On Brewing, Beer as Cuisine and the Appreciation of Real Beer
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Honorary Irishman '10
This year's batch of the annual Honorary Irishman Irish-style Dry Stout went into a keg over the weekend and into my belly last night. I really enjoy cooking up a big dinner for St. Patrick's Day and this year was no exception. Cured my own corned beef, house smoked trout, pan roasted cabbage, boiled potatoes & carrots, and home made soda bread. All washed down with lashings of me home brewed stout. This years version came a little closer American Stout than a strictly considered Irish Stout, I'm no Style Queen, so it's fine with me. 7 1/2 #'s Gambrinus ESB, 1 # flaked barley, and 1 # Black Barley; single infusion for just a bit under 5 gallons of 13.5P wort. In pounds; 7:1:1 of pale, flaked barley, and roasted barley is the standard grist bill. My preference is for Marris Otter & a British Roasted Barley, this year I used Gambrinus ESB and the Briess Black Barley, both for the first time. The Gambrinus is OK, I guess, maybe not the same fine, juicy quality of flavor that I like in the the MO. I'm feeling stronger about the Briess Black Malt though; "No thank you!" Likely a matter of perception, but I think the British roasted malts are of a better quality and quite a bit smoother. Very slightly higher gravity this year with the addition of 3/4# brown sugar in the kettle, just thought "Why not" & 15 more BU's, bittered with Cluster and Domestic Goldings. My first use of Cluster in any beer, I like it, with a pleasant evergreen-like resin with citrus character. Reminds me a bit of Northern Brewer. Increased hop flavor, the 60 BU & a firm 5.5% abv are where I get the American Stout aspect. I rushed this batch to service just a bit, but it drinks very nicely; smoothish, very dark chocolate roast malt flavor, firm lingering bitterness, warming a bit after the finish. I get an interesting very light tang through the finish too, like the acidity in coffee, perhaps a bit of a cidery character from the brown sugar contributes also. I "powderized" the black malt in this years batch, maybe it's a flavor effect of that. I imagine that right as the flavor profile comes together, it'll run out.