Next Sunday, I thought I’d attempt to brew up a really big and strong Imperial Stout, influenced by some of the great American representatives: Yeti, Parabola, Speedway Stout, Storm King, BCBS etc. I am aiming for an OG of around 1.124, and to get that high I think I’ll collect some extra runnings and boil 2-3 hours in several kettles, before combining the worts in one kettle and adding the hops. The malt bill will hopefully lend a thick body, with a ton of coffee and dark chocolate tones. I’m not expecting too much of the yeast (WLP007), and I think this will end up with a final gravity between 1.030 and 1.040, giving approximately 11 to 12% ABV. Hopping will be kept simple, with one bittering addition of Herkules and one flavour addition of Mittelfrüh. Aiming for around 70 IBU, to balance out the alcohol, roast and sweetness. When fermentation is finished I’ll bulk age it in a keg together with some oak cubes. Can’t wait!
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Today I brewed an IPA inspired by Can You Brew It’s Firestone Walker Union Jack episode, since it is one of my favorite commercial beers. The original beer features a really nice hoppy aroma and a perfectly balanced flavour. I am hoping to achieve something even remotely similar, and looking to have it ready for drinking in the beginning of May when the weather starts to get warmer. The malt bill featured a base of Pilsner and Munich malt, together with dashes of CaraPils and CaraAroma. The original gravity (consequently the ABV%) ended up slightly lower than the original/CYBI clone, but hopefully it shouldn’t affect the final product much. I used Herkules for bittering, since I have some 2012 harvest left in the freezer. The flavour and aroma hops were equal doses of Cascade and Centennial. The calculated IBUs clocked in at 75, so there should be plenty of bitterness to go with the hop flavours and malt tones. I’ve been having some problems getting WLP002 to ferment dry enough, so I thought I’d try WLP007 instead. The brewday went very smoothly for once and the post-boil wort tasted promising, so am really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out!
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It was time to try a bottle of our recently bottled ESB. It was tasting quite nice during bottling already so am really looking forward to trying this one. The beer pours with a slightly hazy amber-orange color and a slight cream-colored head is formed. The foam head collapses quickly leaving some lacing along the glass. The aroma is a nice mixture between fruity esters, a nutty maltiness, some caramel, as well as some earthy and herbal hop tones. The aroma has a nice ‘British’ vibe, and suits the style well. Not really much to complain about. The aroma could perhaps featuring some more hoppiness for my taste. The flavor begins with lots of maltiness, and the tones you get are bready, nutty and caramelly. A slight fruitiness joins in (yeast derived, rather than hop derived) and it reminds me almost of apples and pears. The flavour finishes with an earthy and herbal hop bitterness and a semi-dry finish. There are some slight alcoholic and solvent-like notes in the background, but fortunately they stay quite well hidden. The relatively strong bitterness works well here, balancing out the slightly sweet maltiness. The beer has a medium-full body and medium carbonation level. Feels quite good in the mouth, but the bitterness and slight alcohol notes draw away from the drinkability. Overall a good beer, but it is far from perfect. I would maybe up the aroma hops slightly and use a different yeast strain.