Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Brew Day: Summer Somewhere 2016 (British Golden Ale)

In 2015 I planned out my brews. I made a brewing schedule like a commercial brewer. Sure there were some tweaks along the way, but I basically decided what I wanted to brew for when months in advance. I got away from it later in the year when I got into more small-batch brewing.
This year after brewing BeerSmith's Dry Irish Stout, Pyrite PistolBanshee Breakfast Stout, and Dawson's Kriek, I've been winging it. I brewed Camp Randall Red for Barrell House Z's competition, Broken Fist IPA and Wisconsin Belgian Red for Memorial Day, but I have another event coming up I need to brew beer for.
Beans N Brews is a similar event to the New England Homebrewer's Jamboree. It is an opportunity for the public to sample homebrew and to support the All Are Welcome community kitchen. As the name suggests the event has an informal homebrewing competition and chili cook-off.  Assuming the weather ever warms up, a refreshing summer ale is a perfect beer to bring to an outdoor festival in June.
The North Shore Brewers had a beer camp on May 9 on National Homebrewing Day. This is where members of the club get together and actually brew together. Jennie is on board with any brew day that does not monopolize and mess up the kitchen. This also enabled me to brew a five gallon all-grain batch outside.
I already had a propane burner to brew outside that I received for free with a previous ingredient purchase. I picked up a propane tank at Dawson's in Beverly. I took advantage of a sale Beer and Wine Hobby in Woburn was having on National Homebrew Day to buy a brand new mash tun for 15% off. The mash tun is a round Igloo cooler with a false bottom. I have read this type of mash tun has better efficiency, meaning better extraction of fermentable sugars, than a cooler with just a screen like when I brew with Andy. I can bring this with me to his house for our next collaboration.
Loading and unloading the mash tun, burner, kettle, propane tank, ingredients, and beers I brought to share was a bit of a chore. It made me wish that when I bought a new car last year that I bought a hatchback or small SUV. Going to beer camps and other homebrew festivals makes me wish I had a bit more cargo space.
Last year I brewed Summer Somewhere with Galaxy hops. I always envisioned using a different hop every year. A British Golden Ale is a very interesting style. The malt bill is most similar to an International Pale Lager, it is hop forward like an American Pale Ale, all while traditionally using an English yeast. A few weeks back I was at the Modern Homebrew Emporium in Cambridge and noticed they had a bin of hops that were new to the shop. One variety that caught my eye was Bobek.
The description on the package said Bobek works in a variety of styles including ESB and lagers. That sounds ideal for a pale lager-like ale! Grown in Slovenia, they sound similar to Styrian Goldings, which is commonly used in Belgian Pale Ales and other Belgian styles. Styrian Goldings are actually English Fuggle hops grown in Slovenia.
After using 1318 London Ale III in the latest batch of Fort Dummer, it was easy to build up a starter for this batch. The malt is basically the same, except I switched up the base malt with the lightest English base malt I could find locally.
I expect the 2016 version to have a more floral and earthy hop flavor, than the assertive passion fruit flavor the 2015 version hopped with Galaxy. London Ale III is decidedly fruitier than Irish Ale, which will add some complexity.
With a five gallon batch I can keg three gallons for Beans 'N Brews, and bottle the rest for the summer.
Click here for the recipe.
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