Homebrew 10

Brewday - 22/12/13

Mandrake - 5.5% Black Mango Ale

To mark an occasion as special as my tenth homebrew, I decided to take a risk and make something a bit different. I enjoyed making the Black IPA and it's fair to say it's probably been my most successful brew so far so I decided to do another black beer.

With a rush of blood to the head, I came up with the idea of trying to make a fruit-infused black beer and settled on mango, based on my immense enjoyment of Magic Rock's The Great Alphonso. I have no idea whether it's possible to get the subtle mango taste to stand out against a dark malt background but I figured that if it worked, it would probably be quite nice.

I reduced the ABV from last time, to 5% from the grains plus whatever the sugar from the mangos adds. I currently have no idea what this figure might be nor how to measure it. A bit of googling is probably required.

I kept the grain bill percentages fairly similar to the Black IPA, with 6% Light Crystal, 5% Torrified Wheat, 5% Carafa Special III and 2% Chocolate Malt complimenting a base of Maris Otter. Propaganda had so much dark malt, it easily went black but with the volumes of malt being lower, I was a bit worried about this one ending up dark brown at one point. I needn't have worried though and the final result looks to have scraped in as black by the skin of its teeth, which is just what I wanted.

In the picture below, the one on the left is the final runnings, which is the last lot of wort to be collected form the mash tun. Basically, it's what you get right at the end when most of the sugars have been washed out. On the right is the finished wort, showing the deep final colour.

I wanted the finished product to be much less bitter than a Black IPA, to let the fruit character come through and I designed the hop additions to hit 35 IBU, using Centennial and Nelson Sauvin. Mrs Nelly very kindly got 12 juicy mangos for me (have you seen the price of mangos?) and I put the flesh of five of them in the boil. Adding fruit to the boil can cause haziness but with a black beer, this doesn't really matter, of course.

I'm going to put the rest into a secondary ferment, once the initial fermentation is largely complete after 5 days or so. To avoid oxidation, I rigged up a neat system (pictured below) which uses the CO2 from the primary ferment to purge the air out of the secondary fermentation vessel. I drilled an extra bung hole into the lid and dropped a tube from it down into the vessel. This can be used for the CO2 and also to feed in the beer when I do the transfer. I'll dry hop at the same time as adding the mangos.

It's always good to take a risk and try something a little out of the ordinary once in a while. This may not work but if it does come off, I'll be very happy.

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