Just thought I’d share with folks a nifty little brew I put together. I started with the Festa Brew West Coast IPA. My idea was to use this starting point to make a hoppy, heavy-bodied low alcohol bitter.
On Friday evening, using the supplied Safale US-56 yeast, I made a starter (4 oz powdered amber malt in 1 quart water). This was bubbling away furiously by Saturday noon. Next I harvested half a bushel of hops from my yard. I don’t know the variety, they came with the house. They had a spicy, earthy aroma and taste, so I figured they’d be good in a pale ale. I boiled up half of them in about 2 gallons of water for about 1 hour, which produced an excellent tea. Next I ground up about 2 lbs of malt (1/3 pale, 1/3 smoke, 1/3 cara wheat). I brewed this at 165 °F in about 2 gallons water for about ½ hour. This produced a tasty, heavy wort with low convertibility. Next I divided the Festa Brew into two primary fermenters, and added the hop tea and the mini-mash wort in equal portions. I then added 5 quarts of water to each fermenter, which brought the volume to 23L each. I then aerated for a couple of minutes using an aquarium pump, and pitched my yeast. I then put an insulating blanket around each fermenter. Starting gravity was 1.034. Twenty-four hours later the gravity was at 1.024. I had my son taste the beer, and he said it tasted finished. I was deeply impressed by the results, particularly the hops which were assertive, earthy, intriguing, delicious.
I now have from one kit enough brew to fill three corny kegs.
With the remainder of the hops, I made about 1-1/2 gallons of tea, which I bottled, and will add to my non-alcoholic beers: a few ounces of that stuff makes O’Doul’s taste like craft beer.