Extreme brewing

First I’m told about Brew Dog’s ale. Now I read about Sam Adam’s Utopia. Holy crap, when is it going to end?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very impressed with the skill it takes to make beers like this. It’s well beyond my abilities for a whole host of reasons-equipment, experience, patience-but I can’t help but wonder if I’m not witnessing some kind of escalating beer war. Who will be the first to reach 50%…and DOOM.

I also found a fun comic for everyone to enjoy: 20 Things Worth Knowing About Beer.

Building a winter warmer

Justin, a regular reader of APfD has asked a few questions about my brewing process and a couple questions have come up as well from others so I thought it might be fun to do a series of posts on the manufacture of a beer. There will be pictures and everything and it will give me a chance to do an occasional regular feature, maybe something like ‘I made this’, although maybe I should try to be more creative.

First, I’ll start off with the recipe:
winter warmer ingredientsSteeping grains:
1 lb C-120
3/4 lb Special Roast
Fermentable sugars added:
6 lb LME (liquid)
1 lb Dark Malt Extract (dry)
Hop used:
1 oz Centennial @ 60
.5 oz Centennial @ 20
Additives:
1/2 tsp Allspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg @ 10
Yeast:
Reused Wyeast 1084  yeast from Ginger Stout (4th use, final)
Original Gravity:
1.068
straining grainSo first I added the steeping grains and soaked them at about 150-155 degrees F for about thirty minutes. At that point I strained the grains out and tried to press out some of the liquid they’d absorbed. This was an experiment; with the stout I’d made I’d sparged the beer and so I’m trying to see what kind of impact this has on the flavors of my brew. I’ve been told that putting the beer in a cheesecloth mesh can be really useful for this sort of thing and I may start doing that soon. I don’t mind scooping out the grains but if wrapping them in cloth saves me time, gives me the same results and doesn’t mean I’m wasting cloth every time I make beer then I can see the advantages.

malted wortAfter that, I take the wort off the burner and add in the fermentable sugars. The beer cools about ten degrees during this process, so once the liquid malt is added and the dry malt has dissolved a bit, it’s back to the burner to bring the wort up to at least 170 degrees. Once that’s done, it’s time to add the hops and begin the final boil part of the brew.

And I’ll continue with the rest of the process next week!