Over 600 entries were submitted out of a possible 3,000 or so EBF attendees. Now it's time for the BA community and friends to vote for the final beer name! (Please note that final label use is dependent on TTB approval.)
BeerAdvocate (BA) and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DFH) once again challenge the BA community to name the official beer of the Extreme Beer Fest (EBF) on February 19 & 20, 2010 in Boston, MA. This unique collaboration beer between DFH founder Sam Calagione and lead brewer Bryan Selders along with BA founders and brothers Jason and Todd Alstrm will be brewed at the DFH brewery in Milton, DE mid-December and served for the first time at EBF; featuring a special cask during Friday's Night of the Barrels and straight-up during Session One and Two on Saturday. The beer will then be bottled, followed by an exclusive limited release at the DFH Milton brewery during a special "Weekend of Compelling Ales and Whatnot" on Saturday, March 13; see below for more details.
BeerAdvocate's Extreme Beer Fest is fortified by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and the letters E, B & F.
Here's insider 411 on the beer recipe development by Jason, Todd, Sam and Bryan. We had a lot of fun with this one. After laying down some basics over a conference call, the iterative and creative process ensued via email:
Sam: Dudes, the dates are set for you to come down and brew this with us here in Delaware in December. So I'm going to get the ball rolling to mention I want to consider smoking some of the malt for this beer over pecan wood. I had a steak grilled over this stuff in NYC a few days ago; awesome. I think it would work really well in a brown or darker beer and can order chunks of the wood online and we can put a stainless steel mesh screen over the grill we use to heat up rocks for Sah'tea here to smoke the grain.
- Jason: Smoke is good, pecan wood sounds great. I know I had mentioned parsnips but for the batch size it would probably be a huge task, right? What about some Plantain Flour in the mash? Malt enzymes speak all languages from what I have been told HA! Have you guys used any of Breiss's "Extra Special Malt"; Burnt Sugar, Woody, Prunes... sounds like a really good organic cereal. ;-)
- Sam: Dude. I like the idea of the extra special malt. Bryan is communicating with them about seeing if they will do the smoking over pecan wood and he can ask about the extra special too. I researched the plantain flower a bit. Barry Farms seems to be the biggest online seller. I have asked for pricing on larger shipments and nutritional specs; we ordered 10lbs for our test batch. Jason and Todd: throw out a potential hop variety or two. Something geared more for bittering than aroma.
- Bryan: Yup, I dig Briess Extra Special Malt, I'm also going to get their 2-row C-30 for this, along with our base malt and the fraction of malt that we smoke over pecan wood.
- Sam: We are gonna use a smoker at our pub for the malt we do over pecan wood but we hoped to get the malting company to do the volume needed for the big batch at their facility. Bryan will send you a few possible yeast and hop scenarios for this beer later today. As I look at this recipe coming together I'm thinking addition of another specialty sugar might be a little too dislocated flavor-wise from the rest of the recipe. The pecan-smoked malt will add a nice earthy nutty note and the plantain should add sugar and complexity. Why fuk with a nice banana nut muffin? I do think a little bit a oats would work here though or something with a little spice. Keep me posted on hops and yeast and let's put the recipe to bed tomorrow or Wed at latest guys.
- Bryan: My gut tells me that Wyeast 1099 or 1028 will be our best bet for this beer. I think the minerally characteristics of both strains will be complimentary to what we are trying to achieve with the other ingredient choices. The smoked malt will deliver enough phenol that a Belgian strain will be inappropriate and distracting. American strains will be too flaccid, flabby and boring in this environment. The British strains I think have the right ester profile to play a good role in the experience. Since this will be a relatively hop-neutral beer (for lack of a better term), we should shoot for 35 IBUs with 75% of that from an addition of a high alpha variety up front and something that says, "hops" and not "HOPS!!!!" to make up the remainder five minutes before the end of the boil. I think that variety should be Willamette. Attached is a first go at a recipe. I threw some C-30 in the mix because my feeling is that the plantain flour will contribute some very simple, very fermentable sugars and I'd like to get some sweetness in the beer to bring out the plantain flavor (don't expect banana) while contributing some level of color along with the Extra Special. The Extra Special has very similar attributes to MFB Kiln Coffee and I think we should use it sparingly as it is fairly aggressive in its flavor contribution. It's different enough, however, to warrant its use. I got the nutritional data on the plantain flour to a degree that I had enough info to do the math on it. The recipe is in gallons, pounds and ounces. The smoked malt is listed at a use rate that would require 1400 pounds at the Milton brewery. It should be mashed a little on the hot side like 155 or 156. I think the terminal gravity listed on the sheet is realistic in these conditions considering the yeast strain choices.
- Sam: Thanks Bryan. Lookin good. Yeast stuff sounds great. I am only nervous about the volume of pecan smoked malt, especially if Briess can't do it and we have to smoke it ourselves and I'm, nervous that this high a ratio will overpower other components of the beer. What if we do the test batch with 50 lbs of pecan smoked malt? Assuming that worked wouldn't that put the need for 75 bbl production batch somewhere around 750lb. We could do that over a few days in our own smoker if we had to.
- Bryan: The smoked malt... I couldn't agree more. The plantain will have a delicate flavor and too much smoked malt is too much smoked malt. If we go for less, let's just plan to do the smoking in house. The fact that we are embracing the idea of the 75 bbl batch makes me comfortable saying that. I'll redo the math tomorrow.
- Todd: I love where this is going! But... it's missing something to tie it together; especially as it's not hop-centric and we removed the specialty sugar. Herbs. I suggest two, just for the fun of it: Stevia (the bulleted benefits are really interesting!!!) Turmeric (just a hint of it could compliment the smoked malt)
- Sam: Whaddup gents? Thanks for the feedback, Todd. Bryan and I met about the beer this morn, we are both stoked on your guys idea of plantain. We have the 10 pounds in house for the test batch and it tastes great. We are worried about turmeric as it is such a pronounced spice we think it would overwhelm both the pecan smoke and plantain and I checked with our TTB lawyer and he said no go on Stevia because: In 1995, the FDA revised an earlier 1991 import alert to allow Stevia and its extracts to be imported as a food supplement but not as a sweetener. Yet, it defines Stevia as an unapproved food additive, not affirmed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) in the United States. Especially since we plan to bottle this beer. We like the recipe as it is with the Whitbread yeast but if you want to think of a diff herb or spice that would work well with plantain and pecan smoke let us know today - let's finish the recipe today and tomorrow finalize all the deets.
- Todd: We're having a tough time on an herb / spice to match, but we think the introduction of some carob could play well w/ the plantain and pecan smoke; and it's not chocolate. If you dig it, let's bust this out ASAP!
- Sam: Carob... I like it. Can we source it in volume? Can it work without fuken up head retention? - Bryan: I like the idea of Carob too; no worries on head-retention; low oil content; a chocolaty root that has subtle Indian spice undertones; gonna go well with the pecan-smoked malt. I think this will actually work better with our doggie yeast which we have in house and will use for the test batch. Since we last met and talked about the hops being more for bittering than aroma let's go with CTZ and Willamette. Let's do this!
Here's what you get if your suggested beer name wins:
Dogfish Head: A Weekend of Compelling Ales and Whatnot. Date: March 12 & 13, 2010 (Friday & Saturday) Brewery Activities:
Rehoboth Pub Activities:
Hotel Info: Special BeerAdvocate discount rates on hotels rooms, a short walk between the brewpub and the beach, will be available.
More details on beer, hotel pricing, and full itinerary to follow.