Continuing in my established tradition from the Mass Brewer’s Fest and last year’s Winter Beer Jubilee, I present for you the latest installment of Haiku Beer Review, compiled at the 2012 Winter Beer Summit. I make tasting notes into my phone as the night goes on, so that I can turn them into haikus when I get home (and eventually sober up). I know, I know, I’m a genius, it’s true. Anyway, enjoy!
(Also, thanks to Dig Boston for the free tickets and for putting up with my whining. #thomdunnwantsbeer)
I started homebrewing hard cider when I found out that my good friend and drinking buddy Charles had an allergy to hops (which I still assert is the most ridiculous allergy on the planet, even moreso than peanuts. Hops literally are not used for anything except for beer and the occasional tea! But I digress). Of course it was just a matter of time before another drinking partner of mine came forth with a different problem: celiac disease.
Meaning no gluten. Meaning no beer.
Okay, yes, sure, gluten-free beers do exist, but unfortunately, they’re not very good. And so, my good friend Jeff Marcus enlisted in my aid to help him create a homebrewed gluten-free beer that was exactly good! Something hopefully more hoppy and full-bodied (gluten-free beers are notoriously sweet and light-bodied), possibly even eventually something darker like a porter or stout (but that’s not for a while).
It’s currently way too early to deduce if our wild experiment was actually successful, but I’ll keep you updated as the fermentation process moves along. In any case, here’s the recipe for our Gluten-free HoneyHop Pale Ale (which is the name I just came up with right now and isn’t very good).
Just brewed up Béibhinn’s Strawberry Red Ale, an Irish Red Ale recipe with 7 pounds of fresh strawberries, named for the mother and daughter of Brian Boru, the first king of Ireland. Also my girlfriend (total coincidence).
Check it out over in my homebrew recipes.
Today’s adventure in homebrewing: a smoked kölsch ale, made with genuine charred oak barrel pieces straight from the Jack Daniels distillery and soaked with whiskey for 5 years. The goal is to make it a light summer drinking beer, that’s already been (deliciously) stained by the campfire around which you should probably be drinking it anyway, because we’re coming up on prime latenight backyard campfire drinking season. I’ll also be adding some liquid smoked oak essence at the end, to balance the flavor as needed (or as not needed, although probably needed).
(For those of you unfamiliar with kölsch, it’s kind of like a pilsner in color/hoppiness, except it’s an ale, not a lager. Get it? Okay. Moving on)
- 4oz.Carapils Malt
- 6oz. Munich Malt
- 2.5lbs. Light Malet Extract
- 3lbs. Super Light Malt Extract
- 1oz. Northern Brewer Hops (bittering, ~45 minutes)
- 03.oz. Hallertaur Hops (flavor, ~30 minutes)
- 03.oz. Perle Hops (flavor, ~30 minutes)
- 0.2oz. Hallertaur Hops (finishing/aroma, ~15 minutes)
- 0.2oz. Saaz Hops (finishing/aroma, ~15 minutes)
- 1/2 teaspoon Irish Moss
- 1 small block of charred oak from a used Jack Daniels whiskey barrel
- Wyeast #2565 Kölsch Ale Yeast
- Smoked Oak Essence (as needed)
I procured my pieces of Jack Daniels barrel from the lovely people at Ryan & Wood Distillery, a fantastic mom-and-pop distillery in Gloucester, MA. They buy their barrels straight from Jack Daniels (who is only allowed to use each barrel once), and then age their own rum/rye in the barrels, and sell the bits for $2 a bag. Not a bad deal, and excellent for BBQing (might I add — smoking mangoes & peppers over charcoal and Jack Daniels barrel? DELICIOUS)
I added my barrel piece in with the grains and let it steep for the first 20 minutes. I added the same piece back in for the last 5 minutes of the boil, hoping to impart some of the smoked scents into the beer as well. I plan on adding some smoked oak essence as needed later on, but so far, we’ll see how it goes!