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Why do we Homebrew? Because beer is fucking delicious and asking questions in articles is a pedantic rhetorical device (the second part doesn’t apply to the initial question). FACTS: Beer is delicious, certain parts of beer are delicious-er, some beer is expensive, and often times I don’t want 10 gallons of the same beer. So what to do (Fuck me I did it again)? The split batch homebrew is an awesome way to make beer (which is always cheaper than buying beer), it allows you to pick the flavours you want in your beer (which is always true of homebrew… and also dependant on your skill level) and allows you to create two different beers in a single brew day!
The way I have done this most recently is by picking a relatively basic grain bill whose character can be changed easily with other ingredients.
(10 Gallon batch size)
10% crystal 40
80% Canadian 2-row
So in other words a pretty basic grain bill that could range from a light blonde to a heavy IPA dependent on hops, yeasts etc. Therefore I decided to add:
10% smoked malt- the idea being that the smoked malt would add a little nuance to the malt profile without becoming the focus nor shifting the total flavour profile too much.
A standard one hour mash was done.
I decided to derive the more prominent flavours from my hop additions. Of course I couldn’t change much between the two batches in the boil but it allowed me to further play with dry hopping after the batches were split. In order to have the dry hop additions be more impactful I decided on light American-pale ale-ish level of hopping.
60 mins 1 oz centennial
30 mins 1.5 oz cascade
1 min 1 oz. El Dorado So water melon and citrus with a hint of smoke like a barbecue in a glass… actually I’m hoping that smoke is a bit sweet like in a gratzer and works with sweet citrusy hops… HOPE!
1 Hour Boil… THEN SPLIT!
At this point I split my wort into fermenters, aerate and here’s where I can really change the flavour profile of the two beers. I pitched Belgian pale ale yeast in one fermenter and American ale yeast in the other. I am confident both yeasts will work nicely with the recipe. The Belgian I hope will give some fruity funk that works with the watermelon flavour of the el dorado hopsand the citrus of the cascade. Whilst with the American pale ale I hope to showcase the hops themselves and will further accentuate those flavours by dry-hopping with cascade and el dorado.
So how did it turn out? I’ll tell you in three weeks… and if you are really interested let me know and maybe I can get you some.
If you read this blog at all closely you will notice several things. I enjoy beer, i give special attention to the Tri-City area of Vancouver because its where I live, and i care less about spelling and punctuation than i really should (I already graduated, they can’t take my degree back… can they?). What you may not know is i also enjoy making beer. I wouldn’t call myself an expert nor do I make great beer on every attempt. I understand the general science but tend to nod off once people get into the biology of it.
Much like this blog I sort of give up on the minutia (would you believe i spelled that word right on the first try? i even looked it up to make sure!) So when I do make something good its more of a happy accident than a purposeful effort. The thing is, I kind of want to make good beer all the time, so after being aware of the local beer club for a few months i finally got around to attending a meeting.
So i wandered down to Beyond the Grape with a brewing friend of mine and a growler of my least terrible beer made in months. Something I call “Adult Joke Dark Wit” a dark wit fermented with an abbey yeast. In short it was a great experience. Most people had brought some home-brew or something delicious (the Half Pints Burley Wine was great!), which we sipped and talked about. I can say honestly that I didn’t have a bad Home Brew last night, and that i would choose most of them ahead of many craft beers available. Highlights included a wet hopped ale, a dry-hopped cider, a Baltic Vanilla Porter, a Scotch Ale, and even a Sour. The discussion was just as good as the beer and for the most part i just tried to glean some of the more technical and finer points of brewing knowledge espoused by the members. What was really encouraging was the real effort made by the club to create a community through group buys (who does’t like cheaper hobby supplies), group brews, competitions, and outreach to the greater civic community. In a society where many feel like we are growing away from our fellow (wo)man clubs like this provide an opportunity to comes together and drink awesome beer!
So, if you like beer and are considering or are already brewing check out a club, if it’s anything like the Tri-City Brew Club you’ll be glad you attended.