Given that the first batch wasn't a failure, but exhibited signs of having room for improvement, this brew was begun with two goals in mind: To make the pale ale a little stronger in flavour, and also to work out which of the sugars upon god or bog or whomever's great green supermarket shelves would yield the best of the secondary fermentation stage.
The hops component was relatively easy - add hot water and a bag of hops to a cup. Add beer ingredients to keg. Add hops to keg. Brilliant.
The sugar testing phase would be slightly more involved. This is a direct result of the risk of small eruptions of beer and broken glass should the ratio be too high. Careful amounts of: brown sugar, icing sugar, caster sugar, fruit tingles, jelly jubes and red jelly crystals were trialled.
The beer with the brown sugar had a noticeably more bitter taste than the control or "carbonation drop" beer. The caster sugar was very similar to the icing sugar in taste, but in terms of sediment, it was noted (with large amounts of mockery) that the particular box of icing sugar from which I was drawing my 3 grams was a hybrid of sugar and corn flour for the purposes of thickening confection. There was no noticeable thickening of the beer, but there was undissolved crap at the bottom. The rest, friends, is another story altogether.
The aroma of the hopped beer is a very pronounced fruity smell - fruity without being too sweet. It tastes mostly like it smells. Grand.
Thankfully, the testing/dicing around bottles weren't full longnecks. Two cases of Beer Lao were dutifully emptied to make 48 snack-sized beers for ready consumption. It is definitely easier to fit two stubbies in a crowded freezer rather than one longneck. And BeerLao is a powerful good beer to be drinking. Its fruity aromas increase as the temperature of the bottle rises - perhaps to allow for the hot and steamy Laotian climes from which they hail. Nice and easy to knock back. And stinking cheap. How beer that good is that cheap is baffling.
As a direct result of the correct amount of water, and the addition of the hops, the Blackrock India Pale Ale is definitely a summer beer. It is recommended that you make this one always using the hops, given the "thin" nature of the IPA. This is a great brew to sit in the sun without a shirt and swill back with a bunch of punks.
Published on Saturday, 4 November 2006
By Jimmy Weasel
Making meals for the world to enjoy.