Monday, July 6, 2009

Black Ale everywhere

What better way to blog about the black ale I am making than to include a review of Sprecher's Irish style Stout. I'll leave it to the reader to hold on and figure out which is which. My former boss didn't call me Mister Non Sequitur for nothing. I will try to leave Stacy Haiduk and Rosalind Allen out of it as this is no review of Sea Quest (or other odd movie).

Cold, it pours well with a light brown head. The aroma is of roasted barley and not much else. The tongue is meet with malt bitterness and a nice feel. The finish is clean with a bit of residual bitterness. Will let it warm up.

It took quite a long time for 4 gallons to start to boil, but the Munich malt provide a nice brown foam while waiting. Due to the nearly full nature of my 5 gallon pot, I put the Warrior hops in a bag to help prevent boil over. That is what is seen floating.

Steam starting to pick up now, bubbling is just at the start. The foam will be mostly gone when the hot break starts to happen. This is one of the main reasons to boil for so long. That, and to get the bittering hops to do their thing. One ounce of Warrior at 15.8% alpha for an hour is all it will take, though one ounce of Ahtanum (5.5% alpha) will go 20 minutes, so it will give a little bit to the bittering.

Now a bit warmer, the malt sweetness starts to become noticed. The bitterness is still there, but true to the Irish Stout, the drink is still quite smooth. Nod to the Green Isle.

Boiling really going now. Will have to put camera in a safe place in case it all breaks loose. The 3 ounces of Ahtanum will go in at 20 minutes to go, 10 to go and off. At 15 minutes to go will the Irish Moss and at 5 to go, 2 ounces of Malto-Dextrin. The ingredients list looks like so:
  • 8 pounds of LME (Pilsen Light 2-5 L)
  • 2 pounds De-Bittered Black (Dingemans 500 L)
  • 1.5 pounds Crystal Malt (120 L)
  • 1 pound Munich Malt (10.5 L)
  • 1 oz Warrior (15.8%)
  • 3 oz Ahtanum (5.5%)
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss
  • 2 oz Malto-Dextrine
  • 2 tsp Gypsum
Warmer still, head gone and stoutiness is thin. This does remind me of the 250 anniversary stout from Guinness. A bit thin, but good.

Now to today's mishap. Seems the airlock may have clogged, pressure built up and the boom! Two parts of the 3 part airlock went flying, complete with splatter on the ceiling and lots of overrun on the lid and around the bucket on the floor. It stinks that this closet has carpet. It will take some doing to get that out.

As for aroma, it didn't smell that bad, yet. I cleaned the bulk off the fermintor and moved it to the kitchen. Carefully removed the lid and inspected the contents. Nice bubble layer of CO2 and it smelled ok. Cleaned the lid and returned it to the basement, this time the laundry room since the sun was mostly down and no longer shining in the window. It is cooler in there too. A few minutes later, the airlock was bubbling away like it should be. Several paper towels, spayed cleaner and a purchased ShamWow later, all is quite. Still to come is clean the pots from last night and vacuuming the closet once it has fully dried. The stored bottles will also need to be returned to their resting place. On the fun of homebrewing!

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