Brewing with others is a tradition that goes back to ancient times. Many a master brewer wished for help pitching barrels, milling grain, and scrubbing various brewing vessels. Curtis has experience homebrewing, and also a good engineering mind, making this an enjoyable experience for both of us.
After the grain was milled, and it was struck with the proper water, we moved on to firkining our last Test Batch, “Pepe” Louie’s. Natural carbonation is the traditional way to package real ale in a cask. We used dextrose (corn sugar) to prime the beer. Our last firkin test batch was under-carbonated, so the amount was adjusted.
After a protein rest, we raised the mash temperature to a warm 150*F. One hour later, we sparged the mash and lautered the sweet liquor into the boil kettle. Our hoping strategy was low bitterness, big aroma. Sterling hops were used for bitterness, crystal hops at knockout. A mix of Bohemian Pilsner and Maris Otter malt will give us a slightly nutty flavor, with the aroma of fresh baked bread. A special Flanders yeast will give us aromas of clove, peppercorn, and spice.
Curtis was looking to do a stronger Belgian Ale. This bad boy will clock in around 8.5%, without the addition of any sugars. Thanks to Curtis, we pushed the system a bit harder and will have an excellent product to show for it.
We’ll be tapping Curtis’ firkin in a few weeks, served in the proper real ale style with our new beer engine!