with the occasional rant about tin openers...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Tis the season...

Needing an extra empty pop bottle is a weak excuse for drinking homebrew before lunch. In the end I didn’t actually need the extra bottle, but the lengths I’d go to to secure one are as yet unplumbed.

The reason I needed another bottle is I’ve finally gotten around to bottling some cider. It’s been under fermentation lock for about as long as I can remember. Now it’s split between three 1 litre bottles, primed and awaiting spring. I’ve only a few more bottles of the Mmmild to give away, and then that’s the homebrewing done for another year (though there are still bags of empties and a keg needs washing!). If Santa gets me some ‘AAA’ batteries for Christmas I’ll be making some more booze in January (thermometer and beard-trimming-machine both take ‘triple A’s, so no mashing or shaving has been done for some time).

I’ll be looking forward to making some more lagers while the weather’s cold, which will be the perfect refreshing drink for our guaranteed hot Irish summer, and while I’m home over the festive season I hope to make a homebrew demo video. This will be a short, introductory video aimed at people who got their first homebrew kit for Christmas, and want to get cracking right away!

So, to end 2011, I’m happy to look back on a progressive year of brewing, from a tin in March, extract in May, and making the leap into almost completely all grain by July! The beers have been getting better and better, I’m making less and less mess, and I’m getting a whole batch of all-grain done in less that 12 hours! And that’s all true except for the less mess bit.

So, I hope you’ll check back for the video in January, but until then, Merry Christmas, and a happy new year. And remember: Homebrew isn’t just for Christmas, it’s a way of life.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Brew 20: Looking like a Mmmild winter, 5 gal of Dark Mild, 3.5 – 4%

I’m making more beer, because I don’t think the 5 gallons of Hobgoblin is quite enough. Another 5 of mild ought to see me through to New Year. The mild, as it happens, purely by coincidence, is just a low alcohol version of the hobgoblin recipe. Honestly, the recipe is all from my head. I had 4.5lbs of light DME left over in a bag, going solid, and I thought a mild would mature in time for Christmas, y’know, so I could give the odd bottle out, if I can bear to let go. It was only afterwards, looking over the recipe, that I realised it was close in proportions, just about 2/3s of the gravity. Just as well the Hobgoblin tastes great, then.
Uh, yes… I did open up a bottle after barely two weeks.

So, to conclude the post, here is my mild recipe, called ‘Mmmild’, even though there’s no way of knowing if it’ll taste that good for a number of weeks. I’m really just assuming that it’ll be great because it’s made of beer.
4.5lbs Light DME
12oz crystal 55L
2.3oz. chocolate malt
1oz maltodextrine/carapils
All the above, plus a pinch of salt, prepared in the usual extract/grain way.
Then, 0.3oz Magnum, 0.85oz Fuggles, and 0.4 Styrian Goldings all at 60 mins.
Followed by Irish moss and some more hops for flavour and aroma. Fermented with Safale US-04 (English Ale)

I’ll rack it into a secondary, so that if I do manage to part with some bottles as some sort of gift, there won’t be a ridiculous amount of yeast at the bottom. I know it’s harmless, you know it’s harmless, but it does look odd. Fortunately, if some yeast does end up in the glass, the chocolate malt will have darkened the beer sufficiently to cover any of that cloudiness up. There could even be a bit of chill haze, if that’s the way it turns out. So long as it tastes nice, eh? Seeing as the Hobgoblin clone I’m currently drinking tastes so fantastic, I imagine a ‘lite’ version will go down equally well.

By the way, it tastes like Rum and Dandelion and Burdock, and I love it! But what if nobody else does? Maybe I shouldn’t give any away after all.