From the Back Room – John Palmer’s Elevenses, aka hobbit beer aka boggie slobber

elevensesFinally, we have a new beer brewed by us. This is Northern Brewer’s Elevenses, a recipe that they co-created with John Palmer, evidently a well-known homebrewer, but you couldn’t prove it by me.  In that both my husband and I spend inordinate amounts of time imagining what our sword and sorcery characters eat and drink, of course we had to make this.

We used the partial mash version rather than the all-grain version, but the partial mash has all of just over 3 pounds of malt syrup and the rest is grain. So, in that, it’s a great way to get your courage up to start brewing all-grain recipes.  One thing you will need is one very large sieve (VLS) or a large colander to drain the boiled grains.  I got my VLS at a second hand shop.   Another piece of equipment that you should have is a hydrometer to determine the amount of alcohol in the ale.  I broke mine into about a bazillion tiny pieces and thus have no idea what the ABV of this is.  It’s designed to be a session beer so it’s likely around 4.5 or 5%.

One other thing that we did that may be a bit unusual: I toasted the oats as recommended but I did it in the microwave, 15 seconds at a time and stirring, until I got the color and aroma I wanted.

The ale is described as a brown ale.  The head is light brown and settles to a skim after about 20 minutes.  The ale a dark brown more toward a porter in my opinion.  It looks like a mug of cola when the head dies down.  The smoke flavor from the oak smoked wheat malt is a little too strong for my absolute pleasure but it’s not undrinkable like  I consider rauchbier to be.  I just like my smoke in my pipe and in my fish not in my drink.  🙂    This is lightly hopped, only three-quarters of an ounce of German hops.   Incidentally, we used the Wyeast Thames Valley Ale option.  No reasons except that I like the smack packs puffing up.

We’re thinking of making this again but with some tweaks.  My ideal ale for a bunch of hobbits would be a little less smoky and a little more full in mouthfeel.  To achieve this, I think backing off the oak smoked malt and adding more flaked oats.  This ale does need a decent amount of time in the bottle, at least a month, to fully come together.

As an explanation of what “boggie slobber” has to do with this ale, some of you may be familiar with Lord of The Rings.  Some fewer of you may be familiar with the parody Bored of the Rings (beware, it’s a TV Tropes link and I’m not responsible for the hours you may lose), by the folks at the Harvard Lampoon back in the late 60s (these folks became the National Lampoon later).  This is a hilarious, utterly filthy parody that I first stumbled upon in college at a book sale.  Thanks to that sale, I have an original copy complete with rather psychedelic cover.  I’ve rarely laughed so hard over a book.

It is dated, with references even I had to research, and I know loads of useless trivia.  It can be a little like listening to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”  if you were born after 1990.  Tom Bombadil becomes Tim Benzedrine, to give you an idea of just how bizarre this book is.   You can read a little of it here on Amazon thanks to their “look inside” feature.  If you get easily offended and will get in a snit as a LOTR purist, don’t read it.

That’s it. Drink well!

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