I made several beers in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday week, spent with the family Hood in Red Hook, NY. They most graciously offered productive feedback on the beers I’m about to describe.
Roscoe Brown Ale
Roscoe Brown Ale II
I modified my first brown ale recipe from this spring for batch #19, adding 1/4 lb of Special Roast to the grain bill, utilizing a 1 liter starter of Wyeast #1028 London Ale, and hardening the water with gypsum.
The beer pours well with a good carbonation level, and a slight brown hue to the foam. The mouthfeel is velvety and much more full than effort 1. Tastes malty with a roast-y bite at the finish. East Kent Goldings and Fuggles hops balance the malt.
Overall, very happy with the result, the character is really pleasing, a vast improvement from effort 1 (I suspect a stronger yeast pitch rate really helped). For the next version, I would add more malts to get the ABV increased to 5.5%.
For this IPA (batch #18), I experimented with large amounts of hops to bitter, and large quantity of dry hopping, since previous IPA’s have not produced the sharp aromas I’m looking for. Using heavy doses of CTZ, Citra, and Cascade, the aroma still leaves something to be desired. A single smack pack of Wyeast #1272 American Ale II was pitched, my first time using this yeast.
The IPA pours with a large, consistent foamy head. The color is orangish-brown due to the Amber LME and light additions of Crystal 60L and Cara-malt, with good clarity. I blew away the expected original gravity by .003, huzzah! However, the final gravity was a bit high so the ABV settled at an expected 5.5%.
I was hoping for a more citrus, tropical flavor to this beer, but the taste comes out quite earthy to me. Heavier additions of Citra to replace the Cascade might have produced a better result. The beer is bitter enough at 76 calculated IBUs, but isn’t overly resin-y or tropical, so it doesn’t really have any solid identity. I’ll keep working on combinations, and perhaps remove some of the specialty malts to do focused testing on hop mixtures.
Batch #17 is a completely custom recipe, inspired by the legend of medieval European drinking traditional beverage style, Braggot, where mead is combined with barley malts. The ancient and historical methods of brewing greatly interest me as of late and this beer is the first manifestation of this theme. I chose to brew a dark Saison style beer with a pound raw honey sourced from
Champlain Valley Apiaries Lemon Fair Honeyworks, acquired from the Middlebury Co-op.
The grain bill consists of a mix of Amber LME and DME, 3 pounds of UK Crisp Pale Ale mashed at 152 degrees for an hour, with a 1/4 pound each of Roasted Barley and Flaked Wheat to add roast flavor and heft to the brew. Northern Brewer, Mt. Hood, and Kent Goldings hops bring the bitterness up to 38 IBUs, and two smack packs of Wyeast #3711 French Saison yeast finish up the Brew Day recipe sheet.
Original gravity (1.073) hit its mark, and the final gravity beat expectations at 1.012 to bring this ale to 7.88% ABV. Pours dark brown, slightly hazy, with good foam and head retention. Taste is superb, a balanced bitter dark beer with a strong sweet finish from the honey, exactly what I had hoped for. I’m really proud of this beer and can’t wait to try more historic medieval beer styles.
Holiday Raspberry/Ginger Mead
Barkshack Ginger Mead
I brewed this Barkshack Ginger Mead in Dec/Jan, (raw honey courtesy of Northwoods Apiaries) and after nearly a year it’s ready to share with friends and family to celebrate the holiday season. Pours bright pink, brilliantly clear and effervescent, filled with bubbles. The taste is a bit medicinal, especially if comparing to Schweppes Raspberry Ginger Ale, its closest non-alcoholic cousin. Finished to an un-established ABV, this mead lifts the spirits and inspires great cheer. More will be distributed as X-mas rolls around, and hopefully more than myself will be partaking.
Winter brews incoming…