Saturday, September 1, 2007

Short Batch - Smutt-a-Roni

Smutt-a-Roni (first sampled summer'07)
Smutt-a-Roni is a wild rice beer, the recipe of which we stole from the Portsmouth Brewery, which in turn stole from Mike Luparello. Mike is the finest brewer I know currently living in a yurt. He's also a veteran of the Baja 1000. I don't know how that's relevant, but I think it's cool. Anyway, he used to brew at the Portsmouth Brewery and remains both an inspiration and a good sounding board for my own efforts.

The wild rice needs to go through a separate gelatinization than the barley malt, so we took advantage of our decoction capabilities and were able to boil the rice before mixing into the main mash. I used 125 lbs of 100% wild rice, I'm assuming it was Northern wild rice (Zizania palustris.) The typical wild rice package at the supermarket is a blend of wild and white rice. This ended up being about 7% of the grain bill. If I brew this beer again I'll end up bumping up this percentage. The base of this beer is meant to be a real pleasant and somewhat hoppy pale ale. We used Sterling for all the hop additions. Such a nice hop. It adds a really noticeable cherry character to the beer. The wild rice contributes a nutty flavor as well as an earthiness to the flavor.

Weyermann Pilsner Malt
Caramel Wheat
Wild Rice

OG - 14° p
TG - 3.0° p

IBU 35

ABV 5.5%

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Short Batch - Brett & I

Brett and I (first sampled late '07)
"Brett and I" is a beer brewed in homage to the great Down East humorists Marshall Dodge and Robert Bryan (with Tim Sample getting the honorable mention.) If you haven't listened to the "Bert and I" tapes, go ahead and call LL Bean for your copy. They'll give you a good idea of the daily insanity of living in Northern New England. Of course that begs the question of exactly what I'm doing here. But, oh well, it's a great place to drink beer at least. And Brett and I is hopefully a great beer to drink while talking socialism over the back fence with your neighbor Enoch.

Brett and I is obviously brewed with Brettanomyces. We used Brettanomyces claussenii and in our case we used it for secondary conditioning. The original beer was a Belgian strong ale brewed with the Chimay yeast cropped from The Gnome. Still gave us that nice fruity character and still hasn't dropped bright. We ended up kegging the beer after six months of conditioning, but the brett character is still developing. It gives off an interested pineapple aroma and flavor, which I hope will continue to evolve.

Weyermann Pilsner Malt
Acidulated Malt

OG - 16° p
TG - 3.5° p*

*This will drop as the brett continues doing its thing.

IBU 35

Bittering - Magnum
Flavoring - Liberty
Flavoring - Saaz
Aroma - Santiam

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Really Old Brown Dog - First Edition

7/26/07 - Really Old Brown Dog - As many of you know by now, our friend Olive Francis, the Old Brown Dog, passed this winter. The original photo for our brown ale label was taken when Olive was quite young and so last fall Peter and Joanne had some new pictures commissioned. The photos were taken out on one of Olive's favorite beaches and with her favorite easy chair. The desire to use one of these images for a new Big Beer was the inspiration for our Really Old Brown Dog Ale. Usually the style of beer is decided before Joanne works on the label design, but in this case the tail was wagging the dog. Since the name was already decided we figured that something in the Old Ale / Double Brown Ale realm would be interesting. The one definite ingredient I wanted to play with was Brown Malt. I've always really liked the fudge brownie character derived from it. I feel we slightly overdid the addition, as that flavor tends to dominate the beer. For the most part though I was quite pleased with this beer as a nice tribute to our faithful friend and Head Squirrel Wrangler.

Pilsner Malt
Pale Ale Malt
Crystal 60L
Brown Malt
Special B

OG - 18° p
TG - 4.5° p; ABV - 7.0%

IBU 40

Bittering - Liberty
Flavoring & Aroma - Crystal

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Short Batch - The Gnome

THE GNOME (first sampled in early '07)
In the fall of '06 I met Chris Bauweraerts from the Brasserie d'Achouffe at an MBAA meeting in Brooklyn. Having seen one of possibly many Smuttynose logos that are generally strewn throughout my attire, he thanked me for advertising his brewery. After bemusingly accepting his thanks, I had to inquire if he had mistaken me for someone else. But he said no, the IPA we make has two old men sitting next to a "chouffe." I had to laugh. I then asked him if he was taking credit for every gnome in the US. With a quick nod, he curtly and somberly replied, "Yes." So, I figured if Chris could steal credit for all gnomes he certainly wouldn't mind if I poached on the name.

The Gnome was brewed in homage to the recent arrivals of hoppy Belgian beers that we're starting to see here in the US. I was really shooting for that beautifully soft hopping that's found in the Houblon Chouffe, however, the Gnome has developed its own unique characteristics and flavor profile. The base beer is a Belgian triple brewed with White Labs Chimay-style yeast. I really liked the fruit character from this yeast, but man, that stuff still hasn't dropped bright. The hopping was done with Vanguard, Sterling and East Kent Goldings. I think this beer has a lot of potential, though I'd like another shot at brewing the style. There is a very limited amount of this beer, so if you happen to see it on tap, go ahead and share a pint with your gnomies! (Dan Schubert made me put that in. Really. I know it's corny. You gotta blame him. Really:

Weyermann Pilsner Malt
Cane Sugar

OG - 20° p
TG - 4.2° p

IBU 75
Vanguard Bittering Hops
Sterling Flavor Additions
East Kent Goldings Dry Hop