On Wednesday, I made the trek out to
Hannam Hanam City, to the home of my friends Rowan and Sophie, in order to brew up a Wit beer with Rowan… a Belgian Wit beer made with Earl Grey tea… and that’s not the only thing that makes it unusual.
This is the second experiment we’ve done with brewing a wheat beer, and the twist is that we supplemented the wheat with some pasta — in this case, rotini. We didn’t use a lot: though we added about 500 grams of it to the cereal mash, some got burnt to the bottom of the pot; I’d guess 350-400 grams of the pasta made it into the mash, though.
The first runnings were cloudy as hell at first, so we added some more hot water to mash out, and suddenly, the runoff was the clearest either of us had ever seen. For me, this suggested a few things: I need to start adding rice hulls to mashes more often, now that they’re actually available in Korea; and I need to get myself a manifold for my mash tun, like Rowan has for his… also now available in Korea, both thanks to Rob over at HomebrewKorea.com.
We experimented with the Earl Grey in a bottle of Blanche de Bruxelles that Rowan had on hand, and found that boiling the tea at all gave off too much astringency; even a hot steep wasn’t great, but a cool steep for something like 10 or 15 minutes seemed to make the bergamot aromas come out. Rowan is thinking about simply making a tea and adding at bottling time, since we can’t actually get bergamot alone here and the tea would probably give off some astringency if we tried “dry-teaing” the beer. I also brought some galangal along, though sadly it had a little mold growing on the outside. We decided it’d be best to peel it and soak it in vodka to kill the mold and infuse the gingery flavors into the alcohol, and then pitch the vodka into the brew as well.
Anyway, though I arrived relatively late — I’d forgotten to bring some things along — we still managed to finish at a reasonable hour and Rowan even made excellent home-fried fish-and-chips, English style (no newspaper, though). It was good to hang out with those guys, they’re lovely people and good to talk with.
Then Rowan sent me off with some spare hops he won’t be using, including enough Summit to kill a large horse, and some Styrian Goldings for my English ale dry-hopping needs. He also gave me a starter for a malt vinegar that I need to sequester somewhere far from my beer. I think I’ll make a bottle or two of the stuff in my office, where it can sit and acetify in peace without infecting all my beers…
Oh, and when I recharged my phone today, I discovered a message from Rowan letting me know the OG we got on the beer… which worked out to 1.067… much higher than we’d expected or intended.
Anyway, it was a good brewday, and I’m glad we made it happen, especially since Rowan and Sophie may be departing before too long…
Want to see more pics? Check out my Flickr set for the brewday.