Weekend Brewing And Other Stuff
November 21, 2011
This weekend I had a friend from Albany in town to help me brew. He’s getting ready to upgrade his system so he can do all-grain batches, and wanted to see an all-grain brewday in person. I had Ryan help me brew my favorite recipe, the Amarillo IPA.
The Amarillo IPA is my best house beer, and the only change I had to make to it this time was recalculating the hop additions based on the higher alpha acid content of this year’s Amarillo crop. The only issue during the brewday was that we oversparged a bit, so I tacked on 15 minutes to the boil and we wound up hitting our gravity and volume targets perfectly. It’s currently bubbling away in the fermentor.
Just in time for this weekend, I found a place to get my CO2 cylinder refilled so I could get my chest freezer full of carbonated kegs. The dark mild ale, pale ale, and Munich pale ale are all carbonated and on tap now, finally.
Dark Mild – This current version of the dark mild came out really nice. The increased hop rate helped the hops come through just enough to be noticeable. Adding flaked oats and reducing the crystal malt gave the beer a smoother and less cloying body. All in all this batch really came out well, and tastes significantly bigger than the 3.9% ABV that it contains. I may play with the recipe again at some point, but for now I’ll call it finalized.
Munich Pale Ale – This was just an experiment to see what a beer would be like if it was almost all Munich malt. It’s a very deep amber color with a rich malty sweetness. Galena and Northern Brewer hops give it a slightly sweet citrus aroma and flavor with some nice spiciness in the background. The bitterness is pretty well balanced and the body is fairly full. I’d say it was a successful experiment, and could the base for a really nice amber ale in the future.
Pale Ale – Given how few beers in Cooperstown are remotely hoppy, I made this beer to be strongly bitter up front with lots of hop character. When I tasted it near the end of fermentation I thought I had gone too overboard with the bittering addition. Now that it’s carbonated and chilled, I really like where it is. The aroma is full of citrus, resin, and pine. The body is light, with a dark straw color. Up front, the bitterness is strong and prominent, but smooth and resiny. The bitterness lingers, but not for long. I really like how this turned out. I’m considering brewing it again with a higher gravity to make an IPA out of it. That could turn out really nice. At 5.3% ABV, it’s not gonna last long.