Sunday, March 25, 2012

Two Months / Six Styles


Imperial Stout - so black it's blue
(runoff from mash / boil)


In our last brewing update we discussed our Barleywine brewday & the process of using the grist for all it is worth; partigyle. With the next two Low Dive brew sessions we again used this method of frugality to produce four more unique styles

First up was our take on a Strong Scotch Ale; a very malt forward ale known for its deep smooth flavors & low ester profile. To achieve this sweet complex ale we used a relatively light hopping approach paired with a dark brown wort composed mainly of an English base malt, backed up with a decent amount of Munich and just a touch of roasted malts. To ensure a malt focused beer after fermentation, we utilized an Ale yeast, but fermented at a lower temperature more often associated with Lager strains.

The smaller cousin of the Scotch came from the same grist, but because the wort was collected after the Scotch, will clock in a little lower in the abv department. For this beer we decided to use all German hops alongside a Bavarian Lager strain in what will be Low Dive's first Marzen. If you are unaware, Marzen is a popular German Lager, traditionally brewed in March & released in late April or early May. Most often though, breweries will cold condition (Lager) Marzens until September and release them as the more familiar Octoberfestbiers.

For our next adventure in parti-ing we decided to brew a big Imperial Stout that (like the Barleywine) would again test the boundaries of our equipment. For this huge black monster we relied heavily on a blend of English & American base malts plus a huge character addition of Roasted Barley. As you may have guessed from its name, Roasted Barley has a very strong roasted character often associated with a coffee like quality it lends to wort. This strong black ale will take awhile before it is ready to be packaged and probably won't see a snifter until summer is gone & autumn is back upon us.

It wouldn't be a parti without a small bier, so with the second runnings from the Imperial Stout we decided to conceptualize a new style: German Stout. In order to showcase a Germanic influence over our stout wort we used only German hop varieties and ferment with a combination of the German Ale strains kolsch & alt. The result is definitely a stout but with a floral aroma from noble hops and a malt accentuated character from the German yeast strains.

While January and February were months of the partigyle, March's theme has been to celebrate the old & new. First the new; early in March we brewed an Imperial Brown Ale with a noticeable honey-like presence from Honey Malt. To this beer we added a very healthy dose of peanut butter to the boil. This Peanut Butter Brown Ale is currently conditioning, but as of our last sample, this new addition to the Low Dive family has a wonderful roasted peanut flavor, backed up by a honey-like caramel maltiness. Think Honey Roasted Peanut Brown Ale. We plan to have this in bottles soon, so hopefully you will have the chance to sample this innovative nutty treat.

Lastly we revisit the old. This past weekend we dusted off the old recipe book & brought out the first Low Dive Saison; a French-style Ale called Summer's Here, Man. While our artisanal approach to brewing has this batch just a little stronger than the last, it should still prove to be a refreshing & crisp ale for the warmer months & the weather we've been experiencing as of late seems to fit in perfectly with the name for this pale spicy ale.

 
 

 Summer's Here, Man
(boil / running off into into fermenter)

If all of this talk of fine malted beverages has got you thirsty, no worries. Just make sure to mark your calendar for your next opportunity to sample some of the aforementioned Low Dive Brewing treats. We will once again be pouring our fine ales at OhNo!Doom Friday April 13th. Please come out, drink some beers, check out some art & say hi.