Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do You Get It in the Can?

Now come on, this is too funny:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Drunken Reinbeer

I hardly ever do clone recipes, whether my own or drawn from other sources. For starters, it's very difficult to faithfully duplicate a commercial beer anyway – especially not without taking multiple cracks at it, something I'm even less inclined to do – and besides, part of the appeal of homebrewing, for me, is creating something original.

But after having my first (and, to date, only) bottle of Odell Brewing Co.'s 90 Shilling, I knew I'd love to have a beer like it on tap at home. Incredibly drinkable, well-balanced and just plain tasty, 90 Shilling is a winner of a beer.

I did a little research, asked around on a homebrew forum or two, and came up with a recipe that, while not attempting to reproduce 90 Shilling down to each detail, was at least inspired by it. So you might call this a semi-clone.

Here's what I came up with:

OG 1.057 FG 1.014
ABV 5.6% AA 74.5%
IBUs 28 SRM 16

58% Canadian two-row
33% Pacific Northwest Vienna
5% Crystal 60
2% Crystal 40
2% British chocolate malt

14 IBUs Magnum – 60 mins
10 IBUs (0.5 oz.)
Northern Brewer – 30 mins
0.5 oz. Cascade – 10 mins

Wyeast 2450 "Denny's Favorite 50"

You may be wondering about the name. This beer was originally brewed to give out as Christmas gifts to family. I wanted to come up with something clever: Drunken Reinbeer seemed to fit the bill. That original batch was fermented with US-05, the dry "Chico" yeast. For the second time around, I wanted to try out the special Wyeast strain I'd had in my yeast circulation at the time. I also made a couple mild adjustments, like subbing North American two-row for the British base malt I had used, and upping the amount of Vienna.

The balance here is slightly on the malty side, with a supportive bitterness that carries the beer's moderate caramel and slightly roasted tones through to the finish. Consistent with what I'd come to discover with a previous batch fermented with 2450, this beer presents a little extra fruitiness that I tend not to prefer in my beers; in fact, my experience with this yeast tells me it does best (that is, agrees with my tastes most) when paired with a Pale-Ale-or-better helping of hops. So, and in accordance with my fondness for blending beers, when I drink this beer I tend to add a dash of something hoppy to help distract from those esters. Presently it's a Black IPA.

If I were the kind of brewer (I'm not) who continually revisits and hones recipes, applying a tweak here and a tweak there, it's quite likely that whatever beer this would turn into might be plenty far from Odell's 90 Shilling, its original inspiration. And if that were to be the case, more the better, right? Better to always brew to your own tastes, in the end.
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