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St. Patrick’s Day! There’s always room for some good Beoir Bhaile

St. Patrick’s Day!

There’s always room for some good Beoir Bhaile

More fun than birthdays, less formal than Thanksgiving, and there’s no pressure to stay up past your bedtime — It’s the best all-around day of the year. Something about the weather melting, cheery reels, and the very real possibility that a well-intentioned stranger will politely invite you to a fist fight. For just a moment, ignore all the cheap Irish cultural stereotypes and ignore all the jaded criticisms that these stereotypes provoke from cultural amnesiacs. The day itself is a magical one.

St. Patrick’s day is wonderful enough on it’s own, but there’s always room for some good beoir bhaile (That’s “homebrew”, as near as I can figure in Gaelic). Brewing for any Holiday allows you to get into the spirit of things a few weeks early, but this is especially true for St. Paddy’s because Irish beer styles are among the easiest to make at home. For many the choice is natural; the well-balanced Irish Red Ale is simple enough to brew and easy enough to share. But adventurous homebrewers can get medieval with extinct styles like the Irish Heavy that have fallen victim to the Macro giants. Meanwhile, the truly esoteric can dive into speculative recipes about the ancient meads and hop-less gruits that Patrick must have enjoyed, since Patrick himself had the sad misfortune to have lived before the use of hops.

But the obvious fact is that any conversation about Irish beer styles ought to begin and end with the Dry Irish Stout. Stouts are one of the best styles for newer brewers and experienced drinkers alike. With the right malts or extract, the black roastiness is easy enough to achieve and since it’s fermented at room temperature, you don’t need any modern temperature control. The beer is jet black (deep ruby, actually) so clarity is not a critical concern, and the bold roast character gives mild off-flavors room to hide unnoticed. It truly is a forgiving beer.

The most challenging aspect of the Dry Irish Stout style is the texture.

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I am going to add a few more taps to my Keezer (currently have 3 taps and holds 6 kegs). I don’t really want to add a full blended nitro setup at this time. Is a Stout faucet worth adding without the blended gas?

I recently received my Nitro Kit from NB and am really looking forward to installing it. Trying to decide whether to brew a traditional dry stout as the first beer on nitro or if I should get more adventurous and go with an Irish Red or ESB.

I have maybe 2 gals of dry irish stout that I brewed Jan 2015 and kegged for St Patty’s last year. For various reasons it just didn’t get finished. It’s been at room temp for a couple months now and man it’s really good.

Also have a gallon or 2 of my Irish Ale from Nov 2015. Most recent attempt at a Smithwick’s type Irish ale. A couple of my friends really like it. There’s something kind of sweet/fruity about it to me. No one else seems to notice it. I mashed it at 152 this time. Prior versions were mashed at 154 and used different yeasts. I thought the Notty would be cleaner than 1084. I thought of trying 1272 even though it wouldn’t really be to style I guess. I’ve tried it with fuggles and EKG as well. I don’t care for fuggles. I’m thinking of just going with a more neutral bittering hop The recipe is below if anyone wants to try it or comment on it. It’s been kegged, at lagering temps and on gas since early December. Great body, smooth and clear. I’d appreciate any input if you’re familiar with Smithwick’s Irish Ale.

Slainte kids!

8 lbs 8.0 oz Munton’s Maris Otter (3.5 SRM) Grain 1 90.7 %
8.0 oz Caramel Malt - 80L 6-Row (Briess) (80.0 Grain 2 5.3 %
4.0 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 3 2.7 %
2.0 oz Special Roast (50.0 SRM) Grain 4 1.3 %
1.00 oz Willamette [5.20 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 19.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Willamette [5.20 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 6 5.8 IBUs
0.28 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 7 -
1.0 pkg Nottingham (Danstar #-) [23.66 ml] Yeast 8 -

I think it is certainly worth it. But even if you don’t get a stout faucet, my experience has shown that a turbulent, high pressure pour from a regular beer faucet yields a very smooth and satisfactory result. A well made dry stout is totally ruined by American style heavy carbonation, and the method I’ve described helps to remedy that as a result of the turbulent pour. Try it! If you don’t like the result, you could always dial back the tank pressure.

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