An adventurers path is fraught with much danger; and an adventurer with might skill, and the will to o’ercome oft finds themselves traversing such danger and arriving, unscathed, at their journeys end… but an adventurer with all these skills must learn that a will to power, a desire of self mastery, is essential in ensuring that hidden woe related to the self doth not creep into the fore… this is the lesson for today in our mighty warriors continuing quest for brewtopia….
THE BREWDYSSEY MARCHES ON!
(Bifur – Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to brew we go…)
Hey folks- I wanted to draw your attention to something I’ve seen recently that, well, riled me a little bit:
That my friends is the new advert for Yorkshire Tea…. now, I’m not saying that some ad exec reads our humble blog and has mercilessly knicked our witty portmanteau for their unscrupulous ends of flogging tea but I was so darned proud of the shits and giggles, the mythological connotations and well, the word silliness, we had come up; now I feel that any time a new person stumbles across us they’re going to think that we are the word plagiarists. Which we’re not…
Also; who do Yorkshire tea think they are? Branding their tea as the pinnacle of brewing perfection? Firstly, in the battle of the brewed beverages surely a utopian dream would be more closely associated with a yeast fermented beverage. Secondly, even if one was to concede that tea was a winner in a contest for the idylls of brewed sustenance then, well, would the forerunner be yorkshire tea? SURELY a nice, ethically sourced, loose leaf tea that’s been treated with care and respect from picker through brewer through taster is the brewtopian vision? I’m not a tea expert but I’ve had some incredible tea that’s scintillated my tastebuds and Yorkshire tea aint one of ’em…
maybe I’m just bitter (much like yorkshire tea…zing).
(Bifur – in the interest of no getting our broke arses sued by Yorkshire Tea I would like to say that I am sure they are a fine company which produces an excellent quality beverage enjoyed by millions. Actually, no. Sod you Yorkshire Tea! You stole our idea! And your tea is of a poor generic quality!! I don’t even like tea!! Piss off and leave us alone!!!)
Anyway, enough of the feigned incense for comic effect (Bifur – real in my case)… IT’S TIME, LADIES AND GENTS, TO CONTINUE WITH THE BREWWWWWWWWWW.
So last time we’d finished the brew and got everything into the fermenting bin and I distnctly remember asking you to wait with baited breaths… here’s the reveal as to why.
We added to many hops.
The calculation I had done for the hop additions was based on the initial extract brews Bif and I had done. Assuming an IPA base to be an IPA base I thought that hop additions were an independent addition, that the level of hopping was, you know, the level of hopping.
We had learned that hops and malts actually interplay with one another from our mystical brewer friend in the morning of the brew day; he taught us that with rising presence of sugars from the grain the taste of the bitterness of the hops descends. This means a higher gravity beer, which consequently also has more sugars, will taste less bitter than a lower gravity beer if you use a fixed level of hops.
For those that aren’t sure, the gravity is basically a reading of how the solution of water, sugars and proteins that is beer and it’s pre-fermentation Wort (lovingly called beer juice in the last post, time to move on into lingo folks) pushes against the pull of gravity to help a device float. More sugar, more of a push.
So, back to our brew day; our mystical brewer friend had explained this stuff about bitterness and shown us that, using a handy website called brewers friend, you can calculate a prediction of how bitter your beer will be by inputting how much grain you’re using, how much sugar you expect you’re able to get out of the grain using your kit/skills (this is called efficiency), how much liquid you’re collecting, how many hops you’re adding, what kind of hops you’re adding and at what time you plonk the beautiful little greenies into your boil. He explained that the way we measure bitterness in beer is to use IBU’S – that stands for international bittering units, and then he showed us a little table comparing the relative alcohol and bitterness of various types of beer.
Really handy stuff. But stuff that our over-driven belligerant minds weren’t quite willing to slow down a little for in relation to this brew. We thought that what we’d get out of our grain would be a little less sugary than our extract brews but that, well, how much of a difference could it all make really in such a small amount less…
Well. A lot of difference is the answer. Doing the calculations it looked like our brew had an IBU of YOUR MOUTH IS GOING TO DIE. Seriously. We had a beer from ska brewing called modus hoperandi recently which was a lovely balanced beer; we created a beer with about 10 more IBU’s than this and about 3% less alcohol (possible over-exaggeration) aka lots less of a sugary taste. By all rights this beer was going to taste disgusting.
Now, this is where the neglect of time is going to make things a little difficult, and where I am left scared for the future just a tad… at some stage during syphoning we tasted just how bitter this beer prompted itself to be. I can’t remember if this was during an initial transfer from boiling pot into fermenter or whether this was while we bottled, but at some stage we were syphoning and when the beer/wort touched our lips we were disgusted. It felt abrasive, it felt like being punched in the mouth by a million angry bitter beasts and it felt like we had seriously fucked up.
For the weeks in which this beer sat in fermenter and bottle we told all our compatriots that this beer was more likely than not going to be foul…
but friends, a miracle happened.
At some point this beer actually did something that meant it ended up tasting FUCKING FANTASTIC! After conditioning in the bottle for two weeks Bif and I cracked open some to try and loved it; we played Age of Sigmar and sunk a good 5 each they were so damned tasty!
Every time we have come back to this beer we have been impressed; its delicious, sweet, sappy with a citrussy, grapefruity, yum yum yum going on (we’ll do a proper taste thing soon… maybe. It’s nearly all gone (Bifur – we’re down to two bottles out of the original 37…)).
Friends have said the same and, well, mystical brewer man sent us a message to keep doing whatever we’re doing because this beer was a blinder!
So we did… a few weeks ago we convened to re-brew this beer, with the same hop additions and all. A risk because, really we don’t know how or why it came out tasty. We have our theories but we’re going to hold them back until next time…
Bifur – as a quick aside I just wanted to add that as well as being really damn tasty we also produced a shit load of beer, certainly considering the financial cost and the amount of effort we had to put in. We had loads of fun during the process and ended up with nearly 40 pints of delicious alcoholic beverage… People, get brewing.
Freud judges those who give up to early…