Monday, April 07, 2008

All grain IS all that

For the past couple months, my brew partner Tony and I have been talking about making the move to all-grain brewing, that is, no more pre-made malt extract. With extract brewing, you buy concentrated liquid malted barley, thick, gooey, sweet and expensive. 6 lbs is about $16, and it comes in a bunch of flavors, depending on the kind of beer you want to make: light, dark, pilsen, wheat, etc. I had often referred to extract brewing as being like buying pancake syrup instead of making your own.

Oh, was I wrong.

There are about 7-8 kinds of extract malts, and dozens kinds of grains, each of which can be roasted differently. All-grain allows the brewer to better control and determine what the end product will taste like. Of course it takes about twice as long, as you have to soak the crushed grains in hot water for an hour, and then drain off all the liquid and rinse as much sugar from them as possible.

We nailed the starting gravity at 1.052--really, anything that would have be within a few points of that would have been great. Time will be the test of course, but I have a good feeling about it. We're trying to recreate a brown IPA we made a while ago that was fantastic.

Speaking of IPAs, there's new one on the TC market that I highly recommend. The Crooked Tree IPA from Dark Horse Brewing out of Michigan is phenomenal. And if you can find it's souped up cousin the Double Crooked Tree, grab a bottle. They're about $13 for a four pack, and run close to 14%, so they should be shared and sipped, but wow. Barleywine-esque, in the same way that some barleywines are double IPA-esque. I'm saving one for a year.


Mag said...

Yeah, I'm too lazy to consider that. Do you get rid of that homebrew flavor that often comes with...well, homebrews?

Eric said...

I'll let you know in a couple weeks!