8 October 2016

posted by benjy edwards

After quite a long break of three months, which seems longer since we miss brewing so much, we are back at it.  Next month being our twentieth anniversary since the start, it was fitting that we went back to our roots in a way with this batch.  I felt like it was taking a step back in time to be brewing an extract batch today, something not done since the  early days of the mid-90s.  The reason is a fluke, really: I won an ingredient kit at an AHA rally earlier this year at Fish Brewing, courtesy of Homebrew Exchange.  The owner kindly offered to exchange it for something else since he’d tried my beer and knew I didn’t need an extract kit, but since his shop is in Portland and I haven’t been down there this year, I decided to just use it.  I’m glad that I did, as it was both fun and educational to try extract again after so many years of all-grain, or “full-mash” brewing as they say in England.

I had to actually read the instructions in order to figure out how to do it, but it is really simple: merely steep the pre-crushed specialty grains and dissolve the two cans of syrup in boiling water.  The brew day was less than three hours, and could have been shorter if I’d been heating the liquor while the grains steeped.  I opted to add ingredients to supplement the specialty malts, both on the malt and hop sides.  An ounce of bittering hops and half an ounce of aroma hops seemed ridiculously low, so I added two ounces of Ahtanum pellets at the start of the boil and another two ounces at the end.  For malt, I added a pound of brown malt and a quarter pound of pale chocolate, along with the weird addition of a pound and a half of granola!  This is a commercial granola that contains almonds, vanilla, and canola oil, so it will be interesting to see if the oil harms the foam and whether any flavour is contributed by the granola.

The kit specifies an OG of 1.050, and we reached 1.054 with a yield of 5.5 gallons instead of the kit’s 5 gallon target.  We chilled, racked, and oxygenated as usual, though of course for only one fermenter.  Instead of pitching the generic Munton’s dry ale yeast, I made a starter of Wyeast 1968 last night and pitched that.  Fermentation began a few hours later.  I’m keen to see how it turns out!

Since it’s been such a while since we brewed, I already have the next few batches lined up.  First we’ll brew another batch of our dark mild, then our Hophead clone, and we also need more of the hoppy brown ale.  After that it’s probably onto the usual hoppy suspects of pale ale and IPA.  That is a total of six batches, enough for this yeast pitch.

I haven’t taken the plunge yet, but be warned – I might post some information about another current obsession of wood-fired pizza.  Having bought a wood oven for our backyard last year, starting this summer we’ve been making pizza in it, and learning all about authentic Neapolitan pizza.  We’ve had ten attempts at it and have already figured out how to make a respectable margherita pizza.  Delicious!

Comments are closed.