Friday 19 February 2010

9. Proper 2% lactic ale

As I got carried away with the 12% red last week I am doing the 2% lactic ale for real this week. I’m employing a different tack to the sloe version this time. I’m starting with a higher (OG 1036) then infecting it with the lactics straight away. The theory behind this is to get a big drop in pH early on to limit the fermentation. Being anaerobic the lactics won’t be able to get going until the yeast has used up the oxygen so there will be some saccharomyces fermentation (respiration).

I’ve used plenty of special malts (roasted wheat, crystal, rye crystal and brown malt) in the grist again to give sweetness and depth as balance against the lactic acidity. Hops are 100% Hallertauer Northern Brewer. This year’s crop is the best I have known and I have been dying to use it alone in a beer. They will work well with the special malts.

My elite bottling team and I bottled the chestnut porter and the chilli double IPA on Wednesday. I am hoping that the extra carbonation of bottle conditioning crisps up the porter because when tasted flat out of the cask it’s a bit over-full. There is a cask which has been warm conditioned being sampled as I type at the Bodmin CAMRA beer festival. Early reports of that are encouraging so I may be worrying unduly.

The chilli double IPA tastes very good. The sweetness of the malt, the burn of the ethanol, the bitterness of the hops and heat of the chilli conspire to throw a sexy party in your mouth! (I’m not sure whether that is a desirable mental picture or not) I had to prize the sample pint glass out of the hand of one of my elite bottlers or he would have finished the lot. The fact that it’s already this good worries me immensely. Something has got to go wrong. I hope against hope that it’s ready for sampling at the Sloney Pony next Friday, fingers crossed.

My 12% Red from last week is fermenting very slowly which is a concern given that it’s only down to 1025. Conking out at 10.5% ABV is unusual for Sharp’s yeast. The beer may be destined for the effluent plant, I hope not.


Sam said...

What happened to the Sloe Lactic?

Stuart Howe said...

The Sloe Lactic is in cask in the cellar. I'm going to leave it there for a few months. Lactics are quite slow especially at 12C so I want to allow it enough time to "go off" properly. Also I only broke the sloes open so they will need a fair while to macerate.

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