“Psssssht!” encouraged the bottle of cider, as I twisted off the cap.
I’m not really a cider drinker, so I can’t reliably describe what I poured into my glass. The best I’d do is the primary school essay: ‘If an alien landed on earth and asked you what cider is, how would you describe it to them’, an essay for which I’d probably get low marks anyway. I did go through a Kopparberg phase, like everyone else in that balmy summer of 2007, when we all thought we’d discovered a new drink, having in fact only discovered a new advertising campaign, (and Frosty Jacks’ doesn’t count, though it’s a hell of a lot clearer than this stuff in front of me), so I’m not really qualified. Nevertheless, the primary school essay that never was reads as follows:
It tastes a lot like watery apples.
I’m sure there’s alcohol in there somewhere, but as I’ve only had a glass so far, it’s hard to say if it’s in this bottle or the next. I’m going to leave it for now, though. It’s been a warm one, and I’ve been stuck inside all day painting, so I’d earned a drink, but the rest will placate the non-beer drinkers during this elusive homebrew party.
The finished red ale recipe, Smithish, is as follows:
5lb 3oz Pale Dried Malt Extract
1lb 3oz light crystal malt
4oz toasted barley (1oz roasted barley used)
1 ¾ oz Fuggles hops (5%AA, bittering)
½ oz Goldings (aroma)
Irish Ale Yeast (Safale US-04 used)
Possibly some Carragheen / Irish moss to make it look pretty
Anticipated O.G.: 1.048, IBU 30, ABV: 4.5-4.8%
(Actual O.G. 1.036, F.G. 1.014, ABV: 3%)
With any luck it’ll at least be drinkable, and with all the luck of the Irish, it’ll be perfect, and I’ll never need to buy Smithwicks’ again.
1 ¾ ounces of Fuggles… how did you come up with that? I hear you ask*. Well, sums, is the answer. In his book ‘The Complete Joy of Homebrewing’, Charlie Papazian has several formulas for working out things like, how dark will the beer be, or how bitter, or if you want it this bitter, how much of what ought I put in. The rest, as I’ve mentioned before, is all composed from averages. And the sums are the least of my problems. CP’s book is so weighty it takes me 20 mins to find any charts I want. I think I’ll be typing some of the important calculations up and laminating them. What kitchen isn’t improved with laminated International Bitterness Units calculations or a wipe-clean ‘lb per gallon’ gravity table?
So, that’s the end of this weeks’ post, and I’ve just started my second pint of cider. Now, these days I only have to look at beer to have a headache the next day, but I can definitely feel this pint ‘doing its thing’. The alcohol must have all settled to the bottom of the bottle, with the yeast.
Don't ask. I got it wrong in the end! Nevermind, read a later post for the craic.