Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Highwayman Old (well...) Ale

One of my favourite songs is The Highwayman, a poem written in 1906 by Alfred Noyes, and performed as a song by Loreena McKennitt (Link to youtube of the song). 

For some reason, the song spoke to me, saying it wanted to be made into some kind of beer.  Something traditionally English, common to the inns of the time, BUT with some continental influences--specifically French or Belgian character, since the mental feel I have of the Highwayman stereotype is at both English and French.  While the primary yeast and grain bill (other than the Special B) are English (and I will use something like treacle or apple cider concentrate for bottle carbing), I want plummy red wine and rum flavours in there as well. 

The rum is simple--rum soaked oak will be added to secondary, plus maybe turbinado sugar.  For the wine, I have a couple of options (the simplest being to add some red wine...); the one I plan to use is to get some of the flavour from malts (the special B), and by blending my English ale yeast with a French red wine yeast, adding it a few days after the ale yeast.
In order to get the "Old" Characteristic, I may pull a growler and secondary ferment it with brett and bugs, before pasteurizing it and blending in to taste.  I figure this would give me better control of those flavours in the finished beer, since I want it to be subtle.

One of the other requirements is that I wanted a warming (so higher ABV%) beer, which would work for mulling and butterbeer.

Recipe is as follows, with my original planned recipe, and the on the fly modifications I made (I.e. mash and hop schedule notes).

The Highwayman Old Ale - Old Ale
Batch Size: 4.138 gal
Boil Size: 4.138 gal
Boil Time: 2.000 hr
Efficiency: 70%
OG: 1.088
FG: 1.022
ABV: 8.5%
Bitterness: 24.9 IBUs (Tinseth)
Color: 41 SRM (Daniels)

                       Name  Type    Amount Mashed Late Yield Color
              Maris Otter Grain  8.000 lb    Yes   No   81%   3 L
             Special B Malt Grain 12.000 oz    Yes   No   65% 160 L
              Special Roast Grain  5.000 oz    Yes   No   72%  50 L
       Golden Promise UK Grain  1.000 lb    Yes   No   78%   3 L
        Chocolate Malt (UK) Grain  5.000 oz     No   No   73% 450 L
                Munich Malt Grain  1.000 lb    Yes   No   80%   9 L
 Briess - Caramel Malt 150L Grain  8.000 oz    Yes   No   74% 120 L
  Light Brown sugar   1.00 lb
Total grain: 13.375 lb

             Name Alpha   Amount  Use       Time   Form  IBU
          Brewer’s Gold: 9.9% Apha acids.  Pellet
              Styrian Golding’s: 3.9% AA  Leaf hops

      Name   Type       Use    Amount    Time
 Oak Cubes Flavor Secondary  0.500 oz 0.000 s
       Rum Flavor Secondary 1.000 cup 0.000 s

                    Name Type   Form    Amount   Stage
 Lalvin RC212 (Bourgovin Wine    Dry  0.176 oz Primary
             Nottingham   Ale    Dry  0.247 oz Primary

               Name     Type    Amount      Temp    Target       Time
                    Infusion 3.819 gal 167.519 F 154.00 F 60.000 min
 Final Batch Sparge Infusion 1.709 gal 202.640 F 165.200 F 15.000 min

9-13-15; Mashed in with 15 quarts of water, temp 150F.  Slowly raising temp to 155.  It briefly got up to 160, but I added about 2 quarts of cold water until the temp came down to 155.  Pre boil is 1.063.  2 hour mash.  Post boil gravity, 1.088 at a bit over 3 gallons (which means my efficiency sucked…again).  Rather than diluting to bring quantity up, I’ll buy some DME in a couple weeks, and add fresh wort to increase volume without diluting flavour or ABV (much)—I can add the chocolate malt at the same time, since I forgot it.

Hop Schedule.  Brewer’s Gold, pellets (9.9%AA); Styrian Goldings, leaf (3.9%AA)
1.      First wort: Brewer’s, 0.3oz; Styrian 0.1oz
2.      40min: Styrian 0.2
3.      30 min: Styrian 0.3
4.     25min: Brewer’s 0.3
5.      12min: Styrian 0.25
6.     8-0min: Styrian 0.3, Brewer’s 0.25
7.     0min: Brewer’s 0.4

9-17-15; SG 1.040, so going ok.  Added 1lb muntons amber DME in 1 gallon water, with 0.1 oz of each hop, and boiled 8-10 minutes.  At flameout I added 2.7 oz of chocolate malt to steep. 
After adding the gallon, I am still at 1.042  I also added the RC212 yeast.  Flavour is more bitter than I would like, but it's not remotely done.

10-5-15; SG 1.028.  Flavour is better, not as bitter as I remember at last tasting.  I pulled half a gallon into a growler, with dregs from a bottle of my brett cider—hopefully it ferments.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for brett beers at Brown Jug to get fresh bugs.
      In the end, I will probably add around 40 points worth of sugar, as well, just to bring the ABV% up, and add extra flavours.

12-4-15; I brought it back inside (from outside, where it turned to slush.  Alaskan winters don't work for cold crashing...) several days ago.  SG is 1.040, and I racked off the lees and added in the growler which supposedly has brett--I figure that the brett character will come in more quickly this way, as well as chewing through more of the sugars.  Assuming it actually ferments.  I did pick up a pack of neutral ale yeast (US-05) to pitch in. 

4-8-16; I didn't realize it's been so long since I checked on it.  Currently, the SG is 1.026.  Flavour is quite nice, complex, and it is slowly fermenting away.  I have no idea what strains of yeast it contains--at last count, there should be two strains of ale, one killer neutral red wine, and maybe brett (except no pellicle ever formed).  I could pitch some brett dregs to make sure, but I do like how the flavour is right now.  So I figure I will just let it slowly keep going (hopefully it'll pick up since I opened the airlock), and maybe I will check back in a couple months. 

6-17-16; Brewing up 1 gallon of kettle soured dark wort to be blended into the Old Ale to taste.
2lb Marris Otter, 1/2 lb each of Special B and CaraPils.  Mashed in at 152 with 2 gallons of water.  
SG of the Old ale is 1.020
6-22-16; SG of the soured is 1.014--I reckon it's about done.  I checked the Old Ale (unchanged) and blended the majority of the soured into it.

6-25-16; Bottled, with a touch over 1 bottle of  Fetzer 2011 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon blended in.  2.6 oz of white sugar was pasteurized and mixed in, aiming for 1.8 volumes of carbonation.  No yeast was added, since I primed it a few days ago with the freshly fermented bit.  FG (including bottling sugar) was 1.020.
32 12oz bottles, and 3 cork&tie ones.

I'm looking forwards to opening the first bottle in a few weeks.

© John Frey, 2015. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.  The recipes, photographs and other contents therein may not be used for any commercial purposes.


No comments:

Post a Comment