Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dream Bitter and updates

I did make that Steam Beer. No name yet, but if I had to name it right now I'd call it "Shut the fuck up, Will Shortz" Steam Beer.

I also made a new Belgian in my special house style, the over-hopped Belgian pale I've been making for spring for a couple years now. This one has the Leuven yeast, which I may re-pitch to make a tripel. Tentatively named "Plague Pale" for the flu that set its production back three or four days.

Kegerator has three beers: "Mostly Wet" IPA (excellent); "No Internet Jerkstore" Winter Pale (class balance...); Random-Ass Hoppy Brown Porter (a new, sleeker twist on my leftover-based Porter/Stout tradition). "Fuck it: Smoky Oaky Rye Brown" is next up, after a few more days conditioning.

Right now, it's "Dream Bitter" I'm mashing, the Old British Beers Recipe #7 I've meant to make for years. The name makes me nervous: I'd hate to screw up and have it become "Nightmare Bitter." Naturally, I've already discovered that the mash temps are totally uneven...

Anyway, from the Simonds Brewery in Reading, from 1880, it's a "Dream bitter with a lovely flavour. A Durden Park favourite." Here's the recipe, corrected for my system and stripped of the charm of Imperial Gallons:

6.5 U.S. Gallons.

Mash 186 oz Maris Otter and 35.5 oz home-oven-toasted "Pale Amber" malt at 150 or so. Tsp of gypsum in the mash; will hit the wort with a Tbsp of Burton salts.

Boil 90 minutes with 3.65 oz Fuggles. Shut-off hop is .8 oz of Golding and a 1/2 oz Golding dry hop down the road. This results in about 50 IBU on a 1062 beer. Not exactly the proportions of a modern bitter, are they?

I'm fermenting mine with 1469 West Yorkshire. After brewing, for batch after batch, tried-and-true house specialties or laid-back spontaneous creations, it was weird, annoying, even stressful, to crunch all the numbers and try to do this sucker by the book.

After an initial yo-yo fuck-up, the mash has stabilized at the proper temperature. Here's to the Durden Park Beer Circle and the late Dr. John Harrison, though I'm sure they'd object to my toasting them with coffee...