Wednesday, April 20, 2011

International Homebrew Project recap

A bit behind schedule, but finished nonetheless. The beer brewed for the International Homebrew Project was voted on, brewed, bottled and now it has also been drunk. I can say it was one of the most interesting recipes I have ever brewed. My version of the brew was a 2.5 gallon batch that turned out having a higher original gravity and a higher final gravity than any of the other brewers. I only got about 60% attenuation which I can only explain by assuming that the invert sugar ended up being mostly unfermentable. My version ended up looking like this:

OG: 1.060
FG: 1.036
IBU 40
abv: 3.2%

2.5 lbs Warminster Maris Otter  51%
0.375 lbs Simpson's Dark Crystal 8%
0.5 lbs Amber malt 10%
0.375 lbs Brown malt  8%
0.375 lbs Roasted barley  8%
0.5 lbs lactose  10%
0.25 invert sugar  5%
0.5 ounces fuggle @ 120 min
0.4 ounces kent golding (super kent at 7.2% AA) @ 90 min
Wyeast 1318 London III
~0.5 lbs lactose in priming solution

Upon tasting, it has an extremely powerful flavor for a beer of 3.2%. There is so much lactose, and the final gravity is so high, that it's just very thick and is something of a sipping beer. As you can see from the picture, the carbonation has not fully developed in the bottles, and I think once it does it may provide a counter point to some of that thickness. In either case, it drinks and tastes like a much bigger beer. I genuinely think I could enter this in a competition as an imperial stout and do well with it. I just may. It's absolutely jet black and opaque in the glass. The flavor is dominated by dark malts and roastiness. There is a pronounced dark/unsweetened-chocolate flavor that hits you right up front and dominates the palate. There are some toasty malt notes as well as some berry-like fruitiness followed by some sweetness, but not as much as you might expect. Bitterness from the hops is mild-to-moderate but persistent as is a slight grassiness. The roasty coffee-like flavors and the slight fruitiness gives an experiance very much like drinking cold press coffee, and in a good way.

I think this ended up being a great beer. I don't mean to give myself much credit for that fact: the original recipe from the Barclay Perkins brewing logs is due all the real credit. Had it not been for the vote going the way it did, I probably wouldn't have ever given one of these historic recipes a chance, but I'm glad I did, and I hope to brew others in the future.


  1. Somehow I ended up with a 4.5% beer. It took some messing about to get it drinkable due to not dissolving the lactose at priming time but the end result was fantastic and got excellent reviews at the homebrew meetup on Wednesday.

  2. Sounds pretty tasty. Reading your blog made me glad that I bottled instead of kegging, which I had considered :)

    I do wish we had the opportunity to try each others' versions, but the international aspect of this makes it virtually impossible.