The first Scotch ale test batch is in the books. Happily, it's not only drinkable (if boozy), but it tastes and looks like a Scotch ale (more or less). But given the fact that I way over shot my target alcohol range of 7.5-8.5 percent and landed at 13 percent, there is no future for this batch.
That doesn't mean it's going to waste. As with every batch of beer, I learn a little more. With this batch, I know that 7.5 pounds of malt and a half pound of honey and brown sugar is too much for a 2.5 gallon batch. Good to know. I also know now that I need to be more careful in selecting my yeast. Seeing as the beer will settle in the 7 to 10 percent A.B.V. range, I need a yeast that can deal with that much alcohol and that many sugars. And when I do my next wort, I now know not to cover the pot.
(By the way, shouldn't Charlie Papazian have pointed that out in The Complete Joy of Homebrewing? It's pretty fucking important and it took listening to hours of Brew Strong shows before I heard a passing reference to boiling the wort uncovered. It consentrates the wort, which is great, but it prevents you from infecting the beer with the condensation that can collect on the pot lid and drip back in the wort. I think not infecting the beer is a good thing to address in a homebrewing guide. After learning this tidbit of info, I had to spend a couple hours researching how to compensate for the lose of liquid during the uncovered boil. John Palmer covers the whole subject on his Website, How to Brew.)
Now that JDP1 is complete and decent, I've given it a name: Jeremy Clarkson. Clarkson is the host of the British car show, Top Gear, and whose philosophy can be boiled down to "more." More horsepower, more torque, more speed, more, more. So I thought it would be fitting to name my high-alcohol malt bomb after him. I've also entered Jeremy Clarkson in the inaugural D.C. State Fair's Homebrew contest. I don't expect to win, but I am looking for feedback. Like I said, I think it tastes like a Scotch ale (more or less), but I want some unbiased feedback.
Speaking of names, I've renamed this blog. Gastronomy is now Five Gallon Carboy. It's to reflect the transition of the blog from cooking to homebrewing. (A carboy is the glass vessel that looks like a water-cooler jug that homebrewers ferment their beer in.)
Finally a hop update. The Cascade hops (right) continue to thrive, nearly reaching the end of the nine-foot line. However, the Willamette hops (center) have come on strong in the last couple weeks, overtaking the Centennial hops (left). Now, the latter two hops have a long way to go before they catch up with the Cascade hops, but it's good to see they're still growing.
This being the first year of growth, I won't get any yield to speak of, but I will be wet hopping a beer in a couple weeks. Some folks from D.C. Homebrewers sent out word that Rebel Brewer was taking orders for fresh hops. To get a feel for making a wet hop beer (meaning that I use fresh hops instead of dry hops or pellets) I ordered a pound of Centennial to make a Centennial IPA. In addition to the fresh hops, which will be used for flavor, I picked up some Centennial pellets for bittering and dried Centennial hops for dry hopping.
It should be interesting. Hopefully, it will be good.