Monday, February 27, 2012

El Simarillo IPA

For one reason or another IPAs are just not a style I brew that often. It's not that I dislike them it's just that it seems that everywhere I turn there's an IPA. Not that that's a bad thing. People are free to brew and drink what they prefer, but for me this hop assault is tiresome.

So that being said when I do brew an IPA it's usually something a bit different. The last one I brewed about two years ago for a friends wedding and fermented it with Belgian yeast. Great beer, but I digress. This one is a bit of an oddball and not entirely sure I can even call it an IPA.

The one thing I dislike about so many American IPAs is that I usually can't taste anything but hops. I wanted a more malty base so for this one the base malt was Vienna along with white wheat. Then a pound of 60l crystal added for color. For the hops I did a first wort hop addition of target (which I do for all of my hoppy beers) and then late hop additions of el dorado and simcoe hops. The beer will later be dry hopped with more el dorado, simcoe then also some amarillo (El Simarillo get it?).

Brew day was largely uneventful. With the exception of burning the tubing to my wort chiller (good thing I have a back up. It was also my first brew using the new false bottom I purchased for my mash tun. I can't confirm it yet but my efficiency was lower than normal and I have a feeling that the change in gear was the culprit.

Mash profile single infusion at 154
Mash efficiency 70%
OG 1.046
IBU 76.8

Mash ingredients
5lbs Vienna malt
3lbs white wheat
1lb 60L crystal malt

Hop schedule
1oz. Target 8.8%aa FWH
1oz. Simcoe 14.1%aa 10min
1oz. Simcoe 14.1%aa 5min
2oz. El Dorado 16%aa 5min

1oz. El Dorado dry hop
2oz. Amarillo dry hop
2oz. Simcoe dry hop

Update 3/18/2011 - Racked onto 2oz. Simcoe, 2oz Amarillo and 1oz. El Dorado. Sample I had was really nice. Bitterness was smooth and clean, which is something I had worried about since using all very high AA% hops.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Calabaza de Fuego - Tasting

I'll start out by saying that I freaking love this beer. It's just so damn good. It has so much stuff going on for such a relatively tiny beer. The base of the beer is an English Dark Mild. A style of which I am particularly fond. I added pumpkin to the beer for body, and then also cocoa to the mash and finally ancho chilis to the fermenter.

The beer is dark (duh) almost cola like. Held up to the light it has a nice ruby color. Pours a very pitiful head that disintegrates into nothing in a matter of seconds... but that's to be expected in this style.

The nose is all over the place and in a good way. First bits of chocolate and roast followed the smallest bit of coffee, then just completely assaulted with the smell of sweet chilies followed by a bit of classic fruity English yeast character.

The taste is pretty much on par with the nose. A nice bit of biscuit and toast and chocolate at first. With just enough chili at the finish to remind you that it's there but not enough to steal the show.

The mouthfeel is where this brew falls short. It's a bit thinner than I was hoping. Brewday for this one had some challenges due to garage brewing on a very cold day, which resulted in me being unable to hold a solid mash temp. Fortunately though I had the foresight to keep the carbonation very low (1.8ish volumes) so it's not astringent at all.

Overall this is a great beer that I had originally brewed for the holidays, but am very glad I held onto a case. It ended up being the perfect beer for this time of year (it's practically spring in Texas right now). Fairly complex and interesting with great flavors layered one ontop of the other but so damn easy to drink. It also pairs incredibly well with BBQ.