Thursday, March 12, 2015

My return to the game

For those of you that have been faithful readers of this blog in the past, you are well aware of the fact I haven't been brewing much in the last couple of years, as well as my propensity for lengthy (sometimes involuntary) hiatuses. Frankly, this makes me sad. I have plenty of free time, a little disposable income, and a fiery passion for beer. I would like to return to the days when I was brewing more consistently, firstly because I miss having homebrew in the house. Secondly--and perhaps most importantly--beer is a creative outlet for me. I'm starting to feel like a bedridden Keith Jarrett with all of these ideas whirring around in my head and nowhere to exercise them, and at this point I feel like I owe it to myself to get things rolling again. I'm hoping these upcoming batches will serve as my very own The Melody at Night, with You. 

Recently, I read an article (which I of course can't relocate at the moment, but for which I will post a link when I do find it) about brewing one-gallon batches of in lieu of making yeast starters (small batches of unhopped beer meant solely to stimulate yeast growth and get a proper volume of yeast to pitch into a 5-gallon batch). I don't always make starters, but in an attempt to hone my methods a bit and take my beer to the next level, I'm going to try and avoid underpitching from hear on out. To save my more casual beer fans from too much jargon, this way the yeast will do what it's supposed to, and the beer will taste better and be the correct ABV.

I have planned a simple but classic 1-gallon ordinary bitter to build up a nice yeast cake for my all-time favorite recipe, the Westminster 1839 Porter. Here are the two recipes:

Ordinary People:
Target OG: 1.038
Target FG: 1.012
Target ABV: 3.3%
Target IBU: 29
Projected SRM: 12°L (copper/amber)

1 lb Maris Otter
4 oz Crystal 60L
1 oz brown sugar

12 g (for accuracy) East Kent Goldings @30 min
7 g East Kent Goldings @flameout

WLP002 English Ale yeast

Westminster 1839 Porter:
Target OG: 1.057
Target FG: 1.019
Target ABV: 5%
Target IBU: 45
Projected SRM: 32°L (VERY dark, almost opaque)

8 lbs Maris Otter
2 lbs Brown malt
8 oz Black patent malt

2.5 oz Fuggles @60 minutes
1.5 oz Fuggles @5 minutes

WLP002 English Ale yeast cake from Ordinary People

I'm very excited about these. The porter was really tasty last time, and I just love a good, quaffable English bitter. If the porter comes out as well as last time, I've got my eye on a May competition in Philly...but more on that later.

Thanks for reading, and PROST!

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