Brad Kraus, the brewer at La Rana Dorada, was willing to help me mill the malt. He suggested I make a Summer Ale to get a good impression of the malt's characteristics. To take that one step further, I decided to make a SMaSH ale (Single Malt and Single Hop) so that I could get a good evaluation of the malt as well as the classic English strain of hops known as Fuggles, which is popular for its use in English Milds and ESBs.
12 lbs Riverbend Pale Ale Malt (a heritage North Carolina six-row barley)
19g Fuggles at :60, :15, :5
Safale-04 Dry Ale Yeast
I got nice yields from the malt after a 60-minute mash, but not before adding a solid dose of gypsum to increase water hardness. A strong, 90-minute boil reduced my volume a bit, but I was able to get some nice caramelization to add a little color to the wort. I topped it off with a little agua to end up with a decent amount of brew.
A two-week fermentation, another week or so in the bottle, and it's ready.
|The southern access of the|
Panama Canal lies in the distance...
It's a lighter beer, straw-colored with a frothy white head. There's a touch of fruitiness on the nose, probably due to fermentation temps a bit on the high end, but overall I'm very pleased with how Safale-04 handled this warm climate. The Riverbend malt comes through nicely, very crisp, biscuity, and grainy. The Fuggles hops adds a woody, earthy character, reminiscent of a classic English mild.
I look forward to making this one again!