Great to be back. I took an unplanned hiatus from beer brewing. Life, work, and the heat got in the way and I didn't brew for 3 1/2 months, this is the longest I have gone without brewing in the past 6 years. I had been dying to brew, yearning to try out some new recipes. I even bought grain, but never had a chance to get to it. I had Veteran's day off, so I knew I had to get some beer made since I had time and with the holidays coming up I needed some new beers to serve to family and friends. Thanks Jeff for worrying about me. We will have to brew soon and finally set up our sour tasting soon.
Living in San Diego, I am often tricked by the "seasons", we get cold winter like rain storms, followed by hot and dry Santa Ana conditions in the Fall. The evenings cool down, but the days are still warm. Hell, it was 74F today. So it is difficult for me to decide what to brew in the Fall, maybe a saison for the warm days, maybe a big malty amber, or maybe a West Coast IPA. I have been wanting to brew an imperial amber for a long time and with the weather finally starting to turn I decided to go for it. I doubled my red ale recipe from last Fall. I also decide dot move away from the American hops and go for a more traditional hop. I wanted to use Northern Brewer my go to hop for beers where I don't want the hops to stand out. However, I couldn't get any so I went with Sterling hops. I want this beer to be malty, toffee-like with a slight roast. I upped the chocolate malt a tad and I think that the beer may come out a little darker and more brown than I was shooting for. I guess when you haven't brewed in 3 1/2 months, this isn't that big of a deal. Since the beer was going to be on the larger side ~9% I thought, hey why not get a second beer out of the mash. I was hopping to get a dark mild out of this beer, and to my surprise I was able to get a nice 1.040 OG beer from a second mash. I really like this idea and will try and do this with any of my larger beers.
All in all, the brew day went very well, and I am happy to be back in the saddle. I have all of next week off, so I will be brewing up a couple of beers for my work Holiday party. I will also be brewing my Feliz Navidad (Mexican Hot Chocolate Beer) it was such a great beer that I have to make it again.
Recipe: US 2- Row, Dark Munich, Victory, US Chocolate Malt, Sterling Hops @ 60 and 30. Fall Mild, same grain second mash with Sterling and Goldings @60 and Goldings @30. Safe Ale US-05