in the near future. I think the extra alcohol and mouth-feel would work very well with the bourbon. After that, a Russian Imperial Stout!!

16/01/2013 – A fantastic recipe. Only three bottles of this left. Sweet, roasty, carmelly, bitter. Great head that lasts to the bottom of the glass.

03/03/2013 – Happy days! Pork Chop Porter scored 38 in the NHC competition. The beer was scored by Anil Godinho (professional beer taster with Diageo) and Liam Hanlon (formerly head brewer at O’Haras). Anil detected traces of “hexanoate”, whatever the hell that is! Comments from Anil included “great balance of flavour but slightly too much alcohol for style”, but he scored the beer highly on both “Technical Merit” and “Intangibles”. Liam Hanlon noted “Licorice, malt, caramel all there. Slight acetylaldehyde, very slight phenolic”. “Head retention is good, no clarity at all, colour is good”. “All the flavours required are here, but masked and knocked out of balance by the alcohol. There is too much alcohol for this style”. “Too warming, too much alcohol, otherwise this would have been very good”. “This beer may have been entered into the wrong category, tastes like at least 7.5% ABV”.


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