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Showing posts from September, 2017

How to get a sweeter, more full-bodied beer

After reviewing the judges' feedback from my homebrewing competition entries earlier this year, and combining it with my own observations, it's clear that for some styles I am not quite hitting my target for mouthfeel and (where appropriate) sweetness.

I did some research into how you can improve these qualities in your homebrew, and have uncovered the following variables which can be altered during brewing to give a beer more body and/or sweetness:

Add unfermentable sugars:  This can be done with sugars like lactose, which yeast won't ferment.  This will add a sweetness to a beer like a milk stout.  I've done this in the Stout Chocula beer I brewed earlier this year to good effect.  However, I don't see lactose working well in a Belgian beer. 
Add Calcium Chloride:  This can reportedly enhance the maltiness of a beer.  This is something I haven't tried, but will tinker with in the future.
Increase Caramel Malt:  Increasing the amount of caramel (a.k.a. Crystal) m…

Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu Clone 1.0

As I mentioned in yesterday's post on brewing a Ta Henket clone, another of my most-favorite Dogfish brews is Chateau Jiahu. This beer is loosely based on an ancient recipe for beer from China, uncovered by Dr. Patrick McGovern and published in his book Ancient Ales: Rediscovered and Re-Created.  I bought the ingredients I needed, thinking that I had some Simcoe hops around from a previous brew (but didn't).

Substitution Time

When it came down to brew day, I discovered that there were three things I couldn't readily get my hands on at the time:  sake yeast, white grape concentrate, and Simcoe hops.

I thought I had Simcoe in my freezer, but didn't.  I did have some El Dorado hops, which aren't a recognized substitute for Simcoe but sound like they might be interesting in this beer. I didn't have another use planned for them, so they made the ingredient list.

White grape juice concentrate was something I'd seen in local groceries in years past, but could not …

Dogfish Head Ta Henket Clone Recipe 1.0

In early August, my wife and I visited Dogfish Head's brewery in Milton, Delaware.  We took their tour, which was interesting and informative, and enjoyed a few samples at the taproom afterward. The whole visit inspired me to think about brewing, and specifically about brewing clones of some of my favorite Dogfish Head beers.

If you asked most folks which Dogfish Head beer was their favorite, they would probably mention 120-Minute IPA (or 90-Minute or 60-Minute), or World Wide Stout, or maybe one of their others. The ones I really enjoy most from Dogfish Head are the Ancient Ales series. Of those, Ta Henket is probably my favorite.  Judging from the fact that they appear to have stopped making it (according to a book I'll mention in a moment), perhaps I'm one of the few "off-centered people" who liked it.

Ta Henket impressed me with its Ancient Egyptian pedigree, its unusual spicy and herbal aroma (which reminds me of what I imagine the inside of a pyramid to sm…