Saturday, May 26, 2007

Birthday & Imperial Stout

Well, here in Alberta its slowly fighting its way toward summer with periods of crappy rainy-snowy coldness followed quickly by days like today. This photo is what I see in front of me right now, at my parents place. Nice eh?

So my calendar told me that tomorrow is my 28th birthday. Last year I did absolutely nothing for my 27th, so this year I decided to put a mild effort and have a small BBQ tonight. I'm serving up some rather nice homebrewed wit beer on tap, as well as some leftover Amber Brown Ale that our brewery makes. People like free beer, so hopefully that attracts a few people.

Speaking of homebrew, I've decided to brew what I hope is an interesting "imperial stout". I put the quotation marks around the style as I'm not realy too concerned with style in this case. Here is the planned recipe, with some discussion afterwards:
28th Birthday Imperial Stout

Size: 25 L
Efficiency: 86.0%
Attenuation: 73%

Original Gravity: 1.085
Terminal Gravity: 1.023
Color: 40.5
Alcohol: 8.19%
Bitterness: 47.2 (BU:GU = 0.56)

3.4 kg Standard 2-Row (40%)
3 kg Maris Otter Pale (35%)
510 g Oats Flaked (6%)
650 g Roast Barley (7.7%)
595 g Black Malt (7%)
340 g Crystal Malt 120°L (4%)
37 g Centennial (9.5%) - added first wort, boiled 90 min
30 g East Kent Goldings (6.2%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min

Mash at 67 C for 1 hr, mashout 78 C.
Now some style purists might exclaim "but Brian, an Imperial Stout is supposed to have at least 50 IBU in it, preferably much much more!" but I care not. In fact, I was thinking of having even less hop bitterness. You see, 14.7% of the malt bill is very dark malts. My hope is that the bitterness from the 'burnt' roast barley and black malt actually balance the other malt sweetness in this beer. It will be nice to see if its over the top. I plan on aging it over a year while I'm gone in scotland too.
I might actually take out the EKG hop addition and make it all FWH centennial hopping, not sure yet.

Anyway... let me know your thoughts on the recipe/etc.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

New Books

So I ordered some brewing books from a month or so ago, and the just arrived today. It was only because I ordered 4 books, and one of them (a book on cask ales) wasn't available yet, so they eventually just shipped what they could (at no extra cost I'll get the 4th later... not a bad deal).
Anyway, I ordered:

"Principles of Brewing Science, 2nd Ed" by George Fix
"Extreme Brewing" by Sam Calagione
and "Brewed in Canada" by Allen Winn Sneath

Principles of Brewing Science will be a great way for me to pre-study for my MSc program coming up in September. It really gets me back to my biochemistry knowledge and has the science behind brewing I really like (and need) to know.
Extreme Brewing is a little bit of a disappointment so far, but it does seem to have some good info about using weird spices/sugars/etc that is hard to find elsewhere. But it also as a lot of introductory info about the basics of homebrewing... I'd figure that anybody who is going to buy a book on extreme brewing should have started with brewing basics, but whatever.
Brewed in Canada is a history of the 350 year old Canadian brewing industry. I've only barely started to read it, but it shall be interesting for sure.


Friday, May 18, 2007


Ok, so I haven't been the best blogger. In fact, I've been one of the worst in the last few months. If you want to blame something, I'd blame my super-awesome girlfriend. Those female creatures have a way of diverting you from important things like writing seldom-read articles about small-time brewing that a normally lonely and bored guy like me would write daily.

In any case, I'm sitting on my 10th floor balcony tonight drinking the 2007 barley wine that I had the extreme pleasure of brewing & filtering for Alley Kat (my most prized accomplishment, as far as I'm concerned), and damn that beer is good. I'm not one to toot my own horn... but BEEP BEEP. It wasn't my recipe, but I figure if the brewer sucked (who is me) it would have certainly not been as good. In any case, I'm quite proud of it and you should go get some.

In other beer news, the Edmonton Homebrewers' Guild participated in the 2007 Big Brew! It was a fun day that was hosted by our brewery. We (the other brewer, Sean, and I) produced what seems to be a lovely wheat beer (60% wheat malt, 35% barley maly, 5% munich). We produced 23 hL, which I think will be a contender for the top amount produced in North America by any club. Last year we were 3rd with 15 hL. Personally, made 5 batches using different yeasts:
(OG 1.050)
-Belgian Wit (has fermented down to 1.012, tastes ... tasty)
-Belgian Saison (has only fermented to 1.036!! I will give it more time)
-LALEGER (a mix of Alley Kat Ale & Lager yeasts fermented at 19C for 1 week then dropped to 3C and aged... has fermented to 1.012 and has a assy sulfur taste to it :(
-Rosselare Lambic strain... (so far fermented to 1.026, but seems to still be going and has a mild sour character to it... I'll let this one age for a couple of months)

I've also been having good luck with my other homebrew/test batches these days. I get excellent feedback from the homebrewer's guild (full of BJCP judges and people who will give an honest opinion). Recently, my blueberry-rhubarb wheat beer was presented to them and it was actually pretty nice. I couldn't drink a pint of it because of the sourness, but its really good for about 5 oz.

The EHG is having its yearly brewing competition soon, I advise anybody out there who homebrews to enter some beers to it, and even come by for the events. We're very welcoming and there are some awesome parties (with lots of beer... naturally :)


Saturday, May 05, 2007

A new post...

Ok, well I'm far too tired to create a real new post now, but I have lots of beer news. First, I brewed another English bitter... but then I lost my brewday logsheet and I did a lot of things different than my planned recipe. That sucks.

Next, our brewery is releasing a raspberry mead which is quite awesome if I don't say so myself, it should be out in a few weeks, even though we have it in bottles now, we just need labels. If you ask nicely I might let you have some early... ;)
In addition, I just filtered out kristalweizen today, and its rather tasty. It won't be available for a few weeks. Oh, and don't buy any Kiltlifter (our last seasonal) as I want to take it all home...

I'm currently listening to Amon Tobin's Live aux Docks de Lausanne set, and its pretty awesome. But then again, what of his isn't awesome? He is by a wide margin my favorite artist ever. If you haven't heard his stuff, get it and listen... because seriously he is brilliant.