Finally got around to brewing again, first time since late May/early June. That brew session (a mild) was last-minute enough that I actually didn’t take any notes. My friend was showing his house, and just happened to have that day free, so we brewed a quick mild to be ready in a couple weeks before he was anticipating moving out of town. Of course, I didn’t get around to racking that one for 5 weeks. It’s still good! It’s still good! (Actually, it’s not bad …)
After chasing the ants, spiders, and centipedes off the equipment (heat kills everything), I managed to put together two batches: a Belgian Dubbel (try later if the link doesn’t work; no guarantees I’ll transcribe it tonight) and Jess’s birthday brew, a spiced apple beer I meant to brew back in May.
The dubbel is my first try using the real Belgian dark candi sugar syrup which started getting imported earlier this year. It’s a jet-black syrup much like molasses , but derived from beet sugar, and provides color and alcohol to a lot of dark Belgian ales. The nearly-black Westvleteren ales are supposedly brewed with no color malts, just with this stuff. So far, it seems to contribute much more color than the dark rock candy that’s normally sold as “candi sugar.” The hydrometer sample tasted promising too; if this batch ferments well it’ll be a great one.
The spiced apple beer is currently a 3.5-4 gallon batch of a light extract ale (3# light DME) with an ounce of Saaz hops boiled for 30 minutes. I added a 96oz can of “Apple wine base” and pitched some US-56 dry yeast. I probably won’t be using the Apple wine base again; it’s basically diluted concentrate, might as well use the frozen stuff. I probably will anyway, to supplement the apple character. The spices will be added later, probably as a vodka extract (or maybe a cinnamon stick in secondary, hmm….)
I can’t wait for that nice familiar bubbling to start again. Mmmm… beer.