A few weeks ago, this beer was ready to drink but I was told; It just doesn’t seem time to drink it. It’s going to be great in the heat but right now, it’s just not ready for the stage.
With the weekend hitting the 80’s, it was time. Good thing, too: It’s really bubbly, so the mouthfeel is light. It’s smooth and sweet, with the orange flavor being quite refreshing. The beer also has a slightly astringent finish, very much like tea.
Which is the trick with this ale: I added way, way too much orange blossom tea at the end. Worked like a charm. Fortunately. I am not a professional, so I do not recommend anything per se.
But let me tell you how I made it anyway:
.75 lb Gambriuns pale
.5 lb Victory
7 lb LME
1.34 oz Crystal @ 60
1 oz Crystal @20
1 oz Perle @ 20
3oz Orange Blossom blend tea @5
from Laurelwood, gotten that day!
Fortunately for me, the beer has come out pretty well. I have even more confidence than usual, telling this to the audience because I took some of these brews to the OBC picnic on Sunday and most everybody dug them. Lots of chamomile though, which is to be expected and was both the prime criticism and acclaim about this beer.
I deliberately have been going overboard on this year’s batches of Chamomile Wit, because I’ve been dissatisfied with the presence of tea flavors in previous years. Plus, I have an overabundance of tea around my house and it is just sitting there waiting for me to kick out the jams on this beer.
Here’s the recipe:
13 oz Oats
1 lb Gambrious Pils
7 lb LME
Hops + extras:
1 oz N. Brewer @ 60
.5 oz Nugget @30
@ 5 min added:
1/4 tsp correander
1/8 tsp grains of paradise
1/2 tsp bitter orange
3/4 tsp orange peel
2.5 oz Chamomile tea
I cocked up getting my gravity readings so that’s not much help. I can tell you I added 1/4 tsp of bread yeast to my bottling sugar and it’s worked out nicely.
Is too much. As you can see, here:
It’s not a bad beer. Off a little by being too Belgian-flavored-hints of clove and a touch sweet. There’s a sweetness in the nose that doesn’t ride through the beer but definitely indicates that something is wrong. The finish is really, really spicy though; to the point where I would not want this beer with something like nachos.
Every beer should go with nachos.
Well, ok; almost every beer. Since the plan here was to make an brown ale with chai tea but I didn’t get the kind of roasted flavors I was shooting for, I think the chai and the overactive yeast have made this a beer that goes with very limited amounts of food.
In addition, as you can see from the picture, the head on this beer is pretty much out of control. I have to pour the beer very. slowly. in order to get a drinkable glass and even then it helps if I give the beer a couple minutes to settle. Which I can do-but I generally don’t.
I also believe I pitched the yeast when the wort was a little hot. The impact of this particular error has me double checking my thermometer so I can get more accurate temperatures and pitch my yeast when I’m supposed to.
Recipe as follows:
3 oz Cafka Special 2
8 oz Special B
8 oz Chocolate
13 oz Crystal 40
7 lb LME
2 lb dry malt extract
1 oz Centennial @ 60
.75 oz Cascade @ 15
3 oz Chai tea @ 10
East Coast Ale from White Labs, WLP008
There’s a few awesome things about this IPA. Please ignore the grinning writer in the background.
First, check out the carbonation there. There’s legs on this one-dual layers of foam that exist.
How awesome is that?
On top of this, that carbonation is the result of using inexpensive bread yeast. Extremely relevant because if my options are to pay $7 and get six months or more of bread, pizza dough and carbonated beer, versus paying $1 per pack of yeast for a batch of beer (and I typically make two batches a month) the savings adds up pretty quickly.
Second; because this beer is carbonated, the stylistic elements that are characteristic of the style show up a lot easier. Carbonation is an element but there is an interesting nose on the beer as well, something that’s been difficult to detect in previous brews I’ve made.
The nose on this batch has a clover element; it reminds me a bit of clover honey. I think this exists because of the hibiscus tea I added to the end of the boil. As a positive, it’s a very nice aroma. On the downside, some of the more citrus or pine notes I’d expect from a professional IPA aren’t really there.
I’m OK with this.
Before I list the recipe, a big thank you to Laurelwood Brewpub, who gave me yeast for this batch.
Edit: Bill wanted some clarification on what I did-you can see the Q&A in the comments. Sorry for any confusion, I was just excited that things worked out so well!
1 lb honey malt
1 lb Special roast
7 lb LME
1 lb Dry malt extract light
Hops and other:
1 oz Newport @ 60
1 oz Cascade @ 30
.5 oz Newport @ 15
1 oz Hibicus tea @ 5
Laurelwood ale yeast!
Final Gravity: 1.033
I have, once again made an Earl Gray Brown. The results are rather tasty. The nose has a chocolate and nut aroma, like a not quite as sweet version of Nutella. Having moment like that is always promising.
The beer itself tastes like a sweeter version of a brown ale. I’m just not familiar enough with Earl Gray tea to accurately say where it kicks in and I’m pretty certain I could’ve amped the tea mixture up even further. There is an orange flavor though, almost like what you’d get from one of those chocolate oranges. Good stuff.
Next time I’m just using the whole damn box of tea though. Overall, this is a pretty drinkable beer and at 5.2% it falls comfortably in the brown ale style pretty well. Good stuff.
The smart thinking for this comes entirely from my girlfriend. “I want you to make a beer with Earl Gray tea,” she says, and so I set about seeing how this would work. I thought about a few different styles, but given the orange qualities of the tea I decided a brown ale would probably work best with the flavors of the tea. The suggestion I got from an employee of Steinbarts was to steep the tea in cold water first and then add the water to the boil near the end, so I went with this idea.
As a brown ale it’s pretty solid, but there are a few interesting things about it. First, to really appreciate it I’ve discovered I have to take it out of the fridge for at least five minutes so it will warm up. If I do that, the beer actually gives me a nice head on it when it’s poured, and releases a orange blossom-ish nose. Without that time to warm up the beer just doesn’t produce the same flavors.
As far as drinking this beer goes, I may’ve produced a very nice session ale. I’m not a big drinker of Earl Gray tea so I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for in a flavor profile, but there’s a bitterness at the end that reminds me of black teas so perhaps that’s one of the additions. The EGB is strong enough to cleanse my palate of tuna fish sandwich and buffalo bleu potato chips, but without feeling really filling. All in all, a pretty good drink and one I think I’ll make again. I think that in the warmer months it’ll be surprisingly refreshing.