Will the weather just figure out what season it is and where we are located in the world? I mean, really? For a while it was like spring, then it was like living on frozen arctic tundra, which I guess is probably a year round thing in the arctic, then back to “real winter,” aaand back to tundra. I don’t know whether to wear a t-shirt or never leave my house again. Currently not planning on leaving. Luckily we have a pretty good stock of homebrew right now. Me might even survive til spring.
See that rain up there, it was 40 degrees that day. Ick. I would take snow any day over rainy and cold. But, despite the crazy weather fluctuations, the hubs and I have had a very successful two weeks of brewing. Thank goodness we have a covered part of our deck.
Last week we actually brewed a kit beer, which we haven’t done in ages. How can you resist a black IPA called “Hopstache” that supports men’s health month, aka Movember? Beer brewing plus supporting a good cause seems like a no-brainer. And, this week, we FINALLY brewed a beer that’s been in the works for, oh, at least four months: a chai latte milk stout.
I know what you’re probably thinking: What the hell? I know. But the beauty of home-brewing is that you can take crazy risks, and not worry about ruining more than 5 or 6 gallons of beer. Plus you learn something new from each batch. The chai latte milk stout was actually my husband’s brain child and I am in full support. This is probably the most unique beer we’ve ever done and I’m PSYCHED to see how it turns out. Basically, we’re brewing a standard milk stout recipe, then adding a tincture we made with chai spices (cardamom, black pepper, fennel seed, ginger etc.) that we steeped in vodka. We’ll add the appropriate amount of the tincture based on taste and a calculation of number of drops in a small amount of beer, and then multiply out based on our total beer volume. We’ll add in our calculated amount right before we keg.
In developing this recipe we’ve learned a few things. For example, what puts the “milk” in milk stout is lactose, or milk sugar. Lactose is an unfermentable sugar (no alcohol is made from it), but what it does do, is add creamy wonderful mouthfeel to beer. When you drink a chai latte, you expect creamy, spicy goodness, so this style of beer really made the most sense for this brew. In addition to the lactose, we added a couple other grains to our mash that boost mouthfeel: flaked oats, and flaked rye. The oats help with the creamy texture and the rye lends a nice spicy character. That is, if all goes as planned. Which happens about 50% of the time.
That might seem like a low number, but think about this: 50% of the time, things go pretty much perfect, and unless you really blow it, you still have BEER. YOU MADE BEER! How awesome is that?! I mean really think about it, when you brew you hang out with friends, drink a couple beers, boil up some malts and hops, add yeast, and at the end of two-four weeks (in most cases) you have BEER! And If that isn’t a motivating factor you might have stumbled upon the wrong blog.