Monday, December 10, 2012

Beer, Zombies, and the Apocalpyse

As anyone who has visited a Walmart after midnight knows, the zombie apocalypse is already upon us. Having successfully invaded our televisions, bookstores, movies, shopping malls, and all levels of inept government, zombies (both real and figuratively) are now at the doorstep of those things we once considered sacrosanct. Soon enough we will be watching Mel Gibsons, "Jesus, Zombie Carpenter" and it is probably safe to assume that Quintin Tarantino is already working on a script where a samurai-sword wielding Queen (and her corgis) defend Buckingham Palace from a swarm of bikini clad zombies. If that seems a tad unrealistic, just the other day I came across a 'Zombie-Santa' lawn ornament, where Jolly Old Saint Nick was in the process of exhuming himself from his Christmas themed grave... undoubtedly to spread holiday cheer and pestilence across the land.

Even the tap lists of our local boozers have not been spared from the zombie assault. While there once was only Zombie Dust, we now have hordes of Zombie-themed IPA's, Pale and Amber Ales, and one my local brewpubs even jumped on the bandwagon, producing a Zombie Kolsch. Lovely. Who knew the word 'zombie' was synonymous with quality?

All bollocking aside, back in early October I signed up for a small, Halloween themed homebrew competition where each entrant had to brew a beer that best represented their assigned theme. As I had zombies, I ended up brewing Zombie Blood; a viscous, murky-red imperial amber ale that made use of more than a pound of citra, columbus, and cascade hops (triple dry hopped) for dank and 'unholy' hop kick. Or so it was to be. Unfortunately, I ended up brewing the beer a week too late and underestimated the amount of time I would need to condition a beer of this size. I never got around to submitting it to the competition. Therefore, this beer was put on tap in mid November and I've been drinking it steadily since. If it lasts to Christmas, I'll call it Santa's Blood. Muhahaha.

Zombie Blood : Imperial Amber Ale

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.30
Anticipated OG: 1.075
Anticipated FG: 1.012
Anticipated SRM: 15
Anticipated IBU: 95
Efficiency: 75%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

79.6% - 9.00 lbs. Pale Malt
8.8% - 1.00 lbs. Munich Malt
6.6% - 0.75 lbs. Crystal 40L
3.5% - 0.40 lbs. Crystal 120L
1.3% - 0.15 lbs. Pale Chocolate

1.00 oz. Columbus @ 60 min for 40 IBU
0.75 oz. Citra @ 15 min for 14 IBU
0.75 oz. Cascade @ 15 min for 7 IBU
0.75 oz. Columbus @ 15 min for 13 IBU
1.00 oz. Citra @ 5 min for 9 IBU
1.00 oz. Cascade @ 5 min for 4 IBU
1.00 oz. Columbus @ 5 min for 8 IBU
1.25 oz. Citra @ flameout
1.25 oz. Cascade @ flameout
1.25 oz. Columbus @ flameout
0.75 oz. Citra @ dry hop (primary, secondary, keg)
0.75 oz. Cascade @ dry hop (primary, secondary, keg)
0.75 oz. Columbus @ dry hop (primary, secondary, keg)

Yeast: Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale
Mash 156F for 60 min
Brewed on 8 October

Tasting Notes:
Appearance - Pours a dark and murky amber color with a sticky, white head that leaves good lacing. Could be a bit darker and more bloody-looking.

Aroma -  Strong grapefruit and dank herb/cannabis with some tropical fruit aromas. Hugely aromatic with a slight grassy note at the end.

Taste - The hop flavor is dank and grapefruity and coat the mouth with a strong, resiny bitterness. The hops lead the way, although the malt is noticeable with a good amount of dark caramel flavor. Yeast is clean and the beer goes down a bit too well for 8.5%. The beer finishes moderately dry.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is medium-low and the beer has a thick and full mouthfeel.

Drinkability & Notes - Pretty close to what I was hoping for. The hop aroma and flavor is huge and the beer has a thick, resiny character that is fitting of the name. As the beer warms, the bitterness gets more 'sticky' and coats your innards. As a zombie-themed beer, I am quite happy, although I wish it was a tad darker colored and it could probably could do with even more mouthfeel. Maybe use some flaked oats or something. I will certainly revisit something like this, although with less alcohol, as two full pints of this has me feeling quite zombie-like.

8.5% ABV, 95 IBU, Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale


  1. You've used the WY1332 in a couple beers recently. Do you get something out of that or just boredom with 1056?

    1. Yeah, I really like this yeast, more so than 1056 for my American styles. In my experience, it ferments out cleanly when fermented cool and retain a very nice underlying malt character no matter how many hops I cram into the beer. It attenuates great (always seems to finish around 1.010 no matter what I do) and it flocculates better than any 'american' yeast strain I've ever used. Not to mention it top-crops like a boss.

      I frequently hear people say how this yeast is very tart and estery tasting or that it hides all the hop character. I say bollocks to that. They are doing something wrong then.

      I will say that if you want to make a super-hop forward IPA, you may be better off with 1056 or something even more neutral. However, I've had nothing but good, consistent results with this yeast and I see no reason to stop using it.

    2. Interesting, thanks. That's a yeast with any number of opponents online, so I've never tried it.

  2. More yeast spider graphs!

  3. We found the solution against zombie attacks in Canada!
    No more violence and humans and zombies can live happy together now! :)

  4. Wow! This looks like a lovely beer to make for a special anniversary/occasion. thanks.
    btw, I have linked your blog into mine.


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