Just before we flew to Indonesia, Miss Jiwaku and I made a strong Scottish ale with some chocolate flavoring. Well, in theory it should have picked up a chocolate flavoring, from the cocoa we put into it.
In reality, it was not so chocolatey at all. The only property the beer seems to have picked up from the cocoa is bitterness, in fact.
I was trying to figure out how to serve it, therefore, and stumbled upon something: it was missing a balance for the bitterness — some sort of sweetness and acidity.
My first response was to squirt a little lime juice into it, which helped, but was a bit to, well, limey. The next attempt was a thick slice of orange, which did wonders for the beer. I can even taste a little chocolate in it, when I serve it that way. after letting the beer warm up to just below room temperature.
I’m wondering whether a splash of orange juice might not really do wonders, though. We’ll see.
I’m still planning on a kaffir lime leaves + lemongrass + hot pepper pilsner, which I’ll be brewing up tomorrow, from my last can of extract.
After that, I’ll be switching to all-grain brewing, which should be interesting. There’s a SMaSH brewing event coming up in June, and I’m thinking about doing up a recipe for that. SMaSH stands for Single Malt and Single Hop, a kind of artificial set of restraints which help put the focus on brewing and mashing techniques. It’ll be my first all-grain beer, but hey, I like a challenge. (And by the way, even if you’re not a brewer, you can join in on the public event that will follow, including sampling of the contestant beers and chatting with the brewers and so on. Sounds fun, no? Yes, yes it does.
What will I be brewing? I’m still researching… but with this move, I’m going to be shifting over to all-grain brewing, and that means learning to do a mash/lauter/sparge routine, as well as being more picky about temperature and pH and so on. I know that in two or three months, all that will seem simple and easy to me and I’ll wonder why I was ever daunted by it… even though for the moment, I am.
But I won’t let that stop me.