Monday, June 4, 2012

1 Grain Bill, 2 Brew Days, 4 Beers!

Rye, c120, base, & special roast
I brewed a rye beer a few weeks ago that has several different inspirations. I split fermented it into the two beers that I designed it to become, but wished I had done a bigger batch so that I could play out ALL of the different ideas I had for it. Then I found out on a Thursday that the ingredients for my next recipe (the ever-elusive Smoked Porter/ Mild that I had to skip last time too) were still on backorder and I had to come up with something to brew that weekend at my in-laws with Kel’s dad while she was at a bridal party. So, I decided it would be fun to just do a repeat of the recipe and split it into the other two ideas. Plus, this way I could make the little adjustments to the process that I felt like I missed the first time around, all while looking like a pro ‘cuz I had just rehearsed the whole process grain-for-grain.
I have loved the Rye Beers I’ve had lately- There is something so intriguing about the touch of roughness and depth that it adds, especially mid-palette. I feel like it makes the yeast taste yeastier, the hops spicier, and the booze dryer. I figured it would be a cool thing to work a few concepts on top of.
Here is a break down of what I was looking for:

A)     Coffee in Pale/ Amber beer- Kelly and I are big coffee drinkers, and I feel that in addition to being tasty on its own and in deserts, it can make an interesting addition to other cooking. My dad used to make seriously bitchin’ ribs with a ton of coffee in the rub, and Kelly made an amazing black rye bread once that had a hearty dose of coffee alongside some black pepper, poppy seeds, and caraway.

B)      100% Brett primary fermentation- I generally feel that funky / sour beers are more interesting than clean ones (although in practice I probably reach for the hops more often), and I am especially obsessed with Sanctification right now. It is a 100% Brett fermented Blonde beer that I can’t drink enough of. Layers of funk, tropical fruit, wet grass, fruit-cocktail-cherries, and super easy sourness make for a beer complex but drinkable enough to want by the growler-full.

C)       “BackYard Beer”- Something to appeal to that place in all of us that got into craft beer thanks to the gateway beers. SNPA, Mirror Pond, and Stone Pale Ale were probably the three beers most responsible for weaning me off of my Budweiser, MGD, and Pacifico addiction when I was in college and they still stand as super solid, everyday beers. So, I wanted to make a beer that would fill the same niche: A beer for backyard BBQs. That is good. Just plane and great.

D)     And, I wanted to get a good beer put together for Thanksgiving- Table strength, crowd-friendly, full flavored, and seasonably festive.
So, I came up with a wort to tackle all of these in different combinations of primary and secondary fermentations:
The first weekend I tackled the Coffee and Brett beers.
The second weekend we did the Back Yard Beer and a “Copper Single” for Thanksgiving.

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