On February 25th I brewed the this years international homebrew project beer. It was a bit of a montster project. On the fact of it, the beer is as simple as you can get. Single pale malt and a few very simple hop additions. The real kicker was the sheer volume involved. We were looking for a beer with an OG of 1.114 and that was to finish at at 1.046 to give us a 9.1% beer with 91IBU.
The recipe for a 23l batch called for nearly 12kg of grain! That would have killed my mash tun so I had to alter the recipe to suit. Beertools gave me calculations which did not look right to me but I decided to go with it and take what I got.
In the end I got an OG of 1.082 and the windsor bottomed out at 1.020 giving me a slightly lower ABV of 8.2%. There are a few reasons this could have happened. Chiefly that beertools was wrong but also I made a mistake on brewday and did not mash for the full 120mins, instead I did 90 mins.
So how did it turn out? Well I tapped the keg a number of weeks ago. I then took notes and the picture above on April 4th. The quick notes were: Sugary, caramel, some earthy hops but lost in the sweetness. It was young but I knew another couple of weeks might help it out. I have not had any in about 2 weeks now.
I reckon it's time to pour a glass and see what we get.
It's April 15th - 12:09pm
What seems to be apparent from the photo is that the beer has cleared considerably. In fact I would say that it's as clear as it will get. Holding it up to the light, I can see the glass on the other side complete with bubbles and defects in the glass. I can read the writing on the other side of the glass almost as clearly as if I were reading it on the front. The colour is a deep reddish amber which pales down to yellow at the bottom of the glass. A thick foamy/creamy head on top which does dissipate down to a thinner head leaving the glass with a thick lacing on the side.
It comes out of the keg quite cold so a quick sniff tells me that this is a sweet and sugary beer. It's very much like a Belgian tripel to be honest. There is a hint of grassiness on the nose.
On tasting, it really is a mix of bitter and sweet. The sweetness dominates and the hops have to fight through to make themselves heard. The beer is bitter but nowhere near the level I was expecting.
It's now 12:20 so I will do something else and come back to this post when the beer has warmed a little and see if it changes.
After an hour, the beer is at room temperature and a little more complexity arises, but not much. The ever present caramelised candy sweetness is still there but the grassy hops show through a little more. This is not very bitter but it does sort of coat the inside of your moth with the herbal, spicy, grassy hops.
Verdict? Well it turned out pretty well and if I had used a Belgian yeast, it would have morphed into a tripel. It was worth a go but not as impressive a beer to me as last years milk stout. I look forward to doing another one next year.
It sounds like Al had better results than I did so you should definitely read his article. He is after all, the organiser of the event. He seems to have overshot the original ABV and got 10.7%.
It sounds like I had very similar results to John.