Friday, July 17, 2009

Red Sector Ale

After a long fermentation process—that included the addition of champagne yeast two weeks after the initial pitching of Belgian Ale yeast—we recently tasted our latest home brew for the first time. In case your memory needs refreshing, we brewed a Belgian-style dark abbey ale back in April.

We labored considerably over the naming decision, and eventually settled on a name that only satisfies one of the two major criteria we were originally looking for. While Red Sector Ale doesn't really describe the style, it certainly doesn't fall short with respect to our other criterion.

We're pretty pleased with the result, a dark malty ale with hints of coriander, weighing in—so to speak—at about 7.5% ABV (alcohol-by-volume). That's fairly representative of the style, and turned out to be a pleasant surprise, as we thought it was going to fall short of the alcoholic content we were aiming for. The reason for that is the original specific gravity—essentially a measure of its density compared to water, and also an indicator of fermentation potential—was a little low. But it fermented out considerably, with its final gravity also being lower than expected. Measuring its alcoholic content is simply a matter of subtracting the final gravity from the original gravity and applying a formula that converts the result to ABV, so the wider the gap between the former and the latter, the stronger the ale.

Red Sector Ale labelWhat I'm most pleased with, though, are the labels I ordered and received in the mail this week. As you can see from the photo, I went all-out in the hokeyness department. If you don't understand the references, you'll have to do a little internet research. I'm sure it won't be too difficult, but if you need a hint or two, I'll be happy to oblige. In fact, I'll offer one right now. It has nothing to do with Ernest Hemingway.

In case you're interested, here is the recipe:

10 oz. Cara-Munich malt (steeped for 20 mins.)
4 oz. Belgian Special B malt (steeped 20 mins.)
4 oz. Belgian Aromatic malt (steeped 20 mins.)
9.9 lbs. light malt extract (boiled for 75 mins.)
0.5 oz. Magnum hops - 14.4% alpha (boiled 75 mins.)
0.5 oz. Sterling hops - 6% alpha (boiled 75 mins.)
1 lb. amber candy sugar (boiled 75 mins.)
0.25 oz. Sterling hops - 6% alpha (boiled 15 mins.)
0.5 tsp. Irish moss (boiled 15 mins.)
1 oz. coriander seeds (boiled 10 mins.)
0.25 oz. Sterling hops - 6% alpha (boiled 5 mins.)
1.5 oz. Trappist Ale yeast
5 oz. dry champagne yeast

As I said, we're also pleased with how it tastes, but we'll need a few more opinions before knowing for certain if it truly is a hit.

1 comment:

  1. PLEASE TELL ME YOU'RE BRINGING SOME DOWN TO NYC!!! I ordered some sort of "Brewmaster's Mix" sampler from FreshDirect and the bottles fucking broke in transit...