Friday, December 30, 2011

Tuesday afternoon Scotch ale brew day

Update 01/12/12: I've decided on a name for this beer: The Shinning.  It's an homage to Groundskeeper Willie and the Treehouse of Horror episode from season 6 of the Simpsons.  If you haven't seen it, check it out.

I took some time off work this week, and it gave me the perfect opportunity for a weekday brew day, which I haven't done in quite a while.

Per my previous post, I decided to brew up the hoppy Scotch 80 Schilling beer. Again, this was a beer purely to play around with, and it's only purpose was to serve as a vehicle to try one of the new hop strains and to build up a Wyeast 1728 yeast cake for the super strong wee heavy I will be brewing next month.

My friends and I opened up the Falconers Flight and Zythos hops I had on hand so that we could decide which variety we thought would go better with this style. We spent a few minutes passing around a pair of vacuum sealed bag of hops and huffing them, a sight I'm certain would have looked a bit strange to anyone passing by. Our consensus was that the Zythos hops had a slight sweetness and piney-ness that made them a better candidate for this beer.

I decided on the following recipe:
11 pounds Maris Otter - standard English base malt
1 pound Carapils - essentially, this was filler. I had it sitting around, and I wanted to make sure this supposedly light beer would have enough body
2oz Roasted Barley - appropriate for style, mostly for color and light roastiness
2oz Chocolate malt- I've always previously used chocolate malt as the only other malt in my wee heavy, and wanted to make sure some was present here, but still see how the roasted barley as a partial replacement influenced it.

1oz Challenger (UK) hops @60 minutes - standard English bittering hop
1oz Zythos hops @15 minutes - flavor addition
1.5oz Zythos hops @5 minutes - aroma addition
1.5oz Zythos hops - dry hop

Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast

I mashed at 156, an extremely high mash temp, but again I was wanting to produce a sweet and fuller bodied scottish style beer.

One other thing I did that was out of the ordinary was to caramelize the first runnings of the wort. I took the first gallon out of the mash, the sweetest and strongest part, and boiled it down to less than half a gallon. This will provide (hopefully) some extra caramel flavor and color.

I did make one mistake - I still had a standard 90 minute boil after the caramelization, and I didn't think to make sure I collected an extra 3/4 gallon of runnings to keep my post-boil volume at the 5.5 gallons I was shooting for.

Due to this, I wound up with 4.75 gallons of wort with an original gravity of 1.072, which is significantly higher than the 1.055 I was shooting for. Basically, I managed to make a strong scotch ale anyway, even though I was shooting for more of a session beer.

I also had one piece of bad luck - I ran out of oxygen about halfway through the aeration time I give my beers. Hopefully that won't be too detrimental to the yeast.

Still, I'm intrigued about this beer. It's a bit of a mess, out of style due to the gravity and the hops, but it could wind up being a great beer. Just have to wait and see!

Update 1/12/12:
Final gravity worked out to be 1.019, which is about where I wanted it for a beer like this.  It keeps it from being too dry, but also from not being too sweet.  It worked out to be 7.1% ABV, which is the same strength my IPA clocked in at. 

I racked this beer over to secondary on 1/07/12 and dry hopped it with another 1.5oz of Zythos hops.  I loved the sample I took.  Even warm and flat, it was full bodied, lightly citrusy, and very smooth.

I'll be racking this off the hops and into a keg on 1/21.

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