Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Too Much Mustard Gets Up Your Nose



I once drove past Scary Spice on the A4251 and a mate of mine serviced Ginger Spice’s boiler but I’ve never visited Longstanton Spice Museum. Not much of an anecdote but you have to admire the gossamer smoothness of my link into these words about my latest creation, Spiced Red.



Spiced Red was brewed at the height of the pre-Christmas and year end madness last year so I let my instincts guide me. Obviously with a cost per batch of £20,000 I backed up my instincts with some science and experience but the three month process was an enjoyably heuristic one.  

I used best pale ale malt, crystal rye and roast barley to give a brownish-red body. Sucrose (alcohol) and a blend of three hops (bitterness) were added in the kettle to give balance against the sweetness of special malts. The beer was then fermented by an Irish yeast which has a really intriguing flavour. It made just about everything I brewed with it a really sweet strawberry jam flavour. I studied the formation of 2,5-dimethyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone (strawberry jam/candy floss aroma) in fermentations as my university thesis and this yeast took me back to the lab like it was yesterday. At the end of fermentation the beer smelt sensational. I was almost tempted to leave it be, but when the 2012 crop Hallertauer Perle arrived fresh, green and stunningly aromatic I just had to go with dry hopping. I simply cannot convey just how sexy these hops were.

Whole hops in sacks were added to the CT once the beer had cooled below 1oC. Also added in conditioning was coriander. Coriander shares a lot of component oils with hops. Linalool and geraniol from the coriander help lift the levels of these oils derived from the hops giving a spicier hop note than was possible from the hops themselves. I’m glad I went for coriander because it has made what are the best Perle I have ever used even better and given another layer of intriguing complexity to the beer

In Spiced Red I attempted to design a beer full of enticing aroma with a rich but clean flavour and a drinkability belying its strength. Although referred to as a spiced beer I wanted the coriander to sit alongside the hop notes and wonderfully complex fruits from this idiosyncratic yeast. As always it’s up to the drinker to decide if it’s job done.        

The last Connoisseurs Choice beer for 2012 (2013) is Dubbel Coffee Stout.

Dubbel Coffee Stout is a 7% ABV stout currently fermenting with yeast from Abbaye Rochefort before marinating ground natural-process Fazenda Das Almas coffee beans in cold conditioning. This coffee was supplied by our local roaster, the brilliant Origin and has perfumed my office wonderfully over the last couple of weeks. Dubbel Coffee Stout is due for release in April so please watch this space.  

2 comments:

Simon Martin said...

Man the Spiced Red & Dubbel Coffee Stout sound great, cannot wait to try them on my visit on the 19th

Stuart Howe said...

Thanks Simon, Looking forward to the brew. Our beer is going to be the un-blackest-tasting black IPA ever! I am considering exhuming Roy Castle to play the trumpet while we break all the rules and all of the records.

Dedication - Dedication - Dedication is what you need!

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