Day 519

Not my day to be in the Teaching Brewery, so with the day free (except for homework) I was able to answer the call when my summer brewery asked me to brew up another one-off beer for a March 5 celebration at ¿C’est What?, a Toronto bar. Since that date  also happens to be the brewery owner’s 50th birthday, I decided this one-off should have exactly 50 ingredients. (Thank goodness it wasn’t his 75th birthday.)

Now there are disdvantages to using a lot of ingredients–when you have everything in your beer, nothing stands out, so the taste can be a bit muddled. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a try. First of all, I had to measure out thirty different grains. That took a lot longer than I expected. Then I had to do hop calculations for 10 hop varieties. By the time I was finished calculating and measuring, it was already past noon.

For those of you counting, 30 grains and 10 hops is, yes, only 40 ingredients. Water is #41. Yeast is #42. And Irish moss is #43. (Okay, Irish moss is used to clarify the beer, and normally in a filtered beer, it would all be removed. But since this is going to be an unfiltered cask ale, you can expect a bit to be in your glass. Don’t worry, it’s healthy protein.) I also added a bit of nutmeg and orange zest to the boil for ingredients #44 & #45. The last five ingredients will be added when I transfer the finished beer to a cask, which is another way of saying I haven’t made up my mind yet.

The brew itself went smoothly, and the wort that came out was a rich mahogany shot with ruby highlights. With an original gravity of 13.5° Plato and 48 IBUs of bitterness, if I was pressed to pigeon-hole it, I’d probably call it a strong brown ale.

But what to name it? I originally considered “Doesn’t Look Like 50”. (Labatt’s 50 was at one time one of the most popular–and blandest–yellow beers in Canada.) A friend suggested “50 Ways to Leave Your Lager”, which I thought was a lot better, but somewhat confusing, since this was an ale, not a lager. But then fellow blogger and brewer Peter Collins suggested the winner: “50 Shades of Grain”.

So ask for it by name at ¿C’est What? on March 5! And don’t be late–they don’t call it a one-off for nothing!

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3 Comments on “Day 519”

  1. Whoa! Thanks for the mention here, too!

    Are you going to be at C’est What on March 5?

  2. […] bill: I’m never one to add sixteen different types of grain to a beer (although there was the infamous “50 Shades of Grain” a couple of years ago). I just find that once you get past three or four types of grain, the flavours start to get […]

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