Sunday, October 15, 2017

A little of the dark-side

It's a beautiful day here in the South East of England, unseasonably warm and sunny. So, to celebrate I thought I'd kick off a full brew-day to make a Christmas beer, a dark Winter-warmer! In the photo above you can see the different grains I used, we have pale malt, pilsner malt, roasted malt, chocolate malt, brown malt, crystal malt and various other adjuncts like flaked oats and lactose. Hopefully this little lot will combine to make an unctuous black beer  that I'm going to flavour with cacao nibs soaked in Cointreau, giving it a kind of Chocolate-orange vibe, should finish around a cockle warming 8-9% ABV so ideal to sip (in suitable moderation) next to a roaring fire.

Here you can see the grains "mashing", it's essentially just mixing them with hot water and holding a steady temperature of around 65 Centigrade for around 90 minutes. When you do this enzymes in the barley convert the starch in the crushed husks into sugar giving the yeast something to further convert into alcohol. You can't really see it in this picture but the final liquid (wort) came out treacle-black and already visibly viscous, the beer will take a couple of weeks to ferment and then another 6 weeks to condition in bottles, hopefully it'll be just about ready as the holiday season kicks-off!

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