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Monday, 22 November 2010

Christmas Brew

A few months ago I was lucky enough to try a bottle of Chockwork Orange from the Brentwood Brewing Company.

This is a fairly strong old style dark ale with added oranges. It has some nice roasted malt flavours and this along with the bitterness helps to create a chocolate flavour which is enhanced by a fantastically fresh aroma and taste of fresh oranges.

I was impressed with the beer and decided to do my own take on it by trying to add the orangey-ness to my existing Dark Dog Porter recipe to make a Chocolate Orange Porter.

At the time of trying the Chockwork Orange the brewers mentioned that whole oranges were added to the boil. Armed with this knowledge I set about attempting to brew a passable Chocolate Orange Porter style brew.

The recipe was as follows:

Pale Malt (5EBC) 86.3%
Crystal Malt (130EBC) 4.4%
Wheat Malt (3.5EBC) 2.8%
Chocolate Malt (1050EBC) 2.8%
Malted Oats (3.5 EBC) 2%
Roasted Barley (1350EBC) 1.7%

Hop Schedule
Golding (5.2%AA) 90mins 52g
Golding (5.2%AA)  5mins 10g
Fuggle (3.8%AA) 0mins 10g

Bitter Dried Orange Peel @5mins 20g
4 x Sweet Oranges (quartered) @ 3 mins

Safale S-04

Brew Length: 19L
OG 1.056
FG 1.014
Bitterness: 35 EBU
Colour: 114 EBC

This was 10 days in the primary fermenter and a sample was promising but lacked any orangey aroma so I made up an orange infusion by grating the rind of 2 oranges into a cafetiere with 100ml or so of boiling water and left to cool. This was then added to a second FV which the beer was then racked into.

I'm planning on kegging / bottling this one today and hopefully this will turn out as an interesting Christmas drink.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Riggwelter Revisited

A while ago I blogged about a recipe for Black Sheep Riggwelter. It didn't turn out so well so I thought I should try again. I went back to the Black Sheep interview and found that I had made a few errors when jotting down the information last time which meant my recipe was slightly out.

I came up with the following revised recipe....

19L Brew length
Pale Malt (Marris Otter)      82% (3940g)
Torrefied Wheat   9% (430g)
Crystal Malt - Standard 5% (240g)
Pale Chocolate Malt - 550EBC    4% (190g)

Challenger  - 7.6%AA     90 Mins (22g)
Progress - 5% AA  90 Mins (22g)
Golding - 5.7%AA 5Mins (18g)

OG: 1.056
Bitterness: 35 IBU
Colour: 63 EBC

I mashed using water profiled for a bitter (for my water adding 2tsp Gypsum, 3/4 tsp Calcium Chloride to mash and 1/4 tsp Magnesium Sulphate and 1/8 tsp of salt to the boil).

The mash and boil were 90 mins a piece and I batch sparged.

I pitched Nottingham yeast (even though it didn't seem to be right when I rehydrated it). Indeed the yeast was a bit of a dud - it took nearly 48hrs to get started and then it needed a bit of encouragement to keep going to the expected FG.

The fermentation finished but took just over 2 weeks so this may have effected the end result slightly and I didn't have high hopes for this one. The aroma is rather strange and the tastes from the trial jar were not that promising.

It's now about a week into conditioning so still early days but I decided to buy a bottle of the real thing and do a back to back comparison with my recipe. The results are really rather good and I think the recipe is pretty accurate.

The colour is pretty much spot on - obviously the shop bought example is very clear and bright whereas mine has some haze still.

Other than that they taste very similar. Mine is much fresher and still needs some time to condition to balance the flavours a bit but you still get the fruitiness that you get from Riggwelter with a strong sweet raisin hit in the mouth with an almost treacle malt flavour giving way to a rounded bitterness with some lingering roast flavours.

I've made clone recipes in the past and although they have been "in the style of" the beer they were intended to mimic they have never come as close to the real thing as this one has. In fact I'd say mine is better than the shop bought but then I find that most shop bought ales are not a patch on the real thing - often containing metallic flavours that mask the hops and malt that should be there.

This is a very satisfying winter warmer ale (and not a session beer) that I'll definitely be brewing again in the future. Next time I will probably dry hop it and think about using a Yorkshire Ale yeast too.