Friday, December 31, 2010

Bulldog ESB

When I made the Red Rooster for a second time, I had 3 ounces of hops left over from a half pound of Willamette pellets that I bought from Midwest Supplies. I think it was for $6, which is a great deal!

I thought about what kind of style of beer I could make with 3 ounces of Willamette, since the Rooster was going to take up 5 ounces. For some reason, I was wanting to have a Goose Island Honker's Ale. I like using Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer's Brewing Classic Styles as a place to start, so I looked up the chapter on Extra Special Bitters. I believe I used the malt bill for the most part to make up what would become the Bulldog ESB.

I've seen that Willamette are good substitute hops for English Fuggle hops. However, the recipe did not call for Fuggles, but for Goldings. I just decided to wing it because I had Willamette.

I was also wanting to have a beer with a big biscuity-malt taste, so I opted to use all Marris Otter as the base malt. In the end, I had also just harvested my backyard hops. The trellis fell in June, so I had to rebuild it, but I didn't take the time to sort through the bines to divide the hops into respective bags. They all went in the same bag; The Magnum, the Zeus, and the Cascade. I christened them 131 Westchester hops and used 2 ounces to dry-hop the beer as an afterthought.

Bulldog ESB
OG: 1.061
SRM: 10.9
IBU: 40.7
5.4% ABV

10.0 lb Marris Otter
1.0 lb Victory Malt
0.25 lb Crystal 120*L
0.50 lb Crystal 20*L

2.0 oz Willamette @ 60 min
1.0 oz Willamette @ 0 min
2.0 oz 131 Westchester hops (55% Zeus, 44% Magnum, 1% Cascade) Dry Hop

Wyeast London ESB 1968
Danstar Llallemand Nottingham dry yeast 11 gram

A note on the yeast: I had planned to make a starter, but didn't. I figured the gravity was low enough that I could just pitch from the package, and the Wyeast smack pack blew up big, and it did it quickly. However, after 36 hours, I opened the bucket and there was no Kreuzen. I ended up pitching a pack of Nottingham I had ordered extra.

The beer turned out great - it has cleared, and has an orange hue. The nose is of the Zeus hops, and has a nice Willamette bite. As an "afterthought" beer, it has turned out to be quite a nice ale. I have added it to my list of annual beers to make.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Red Rooster Ale - This Time with Rye

I made the Red Rooster ale the first time back in November of 2009 and wrote about it here in January. I enjoyed it so much that I brewed it again in early October.

In early March, I got to be part of a surprise party in Kentucky for a friend I had not seen since I lived in Germany in the 80s. I also got to hang out with a few of my friends from that time in my life that I had not seen since. It had been 24 years since I'd seen most of them. I took a few of my beers down there, including the original Red Rooster.

I was surprised how my friends enjoyed this simple beer. The chocolate rye imparts a slight mocha aroma and flavor in conjunction with the Willamette hops. I get a similar result when I taste Sierra Nevada's Porter, but the rooster is only red, not dark like a Porter.

I don't know when the last of these was drank, but since that time, I was thinking about how I could improve upon this recipe. I decided to substitute 2 lbs of rye malt in place of 2 lbs of 2-row malt, and dry hop with an extra ounce of Willamette. The recipe looks like this:

Red Rooster Ale
5.5-gallon batch
OG: 1.063
28.8 IBU
SRM: 13.8

10.0 lb 2-Row Pale Malt
2.0 lb Rye Malt
0.5 lb Caramunich II
0.33 lb CaraWheat
0.33 lb Chocolate Rye

1.50 oz Willamette (4.5%AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz Willamette (4.5%AA) @ 30 min.
1.00 oz Willamette (4.5%AA) @ 0 min.
1.50 oz Willamette (4.5%AA) Dry Hop 5 days prior to bottling

Danstar-Lallemand Nottingham dry yeast, 11 grams

While I bottled the last batch, I had a kegging system set up this time around. I wasn't able to do a side-by-side comparisson, but from memory, I know that 1) I made this one stronger, since the original had a target OG of 1.046, but it ended up 1.041. In that regard, this one ended up at 1.055, so it went from 3.8%ABV to 5.93% ABV (I was hoping for around 6%). The rye gives it a bit more of a spicy taste. Unfortunately, the beer is kind of cloudy. It tastes great. It's got the same kind of mouthfeel, like it's begging for a nitrogen tap, it's creamy, and feels like a thin film of foam is left on the roof of your mouth. The aroma is kind of woody and smells of malt. It doesn't have a big hop nose like American IPAs.

Once again, I have to thank Dawson over at Northern Brewer for his Dawson's Multi-Grain Red ale. It was the inspiration for me to brew this red ale, which is more like a reddish-brown.