Monday, October 26, 2009

Hargrave's Holiday Hangover

Hargrave Holiday Hangover
Style: Imperial Stout
Calories: 293
IBU's: 44.36
Primary: 7 days @ 68°F
Secondary: 14 days @ 72°F
Aging: 21 days @ 74°F
Color: 52.3 SRM

Grains & Adjuncts
15.00 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK
0.50 lbs Biscuit Malt
0.50 lbs Black (Patent) Malt
1.00 lbs Chocolate Malt
0.50 lbs Caramunich Malt
0.50 lbs Roasted Barley

2.00 ozs Goldings, East Kent - 60 mins
1.00 ozs Cascade - 60 mins
1.00 ozs Fuggles - 10 mins

1.0 pkg Manchester Ale - White Labs WLP038

2 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp Nutmeg, 1 tsp Allspice, 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract, and 1 tsp Ground Cloves.

Happy Holidays everyone! I know its 2 months early, but in the world of brew, I'm late. I am shocked at the recommended waiting times for most holiday brews. 4-6 months in the bottle. That means I would need to wait the normal 3-4 weeks for fermentation and aging and an additional 4-6 months. I'd have to make my Holiday Brew in March! So forget that. Two months is all I got so 2 months it will be. I tapped the Almond Brown this weekend. A full two weeks before I intended to because I am broke and in need of a brew. I can tell the flavors have not fully developed. You see the more complex the beer, the longer it takes for the flavors to mellow and blend, and this brew is a doozy.

The additions and some of the ingredients might sound like the recipes below, the Almond Brown and the Punkin' Porter. I don't always make these thick porters in fact I rarely do so, but I do enjoy writing about them. An ale is a very forgiving beer and a dark one even more so. I feel more free to experiment and take risks. Just so you know, I've made several beer less noteworthy in between the ones I blog about. I've just bottled my Istrouma Pale Ale, a hoppy Baton Rouge Brew. I've fiddled with the recipe several times and I think I've got it where I want it. The hops profile is heavy, just as I like it, the ABV is a decent 7%, but the yield was only 3.5 gallons. I need to fix that. On the other side of the coin I made a Fat Tire Amber Ale, which is a clone recipe of the fine beer made by the New Belgian Brewery in Fort Collins, CO (a shame we don't get that here in Louisiana). In that brew I got the 5 gallons I was after, but fell short of the intended ABV, around 4%. I am writing about this because first off it's a Holiday brew and second it is the largest beer I've ever made. Although I am not particularly fond of the style and less so of the label, this is defiantly an Imperial Stout.

I asked my wife what should we make for our Holiday brew? She likes her brews spicy and she told me to go ahead and make it super alcoholic. I said sure why not, and I reached into my old bag of tricks. Reading through various recipes I settled on the recipe shown above. Normally my grain bill is around 10 to 12 lbs, this one totaled 18. I've made 10gallon recipes with 18lbs, this is 5! In addition to the massive amounts of malt I've settled on some adjuncts sugars. Into the brew kettle I added 16oz of Louisiana's own Steen's Cane Syrup. I enjoy using Louisiana ingredients, and Cane Syrup is known for its potent fermentation possibilities. Also when I transfer from Primary to Secondary fermentation vessels I will add an amount of pure Maple Syrup, just for the holidays. I have used these tricks before to impart flavor and up the ABV, but a new trick I'm trying is the double fermentation process.

At an OG of 1.090, which is what I measured yesterday after all was said and done, the ABV could be as much as 10%, but will probably be somewhere around 8 or 9%. At this high gravity brewers yeast will fizzle out. In about a week I will transfer to secondary and, along with the maple syrup, I will add a packet of Champagne Yeast. Champagne Yeast differs from Brewer's Yeast in two respects, it can live at higher ABV and it imparts a dry, more tart taste.

The high-gravity tolerance is desirable, but the tart taste is not. That is why I am starting with the Brewer's Yeast which will do the bulk of the fermentation. I intended on White Labs London Ale Yeast WLP-013, but the homebrew store was out. The owner recommended the standard English Yeast, but I wanted more specific region not less. So I settled on Manchester Yeast. For those of you who don't know, in the country of England there is the metropolitan of London, and a borough of London is Manchester - so I elected a more specific geographical region. Moreover, the Manchester region is home of some of my favorite things. Boddington's Pub Ale is brewed there. It is like a cream ale Guinness. Its brewery is on a street called Strangeways, which brings me to the other Manchester link, The Smiths. I love The Smith, and although their lead singer, Morissey, is kind of a tool his songs are great. My favorite album is Strangeways, Here We Come. The signs were too great I elected to use the Manchester Ale Yeast with a little too much enthusiasm, the homebrew store owner may never know the source of my zeal.

The Champagne yeast will dry out the stout so hopefully it will taste like a Guinness - not too sweet, dry, and more roasty. In addition to this impressive gravity I got more yield than I can handle. I wanted to make sure I didn't short change myself nor my friends, to whom this beer will be a holiday gift, so I went a little overboard with my water. The extra grain bulk called for 5.5 gallons of mash water and 4.5 gallons of sparge water. I stuck to the 5.5 gallons of mash, but used 6 gallons of sparge. This gave me about 7 gallons of sweet water. Because of the high gravity and the excess water I boiled hard for 1 hour and 45 minutes, but still came out with 5.5gallons of beer. The brew barley fits in my 6 gallon carboy and when I came home today, about 18 hours since pitching the yeast, it was overflowing. What's incredible to me is that even with the excess water I achieved an OG of 1.090. The yeast is reacting violently and I had to replace my 3-piece air lock with a lenght of tube submerged into a cup of water. This device will allow the CO2 to flow more quickly and hopefully quell the possible explosion. This will truly be a big beer - just in time for the holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great... now I want to get back into the homebrewing. Never did do anything all-grain yet.