Monday, March 23, 2009

Apocalypse Wow!

For my next beer, I wanted to try something a little more complex that the pale ale that I did last time.  I have been really getting into the complexity of porters lately, so I decided I wanted to experiment with the versatility of this dark ale.  After a lot of tasting beers at saucer, I decided I wanted to make a vanilla porter.  Breckenridge makes a very good one, and, if you can get it on draft, it's even better.  So, with the help of my friend and fellow brewer, Mike, I set out to embark on a journey along the Nung river, into the heart of darkness of all porters.  The Apocalypse Wow.  

Like I said, I really wanted to experiment with this beer and try to add in a bunch of crazy ingredients.  Taking a page out of The Joy of Homebrewing, I decided on the perfect recipe- Goat Scrotum Ale (not making this name up).  Apparently, this beer was made hundreds of years ago using the same ingredients as today.  However, unlike the name suggests, we did not add any goat scrotum.  It's not really goat scrotum season anyway. 

As you can see from the above picture, this was a very dark beer, even after the addition of all of the water to make the full 5 gallons.  We used roasted barley and black malt in addition to brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate to achieve this beautiful color.  Here is the full list of ingredients that we used.

5 lb Dark Malt Extract
1 lb Crystal Malt
1/4 lb Roasted Barley
1/4 lb Black Malt
1 lb Corn Sugar (for the boil, not for bottling, of course)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Molasses
1 cube Baking Chocolate
2 tsp Gypsum
1 oz Cascade Hops
1/2 oz Tettanger Hops

The first thing we did was pop open a homebrew and played with this dog, Roxy.  

Roxy is an awesome dog.  That is all.

Ok, so we heated up 2 1/2 gallons of water 
to 150 degrees and steeped the grains for 30 minutes.  The water turned very, VERY dark much to our delight.  We took out the grains and steeped them to get even more of the flavors out of our precious grains.  After that, we added our malt extract, sugars, molasses, gypsum, and baker's chocolate.  We brought the pot to a rolling boil and added our boiling hops.  The recipe called for 1 1/4 oz of boiling hops but the cascades came in 1 oz increments.  Since we were only using 1/4 oz of the tettanger hops, we put some of the tettanger in place.  

With 2 minutes left into the boil (60 minutes total), we added 1/4 oz of the tettanger hops.  We cooled down the wort and pitched the yeast (Nottingham) into the bucket.  The original specific gravity was 1.055.  Should make for a really nice beer in about a month.  

After about 18 hours, I checked the bucket and was happy to see it was already bubbling a lot.  The yeast is very active and, because the batch was so sweet, they should have a lot of food to convert into precious alcohol.  Good news for me!

Wow, thats a lot of wort.  Although the head is hiding it, there is sweet, dark beer in there.  Darker than Col. Kurtz's heart.

Trying to get the boil with no boil-over.  This was a bit of a worry because we put so much water and ingredients into the pot.  But no problem because Mike is a natural.

Mike trying to aerate our beer after we pitched the yeast.  He looks so happy, and he should be.  Before too long, we will be drinking this yummy beer.  

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