Bridal Brau Imperial Stout

The is the first wedding beer I brewed, because I wanted to give it as long as possible to mellow before the big date on Jan 31st 2015. Big imperial stouts often taste quite boozy when they are young. Ideally I would have brewed this many months ago, but it fell by the wayside. I brewed this beer back on October 21st and it was a doozy. 28.25 lbs of grain is a lot to fit in a 10 gallon Igloo cooler so I reduced my mash thickness to 1.0 qt/lbs, which is very thick. In retrospect I should have just brewed a 4 gallon batch instead of my regular 6 gallon batch. That would have allowed me to mash at normal thickness and take all my readings. Ohh well…

Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. Image credit: theperfectlyhappyman.com

Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. Image credit: theperfectlyhappyman.com

I hadn’t brewed an imperial stout before so I decided to look for inspiration from some of my favourite examples. One RIS I really enjoy is Oscar Blues Ten Fidy, with mysterious opaque black colour and intense roast profile. It also happens to be brewed near Denver, Co, where Rebecca and I are going for our honeymoon in February. I did a bit of research and found that someone had made a homebrew recipe with the help of the brewer. I was a bit skeptical because the Oscar Blues website doesn’t mention crystal malt in the recipe, only 2 row/chocolate/roasted barley/flaked oats. I decided to brew it anyway.

I took the percentages of their grain bill and adapted it for my system and expected efficiency (much lower than my usual 75%). Even with the mash thickness set to 1.0 qt/lbs I needed to up my boil time to 2 hours to be able to use a decent amount of sparge water. Since the OG was significantly higher than anything I had brewed before, I decided to set my brewhouse efficiency to 60%, hoping that if anything I would overshoot a bit. Continue reading

Hello World

Hi my name is Eric and welcome to my brewing blog! I don’t have much here yet but I have several busy months of brewing ahead of me in a bid to make more than a dozen kegs of unique homebrewed beers for my wedding at the end of January. I’m pretty much going to be brewing twice a week for the next two months so I thought what better time to start a blog than when I am neck deep in brew scheduling and planning. I don’t have much experience with blog writing so please bare with me as I learn.

Eric at Russian River

When it comes to planning out beers to serve at a wedding as a homebrewer it is very tempting to go nuts and pick some of the most out there recipes, and at the same time it is tempting to play it super safe and brew beers you know can be enjoyed by more than just your beer nerd buddies. My fiancee Rebecca and I tried to play it down the center when planning out the beer list. We’ve settled on a wide array of styles including easy drinking beers like Munich Helles (description below), and some more beer geek centric styles like Russian Imperial Stout and Brett IPA.

Full mash tun while brewing the Russian Imperial Stout for my wedding. 28.25 lbs of grain for a 6 gallon batch.

Full mash tun while brewing the Russian Imperial Stout for my wedding. 28.25 lbs of grain for a 6 gallon batch.

I’m sure the plan will change as I go but at the moment here is the planned beer list, not giving away the names yet:

Cocktail Hour:

  • Munich Helles – A light flavoured german lager with a malty balance
  • IPA – Probably a middle of the road example of the style, possibly featuring a single hop
  • Robust Porter – A moderately strong roasty beer with flavours of coffee and chocolate, perfect for a mid-winter afternoon

Reception:

  • Hefeweizen – An effervescent german ale with creamy wheat texture and perfectly balanced flavours of banana and clove
  • IPA#2 – Another dry hopped, hoppy ale with focus on citrus, tropical, and pine aromas. No hop combo planned yet.
  • Imperial Stout – Already brewed this one. Took inspiration from one of my favourite examples of the style, Oscar Blue’s Ten Fidy. Which happens to be brewed near where we are going for our honeymoon. This one will be north of 10% ABV and hugely roasty.
  • American Pale Ale (APA) – This one may also focus on a single hop. Lower ABV than the IPAs, and more balanced with the malt.
  • Saison – A style experience resurgence in the homebrewing community due to it’s delicious nature and forgiving fermentation temperature schedule. Another effervescent ale of Belgian origin that finishes very dry and fruity. May be appealing to wine drinkers. Hoping I can brew this outside of my fermentation chambers (which are going to be the main limiter in my brewing schedule).
  • Session English Ale – I haven’t decided on the style for this one yet but I want something lower ABV (under 4%) and malty. Going to be one of: Ordinary Bitter, Mild, or Scottish 60/-.
  • Cider – Something for the non-beer drinkers. Made with local Ontario cider, fermented by me. Probably a dry or semi-dry cider, not a big fan of sweet cloying ciders.
  • Doppelbock – One of my favourite styles, an intensely malty german lager with a warming feeling due to the high ABV. I won a few awards this year with my Doppelbock so I am going to re-brew it with some tweaks. This is going to be brewed as early as possible to ensure adequate lagering time (cold storage), which is a traditional way to clarify lagers.
  • Northern Brown Ale – No big plans for this one, may be subject to change, but something middle of the road. I have one on tap now that is drinking very nicely.
  • Session IPA – A low ABV (<5%) variant of the IPA style. Similar hopping levels, but less alcohol and a tweaked balance. Really just a hopped up APA.
  • Brett IPA – I have one of these in the fermenter right now that is slated for the GTA Brews (my local homebrew club) advent calendar exchange. If it turns out well I may do something similar for the wedding. Thinking some Galaxy and Mosaic/Simcoe for this one.
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Six bags of grain. Some of it slated to become some of these wedding brews!

There are a lot of beers in the works and I’m hoping to chronicle the making of each one on this blog. Not all of them will make it into the wedding, my goal is to brew more than needed and handpick the best ones to increase the overall quality delivered.

I also have a few DIY projects slated for the upcoming months (and a few recently completed) that will be documented on this blog so stay tuned! I’m sure the journey will be an exciting (and tiring) one.