Monday, 4 May 2015

Double Brew Day - Spanish Cedar English Pale Ale & Sour Stout

The semester has finally come to a rest, and it tastes of success and good beer. I decided to celebrate by brewing up two batches of beer in a day: an English Pale Ale to be aged on spanish cedar brewed in the morning, and a sour stout with my girlfriend in the evening. I really wanted another go at using spanish cedar, and both my girlfriend and I have really wanted to make a batch of sour stout since we first tried a bottle of Tart of Darkness.

Brew day went pretty typically for the English pale ale. I once again used a no-sparge brew day wherein I used the entire volume of water in the mash so as to not need to sparge or vorlauf twice. Luckily, this time I used enough water so as to not need to water down my wort for it being too strong.

I pitched Wyeast 1968 ESB yeast, and in the picture above you can see the thick yeast chunks that I love this strain for. It's awesome to watch it on the stir plate when it goes from turbid and cloudy to looking like a spinning egg-drop soup from the strongly flocculating yeast. I fermented it at 65F at first to try to get a medium ester profile in the beer. Due to the extreme flocculation of this yeast strain it's recommended to rouse the yeast and raise the temperature near the end of fermentation to ensure proper attentuation. After 3 days I ramped the temperature up to 69F and stirred the yeast up gently and let it ferment out.

For the Spanish cedar, I nearly doubled the amount I used last time. I ended up using 130 g of spanish cedar, and this time I used a hatchet to chip it up rather than attempting to use cubed wood. I'm hoping the increase in amount used as well as the increased surface area will help bring some proper flavor. The Spanish cedar I have is likely pretty old, as I bought it from a specialty wood store. I'd recommend to anyone else to just order the Spanish cedar spirals from an online homebrew source, as they are apparently much more fresh and potent. I will be tasting this after a week to see where it's at.

The sour stout brew day was also pretty uneventful. I used no-sparge and only a dash of fuggles for low IBUs in the bittering addition. For fermenting, I pitched a third generation Roeselare cake alongside some Tart of Darkness dregs, some dregs from my concord sour, some house culture, and some Wyeast Brett lambicus.

Interestingly enough, the beer had a huge lag time on it. The last time I used the roeselare cake it managed to kick up within 48 hours. This beer was approaching 72 hours before showing any signs and I was starting to get nervous. I pitched some Wyeast 1968 ESB harvested from the English pale ale, and soon it was ripping away. The picture above is showing the calm after blowing off an exorbitant amount of krausen and shmutz. The beer is throwing off some seriously delicious sour notes like cherry and chocolate and brett. I'm going to keep an eye on it and make sure it sours well since I'm not sure whether the explosive fermentation is from the 1968 or the plethora of sour cultures.


A British Tar
30 IBUs OG: 1.056

9# 2-row
0.5# Crystal 40L
0.37# Amber malt
0.25# Crystal 120L

1.5 oz Fuggles - 60 mins
2 oz Fuggles - 10 minutes

1 oz Fuggles - Dryhop - 9 days
1.5 oz Target - Dryhop - 9 days

Wyeast 1968 - 65F 3 days. Yeast was roused and beer raised to 69F for remainder of fermentation.
130g Chopped Spanish cedar - boiling water sanitized - added at day 7.

Olde Black Tart

7 IBUs OG: 1065

10# 2-row
1#  Crystal 120L
0.75# Chocolate Malt
0.5 # Roasted Barley
0.5# Amber malt

0.5 oz Fuggles - 60 mins

A whole shwack of cultures added - see above.

EDIT: August 2015: After tasting the sour stout (very sour already!), the beer was lacking in roast so I decided to make a tea with some more crushed malt - an extra 0.5 # roasted barley, and 0.25# chocolate malt.

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