08 February 2009

Mudlark Ale

This is my third batch of homebrew, and the first I've given its own name. In Erie Canal lingo, a boat was "mudlarked" when it was grounded in low water. Mudlark has also been used to describe someone who scavenges in river mud for valuable items. This brew looked really muddy for a time. 

I created my own recipe, and again made a smaller batch. Don't know what style this is.

3.5 gallons:
4 pounds of light DME
8 oz. Crystal 60L

4 oz. Crystal 90L
1/2 oz. 6.5% Challenger hops (60)
1 oz. 4.5% Progress hops (1/4 oz. each at 60, 45, 30, 15)
Coopers dry ale yeast (7 gram package)
Irish Moss
2 1/2 oz. corn sugar for priming

I ordered the ingredients at the same time as those from my previous batch, so I went with dried extract and uncrushed grains because they last longer (of course I crudhed the crystal before steeping). I chose English hops because I had Challenger left over. I chose Cooper's yeast for no reason better than that it came in a smaller packet for a small batch. I was planning on making a lighter three gallon batch, but then realized I'd be drinking this in the dead of winter, so I bought an extra pound of DME locally and upped the recipe by a half gallon. This was a dumb adustment because it threw the rest of my calculations off.

The brewing process went very smoothly, and rightly or wrongly, I'll give much of the glory to the DME. It fermented better than my previous batches with LME: from 1.061 to 1.017 still not quite (75%). According to the recipe calculator, IBUs were 28. 

I pitched that yeast at 64 degrees and it peaked at just over 70. The Cooper's yeast may have attenuated well, but it didn't flocculate for nuts. I lost a couple bottles worth amidst the sandy dregs. My new toy this time was an autosiphon, which was well worth the price.  While siphoning, the beer looked beautifully golden through the hose. In bottles, it was darker but still clear... until I chilled it. The first few bottles were foggy, but now it's reasonably clear again.

The taste? I think my process didn't hurt it any, but I'm not sure about my recipe. It's sort of an awkward blend of caramel, somewhat raisiny malts and earthy, herbal hops. The levels of each element seems spot on, but the combination isn't exactly right. So enough with my own recipes for a while. Still, it's pretty good, and pleasingly free of any off flavors. Solid execution of a questionable game plan.

What I learned: DME and autosiphons are good. There's so much I would like to try for my next batch. Partial mash, secondary, a yeast starter, or maybe one of those Canadian Brewhouse kits some people are raving about. First, I have to create some empty bottles. 

No comments: