The Story of this Beer
Praise undeserved, is satire in disguise. -- Alexander Pope
I received a portion of a new caramel malt, made from rye, at the National Homebrewers conference the Summer of 2016. Towards the end of the Summer I thought I should make something with that malt. More and more I have been planning my brewing and tap rotations from a spreadsheet that now looks more than a full year ahead. I decided to plan a solo brew day to fill in a gap in my tap rotation. A few of my Fall and Winter beers that year needed to be conditioned longer than the usual few weeks. A one off batch would fill in that potential shortfall nicely.
My bitter, Foreign Country, turned out very well. I figured the caramel rye would work well in place of the regular caramel malt.
I wanted to find a quote about wryness that wasn't too on the nose. Alexander Pope was an obvious choice. I settled on this quote both because I feel the name is ultimately self deprecating, to remind myself to remain humble regardless of my success or praise, and it in some way still touches on a wry expression, fulfilling on some level the desired pun, even if only tenuously.
Recipe and Log
- I brewed this beer for the first time on 2016-08-20 and will package it 2016-09-10. In addition to the caramel rye, I decided to experiment with invert sugar an adjunct that is not uncommon in British beers, though few American brewers making these styles use it. Thought seems to be split about this ingredient. Many feel it doesn't do anything different from regular sugar. Some feel that it keeps yeast on a certain metabolic pathway that favors ester production hence yielding more of that character British strains are known for. I used Lyle's Golden Syrup because it is easily had on Amazon. Not content with experimenting with only two variables, this batch was openly fermented during the primary. My reading suggests that this alleviates some stress on the yeast by improving gas exchange which again may boost ester production.
- I brewed this beer again Summer of 2017. I decided to keep it in rotation, I liked it so much. I skipped the open ferment as I am not convinced it did anything noticeable. I forgot the golden syrup and I added some malted rye, from the same local malthouse I've been getting 2-row and 6-row.
- I brewed a third batch Fall of 2018. I remembered the golden syrup on this batch and continued to skip the open primary.
- I brewed four batches from the same version of the recipe early in 2019 while studying at the American Brewers Guild. I conducted triangle tests across all four batches with friends and family to test how closely I was able to produce the very same beer. I achieved that between batches 1 and 2 then 3 and 4 with over 90% confidence. I made a slightly process change based on my studies between batches 2 and 3 that led to some people more reliably being able to tell those batches apart, for expected reasons.