Friday, 11 June 2010

Recipe Formulation Day

Next week we're brewing Festiv'Ale, a pale, fruity little 3.8er for those on a session at this year's Hop Farm Festival up in Paddock Wood. We've brewed it before; we find an excuse to slip it in most years but we don't necessarily use the same recipe every year. Proper beer drinkers think it sacrilegious alter a beer's formulation but the truth is it happens a great deal more than they suspect, to a great many more beers. I can't speak for others but there are a few reasons we change and alter things: a change of raw materials available necessitating a tweak, a change in drinker preference (or a change in drinker), to improve the flavour of a beer or simply to try something a little different. No one has drunk Festiv'Ale since sitting in a field last year and I doubt even those that took notes can recall the exact nuances involved so I feel free, to a certain extent, to revisit the brewsheets, check the malt store, check the hop store and work out a recipe. I call it 'freshening up'.

So, the malt was simply pale Marris Otter and some Caragold (body and mouthfeel) at 11%, the hops were Canterbury grown Cascades for a middling bitterness and juicy flavour with a twist of fruity Nelson Sauvin hops at the end. All fermented with a soft ale yeast to a sweeter-than-usual finish, (which will have balanced that gentle bitterness).

I don't think much needs changing there then. Up the hops, as always, but nothing else.

Well, that was an easier day than I thought it would be - as the Coyote says "some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you" (these Canadians are an odd lot).


Mark said...

Sounds delicious! Where you're saying that it will be fermented to leave it sweeter than usual ... is that based on the mashing temp? Just interested because I've been reading about forcing fermentation to end at a SG recently.


Eddie said...

Good question.

Yup, the idea is to mash at a high temp to leave more unfermentable dextrins in the beer to create a touch of sweetness (actually, in this case, more of an anti-dryness).