How I made up this mornings recipe – or – how fickle my mind is.
I'd been thinking for some time about brewing my Simcoe Smasher recipe again. Firstly because it was an amazing beer and secondly to investigate the effect some changes I have made in my brewing process might have on the beer. I planned to do it this morning.
However, I'm a seeker after new experiences and my mind just wouldn't let the idea of using a different hop in the recipe go (really I wanted to explore a new single hop beer flavour more than I wanted to test out an old one). But which hop to use? Well, I had got hold of a couple of two very flavourful New Zealand hops was keen to try one of those. But which one?
Pacific Gem is a very high alpha acid hop that produces oaken flavours with a distinct blackberry aroma. From looking around the web it is clear that it is commonly used as a single hop but, also, that it is generally suited to strong Belgian style beers. I wanted a much lighter easy drinking beer, so that was no good. What about NZ Pacifica Gem? This is a mid alpha-acid hop where 'orange marmalade aptly describes the citrus aroma notes achieved through late addition'. And a bit of searching suggested that several people had successfully used it as a single hop in lighter beers. Right, NZ Pacific it is then.
Now what malt to use? The Simcoe Smasher only used Maris Otter. But I had been thinking about adding a little crystal to the recipe for more depth. But now I was thinking about using a different hop, perhaps I could try a different malt. Time to nip upstairs and see what I've got in my box.
A little digging around unearthed some Belgian Special B. This is normally used in strong Belgian Ales and dark ales but, since it is said to give a unique flavor to the finished beer that is often compared to raisins or dried fruit, I couldn't resist pairing it with the orange citrus of NZ Pacifica to (hopefully) create a beer with some rich Christmas cake/pomander type characteristics. And, if I only use a little of the Special B it should add just a little orange colour to the beer matching the look of it to the flavour. And, if I drop the bitterness of the beer the sweeter orange and raisin flavours should shine through.
So that's it then... a recipe designed. I started off intending to make a very bitter straw coloured pale ale, ended up with mid-bittered orange-citrus amber ale. Can't wait to find out what it tastes like.
Should be great though... I've found it's very hard to screw up brewing, as long as you start with good ingredients.