Tag Archives: malt

The Pilsner Urquell Showdown: Decoction vs. Single Infusion… was it worth it?

Standing over my temperature controlled chest freezer, looking down at my 2 kegs of fully carbonated Bohemian Pilsner, is a very pleasant sight indeed. I used the exact same recipe and maintained the same fermentation schedule for both a single infusion and a decoction version to see what differences could be had. (See original post: Pilsner Urquell: Decoction mash or Single Infusion?) It’s been a long time in the making. Two separate brew days, with the decoction taking me a whopping 11.5 hours (!), 14 days in primary, and another 40 days of lagering. The fact that it is ready to bottle this week, lines up perfectly with us being at the height of summer.

So was it worth it?

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Adding a personal touch to your homebrew: roasting your own grains…

If you’re anything like me, you’re always seeking out how to brew a better tasting beer. There seems to be endless possibilities and learning opportunities that can be had when brewing. Thankfully home brewers and craft brewers, by nature, like to experiment. Perpetually fiddling with recipes, equipment and the overall process is what we do.

A fellow home brewer tipped me off to a recipe he thought was amazing called “Lake Walk Pale Ale”. It showcases the famous Amarillo/Simcoe hop combination that I’ve read so much about. Unfortunately, up until recently, Simcoe hops have been very scarce around these parts. I’ve since scored a pound of them, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it. An interesting twist to the recipe is the use of ‘home-toasted’ malt. I had read about roasting your own grains in “Radical Brewing” and “Brewing Better Beer“, but hadn’t really thought much about until now. Since we are so incredibly fortunate to have access to a myriad of different malts from all over the globe, some would say, why bother roasting your own?

I say, why not? It’s something else to do that involves brewing!

You can achieve any number of roasts at home. Try roasting them dry, or try roasting them wet to get a caramel/crystal type malt. You can also play around with the temperature and the length to get flavours that you want. For example, Randy Mosher’s “Radical Brewing” outlines the following flavours you will get at various temperatures: Continue reading

Trying to capture a Monkey… Smashbomb Atomic I.P.A. clone

I am constantly humbled and grateful for the lovely people at Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. From the kindness and generosity they showed my friends and I when we visited the brewery for my stag, to the inspiring beers they produce for all of us to enjoy. For me, they are simply one of the best craft breweries in Ontario.

Their highly acclaimed Smashbomb Atomic I.P.A. was an explosion from the start. The LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) had a beef with it’s packaging, saying that it was in bad taste and/or violent. [as a side note, the unfortunate tsunami and resulting events in Japan had just occurred around the time it was to be released, complicating the LCBO’s decision I’m sure] After some slight revisions to the packaging, Flying Monkeys was able to retain it’s unique style of branding and release Smashbomb to the masses.

I have no illusions that I’m going to be ale to nail this recipe the first time. The complex malt character and incredible velvety hop profile that Flying Monkeys get in their beer is, to me, the pinnacle of brewing. If I’m able to pull a beer out of my keg that tastes like that, it will be the ultimate brewing reward for me. So in an attempt to capture a Flying Monkey, bear with me, this may take a few attempts!

As a demonstration of the enthusiasm and sense of community that Flying Monkeys has, on their website they not only have a description of the beer and how it came to be, but a list of ingredients they use in the beer, including malts, hops, and even the hopping schedule. I’m blown away that a brewery would share this with the world. Continue reading