#Mashtag 2014 Day 2: Malt Bill & ABV
Choose the malt base for your beer...
We're pleased to announce we have a clear winner in round one of voting for this years #Mashtag. If you feel like providing your own drum roll, do so now.
#Mashtag 2014 Day 1: the chosen beer style is... RED ALE!
Over 1700 votes were placed by 8pm last night, with the following breakdown:
Pilsner - 20.8%
Red ale - 48.9%
Porter - 30.3%
We won't linger on this for too long, as we've still got a lot of work to do! Now three more choices present themselves (it's like one of those adventure novels).
In case you're new to #Mashtag, here's a run-down of how it works:
Every day this week we'll post a blog at 10am. Each post will present you with three options; it's up to you to decide which one we go with. To make the decision, you can cast your vote here on the blog, on twitter, or on facebook. Here's how the week will pan out:
Monday: Beer style - red ale
Tuesday: Malt Bill & ABV
Wednesday: Hops & IBU
Thursday: Special Twist (Infused with berries? Wine barrel aged? Matured aboard an X-Wing?)
Voting is open from 10am - 8pm each day, with the exception of Friday (more details will be revealed, but there's no harm in getting your artistic hats on early). Simcoe and his little helpers will tally up the votes each evening and each day we'll include the results from the day before in the blog. As we go we'll explain the ingredients and methods involved in each option, to give you the chance to make an informed opinion and give you an insight into how we come up with some of the ideas for our beer.
Day 2: Malt Bill & ABV
Your choices for the next stage are:
4% ABV Session Red Ale
Malt bill: Extra Pale, Cara, Crystal, Dark Crystal, Rye
This would be a light and spicy blend of speciality malted barley and rye. Providing ample opportunity for a range of hop options, this could become a summery session ale.
6% ABV Amber Ale
Malt bill: Extra Pale, Cara, Dark Crystal, Munich, Wheat
Bridging the low and the high ABV options is this punchy 6% ABV malt bill, providing a broad canvas for hops and twists, and utilising wheat for mouthfeel, with a touch of black malt to deepen the colour. This malt bill uses elements from UK and US amber ales.
9% ABV Imperial Red Ale
Malt bill: Extra Pale, Cara, Crystal, Dark Crystal, black malt
Weighing in at the heavier end of the spectrum is a big and bold imperial red, using copious amounts of speciality malts, which will give a luxurious body and a rich toffee sweetness.
Malt brings many things to a beer - flavour, colour, aroma, and probably the most important element: sugar, which ultimately creates the alcohol. When mixed with hot water the complex sugars in the malt are broken down and extracted into the liquid, which we then call wort.
The amount of malt we use in relation to water, ultimately determines the ABV. More malt in relation to the water = more sugar in the solution = more fermentation = higher alcohol content.
Here we have some Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Caramalt, De-husked roasted Crystal Malt and Chocolate Malt.
After the mash has converted the starch to sugars and drawn colour, flavour and aroma from the malt we gently add hot water (a process called sparging) to help flush out all this goodness and transfer the sweet solution to our kettle for boiling (more on the boiling process tomorrow).
Once again, make your choice and vote by 8pm tonight. Tomorrow, you get to choose our favourite ingredient - the hops!
Your response so far has been amazing - keep it up, and be sure to share this with your craft beer brothers- and sisters-in-arms; it's their beer too!