As I type this, it’s 3:30 a.m. And the brisket is just about to go into the smoker. I’m just waiting for the smoker to hit 250 degrees.
So, I know this is a beer blog but…
I just threw the de-boned leg of lamb on at 2:56 p.m. My target temp is 145 degrees. I’ll use this post as notes going forward. Smoker temp is 225 degrees. But the Traeger temp does fluctuate wildly.
Making one gallon batches of beer is a lot of work – for just a little bit of beer. In an effort to cut down on the amount of work per brew, I’m trying a few things:
I’m sure you’ve seen these before: Rye IPA. Rye IPA are distinctive for their red color, and what’s noted as a spicy character. I’ve tried a couple Red or Rye IPAs in my day, and haven’t really been impressed. I’ve never really noticed the distinctive “pepper” finish that beer geeks wax poetic about. (This includes a previous batch of rye session IPA homebrew.) So, enter my attempt to brew a Rye IPA so I can finally figure out what all this peppery finish stuff is all about. Why will my own particular homebrew version of a Rye IPA make the difference in me distinguishing all those features that a rye beer? I’m using 50% rye in my grain bill. (The last iteration was just 16% rye.)
Using Milk Sugar
This is my first experiment using milk sugar in a brew – to ultimately create a milk stout. Milk sugar can be either added at bottling or during the boil process. I elected for the latter, but may consider doing the latter in the future. (Edit: I’ll definitely be adding milk sugar at bottling going forward. This will leave more room in the primary fermenter for the wort.)
A high ABV with which to suck out the flavor of some apple wood chips.
Ah! Aging in stuff in wood. It just sounds cool, right? Well, that’s why I gave it a go. Since aging beer in a barrel requires the capital expenditure of a barrel, I decided to find a less expensive option: enter wood chips.
A Note on Extracts
This recipe called for vanilla extract. And it worked beautifully. When enjoyed shortly after the bottling, the beer’s thickness in combination with the vanilla extract reminded me of Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout. But, then something strange happened over time: the vanilla extract notes faded. This has been my experience using add-ins across the board; what is one day an amazing addition of flavor, shortly turns into nothingness. So, the takeaway from this recipe is: enjoy shortly after bottling. This beer does not lend itself well to aging – because what makes it so special (the vanilla extract) fades so quickly. I’ve updated my best practices post accordingly.
The inspiration for this beer came from Saint Archer’s Coffee Brown ale. If you haven’t had it yet, I highly suggest it. The beer tastes just like drinking ice coffee. It’s absolutely fantastic. So, why not give a go at our making our delicious version of a brown that tastes just like cold coffee?