One thing that I noticed at recent cask nights and the Dix Caskival, was how many of the special cask beers bore a striking resemblance to the micro-brewer’s regular beers except with something funky added.
Now that I’ve figured it out, it seems obvious. They make a big batch of beer. Then they syphon off a little at the end to use with different hops, add fruit to, cask condition, or whatever. And done. A large vat of boring, generic beer, and a small cask of something interesting for those few who actually like beer.
So I’ve decided to replicate the set-up on a smaller scale. I picked up a 4.5 L (1.2 g) flask to use as a mini-fermenter and I’ve upped the size of my mash by 20% to give me the extra volume. It gives me twice the opportunity for experimenting with barely any more effort.
The really cool thing is that it lets me experiment with mushroom beers and fruit beers without the risk of wasting large amounts of fruit and mushrooms (and beer) on a brew that doesn’t work out. Adding raspberries and cherries to a beer is pretty safe, but there’s plenty more out there to try.
The big drawback is that the extra wort pushes my boiling capacity to maximum. I’ll have to boil a little longer to reduce all the necessary wort until it fits my only two pots that are big enough for my immersion chiller. The end result will be slightly darker, more caramelised beers than usual.
Anyway, I’ve got some wort to look after.