A Brew to Plan, A Plan to Brew

If you read the review of my beer yesterday, then you know that I am finally beginning to empty out bottles.  This can only mean that I’m ready to start thinking about my next brew.  Of course, if you didn’t read the review yesterday, then you really need to get on it.  John has quite the way with words.  He really makes my beer sound good. (which it is of course).  I think I’m still a week or so from actually getting out there and getting all the ingredients, but I have decided on the style and some of the additional factors I want to include in my next brew.  John made one really good point in his review of my beer yesterday.  I really like to mull over all things dealing with my recipe before I even start putting it together.  One other thing I love to do is make a little blog about my plans and see what everyone thinks about it.

The saison turned out so good I’m approaching this one in a similar fashion to the way I brewed the last one.  If you’ve forgotten, I tried to find a base recipe I could use and then make some alterations to make the beer really my own.  Last time I really focused on the hop and other flavor additions I wanted to add to the base.  I’m not sure I’ve really wanted to change the hop editions too much in this case.  I don’t think it will affect what I’m trying to do too much.  I do have a questions about the hop additions I see on my base recipe, so I’ll be asking that in a minute.  But, like I said, I may change that thought as I continue to develop my idea for this.

So what have I decided to brew?  I think I’ll be doing a brown ale, or at least, that is what the base will be.  I really wanted to do a brown ale because I’m anticipating it to be something nicer to end summer and transition into fall.  I’m sure it will be ready well before the real cold of fall hits, but I’m alright with it.  I’m really tossing around doing a pumpkin ale or something for the fall anyway.

So here are the base recipe ingredients.  Let me know what you think!  The steeping grains are 8.0 oz 90 L Crystal Malt, 8.0 oz 60 L Crystal Malt, 6.5 oz Chocolate Malt, and 1.0 0z Black Patent Malt.  I don’t see anything all that striking about the steeping grains.  They seem good for what I’m attempting to brew.  Since I do extract brewing, I need to add 7.25 lbs of pale malt extract syrup.  Seems like a lot of malt syrup, but it’s just because my saison had about half a pound less.  That, however, was a much lighter brew.  Is there some other malt extract I should be using for this style, or do I more let the steeping grains steal the show here?  Anyway, this beer calls for primarily Willamette hops (80 min, 30 min, 5 min), but it also uses Mt. Hood hops (15 min).  This results in two questions I have.  First this beer calls for it to be an 80 minute boil.  I’ve typically done 60 minute boils, and I’ve heard of doing 90 minutes as well, but I really don’t know about an 80 minute boil.  I’m sure it won’t make a huge deal, but does it seem random that it would ask me to do an 80 minute boil? My second question deals more with the hops.  I’ve only used pellet hops before, but this beer asks for whole hops.  The IBUs are only supposed to be 38, so would it be a big deal if I went with pellet or should I just stick with what the recipe says?  Help me out homebrewers!

Here is where I’m really debating what I want to do with the additional flavors.  I initially wanted to do a nut brown ale.  This resulted in quite a few more questions.  Do I try to make it hazelnut, pecan, or some other nut?  Also, do I just use some sort or extract, or do I try to have it sit on a bed of nuts?  Is that even really an option?  Also, when do I add the nut extract if I use it?  As you can tell I have a lot of questions.  As I was thinking over some of these questions, things got even more complicated when a teacher at my school gave me a pound of local honey.  I would love to do a honey nut brown ale, but I’m already trying to work through my nut questions.  Do I add even more questions on top of the ones I’ve already asked.  I guess I do!  What suggestions do people have for honey if you want to actually taste it in the beer.  I know adding it in different places will result in different effects to the beer.  Someone help me out with how to fit the honey into my recipe!

As you can see I have a ton of questions about my next brew.  If you can help me out with this next one at all I’d really appreciate it.  I want to create another great brew, but I don’t want to over do it either.  Don’t worry though, I’ve already figured out my name for this next one.  That is one thing I never have difficulty with!  Check out the bottom picture for a little hint to the subject matter for this Vigilante!


1 Comment

  1. The grains look good. Mt Hood? Unusual, I would have thought Goldings or Fuggles, but not a horrible choice (I always liked Mt Hood).

    The 80 minute boil is probably just what the brewer landed on. If you do 60 you’ll come up short on your extraction, if you do 90 you probably won’t get to much more than you did at 80. But I don’t have a book with an extraction/boil time table in it. It changes based on boil gravity anyway, so it probably wouldn’t be useful.

    Some people say they can tell the difference between pellets and leaf. Chances are, those people won’t be drinking your beer. If you’re happy with pellets, go for it. The important thing is more that the alpha acid % matches up with what the recipe calls for. If the recipe didn’t state – well use what your store has.

    Can’t help with the nuts or honey, but I’m guessing having the beer rest on a bed of nuts isn’t going to get you the extraction you’re looking for.

    Sounds like you’re on to another fine beer. Can’t wait to watch it unfold!

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