Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cooperian Dark Ale

One of the many hybrid styles going round these days is Cascadian Dark Ale. Invented by the late Greg Noonan in the 90s', it's a variant of the IPA, adding some darker malts to the grain bill, but maintaining the hop profile of (American) IPAs.
Cascadia is in fact a region of the Pacific Northwest, taking in parts of Canada and the US, and home to the ubiquitous Cascade hop.

This got me thinking.... is there a quick and easy way of brewing a hoppy, dark beer from kit ?  I had a yeast cake left over from a (failed) all-grain batch, which was then reused for a Coopers pale ale kit (successful). So on it's third outing, the yeast should be raring to go, and up to the challenge of something a little unusual.

A quick trip to the supermarket, and I landed a tin of Coopers Pale Ale malt, a tin of Coopers Dark Ale malt, and a kilogram of brewbooster (a blend of dextrose, malt, and maltodextrin). Normally you only need one tin plus sugars to get to a 4.5-5% ale, but two tins plus the brewbooster should see me in at 7-8%. (Incidentally, I smashed my hydrometer doing a recent brew, so the original & final gravities, and ensuing ABV%, are anyone's guess.....)

Since I was pitching two tins of malt extract, I was also doubling the hop bitterness. Tins are not renowned for their late-hop aroma, so any additional hops will come in handy to give some of the aromatics associated with IPAs.

Back at home, I scrounged some leftover Amarillo hop pellets, tipped it all together, and had a good fermentation underway within the hour. It's still been quite cool in the cellar, so hopefully a lot of the warmer-ferment, yeasty characteristics will take a back seat to the malt & hops.

After three weeks in the fermenter, I kegged the result today. First tastings are not too bad, with some interesting spicy notes, and a hint of alcohol warmth. And it's dark. It'll spend the next fortnight cold conditioning, and then get the carbonation treatment.

As for the name, well I thought "Cooperian" was appropriate, although the play on words relies on the coincidental naming of the Cascade hop variety and another Australian brewery.

My hopes are high; I'll get back to you in a fortnight.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting experiment. Look forward to the results as I love my dark, hoppier beers.


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