The impulse brew

My impulse brewing was a success!

I hit the brew store on the way to Angelos‘s place and grabbed, well, a lot. I’ll list the ingredients now, and describe the recipe later in this blog.

6 lbs Muntons Plain Extra Light DME
3 lbs Muntons Plain Light DME
1 lb Muntons Amber DME
1 lb Light Candy Sugar
1 oz Simcoe hops (13.4% alpha)
2 oz Cascade hops (6% alpha)
1 oz Willamette hops (4.3% alpha)
1 oz Styrian Goldings hops (4.2% alpha)
1 packet Safale US-56 yeast

Yeah, heavy and hoppy. I also picked up a bottle of Allagash Interlude for the hell of it. $19… ouch… But what was it like? Read on!

So I get to Angelos’s house, and he looked at my ingredients and burst out laughing… Yeah, this was a “drinking beer” (average %ABV) brew night, and here I had 11 lbs of sugars and 5 oz of hops… then he says his (which was almost done boiling) used 12 lbs of sugars and 5 oz of hops. Oh well.

So we crack open our first beer of the evening as we wait for his boil to end and mine to start – Stone Old Guardian. Good stuff – he’d never had it, but I had. I forgot how potent it was though. Oh well. When brewing big beer, I guess it’s fitting to drink big beer.

I get a rolling boil going and add ALL my malt and candy sugar. We’re not going for color here, after all. I turned around for not one second (noted by all there) and I boiled over. And onto their new porcelain stovetop, which they replaced after the last boil-over mess. I immediately cut the heat, move the pot, grab mits, lift the grills, and start tossing water onto the enamel. That did the trick. Last time we didn’t immediately clean it up, and the sugars cooked and fused onto the enamel and would NOT come off. The added water prevented the sugars from cooking down and allowed time to clean up the stove. No mess. My heart was in my throat because I know how expensive those tops can be and how pissed his wife would be (and she was right there when it happened). But all was well and she was quite happy. Whew!

So after reassembling the stovetop I quickly got my batch back up to boiling and immediately added the Simcoe hops – nice high-alpha, oily hops to help break the boil without a mess. It worked. I set the timer for 90 minutes and we were good to go.

With 35 minutes left to the boil I added the 2 oz of Cascade hops for more bitter goodness. The other two low-acid hops were pitched dry into the fermenter along with the yeast.

My OG reading was just shy of 1.1… 1.097. His just broke, 1.1, the bastard. 😉 Obviously a very thick wort. I didn’t bother tasting at that point since the dry hops weren’t added yet and all I’d taste would be sugars anyway. We’ll try it at bottling time, and perhaps at racking to the secondary fermenter if I’m there for it. If all goes well, we could be pushing 10% ABV with our brews.

Anyway, I kind of jumped ahead of myself – our second beer was Southern Tier Old Man Ale. He wasn’t impressed with it, and to be honest the bottle doesn’t hold a candle to what I had on tap in Rochester with Jeff that night I visited. We then broke into the Allagash Interlude. This was mighty tasty. Strong fruit and floral esters, almost like a Grand Cru, but without the overwhelming sourness. It was damn good and worth every penny I paid for it. We were both blown away by it. If you see it, buy a bottle and try it.

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