Saturday 18 January 2014

Brew Day: The Scotch Ale Adventure!

To inaugurate our newly bought 15 gallon, stainless steel mash/lauter tun (MLT) with ball-valve we brewed a Scotch Ale. This is a very simple Scotch Ale, maybe too simple. For the grains, I purchased  5kg of two-row pale malt and 1kg of a darker caramel malt. For the yeast, I bought a vial of Burton Ale Yeast (WLP023). And, I already had a 50g bag of Tettnanger hops in my freezer. All ingredients for this brew day were bought at La Chope A Barrock. Sadly, we lost the sheet our recipe was written on during the clean up, so I will give you all the quick and simple version... minus the details.

With all the ingredients in hand we began the day by cleaning and sanitizing the equipment. Once the sanitation was complete we began to heat our strike water. When the desired temperature of the strike water was attained we added the water to the grain. The grain was mashed in our new stainless steel MLT. The MLT has a false bottom that sits two inches above the bottom of the pot to keep the grain from clogging the outlet. To stir the mash we bought a really nice stainless steel paddle - what a work out. We did have one problem, and that was the pot's ability to retain the heat. I found an easy fix online, wrapping the pots in an insulating wrap - which can be bough at most hardware supply stores. 

Boil, boil, boil for 60min and voila!.. Beer! After the beer cooled we took the specific gravity reading, 1.062. Only about two weeks later did I have time to check how the brews were doing, and move on to the next step. SO, we had split the beer up into two carboys, unequally divided, for the purpose of making two distinct brews. The one that started with the greater volume remained untouched, but the one containing the lesser volume got a nice dose of Black-strap molasses. The molasses was cooked slightly, to allow it to dissolve, in 3 litres or so of water. I then let it cool and added it to the beer. The beer that was left alone was transferred into a secondary carboy and put into the cellar to lager. Meanwhile the molasses beer was allowed to continue fermenting - I swirled the carboy to get the yeast into suspension and back to work!

After another week or so I tasted the molasses beer and took its gravity, it measured 1.010 and tasted like molasses... definitely added too much molasses. Though it started at 1.062 and went down to 1.010 I cannot predict the total alcohol as I do not know what the addition of the molasses added to the total fermentable sugar count. Suffice it to say that the beer is strong. To balance/mellow out the intense molasses flavour I threw in some coffee beans. I also cellared this one to lager.

One month later I added a nice piece of cherry wood to the molasses scotch ale and to the other one I added 50g of Citra hops. I left them alone for ten days at room temperature then we bottled them. While bottling I make sure to taste them, some quick notes: the molasses/coffee and cherry wood beer still tasted like molasses... now too does the cherry wood. For the dry hopped Citra Scotch ale, or as I like to call it HopScotch Ale, I could feel/taste the oily resins from the hops as well as their wonderful exotic fruit aromas/flavours. I much prefer the hopped version to the molasses - maybe only due to my overly liberal addition of molasses.

The beer has been bottled, now, for the last three weeks. I will soon update the post with a review of the beer. Thanks for reading! Now get out there and brew your own.


- Jean

No comments :

Post a Comment