Monday, November 07, 2005

Oh yeah... beer

I suppose if I call my blog a "beer blog" I should talk about beer once and awhile. First, the batch of beer I started brewing here is completely fucked. The yeast I got from the homebrew shop was crap and fermented a 1.050 wort down to 1.035 and basically stopped, and there is some kind of contamination in it. Its hard to get decent homebrew stuff up here in Fort St. John, BC. If you're experienced, you really should order stuff in. I could dump it down the sink, or I was thinking of taking 1/2 the remaining wort, reboiling it with more DME, and trying to make some kind of lambic.
But then again I'm only here for 3 more weeks and I don't want to bother. Down the sink it goes.

I was reading about Scottish ales this weekend. I'm going to attempt an 80 shilling heavy ale I think. The traditional brewing process is slightly different than the common accepted homebrewing practice. A single step infusion mash is done at ~69 deg C. This doesn't allow beta-glucanase or proteases to do a whole lot, and isn't a great temp for beta-amylase. Thus, the produced wort is fairly thick and dextrinous, creating a beer with good body. Since less fermentables will be created, I can only assume that the beer will have a lower than predicted alc %.

Another interesting method used by Scottish brewers was to slightly caramelize the wort during the boil by using a high direct heat or just a longer boil time. This should create a caramel flavor (although some people might confuse this with diacyl). A homebrew recipe I found suggested to take a few L of the first runnings from sparging and boil them to thick caramelization, adding it back to the boil later. The whole idea is to create a caramel flavor without the use of caramel malt (or unwanted diacyl). Caramel malt isn't a traditional ingredient in Scottish ales... however every Scottish ale recipe I've seen uses it. Meh.

Most of this is in Ray Daniels' excellent book, Designing Great Beers. Anybody who wants to advance in their homebrew skill really should pick it up, it is by far the most informative source I've come across yet (it doesn't cover basic homebrew methods or anything though so buy a book on homebrewing first, brew 10-15 batches, then read this book).

Ok, now I feel content that I have written a good amount about beer for today. Cheers!


crallspace said...

I have a few friends that hombrew here in Corvallis, ORE. It's pretty big out here, as are microbreweries, statewide.

I need to do it, if not just to save some $$$ on beers.

Hey thanks for the props... glad you enjoyed what you read. I always hope to spread some excitement.

Take care. I've bookmarked this blog.

headlessbob said...

Yeah craft brewing and homebrew is pretty big down there. One day I have to do a trip South and tour around some microbreweries.

I'll be sure to check your blog from time to time!