Monday, December 7, 2009

pot&kettle, batch 2 with a new yeast strain...brewed...on film?

I've had a lot of requests for the crowd favorite oatmeal stout that made its first appearance at my wedding a few short months ago, and I finally was able to crank out a 10 gallon batch yesterday. I only made one change to the recipe, but it was a major one...this iteration of pot&kettle is currently fermenting with Burton ale yeast (wlp023). In response to a question about experience with this strain, I posted today on BeerAdvocate my rationale for choosing this yeast for this beer, vs. the prior dry Nottingham used in the early iteration, so I'll just copy and paste what I wrote:

I brewed an oatmeal stout last night, wanted to see if I could get a bit more english yeast character out of it vs. the dry nottingham ive used in the past. I was also looking for slightly less attenuation than the nottingham, given there are no crystal malts in my recipe, and I thought just a smidge more maltiness would fit in nicely.

I want a british 'house' yeast strain to work with, for mid-gravity british style beers... something that would be pretty expressive, but not so attenuative as to dry out the beer too much. Something that would be well suited to ESB, porters, english IPAs, etc. and the white labs description sounded like it could serve just that purpose: ... lp023.html

giving up a little bit of the floc character vs. 002, but maybe getting a bigger ester profile and better attenuation. I've used 005 and 013, but didn't get as much flavor as I had hoped for in those strains. the first whiffs from the starter are giving me more of what I've been looking for, so fingers are crossed.
The brew day went as smoothly as it would have, given the cameras were, my consistent foreshadowing of how oats can lead to a stuck sparge seemed to precipitate...guess what...yep, a stuck sparge. Or, a super duper ultra slow sparge. Which is especially painful when you are being filmed as a homebrewer with any kind of credibility. Oh well, I guess the segment will better highlight the fact that things can and do go wrong when just...well, RDWHAHB. And, diagnose the problem, so it doesn't happen next time. Next time, I won't brew a 10 gallon recipe of oatmeal system can't handle all that grain, and still allow enough head space for a serious dose of hot liquor for mashing out.

What's all this talk about 'cameras were rolling' and 'being filmed'?

Right, so... (a phrase I fear I uttered with great regularity in response to Summer's questions)...I contacted French Oak Media about a month ago to see if they had any interest in doing a short segment on homebrewing, given that I live in Brookline, and they are producing spots about the local wine, beer and spirits scene. I thought..."hey, I'm a homebrewer, and what could be more local and topical to their show than a guy who might be your next door neighbor, brewing up some beer?' Turns out, they had discussed doing this very thing, so it was great timing that I contacted them.

Among others, I've enjoyed FOM's prior pieces on Cambridge Brewing Company, Mayflower, Harpoon, Sam Adams and Pretty Things, so its quite a bit of fun to be able to somehow included in such a venerable group.

Right, so... the shoot was yesterday, and aside from the gummed up lauter, I had a great time with Ray and Summer. They are genuinely interested in brewing, and it was great fun to see the light bulbs illuminating over their heads, as they started to better understand the process of brewing. I could actually see the bulbs lighting up, as they were literally able to put their hands right in to it. They were very complimentary of the beers I shared with them, and I can tell are just all around good people. It'll be fun to see what they were able to capture from the day, but for now I'll leave you with a couple images, starting out with the glass bowls of malt and specialty grain set out, cooking-show-style, waiting for the shoot to start.

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