Friday, September 28, 2012

Rockit Cup American Bitter Brewday

Time to step up to the Rockit Cup once again, and start serving suckers. Last time we had
From here.
two participants, which means there were a whole lotta suckers out there. A whole lot. Hopefully this time, there will be more brewers and less suckers. But I’m not going to get too excited yet. After all, suckers like multiplying. Never fear, though: what we’re drinking is still bringing the mad skills.

128. Rockit Cup American Bitter
7 lbs. Rahr 2-row
1 lb. Breiss Special Roast
½ lb. Breiss White Wheat
½ lb. Breiss Caramel 10

Mash @ 149° F for 60 minutes w/ 3 gallons of RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 2 gallons @ 1.072
Batch sparge @ 168° F for 20 minutes w/ 4 gallons RO water & 2 g. gypsum; collected 4 gallons @ 1.022

Collected 6 gallons, added ½ gallon; brought to a boil (60 minutes), & added:
w/60 to go:1 ½ oz. Willamette leaf 7.8% AA

w/15 to go: ¾ oz. Willamette leaf 7.8% AA
1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: ¾ oz. Willamette leaf 7.8% AA

w/0 to go: 1 oz. Willamette leaf 7.8% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, & pitched Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale from 127. Wild Wet Hop 2012

Brewed: 9/28/2012
Secondary: 10/7/2012 @ 1.008; pulled one gallon and bottled w/ .6 oz table sugar

Bottled: 10/27/2012 w/ 2.4 oz. table sugar; added 2 oz. Press coffee concentrate to last gallon

OG: 1.042
FG: 1.006

Tasting Notes (10/12/2012): I bottled a gallon of this so that I would have some for the Rockit Cup at the DRAFT meeting; there were five people who brewed: Jeff, Jeffrey, Ben, Brian, and myself. All of the beers were remarkably similar, with a couple of slight differences: Jeffrey’s use of several ounces of fresh Willamette was pretty obvious, and my use of Special Roast instead of Victory—sorry, there was no Victory, so I grabbed what I could—was detectable, although a lot less than I expected. The other three were quite similar, although Ben’s was clearly the best version on the table. The final tabulations: Ben in first, Jeffrey in second, myself in third, Jeff in fourth, and Brian in fifth. I could tell you how the stewards scored the beers—after all, I came in second in their rankings—but I don’t want to reward their lack of brewing. That’s right, I’m reserving the right to represent the voices of those who brewed. Isn’t that democracy in action? All in all, another successful Rockit Cup.

(11/8/2012): This is my first tasting of the remaining four gallons of the American Bitter; I added 2 oz. of Press coffee to the final gallon to see what the introduction of coffee did to the beer, and I am drinking a bottle of each—regular and coffee—side by side. The color is a hazy burnished gold with a fair amount of tan in it—the two are almost imperceptably similar, although there is a touch more orange in the coffee version. Both have a thin, wispy white head. The nose of the regular American Bitter is husky and grainy with a touch of sour apple, due in part to the sourdough tang that comes with Special Roast, while the coffee version is far more subtle and beguiling; there is a touch of jam and fruit playing across the huskiness with soft coffee hints behind that. The slight sour apple starts to come out if the beer sits, but a slight re-rousing brings out the delicate jam and coffee aromas. Flavors are also rather distinct, although draped across the same basic framework: the regular version starts with bread dough in the front before giving way to sourdough and gentle bitterness with a hint of cleansing mint in the middle; the finish is husky and dry with more of the bitterness, but a bit more front and center. The coffee version starts with coffee and bread crust—almost biscuit—and then gives way to wine and jam flavors (that’s the Ethiopian coffee talking, certainly) mixed hints of bitterness. The sourdough and biscuit come out in the finish, along with the slightest hints of the apple found in the nose of the regular version, and a gentle lingering bitterness. While this version is probably less traditional, I do like it better for the flavors across the profile. The body on both is medium, although the coffee gives that version a more rounded and even mouthfeel, at least partially because the apple tartness is minimized, while the gentle carbonation offers a soft creamy and husky mouthfeel in both beers. I am somewhat surprised that there is not more hop flavor or bitterness in the beer, as the Willamette I used in this beer were 7.8% AA. The lesson learned here: small subtle additions (like 2 oz. of coffee in a gallon of beer) can have distinct effects across the entirety of the beer’s profile. In this light, I’ll be interested to try the Coffee Wild Wet Hop—not only did I add a fair amount of coffee up front, but I also added another 2 oz. to the final gallon like I did here.

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