spelt is an ancient form of wheat. the variety we used in this beer came from valley malt, which is by far the best (if admittedly the only) local malthouse. they do great work and are helping to restore the local grain agriculture that is traditional to new england. we'll definitely be using more of their malt in the future as we can get it. wanting to celebrate this wonderful and unfortunately unusual malt, we made a sort of spelt wine. it has barley and wheat in it as well to round out its character. oh and the hops! they're a full pound nelson sauvin, a unique variety known for its white wine flavor.
fine, we love dark chocolate. we couldn't wait to make a second chocolate stout. also, at least one of likes mushrooms, so really this beer pretty much designed itself. take one chocolate stout recipe, add morels, substitute molasses for belgian dark candi sugar, substitute german yeast for pacific northwest yeast, and presto! honestly, chocolate and mushrooms are pretty much the same thing anyway. they're both dark, mysterious, sensual, earthy, exotic foods. if you're pretending not to know what i'm talking about, you don't have enough morels in your diet.
this is one of those chocolate stouts that doesn't have any actual chocolate in it. actually, most chocolate stouts don't have chocolate in them. (although, to keep things confusing, some certainly do.) malted roasted grains are great that way. they provide an entire pallet of flavors from what was a simple grass not long before. this beer gets chocolate notes from chocolate rye malt, biscuit notes from special roast malt, and coffee notes from roasted barley. a pound and half of mash hops keep things fresh (literally). this beer should age well if you're the patient type.
barley wine w/ blackberries & honey (see batch 10 for additional info).
barley wine w/ raspberries & belgian candi sugar (see batch 10 for additional info).
barley wine w/ cherries & maple syrup - barley wine? barley wine. barley wine! if you don't know, barley wines are the biggest boys on the block. their reputation greatly proceeds their movements. in their youth they can be outlandishly brass, some might even say repelling. however, if you meet them when they're older and their offensiveness has mellowed, you'll never find a more delicious combination of scars. three barley wines in a row means it's okay to feel a little sweaty after reading this sentence.
beer can be a transformative medium. take kumquats for example. i've seen normally polite people get up and leave the brunch table after eating them for the first time. they're unique in that they're the only citrus fruit that you'd be wise to pop into your mouth whole, chew up, and swallow. the thing is, though the rind is sweet, the fruit is intensely sour. but not in this beer. here the fruit melds seamlessly with a base of 50/50 pilsner and wheat malts. it's certainly unique as compared to lemony flavors many similar beers trumpet, and it's goes very well with more delicate proteins.
newfangled combination beer style names can be stupid. no one feels good about themselves when they ask for a black pale ale. it doesn't make sense. it also doesn't do a good job of explaining what this beer really is, which is a combination of the following?the malt bill includes a base of american 2-row pale malt and spelt malt flavored with crystal 20, acid malt, chocolate rye malt, and peat smoked malt. it also contains multiple pounds of hops named amarillo gold, belma, and citra. the beer that wasn't absorbed (and hoarded) by the hops is surprisingly well-balanced.
sometimes a beer fights its brewer tooth and nail, and then, claw and fist. this is one of those beers. conceptually, this batch pays homage to scottish ales of the past that were made with heather rather than hops, but is notably bigger, more complex, and more heathery than tradition would stipulate. frankly, it would probably still be in the boil kettle if a homebrewer by the name of robert hadn't stopped by to help us wrestle it out. unfortunately, though it tastes great, this one's not for sale, because it's being a bitch, but we'll happily be pouring it as samples.
not in this beer: cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, or ginger. utilizing 97% beechwood smoked malt and 3% acid malt, this beer takes a german tradition and pairs it with two of the newest hops on the market: belma and legacy. these hops are a showcase of fruity, citrusy, and tropical notes. the yeast is a combination of american and english varieties, which bring their own fruitiness to the equation. finally, we split this beer into two fermenters and added locally grown hot peppers to half and decidedly non-local black peppercorns to the other half. smoke and heat: best friends forever.
not in this beer: cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, or ginger. some beers are intensely bitter, which is nice. this beer is roasty, black and bitter. in other words, it's a well hopped coffee wheat stout. the coffee is from gorilla in park slope. it's like no coffee you've had before, unless you've had their coffee before. pair it with a well charred steak (pink on the inside please) or tempeh. perfect with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. for comparison sake, we split this batch into two halves and used an english yeast in one part and a belgian yeast in the other.
see batch 0003. so what's the difference between batches 0003 & 0004? this one is reserved for meg's bat mitzvah, i.e. not for sale. she may be a woman in the eyes of her god, but she'll have to wait another 8 years to open her own bottle of big alice beer batch 0004.
we appropriated the mind state of a whimsical child to develop this beer. however, you can't just go around thinking like any odd random young woman, so we consulted with meg. meg is the best. using her prismatic style of thought, we created a multifaceted beer by combining: barley, wheat, and rye, german noble hops, jumbo flame raisins, and multiple belgian yeast strains (some of which are said to produce bubble gum flavor!).
when you're a brewer and you get married, you make beer for everyone in attendance. then when you open a brewery, you make more beer for even more people based on recipes you've used in the past. that's what happened when we made this belgian ipa. double dry hopped with america's finest aroma hops, this 10 gallon batch of beer was made using a total of 1.5 pounds of whole hops. the malt bill includes a touch of smoked malt for that old world flavor and oatmeal for a smooth mouth feel. a pair of buddha's hands imbues the beer with an intensely lemony essence.
this red ale is swimming with belgian yeast and plenty of hops, but what makes it special is the healthy portion of oven roasted cheese pumpkin (a.k.a. cinderella pumpkin, if you prefer) that we added to the mash. turns out that all of that local organic pumpkin flesh gums up the mash pretty good, so we'll be relegating pumpkin additions to special occasions in the future. in the meantime, we fermented this beer on the pumpkin's own pepitas and then dry hopped it with belma.
Menu for Big Alice Brewing provided by Allmenus.com
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