Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ale of Mark

The Fourth of July is always a good day to brew a batch of beer. My pal Mike is throwing a party next month and he wanted a "Scotch Ale." Well, I don't know about that--we drank quite a lot of beer in Scotland and couldn't settle on exactly what was supposed to be the national type. There were a number of small breweries that made full-flavored but easy-drinking ales, many of them served in the traditional manner, i.e. "from the cask" in the pubs. We went to one place on the outskirts of Inverness that had beer from the wood--actually drawn from a small wooden cask called a firkin--and drank an ale at a spot in Edinburgh flavored not with hops but with heather! We had black beers and golden beers and all the hues in between. We had craft beer and draft beer and bottled beer and mass-produced beer and imports and exports and you-name-it beer. So I'm not sure I know what a "Scotch Ale" actually is. Of course, lots of brewers will tell you that Scotch Ales are malty and full-bodied and probably amber-colored. So I made Ale of Mark today inspired by that notion. We stayed at a place called the House of Mark in the Angus region (Tarfside) that sat at the foot of a long canyon called Glen Mark. Through that glen flowed a stream known as the Water of Mark. Thus the Ale of Mark had its genesis.

I compromised a bit between a "first runnings/no-sparge" beer and a "batch-sparge." I used 15 lbs of malt including some Victory malt, British amber, and 120ÂșL caramel. I mashed with 4 gallons of water, and after an hour I added 2 gallons of "sparge" water. I then drained the tun and got 3+ gallons of 1.068 wort. I diluted to 28 L and boiled with 1/2 ounce of Admiral hops (15% alpha-acids). I wound up with 20 L of 1.044 wort into which I pitched a package of Safale-04.  Stay tuned for updates.

Happy Fourth of July!

a.d. IV Non. Aug.

No comments: