I am having to change the order of brews due to a supply problem with chestnuts. When I went to get them last night Tesco didn’t have any. Instead I am doing brew number 6 as number 5. Brewing a 2% beer is as easy as brewing a 4% beer, making it not taste like pisswater is more of a challenge. I intend to get over the problem by using a much greater proportion of special malts. Special malts are designed to give sweetness, aroma and body to beers brewed with pale malts. As a result yeast can’t ferment them as readily and less alcohol is produced. Of course this will lead to more sweetness, aroma and body so I’ll need to counter that with freshness. That’s where the lactic acid producing bacteria and sloe comes in. These are going to add a sharpness to balance the sweetness of the malts.
Malt wise I am using 120 colour crystal, caramalt and amber malt. I am mashing these in liquor through a range of temperatures before boiling their extract with copious amounts of Perle and Galena hops. To get 2% ABV you need to get a drop in specific gravity of 15 degrees. With so much unfermentable material in the wort I can therefore aim for an OG of 1035 which will leave a very sweet finished beer at 1020. The first fermentation will be with a yeast called Old English Ale, chosen for its inability to ferment a wort to dryness and this will be added at a low rate of yeast cells per ml. Then I shall add a mix of Pediococcus and Lactobaccilus (lactic acid producing bacteria) which I have cultured in the lab after isolating them from a pleasantly sour beer. Once these filthy little bastards have had their way with the beer I’ll add the extract from the macerated sloes and leave to mature for a month or so in the cask.
Will the final beer be any good? In theory yes but there is so much uncharted territory in this brew that I could end up with something that will require effort to enjoy. Maybe if I give it a sexy name and cool and relevant label that will help.