Sunday, 24 November 2013

Brewing a taste of autumn

Not a lot has happened since my last post. I seem to have been busy or ingredient less for months, and I am almost at a loss to remember my last post.

Anyway, in between then and now, I continued on the tweaking of recipes and using of simple ingredients. Well, it was summer, and I wasn't looking for anything complex and heavy. So I settled on a really nice and simple pale ale, with two hops; Magnum to bitter, and finishing and dry hopping with lots of Cascade. I know some people really love this hop, one of the three big 'C's that got US beer really rocking. I also know of folk who find their sweet citrus thing just too much; a veritable 'tarts handbag' (thanks Ann and John Ince!). But I'm a bit of convert, and it is the kind of crisp summery hop that makes beer both Julie and I can drink.

The results of the recipe weren't half bad. I suppose that its great clarity, great mash efficiency, and excellent fermentation was always going to guarantee that I liked this beer. But there was a catch....
To get that great efficiency and to make sure I hit my ABV, I decided to mash on the low side. To make the hop stand out I opted for the rather more flavour neutral malt bill, with plentiful wheat malt. To make sure it cleared I opted for a yeast with great attenuation and flocculating properties, SafAle04. All of that made a great beer in those regards, and it certainly meant that you had almost nothing to disrupt you tasting Cascade....I just wanted something more....the taste was TOO clean, it needed a bit of malty backbone.

We've had one of the best autumns for fruit that I can remember. Blackberrying this year was a joy, pounds picked in minutes. Outside of the crumbles made with apples scrumped from a neigbour's overhanging branches, the question was what to do with all the other fruit. As I write, I am coming to the end of a boil of a Hefeweizen. I brewed this a few years ago, and it worked very well, the White Labs yeast was superb. So I have upped the malt bill a little, to give it a bit more oomph, been more generous with the hops as I like the floral properties of Hallertau, and I will, eventually, prime with a mix of sugar and blackberry juice. At least the photos will look nice!

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