Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homebrew - A Hopslam Clone Or An Abbey Ale?

Well, as Ian pointed out on National Homebrew Day (US), we were supposed to bottle our Hopslam clone. As with all living things, sometimes they can be unpredictable, and our yeast stalled at about 7% ABV. While this would have been a decent alcohol level for most beers, ours had a significant amount of convertible sugars left behind. This would have left if overly sweet. So we had to come up with a plan B to salvage the batch.

We decided on pitching a Belgian Ale yeast because of its vigor in dealing with higher ABV. Luckily the yeast started bubbling away and doing its job. So with about a 2 week delay fermenting, the dry hopping was only done for about a week in seconardy. The good news is we hit (and slightly exceeded) our target ABV. We ended up at 10.4% alcohol by volume.

So we went down to Brewhaven in London to begin the bottling
process. After washing the bottles and sterilizing them in a Star-San solution, we started to fill and cap. About an hour later we managed to get all 50 litres bottled.

Now for the taste...What a difference a Belgian Ale yeast makes. I think somewhere between the extra weeks of fermentation and the reduced time dry hopping, the hop flavours were not as prevalent as hoped. But, the additional yeast added some interesting spicey and dark fruit notes.

In the end, while we didn't succeed in cloning Hopslam, we did however make a very pleasing and balanced Abbey Ale. All in all we were happy with the outcome, it could have ended in discarding the batch, but luckily a pleasant ale emerged.

Next up, an Imperial Stout. We are hoping to start it soon to allow it to age and mature for the fall/winter. We will keep you posted!


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