Black Star Ale

Black Star shoots for a black ale that resembles a stout but downplays the roasty flavors letting the hops come through. I also used small amounts of clove and Star Anise in the recipe to try it out. So the name Black Star Ale comes from.  One method to achieving a heavier hop flavor and aroma is running the beer through a “hop back” which essentially pumps it through a container full of hops before entering the fermenter. Here I used purchased leaf hops and a few Cascades I grew in my back yard. Using a hop back is tricky and can plug up easily.

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Brewers Notes and Details:

  • Steep temperature definitely on the low side 147-150.  Calls for 150.  Hope this helps to minimize roast flavor and aroma and allow hops to come through.
  • Added 1 ounce of cloves to mash.
  • Sparge water at 3.5 gallons of filtered and 1.25 of Brita.  Almost used all.  Remember to stop early to allow all wort to pass through grain.  Worked this time.
  • First Wort:  Dropped 1 oz of Fuggles at transfer from Mash Tun to Kettle.
  • Hop Rocket:  Used four ounces of leaf Columbus and small amount of home grown Cascade (maybe 1/8 ounce).  Probably too much but can’t tell because it clogged up due to clove addition directly into boil (with out mesh bag).
  • Added 1/4 ounce of Star Ansie with Centennial Hop addition at 7 minutes.
  • Added 1/4 ounce of Cloves with Willamette Hop addition at 2 minutes.  I added this directly to boil with out mesh bag.  This was a disaster in it clogged the kettle outlet and hop rocket. 
  • Added 1/2 pound of Corn Sugar at end of boil hoping to thin the beer a little.
  • Made a yeast starter just about 24 hours before use.  Seemed to work well.  Yeast took off by next morning so at the most twelve hours since pitching.
  • Primary fermentation seemed to go fast and transferred to secondary 11-3-11 (five days).  Let sit for 9 days till 11-12-11 then dry hopped with two oz of Bravo Hops purchased from shop in Chico.  Never heard of this variety but woman at shop seemed to know her stuff.  Placed hops in cheese cloth sock and wrapped with string and shoved into carboy.  Also added a tiny amount of cloves and star anise in mesh bag to get a little of the flavor.  Not sure about this idea? Getting this shit out of the carboy will be interesting.  Probably start fermenting in bucket when planning to dry hop in future.
  • Bottled today on 11-19-11.  Aroma seems very strong with Star Anise.  Placing a small amount in secondary may have been a bad idea.  The Anise may have killed off the hop aroma/flavor.  Tasted it and seems will be very stong beer.  Yielded 4.5 Gallons. 
  • Place 1/2 pack Red Star Champagne yeast in bottling bucket with recommendation from Chico shop.  This allegedly will help carbonation with out adding flavor.  Also bubbles should be small and fine for a good head.
  • Cracked one open over XMAS holiday.  Star Anise definitely strong, color and head very nice.  Next batch will take Anise way down and won’t add in secondary.  Placed in refrigerator around New Years.  Will let sit for at least another month.

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