Wednesday, April 13, 2016
The Gaffer's Home brew: a Hobbit Beer
If you haven't figured out by now that I'm a geek, and love fantasy novels, well....you're blind. I spent quite a while thinking on this recipe, to attempt to get something similar to an ale brewed by the residents of the Shire. As modified by Frodo and Bilbo's comments in the movie "Have you been getting into the Gaffer's homebrew?" "Well, yes. But that's not the point.". Which to me says that the Gaffer's brew is something special--either extra strong, or with extra herbs.
If you've done some reading, the Shire is based on an Victorian, pastoral England; I believe Tolkien had Warwickshire in mind. After seeing the horrors of industrialization and WWI, it's reasonable that he dreamed of an idealized time, before the smog and toxins. So, I decided to go with a fairly simple grain bill without Crystal or fancy malts--just English base malts, some brown malt to modify the colour, and special roast to add some complexity--and brew a ESB (higher on the OG, and on the low end of bitterness for the style), since it is likely Tolkien was drinking something along those lines while writing the Hobbit.
To keep thing interesting (and from being to style), I am adding some licorice root--the Gaffer being known for his gardening--and a little wormwood (extra herbs). Other thoughts as to the extra strength might be the use of potatoes in the Gaffer's beer to give some extra fermentable sugars (since he was know for his expertise in growing root crops); however, I didn't feel like attempting that this time. I'm also not using an English hop for my bittering addition--I wanted a fruitier variety for that purpose--although Fuggles will be used for the flavour addition.
Gaffer's Brown Ale - Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Batch Size: 3.488 gal
Boil Size: 4.988 gal
Boil Time: 60.000 min
Bitterness: 24.8 IBUs (Tinseth)
Color: 11 SRM (Morey)
Name Type Amount Mashed Late Yield Color
Simpsons - Golden Promise Grain 4.00 lb Yes No 81% 2 L
Simpsons - Maris Otter Grain 4.00 lb Yes No 81% 3 L
Special Roast Grain 8.000 oz Yes No 72% 50 L
Brown Malt (British Chocolate) Grain 6.000 oz Yes No 70% 65 L
Total grain: 8.875 lb
Name Alpha Amount Use Time Form IBU
Brewers Gold 9.9% 0.350 oz Boil 60.000 min Pellet 14.2
Brewers Gold 9.9% 0.100 oz Boil 2.000 min Pellet 0.3
Fuggles 4.5% 0.300 oz Boil 25.000 min Pellet 3.9
Fuggles 4.5% 0.200 oz Boil 2.000 min Pellet 0.3
Name Type Use Amount Time
Oak Cubes Flavor Primary 0.000 tsp 0.000 s
Wormwood Herb Boil 0.2 oz 10.000 min
Licorice Root Flavor Primary 0.2500 oz 10.000 s
Name Type Form Amount Stage
Wyeast Irish Ale Ale Liquid Yeast Cake
Name Type Amount Temp Target Time
Infusion 4.781 gal 162.413 F 155.000 F 0.000 s
Final Batch Sparge Infusion 1.937 qt 207.718 F 165.200 F 15.000 min
Mashed in 2/1 and hit the target of 156 (I want this to finish fairly sweet). Pre-boil is not quite the volume I want, and is about 3.75 gallons of 1.049 at 135 (1.065 adjusted?).
As usual, I am steeping the grains in 1.5 gallons of 150 water until the main kettle comes to a boil. This is heavily squeezed, and will be brought to a boil separately; some will be added into the main kettle, but most boiled down to around 40oz.
I will be adding that to a growler, and pitching a bit of Roeselares to ferment separately for a few weeks and develop some complexity; remember that during the time the story is based, sanitation and pure yeast cultures weren't available. So I am using a short mixed fermentation on a small amount, and will pasteurize that before blending with the main beer, since I don't want more than a touch of sourness/brett.
4-13-16; OG 1.070. Flavour is complex and bitter--probably too bitter for me; hopefully it mellows out. I think I forgot to take the wormwood's bitterness into account.
SG is unchanged since last month--1.014.
© John Frey, 2016. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. The recipes and other contents therein may not be used for any commercial purposes.