Sunday, July 4, 2010

JDP1: It's a malt monster

I looked again. After all, it was 5:20 in the morning. There it was, though, 1.130 at 64 degrees. I'd made a malt monster.
To clarify, my original gravity of SR3 was 1.070, which eventually resulted in 6.7 percent alcohol by volume. So an O.G. of 1.130 puts me in double digit A.B.V. territory, when I was shooting for around 8 percent, or an O.G. of 1.075 to 1.085.

This is my first crack at making a Scotch ale, so I knew I wouldn't get everything exactly right. However, I didn't expect to produce a barleywine. The problem is, I added way too much malt, and the more malt you have the higher the gravity. So for JDP 2, I'll probably cut about two pounds of malt and see where the I end up. Hopefully at a more reasonable gravity.
As for this batch, because I'm still in the testing phase, I only made two and a half gallons, but used a full package of yeast. Given how much malt and sugars are in that carboy, those yeast have plenty to eat. And with some luck, all that yeast will help the beer attenuate down to something a bit drier and drinkable. We'll see.
Man, can you imagine the alcohol bomb this beer would be if I aged a 10 or 11 percent beer in my bourbon barrel? The guys at Brewdog might recruit me.
So that's might first obvious problem. There were some bright spots, though. The wort tasted pretty good. Understandably malty, of course, but not cloyingly sweet, and the bitterness of the hops and bite of the secret ingredient came though (a small miracle, really).

Also, the color is spot on. The dark caramel amber is exactly what I wanted. It's a result of the very dark toast on the crystal malt and probably the honey. Yeah, and the use of honey and light brown sugar seemed to go well. I expected those flavors to be too sweet in the wort, but they didn't dominate the flavor at all. And because they're fully fermentable sugars, the yeast will make short and compete work of them.

As for the yeast, I used a Scottish Ale yeast from Wyeast that came in this crazy pouch. There was a small yeast packet suspended in a solution within the pouch that I had to pop the day before. A few hours before pitching, I pulled the yeast out of the fridge, shook it and the pouch swelled until it looked like a brand new Capri Sun. Pretty cool. Bob at the homebrew store said the yeast were hearty and would attenuate well in the beer (yes, attenuation is the word of the day). I hope he's right. There's a lot of sugars to process.

Bob and the homebrew store are in Frederick. I had to run by the Flying Dog brewery on Friday to pick up some T-shirts, so I decided to hit the Flying Barrel and save myself a trip to Columbia or Falls Church (lot of flying shit in Frederick, no?). It's a nice little shop a couple blocks off Market Street, the main drag through the historic district. And when I say little shop, I mean little shop. I was standing across the street and it still took me a minute to spot the place. That said, it's probably a little bigger than myLocal-Home-Brew-Shop in Falls Church, but it just disappears in the warehouse building it's located in. Nevertheless, Bob had everything I needed, so no complaints.

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