Monday, May 31, 2010

Resisting the Urge for a Headline Pun

It's Monday, the day we observe Memorial Day in the US in honor of those who have served the cause of freedom and given all. I brewed today, exercising one of the rights that the fallen have preserved for me. It seems fitting, especially when it's time to start filling the supply pipeline for Independence Day.

Brewed: 100503 Hook Me Up

Another commissioned batch, Hook Me Up is intended to be an English extra-special bitters based on the commercial beer Red Hook ESB. I started with a base recipe from HBT's Biermuncher and manipulated it to match what I can do and what I have to work with. The original recipe called for Wyeast 1098 but I'm using Nottingham, and I made a substitution on the hop schedule, putting in Saaz instead of Tettnang.

This recipe had a new wrinkle for me - it called for some "toasted malt." Toasted malt is just regular two-row malt that is heated at 350 F for 12 to 15 minutes. It darkens the malt (from 2 SRM to 22 SRM according to BeerSmith), and it's supposed to impart a bit of flavor as well.

I spread the malt onto cookie sheets in as close to a single layer as I could manage, then popped the cookie sheets into a preheated, 350 F oven. The smell of the malt as it toasted was quite pleasant, and surprisingly strong. In fact, at one point during the first toasting go-round, I panicked because the scent was so powerful I thought I was burning it.

Here's a picture of some before and after - the malt on the trays is toasted, while the malt in the round pan is not. It's hard to see the color difference in this picture, but it was more obvious in person. I'm not sure it was 20 SRM different, though.

Other than that, and the four separate hop additions, this was a pretty standard brew session. I did it all-electric again, relying mostly on my 2000W heatstick to provide the energy. I heated the strike water in the mash tun so it was adequately pre-heated. I didn't obsess over the mash temperature this time, in fact I didn't even measure it after I hit the initial 158 F I was aiming for. With an OG of 1.052 it hit the software prediction so that's a plus given my recent problems in that regard.

RIP 100401 Honey Half-Wit

As predicted, this one went fast. It got the Brewmistress Seal of Approval, which is a first for Fork and Hay. (Could the Five Diamond award be next?) Luckily another 5 gallons is already in the pipeline, and I may go ahead and lay in a third batch before July 4th comes.

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