Friday, October 18, 2013

Pseudoscience 101: the experiment.

A big part of beer brewing that i love is the ability to sound like you know what you are doing, and feel like you know what you are doing, but really have no idea what you are doing.

A good dose of 'science-eyes' and we have a finished product.

Time for an experiment: get a friend, brew 2 beers side by side, the only difference: the scientist behind the wheel. But first:


So the beer we decided to make was an British Pale Ale, because we were both a bit sick of american hops and yeast. We wanted something a bit dirty, something that tasted like earth. The recipe was as follows:

Oscar/James the Pale

Grain Bill:
3.25kg Maris Otter
1kg Wheat malt
300g Crystal 60L

15g Target @ 60 mins
20g EK Goldings @ 30
20g EK Goldings @ 15

Safale s-04 fermented at 18C for 2 weeks, then bottled.

OG 1.050

The brew day was to be at James' house, since he has a bigger stove and is able to have our 2 pots on it at the same time.

Feels good.

I have a secret love affair with Mornington Pale, which is an amazing Pale Ale brewed in Victoria (in Mornington, would you believe it?). One of the reasons it's so good is that it adds a significant amount of wheat malt to give it a nice tang, which is why we decided to do the same.

Read his second book: 'How to Poo'

So, there we were, two pseudo-scientists waiting to make sweet, sweet pseudo-science together, but not without the help of a couple of good friends:




Brew day went well, everything went to plan and it was fun having some more people along to help and watch.

It was kind of like synchronized swimming in a lot of ways, except instead of it being graceful, beautiful people in a swimming pool, it was sweaty, hairy people stirring big pots of boiling sticky sugar and getting a bit drunk.

Pretty much the same thing.

Two methods of milling = the same product, i think.
Great foam.
Great form.

Brew in a bag is definitely the best way to start all-grain brewing, it requires much less effort, cleaning and equipment than using a mash tun and you can get just as good results. The only thing that i think is better with using a mash tun is that you have a little more control, and you can do bigger beers because of the extra space.

Time for the boil.
 First hop addition.

English hops are amazing, they are so under used in Pale Ales too. Even though i love American hops, i think they are a bit overused in most styles of beer. Recently i tried Timothy Taylors Landlord, an English Pale Ale from England, and it is incredible. It tastes so earthy and malty, and so easy to drink too. If you can get your hand on one, then definitely try it out.

Re-hydrating the shit out of that yeast.

And there we are, two pretty much identical beers, together at last in eternal slumber.

So, the experiment, how'd it go?


Pretty average to be honest. We totally miss calculated the priming sugar and they both ended up pretty under-carbonated, which really detracted from the flavour. The beers tasted pretty much the same, James' was a little bit better, but not enough to put your finger on.


But hey, that's what brewing is all about, right? 

This beer was made quite a while ago, and i have made some killer ones recently that i will blog about soon. Trying to get back into doing it regularly, so thanks if you are reading, and comment if you want, it would be good to hear some feedback.