Thursday, March 07, 2013

21st Century Schizoid Ale (2013)

This past weekend, AfroDan set out to brew the fourth batch of 21st Century Schizoid Ale since we conceived of it almost five years ago. As the first three batches were all within the first two years, it had been just a few months short of three years since we last brewed our signature beer.

It just so happened, I had one bomber left from that last batch, so it made for the perfect accompaniment to the start of the process. (We moved on to a couple less remarkable, if i do say so myself, after that.) I feel it's a style that might benefit from a little aging and, while I can't necessarily say it's improved with age, it's certainly held up.

Drinking that last one definitely reinforced my previously held belief it's the best beer we've produced so far, so our expectations were fairly high. In keeping with tradition, and with the fact we're sometimes at the mercy of what ingredients are available at our local home brew store, we had to make a few adjustments to our recipe.

1 lb. crystal malt - 60 L (steeped 20 mins.)
1 lb. crystal malt - 20 L (steeped 20 mins.)
9.9 lbs. light malt extract (boiled 75 mins.) - 4 L
3.3 lbs. amber malt extract (boiled 75 mins.) - 10 L
3 oz. Sorachi Ace hops - 15.1% alpha (boiled 75 mins.)
2 oz. Cascade hops - 8.3% alpha (boiled 30 mins.)
2 oz. Cascade hops - 8.3% alpha (boiled 15 mins.)
0.5 tsp. Irish moss (boiled 15 mins.)
2 vials super high gravity ale yeast (WLP009)

We decided to try and make it a little hoppier, as an extreme hop profile is one quality that has been lacking in our previous high-octane results. We also wanted to maintain an alcohol content equal to our last batch's 10.9%, and maybe even increase it a little by using a double dose of super high gravity yeast rather than by adding more fermentable ingredients. As it turns out, due to a couple things which didn't go quite as planned, we may have achieved the first goal, but not necessarily the latter.

I'm not going to get into all the nitty gritty details, but our initial gravity reading was a little lower than last time (1.091 versus 1.092), meaning the yeast are going to have to really feed their asses off for this one to reach 11% ABV. It's not out of the question, though, but since it took a low final gravity to almost get there last time, we're going to need the double dose of yeast to really pay off.

It should be ready to drink by mid-to-late April, so stay tuned.

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