Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lagers, a Black IPA and a Pyment

Much has happened in the past two months but I haven't been able to coalesce it all into something coherent until now.  I embraced the opportunity to set drinking and brewing aside for a time while my now annual lager brewing escapade evolved itself into a drinkable product.  During that hiatus I suffered a debilitating ankle injury hiking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, BC, started working again, traveled to Joshua Tree National Park, and bought a pop up trailer, among a myriad of other things.  Today I bottled both my Amarelle Tart Cherry Bock and the Nordic Porter that I brewed in early June.

The Amarelle Tart Cherry Bock received a solid 7+ pounds of Montmorency tart cherries over two weeks ago.  The result is a sparklingly clear, bright red, malty fruit explosion that weighs in at a drinkable 5.3 percent ABV.  I'm not too sure if I can still call it a bock, but I plan to anyway.  In any case it's drinkable and pleasant, with beautiful aroma and color.

The Nordic Porter evolved away from my original funky intention.  While tasting it sporadically over the past 8 weeks, I started to question whether the addition of Brett in secondary was warranted, and that I might just dose it at bottling.  As it improved with lagered age, I started to wonder whether Brett at bottling might only muddle what turned out to be a very cleanly fermented porter.  In the end I bottled it all without any bugs.  Maybe it'll have some success in competition as a straight and narrow Baltic Porter.

In between, I found time to brew a Black IPA.  With a hop schedule loosely based on Blind Pig, I thought that I'd try to really accentuate the difference between expectation and reality with an SRM of 27 and a strictly IPA aroma and flavor profile.  Danzig Black IPA was dry hopped yesterday and will be on tap in another 10 days when my kegerator comes back online.

Tomorrow I'll be making a new mead.  My very first mead will turn 10 years old in roughly 9 months, and I regret not making meads more often.  The past few that I've made have ended up sweet and cloying for my taste.  This next mead will focus on a better balance of desirable characteristics.  It will officially be a pyment (or is it a melomel?), with 12+ pounds of Cabernet grapes from my friend Steve asserting themselves next to 8 pounds of raw clover honey sourced by Lewy in a honey buy I made last month that included my brother Jeff.  I plan to add some acid blend at some point (if warranted), and finish it off with a white oak spiral to try and increase the underlying complexity of the final mead without making too much of a specific flavor impact.  Lalvin 71B will probably provide the magic.  Check out the recipe below:

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