Sunday, 17 July 2011

Patience and puns.

This here is moley, my new mascot. He's only slightly monstery and evil looking.

It's been a while since I've posted here. Mostly because nothing much has happened. I haven't made a new brew, nor have I bottled anything for some time. The braggot is still bubbling away, albeit very slowly now, and the mead is still going as well.

I think I've decided on their names. The mead is both spiced (ginger, vanilla, cinammon, coriander, clove) and fruited (orange and lemon), meaning it qualifies for two mead sub-categories; Metheglin (spiced mead) and Melomel (fruited mead). Melomel. Mellow-mell. Mole-o-Mell? Mellow Mole? Definitely Mellow Mole, it's a winner. Now it's going to need a graphic, probably with a Hamlet cigar.

As for the Braggot, well, Loathsome is appealing more and more as a name as time goes by. We'll see. Bottling still seems to be a way off for the both of them if they haven't calmed down by now. Mellow Mole is supposed to miraculously drop clear after a month or so. We're still waiting.

On to what has actually happened; I've designed a new label scheme for my beers, as can be seen above. I'm a terrible artist and that is, yes, about the best I could come up with. I rather like him though. Figuring out how to attach labels to bottle was more tricky. Cornflour and water does not work. You just end up with cornflour all over everything. Normal flour and water does work but you also get flour all over everything. Eventually I happened across a tip on the web - milk. Just print out your labels on a laser printer, on ordinary paper, then paint the backs with milk and slap them on the bottle.

I also made Gord try Fat Moley (original), with not too terrible results. It's not a subtle beer in any way at all, you know you're drinking stout, it hits your taste buds like a hammer. I wouldn't want to drink more than one or two of an evening. It's not bad exactly, just a little overbearing. Make that a lot. Very pleased with the labels though. After drinking Fat Moley Gord brought out a few cans of Young's Double Chocolate Stout. I felt awe when shown what the true master could do. That stuff is awesome.

Fat Moley Redux did not bode well after this. Fat Moley redux was when I threw caution to the wind and shoved in loads of oats, loads of Roasted Barley and really went all out on the flavour front. When I bottled Fat Moley Redux it tasted really, really bitter. To the extent that I didn't even bother bottling all of it because it tasted that strong. I filled all the pint(ish) sized bottles I could find, 9 (for some reason) small bottles, and threw out the rest. The rest came to about 8 litres, so I did bottle quite a bit of it. And now I'm glad I did. It's gone from bitter and horrible to really quite a tasty stout. I'd put it in the "Extra Stout" bracket because it's 5.8% alcohol and it's still not smooth and subtle, but it's pretty tasty. More so (in my not-at-all-biased opinion) than Coopers Extra Stout, an Aussie beer I've tried recently.

When I first tried Redux (post bottling) it was barely two weeks in the bottle. It tasted what I have come to refer to as "a bit moley". Something not quite right, too earthy perhaps. I thought this was a problem with my brewing (or perhaps homebrew in general) until trying the Coopers extra. That really is quite moley as well. Then I tried a special stout from the brewers of James Squire beers and that tasted moley as well. Maybe all stout tastes a bit moley? Maybe my tastebuds have gone weird... Thankfully this character seems to have gone away from the Redux over time.

Finally in molebrew news, I have discovered that my first all-grain, Moley's Sussex Beast, now tastes pretty good as well. The trick seems to be to have left it for several months. That and pouring carefully so as not to get too much yeasty sediment in the glass. Patience is a virtue, and one that must forever be refined.

Future plans are uncertain at the moment. Next I need to get a cooling coil so that I can cool my wort rapidly after the boil, which that helps the clarity and flavour compared to the overnight cubing. Or so I am told. Then afterwards comes temperature control. As far as I can tell that's a major factor in the flavour outcome, for that I will need an old fridge or freezer and some custom electronics. Combining beer making, soldering and possibly some small amount of embedded programming in one project is quite appealing!