Monday, March 10, 2008

Under the Brewers Kilt:Triple Decoction Epic Brew Day

A few months ago, Tim and Rodney started a series of Scottish Ales using the triple decoction method of brewing.

The first couple of brews, a 60 Shilling (Mac 60) and an 80 Shilling) Mac 80 turned out excellent and have one them a couple of awards. These beers pack a lot of flavor into a malty, earthy, low alcohol beer. A long cool fermentation with a traditional strain of Scottish yeast lends a subtle smokiness and a smooth drinkability.

Yesterday marked Tim's 100th brew, and we all went down to hang out and help he and Rodney with the epic end to the series: The Wee Heavy. These beer have huge malt flavors, caramel, dark fruits, and will usually knock your kilt off with the alcohol strength.

Lots of brewers and friends showed up to support Tim and Rodney (there was also free food and 6-7 beers on tap, so that might have helped too!) and a good time was had by all. Here's a few pictures.

Decoctions are a very long process that takes patience and elbow grease. A few guys who showed up who were interested in trying it on their own brewing systems, were thoroughly convinced it was not for them after seeing what was involved. The amount of grain used surpassed the amount one mash tun would hold, so we hauled our brewing system down and simply mashed and decocted on two separate systems, lautered and sparged into one boil pot to get the volume (10 gallons) that was desired. Everything worked out great with a final gravity of 1.098, Tim is hoping this beer will be in the 10 percent range if all goes well with fermentation.

Like they say,"If it's not Scottish, it's Crap!". I strongly agree.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Liver Hardening March

Tis the season for high alcohol beer. Strong Ale, Barley Wines and everything in between. Beery blogger and fellow Beacon Hill resident Geoff Kaiser is doing a great job on following what is going on around the area in what proves to be a sadistic but fun punishment to the liver. He and his girlfriend even found time to stop by on a double batch day to help dough in on a batch of our hop-blitzkrieged IPA.

Later in the evening found Rodney and I doing cellar work after brewing. We transfered our Robust Porter(roasty and chocolaty!), Berliner Weisse (getting nice and sour!) and took a sample of a very special beer that is becoming very complex.

Almost a year ago we brewed a Belgian Dark Strong. The yeast fermented this beer very quickly so it originally came out kind of hot (alcohol) so we let it sit to mellow. Almost 6 months later I got a wild hair and decided to dump a mixture of raisins reduced in Tawney Port into 5 gallons. We let it sit for another couple of months, then Rodney kegged it. The sugars from the raisins have naturally carbonated with some left over yeast in the keg. The beer is dark, rich and fruity, and very drinkable at over 10 percent.

I will try and somehow get this into some bottles and get it out to a few of you. Definitely one of the best beers we've turned out, and exceeds our standards for what a Belgian inspired beer should taste like. I think I'm going to go sneak another taste...