with the occasional rant about tin openers...

Monday, February 27, 2012

What to do with a spare 8 hours.

A Sunday evening alone, the perfect opportunity for things I’m not allowed to do when Ms Homebrew’s in: listen to jazz, and brew beer. Ms Homebrew doesn’t mind me watching the rugby, even when it’s on at the same time as an Eastenders omnibus, but jazz? She’s no time for it. “It’s messy sounding”. And homebrewing’s just plain messy. I’m wearing slippers now, while I brew. Once upon a time my homebrew outfit included waders.

I’ve been a bit busy with non-homebrew related stuff, so I’ll condense the last two brews into a single paragraph, seeing as nothing particularly exciting happened. 5 gallons of tiger beer made, from Dave Line’s recipe, to which I was largely faithful; and Kindleweisse, a whatever’s-left-in-the-cupboard wheat beer. The first has been lagered in the shed (in the plastic bucket, at about 9 degrees, so not really lagering, I know), the second, Kindleweisse, an American Wheat beer, has been soaking up the heat from the stove, occasionally exciting the cat. It did take a little while to start fermenting, but once I’d put it where the cat usually sits, it sprung to life. Cats do know the warmest spots.

I’m making a batch of Golden Ale. I’m not really sure what makes Golden Ale. Everything else I’ve brewed has either been pretty dyed in the wool as a style, or written about enough for me to reproduce it with some confidence. Even Kindleweisse, which was only made because apparently in some countries you can ferment a wheat beer with a top fermenting (ale) yeast, and was the result of a read through Daniel’s book.

Even on the Internet there’s not much about ‘Golden Ale’. As far as I understand it’s a relatively new term, coined in 1994, which is enough time for the Internet to have an opinion on it. Nevertheless, I did find the following: It’s a golden sort of colour, between 3 and five percent alcohol, little in the way of a malt profile, but plenty from the hops, which should produce a crisp, dry beer, with a feeling of bitterness, and a powerful hop aroma.

To that end, I’ve used 7lbs 8oz pale malt, 4oz each of wheat malt and barley flakes, 1.5oz Fuggles (hops) and 1/3 oz of Styrian Goldings (also hops) to give an IBU of about 30 (which may or may not be typical of the style). I’ve mashed low and long to remove any trace of flavour from the beer, but I’ll put it back with late additions of whatever Styrian Goldings I have left, and plenty of Cascade. I’ve also used some Burton water salt treatment to help with the hoppiness. I was toying with the idea of using acid malt, to lift up the pH, which I gather the Pilsner producing countries do to create a crisp flavour, but I chickened out of that in favour of something that would, if all else failed, make a passable pale ale. I also tried this: put in your copper hops before the wort comes to the boil and the wort won’t kick and spill over the place – it works.

Ah, and now I’ve distracted myself with writing, and I can’t remember if the boil started at ten to ten, or ten past! D’oh.