Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lug Wrench Brew: Dragon's Breath, a Dragon's Milk Clone

In the summer of 2009, Lug Wrench brewed its second collaborative beer – Dragon’s Breath, a clone of New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk. Dragon’s Milk has such depth of character and its such a good beer that neither one of us hesitated when the suggestion came up. It also met our criteria of being a full-bodied, high gravity, dark ale that could be aged for a long period of time, which is an important element, given the two of us only get together 2-3 times a year.

The recipe below was adapted from the Dragon’s Milk clone recipe from BYO Magazine .

Dragon’s Breath – Dark Strong Ale Aged on Bourbon Oak

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 15.13
OG: 1.082
FG: 1.021
SRM: 26.2
IBU: 37.2
ABV: 8.0%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

10.0 lbs. US Pale Malt (2-Row)
1.50 lbs. Munich Malt
0.50 lbs. Crystal 80L
0.50 lbs. Crystal 120L
0.50 lbs. Flaked Oats
0.63 lbs. Chocolate Malt
0.25 lbs. Wheat Malt
1.25 lbs. Extra Light Dry Malt Extract

All hops are pellet hops
0.65 oz Columbus (14% AA) at 60 minutes
0.50 oz Northdown (10.5% AA) at 20 minutes

1.0 Tab Whirlfloc at 15 Min
28 drops of Foam Control in the boil
1.0 oz American Oak Chips (heavy toast)
3.0 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
1.0 oz Royal Crown Whiskey

WLP001 – California Ale Yeast (2L starter)

Mash Schedule
60 min at 155° F

Brewed on 7/18/2009 by the Wallace Brothers

Due to the limitations of the 5 gallon mash tun, 1.5 lbs DME was added before the boil to bump the pre-boil gravity from 1.060 to the targeted value of 1.068.

Aeration accomplished by vigorously rocking the carboy (Better Bottle) during and after transfer from kettle.

Yeast was pitched when wort was 68°F. Primary fermentation held at 68°F with a freezer and digital temperature controller.

7/21/09 - Oak chips and 4 oz of bourbon/whiskey were combined and sealed in a Tupperware container. Oak chips were allowed to soak in bourbon/whiskey for ~2 weeks.

7/30/09 – Transferred oak chips and bourbon/whiskey into 5 gallon secondary carboy and then racked the beer on top of it. Returned beer to freezer and held at 68°F.

8/4/09 – Pulled beer out of freezer and let it rise up to room temperature (~72°F) for several days.

8/7/09 – Bottling day. Racked the beer off the oak chips and into a bottleing bucket with 3.5oz of priming sugar (corn sugar) for carbonation (~5g at 72°F = 2.1 volumes of CO2). Bottle condition and age at room temperature for at least 2 months before first sample.

2/27/10 – Samples of the Dragon's Breath beer was submitted to the 2010 Boston Homebrew Competition, where the beer was awarded a bronze medal in the Specialty Beer category.  The beer recieved a score of 38.5 based on the BJCP scoresheets from the competition.

5/30/10 - While we were both up in New York for a family function, Tom and I were able to open a bottle to see how the last 10 months have treated the beer.  Read about the tasting here.
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