Good News, Bad Brews

Obviously I haven’t been up to nothing this whole time.  It really looks like Beer for Breakfast has taken a turn from consumer to brewer.  Is this because we have sampled every single beer ever created (or that the LCBO permits us to try) and yearn for more?  Or perhaps we desire beers that have more complexity and unique tastes to suit our personal preferences..  So while everyone is dreaming and brewing up these delicious brews, I’ve decided to make a bad brew… a boring lager.  Crisp, clean, plain, not very strong.. lager.

Why?

…umm…

Well, its a challenge.  Its technically more difficult to achieve a flavorless lager than a bold and beautiful ale.  If I can pull this off then I will have learned just a little bit more about brewing  After all, Lagers are the most popular beer in the world.  Sounds crazy, but its true.  So to ‘feed the masses’ I have crafted my own lager.  I will do a follow-up rating on it in a few months when its ready.  But to give the per-cursor of brewing the lager I’ve give a few details.

Beer Name:  Cracked Malibu Lager

* An ode to the cracked windshield on my Chevy Malibu.  Gives the beer a real good ‘Mass Produced” vibe to it doesn’t it?

Grain Bill:

6 lbs – Pilsner Malt

2.5 lbs – American 6-row (6-Row is a base malt with a higher diastic power than 2-Row Malt to help convert other adjuncts.)

1 lb – Flaked Corn

Hops:

1oz – German Hallertau (Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. The original German lager hop; named after Hallertau or Holledau region in central Bavaria. Due to susceptibility to crop disease, it was largely replaced by Hersbrucker in the 1970s and 1980s. Substitutes: Mount Hood, Liberty.)

1 oz – Mount Hood (Soft American variety developed from Hallertau. Frequently used in styles that require only a subtle hop aroma (German/American lagers). Named for Mount Hood in Oregon.)

Notes:

All grains mashed at 150F for 90 minutes.  Mash out and sparge at 168F for 15 minutes.

Final Volume:  5 Gallons

Original Gravity:  1.050

Final Gravity Expected:  1.010

ABV:  ~5%

Primary:  3 Weeks @ 10C

Diacetyl Rest:  3 Days @ 19C  (Raises the temperature briefly so the yeast can clean up any remaining diacetyl funkiness in the beer)

Lager:  4 Weeks @ 2C

Part of the challenge of producing a Lager is the strict temperature control of the fermentation.  To achieve this I am using my commercial refrigerator that I picked up used, and an aquarium temperature controller that I got off Ebay for $17.  The temperature controller will allow my to set the fridge to a temperature range that is optimal for this lager.

The other challenge was having enough yeast to do the job.  Lagers need a lot more yeast than their ale counterparts.  I started a week early with a liquid Wyeast activator packet and went through a few yeast starters to grow a healthy amount of yeast.

There quite a few other issues with brewing lagers, such as water profile, mash ph level, lower mash temperatures to achieve a more fermentable wort, longer boil times to remove DMS, and a few other issues that I will go into more detail with in the followup post.

Sorry about the crap photo – cell phone camera.

So..  What’s the Good News?

Bread!

Gentlemen!  Save your spent grains, head to the kitchen and put your chef hat on.  I found a few easy recipes to use the spent grains from brewing to make delicious bread.  I will post up a full recipe later when I take a second crack at it.  I made two loafs of bread during the middle of the lager brew day (insane?) which turned out decent.   I should have left more time for the bread yeast to rise the dough because I ended up with a pretty dense bread, but its bread none the less.  Sorry for the crap photo quality again..

Beyond the Lager & Bread, I also have an IPA that is almost ready to sample (which I will do a post about) and I have a monster Belgian style brew planned for later this month (21 lbs of grain, crap load of hops, ~11%, will leave it to age for a year before I even look at it).  Exciting times are ahead for Beer for Breakfast.

PS.  If this Lager turns out to be a fail, I will definitely use the Ioni Zero Rating picture…

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Brownies

After a failed attempt at making Coffee Porter Brownies, these Double Chocolate Stout Brownies turned out to be quite delicious. I am still determined to make brownies with Mill St. Coffee Porter. It will have to happen at some point. I just need to make sure I have some help from someone that’s actually baked something before and pays attention to the fine details, like how much salt you’re supposed to add…

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is a treat on it’s own. It’s smooth as velvet and rich in chocolate flavour. An excellent beer to pair with a chocolate-based dessert (obviously!). So why not take it a step further and bake it right into dessert? I’ve never tried this brownie recipe with Guiness (which is what the recipe originally suggests), but I can only assume that using a stronger stout like Young’s would do nothing but improve on the taste. This one is a winner. I will definitely be revisiting this recipe.

http://shallwecook.blogspot.com/2010/03/guinness-brownies.html

Chimay Roast

Why not!  This was a first attempt of using the venerable Chimay Red for something other than drinking.  The recipe was very simple and straight forward.  Place a good sized beef roast into a slow cooker, pour two official glasses of chimay red onto the roast, set on low heat for 10 hours.  After the 10 hours has gone by, add some vegtables, a little bit of salt and set heat on high for an hour or so.  Then take the roast and vegtables out, add some flour to the chimay flavoured beed juices to create a thick gravy.  Serve and enjoy!

The results were pretty awesome!  I didn’t add any extract flavours to the roast because, well, Chimay Red is pure flavour.  The roast came out perfect – fall off the fork goodness.  The taste was definitely of beer, Chimay, and was unique.  Be forewarned that leaving a Chimay Roast to cook for 10 hours will result in making your kitchen/living quarters smell like a brewery – a great thing if you like beer.  I will take pictures the next time around.

Guinness Brownies

http://shallwecook.blogspot.com/2010/03/guinness-brownies.html

Okay, someone has to try making these..