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Archive for May, 2012

Black Betty v2.0

Posted by Jeff on May 23, 2012

As I mentioned while whining in my previous post, I recently brewed an American Black Ale.  Going back a few posts you will see I brewed Black Betty some time ago and it came out really well, but I wanted to try to make something with more hops and less malt complexity.  For the sake of argument, let’s say I wanted to brew something that was less Cascadian Dark Ale and more American Black Ale.  Not to be confused with a Black IPA… I feel like a Black IPA is just an IPA with some black malt in it and I wanted something a little more than that.  I find Cascadian Dark Ales to be more earthy with vegetal hop flavor.  I think “American Black Ale” is a good medium between the two.  But I digress…

Also, it just so happened that the Big Batch Brew Bash was coming up, and the style this year was American Black Ale.  So it was a good motivator to get it brewed.

So, I decided to dub it Black Betty v2.0.  Mostly because I like the name “BLack Betty” for a beer.  I’ll probably choose a new pin-up girl for the label this time… we’ll see what I can find.  Ok, so the recipe.  This is actually based off of a clone recipe for Stone’s Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (which I love).

———-

Black Betty v2.0

6 Gallons, 60 min boil
EST OG: 1.080, EST IBU: 112.8
Grains:
14.5 lbs. – Two Row (US)
1.0 lb. – Carafa III – De-Husked
0.75 lb. – Crystal 55L

Hops:
2.0 oz. Chinook – 11.8%AAU – 60 min.
1.0 oz. Amarillo – 9.3%AAU – 15 min.
1.0 oz. Simcoe – 14.1%AAU – 15 min.
2.0 oz. Amarillo – Dry Hop
2.0 oz. Simcoe – Dry Hop

Yeast:  WLP001 California Ale (Pitched yeast cake from previous batch of pale ale)

Mash: 153F for 60 min.

—————–

Brew day went alright.  I over sparged so my pre-boil gravity was low, causing me to have to add some DME to the boil.  I ended up with a 1.077 beer, rather than a 1.080 beer.  Worse things have happened, I suppose.

As I mentioned, I had planned to enter this beer into the Big Batch Brew Bash, but I made one crucial error that killed the whole thing… water.  Read my previous post on water chemistry for an explanation, but basically the beer came out tasting flat.  I was really looking for more from the hops, but water chemistry has a sneaky way of taking that away from you.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good beer, just not hoppy enough to be a contender in a competition, so I decided not to enter it.  It’s now on draft here at the brewery.

So, I guess next time I’ll try adding some water salts in and see how that helps.  In the meantime, cheers!

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Water Chemistry Can Kiss My Ass

Posted by Jeff on May 23, 2012

The title says it all.  But allow me to further my point, anyways.

I used to use the water that came from  my hose to make beer.  The water that comes from my hose is very hard and full of minerals.  Hard water tends to harshen the beer by accentuating harsh bitterness and lending a mineral-like flavor.

So I switched to water from a large Windmill dispenser in front of the local grocery.  That water touts that it is filtered a bajillion different ways and apparently, some have tested this and found it true.  So I started using it. Lo and behold, now I don’t have ENOUGH minerals in my water.

Unfortunately, this means that the last two beers I made, an American Pale Ale and a Black IPA, both which are meant to showcase some crispness and hops, were both flat and mediocre.  I know it’s my fault… but I can still be angry about it, damnit.  On the other hand, my imperial coffee chocolate stout came out awesome.  So… there’s that.

I’ve tried to avoid it, but it looks like I finally have to learn about water chemistry.  Lame.

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