Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Barrels of Best

Yesterday was my birthday, and I spent the day at Three Notch'd Brewing here in Charlottesville, making the biggest batch of beer I have ever been involved in. I arrived at the brewery at 7am expecting to be brewing 10 barrels of Session 42, an English style pale ale, hopped exclusively with US Goldings, only to be told that we would be brewing 20 barrels instead.


As I mentioned in my last post, Session 42 is a best bitter, but with a slight difference, we used only US ingredients. No Maris Otter, no Kent Goldings, the ingredients were as follows:
  • 89% Rahr 2 Row Malt
  • 11% Briess Victory Malt
  • 38 IBUs of US Goldings
We are using the brewery's standard yeast, the Edinburgh ale strain which is derived from McEwan's back in Scotland.


The grain bill of just 2 Row and Victory malt will give the beer a sweet, bready, almost toasty base. Usually I would add some crystal malt, but I wanted to avoid the caramel sweetness that seems to be a defining element of the English Pale Ale in some people's minds.


If everything goes well the beer will finish at about 4.2% abv, just a touch above the finest best bitter on the planet, Timothy Taylor's wonderful bottled Landlord.


All the hops in the beer are US Goldings, which is basically Kent Goldings without the Kent. Packed with a Seville orange citrus character, as well as the spicy earthiness you expect from this classic hop. With the toastiness of the Victory malt, think marmelade on warm toast and you're pretty much there...


To say I am looking forward to drinking the beer when it comes out in early December would be an understatement...

4 comments:

  1. i am digging that beertography pic at the end - very well done! i am also not incredibly familiar with bitters so am looking forward to this one as well

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  2. Very interesting article indeed! Thanks for posting!

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  3. That's some way to spend a birthday.

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  4. I was able to snag a few pints (at Three Notch'd and The Whiskey Jar) when visiting Charlottesville in late December. I wish I had brought a growler back to Maryland with me! I am going to try to brew a "clone" (although I will use Maris Otter) of it soon and will let you know how I do.

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