Friday, 16 July 2010

People's Stout

Finding time to do all the things I need to do around the brewery is difficult with two boys under 2 (actually William is now 2 but that doesn't make it any easier) but tonight I managed to get a beer racked and another into the FV.

Last year CAMRA started a campaign to get reduced tax on low gravity beers; the figure of 2.8% ABV was suggested.  I don't know the ins and outs of the campaign and, to be frank, I don't really care.  What I do know though is that the North Hants Brewers saw this as challenge to brew the best beer possible under 2.8%.

We agreed back in December that this would be a good theme for a meeting and July is the chosen month.  No table full of beer strong enough to floor an elephant this month.  Just 2.8% beers of any style you can dream up.

So, with the meeting only 12 days away, I figured it was time to get brewing.  The easy way out would have been to brew a simple bitter but mashed at a higher than normal temperature.  Not me.  I wanted more of a challenge, so I'm brewing a stout with an OG of 1.028!

I know, the style police will be there telling me that a stout should be a certain gravity...blah....blah....blah....  but I don't care.  It's a bit of fun!

So, what's the recipe tonight?

For 55 (actually ended up with 60) litres

5.75kg Pale malt
0.5kg Crystal Malt
0.5kg Roasted Barley
0.25kg Carafa Special III (for colour mainly)

Mashed at 68°C

100g Fuggles (First wort hops)

WLP002 from a slant, grown to 3.5 litres.

The big question is, "Why make up the colour with carafa special malt when I'm using such a small proportion of roasted barley? Why not just use more roasted barley?".  Well this is simple.  I have 12 days to brew, ferment, mature and condition a beer.  There's no time for the beer to mellow and I don't want it too roasty.

So, what did it taste like going into the FV?  A bit bland to be honest but if I can get it fermented cleanly and conditioned in the bottle or cask it should make an "Interesting" beer.

I'll post some kind of review, if anyone's interested, in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully I'll be preaching the virtues of low gravity beers.  We'll see!