Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brew Season and Red Storm

It’s been a while since last we heard from our brewers… some might even be questioning the existence of Forbidden Peak Brewery… but just like our friend Squatch, the true believers never lose faith.

In the first nine months of 2011 we’ve seen the construction of a brand new northern brewery branch (more to come on this soon), we’ve sent beverage research teams to Russia, Africa, South America, and across the U.S., and we’ve been gathering our brewing inspiration through life’s many pleasures. What we haven’t been doing much of is brewing.

With the beginning of fall the weather is turning, the football is on, the pumpkins are almost ready, and so Forbidden Peak Brewing would like to announce the official opening of BREW SEASON!!

Red Storm 2.0
Last weekend the FPB Seattle branch kicked off brew season with a new version of Red Storm, our interpretation of an Irish red ale. Our goal: keep much of the original flavor of the Red Storm (malty, caramel character), but make the flavors a little deeper and improve the clarity.

Aim 1: Deeper Flavor

The Red Storm starts with pale and crystal malts, with an addition of roasted barley for a hint of roastiness and the desired red color. For this batch we used a handful of dark brown sugar at the end of the boil to make the flavors a little warmer and give the alcohol level a slight lift. Northern brewer and cascade hops were used for the boiling hops, and fuggles hops were used for the aromatics.

Aim 2: Clear the Storm

The essence of Red Storm 1.0 was a yummy red ale with a very cloudy view through the pint glass. We thought we’d see if we could keep the base flavors for Red Storm 2.0 but improve the clarity. In addition to irish moss in the boil (a natural clarifying agent), this morning we added gelatin to the secondary fermentation cycle. Gelatin helps grab all of the sediment that naturally occurs in the beer and drag them to the bottom of the fermenter.

The second tweak will be to keep the beer in the fermentation cycle for a full three weeks (instead of two). The goal here is to give the gelatin a full week to coagulate and sink, and then to transfer to beer to a third fermenter to leave as much sediment behind as possible.

For a third clarifying strategy, we’ll be cooling the third fermenter for a few hours before kegging the batch. We’ll be force carbonating on the keggerator (hallelajah for not having to clean and bottle 48 beers!), so a little loss of yeast with three transfers and cooling the batch shouldn’t hurt anybody.

The brew is back in the brewery working away, and we’ll let you know how it turn out. Luckily it's still warm here in Seattle, so the space heater isn't working too hard. Time to get outside and enjoy our last 70 degree weekend!

Cheers to you all – we’ll be keeping you in the loop with our upcoming adventures during the greatest season of all – brew season! Coming soon – the return of the Arctic Beaver and pics from the new high-tech Juneau brewery.