Sometimes collaborations can work for the best, and this includes brewing great beer. The crew over at Brew York is great; all the members are from the NYC tri-state area and promote general awareness of great craft beer and its impact on NYC culture. They promote many events, often for charity. A small group within Brew York is also into homebrewing and that’s how I met Jonathon Moxey.
I met him at a NYC homebrewers guild meeting and he invited me, along with a few other members of Brew York, for a collaborative brew at his place in Harlem. The concept of the beer was to brew an English style barleywine of significant alcoholic strength to age for an extended period of time. In addition, a unique yeast strain was used from Wyeast – Old Ale blend 9097. This strain contains Brettanomyces and will lend the beer a cherry pie-like sourness and “horsy” characteristics over time. It’s a throwback to when strong stock ales in England were stored in barrels and developed a unique “Brett” character. Since these beers were too sour from the Brett, they were often blended with other young ales and sold to the public.
Enough history, the recipe:
10 gallon recipe:
- 43 lbs (!!) of Marris Otter
- 1.0 lb of Cyrstal 80L
- 1.0 lb of Caramunich III – 71L
Mash in for 60 minutes at 154°F
Vourlaf, fly sparge, and collect 12 gallons. We actually collected more than this and got a great efficiency for such a high gravity beer.
Boil for one hour:
- 2.0 oz of Magnum (~12% AA) at 60 minutes
- 1.0 oz of Fuggles (~4.0% AA) at 20 minutes
- 1.0 oz of East Kent Goldings (~4.5% AA) at 1 minute (flameout)
- 1 tablet of Whirfloc (15 minutes)
IBU: ~ 27
Everything went splendidly according to plan. Andrew bought a whole sack of Marris Otter, Jonathan hosted so we used his equipment, and I was in charge of the yeast and immersion chiller. I wish I had pictures to show this but Jonathan came up to the lab at Columbia University where I work to grow the yeast from three Wyeast activator packs. We started by counting the cells on a hematocytometer, which I plan to explain in another post, and inoculated three liters of 1.040 gravity starter wort. To my horror the next day I found yeast overflowing from the 5 liter flask onto the stir plate, bench, and floor! Needless to say it was a mess and we took a hit in our cell count. In the end we grew about 580 billion yeast cells to inoculate 10 gallons of high gravity wort. I then centrifuged the three liters to a 400 ml yeast slurry – all under sterile lab conditions.
I arrived a bit late and the Brew York crew was well underway with the mash. They used two Coleman cooler asmashtuns and filled them to capacity. With the mashing complete, we hefted the hot liquor outside to our sparging setup. In total we collected around 14 gallons of wort, exceeding our target volume and subsequent gravity.
The boil went smoothly, as Jonathon has an extreme outdoor burner that can bring 15 gallons of wort to boil in 20 minutes. The wort was chilled, split into two 6.5 gallon carboys and inoculated with the Old Ale yeast prepared in the lab.
All in all, a great brewday and I was glad to have met the homebrew group at Brew York. As should happen with a collaboration brewday such as this, everyone brought some homebrew to share. We tried Jonathan’s well-aged tripel which had a very complex ester profile. Andrew shared a dark saison-style brew with faint notes of licorice and cherries. Andy, a new homebrewer from Connecticut, impressed us with a wheat beer made from malt extract. He reminded us that great beer can be brewed from fresh malt extract just as long as you process is sound. At the end of the day we all cracked open and enjoyed a Southampton Russian Imperial Stout.