In preparation for the 2019 Classic City Brew Festival (April 7th at the Cotton Press, Athens GA), we wanted to brew something that had some significant heft; deep flavors and a decent alcohol presence. Afterall, the Classic City Brew Fest is rated as a Top 20 US Beer Festival for Beer Geeks (by Connoisseur Magazine). As an added bonus to our excitment at being at Brew Fest, all proceeds go to benefit the Athens Area Humane Society! In honor of the festival and its chosen charity, we decided to break out our Wee Heavy Scottish Ale, a “take no prisoners” style of malty beer, that we named “My Naughty Little Pet”.
Mark and Paul first brewed “My Naughty Little Pet” back in November of 2014. It was brewed again for the 2018 Peach State Brew Off, where it took a 2nd place medal. Each time, it has been refined with the intention to coax more flavor from the big, malty grain bill and the Edinburgh Scottish yeast strain.
We brought back a favorite for our maiden voyage on our Ruby Street Pilot Brewing System and our SS BrewTech Fermentor. The grain bill was a massive 110 lbs. in a 45-gallon mash tun so once the milled grains were added to the warm water, there was no turning back.
It was a long brew day. In some respects, this was because of the beer style and longer boil time but also because we encountered our share of unexpected learning opportunities. This is a nice way of saying we didn’t have our sh%& together. As homebrewers, we mostly brewed on a 5-gallon system that did not require any pumps and so here we are debating which pump feeds in what direction to get the wort recirculating between the mash tun and hermes coil in the hot liquor tank. Then realizing, that in fact, we didn’t even have the pump plugged in. Or when we were ready to connect the fermentor to the glycol loop to regulate the temperature and then realizing the connectors from the tank did not match the connectors on the glycol loop. This was fixed with a quick trip to Lowes. Whew…
The good news is that we ultimately prevailed and successfully (knock on stainless) got the wort into the fermenter and added the yeast. Our “Naughty Little Pet” has been happily fermenting ever since and in 2 weeks, we will transfer the finished beer into a cask and some kegs. This will be our first time working with a cask so we are excited as you are to see the final results.
Stay tuned for Part II where we will report back on introducing our pet at the Classic City Brew Fest. Also, check out our Facebook page the day of the event for live feeds, Q&As, and maybe some special surprises!