April 12, 2010

30th Level Beer Nerd

Brewing beer is a lot like playing pen and paper RPGs. There are numbers and things to keep track of, it is a great social activity, and you get to use your imagination a lot.
I'm not by any means an expert, Chainmail-era gamer (heck, I was only 4 when AD&D came out), but I've been known to dabble in the occasional delve, and even graduated to running a few campaigns as Dungeon Master.

Coincidentally, I started homebrewing around the same time that I started gaming. My brewing experiences have always involved large amounts of note taking, planning, and enjoyment. From reading about brewing history and theory, to trying out new products and techniques, brewing and gaming are very similar pursuits in many ways.

When these worlds combine, truly magical things may happen. Ancient ales - cloudy, sour, brown, and spiced with juniper and heather - come to mind. Perhaps a steampunkier approach, a viscous dark red ale, colored and concentrated by hours of parti-gyle boiling in a pressure cooker and served with a heaping dose of whole hops in the flagon, such that the drinker has to use their teeth as a filter. Bitter, hoarding trolls drinking 200 IBU IPAs, gelatinous cubes consuming entire barrels of five year lambic, rust monsters guzzling gallons of kellerbier - the imagination begins to run wild.

So drink up, read up, grab your dice and your mash paddle, and let your mind wander if you ever find yourself wanting of a new approach to brewing.

Dwarven brown ale (50% efficiency)
  • 4 lb Crisp Amber malt
  • 4 lb Crisp Brown malt
  • 4 lb Flaked oats
  • 2 lb Simpson's Golden Promise
Mash high, 158-164, for 45 minutes
  • 1 oz Fuggle/Goldings/Boadicea/Willamette FWH
  • 1 oz Juniper berries FWH
  • 2 oz Heather tips at flameout
15 minute boil

Any low attenuating British yeast strain would work - pair it with high fermentation temperatures and a Brettanomyces addition (clausenii would be most authentic) after 24 hours.

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