Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Midas Touch Clone

I convinced fellow homebrewer and Zymurgeek club member Mark to brew a clone version of the Dogfish Head Midas Touch with me this last weekend. This is an interesting beer in that it is based on the dried out spurge that was stuck to the inside of an ancient urn that was discovered in what is considered the 'fertile crescent' of Mesopotamia. After analysing scrapings (the spurge) from within the urn scientists were able to identify the ingredients and a recipe was developed that is suppose to mimic that of the original fermented beverage.

I sampled Dog Fish Head's recreation and thought the flavor was o.k. if not a little sweet with an emphasis on the grape character but what ultimately drew me to brewing this beer was the idea of recreating a brew that was drunk by peoples from thousands of years ago. I like that.

We decided to use Mark's brew system which was protected from the days rainstorm under a tarp by his garage and I settled in as assistant by pouring myself a pint.  


Adding saffron
 Here is the recipe from the byo article. I got this on-line from their website and doubled the recipe for our ten gallon batch. Here's the problem if you decide to brew this beer. The recipe does not provide the sugars needed to get you to the gravity of 1.078 I ended up changing the amount of grain used from double (12 lbs.) to 17lbs. and planned on an efficiency of 80% Thus providing a gravity of 1.045 in 11.5 gals.  We used 6lbs. of honey at 1.033 which gave us 1.017 and the grape concentrate which claims to be 68brix gave us another 1.023. Now you probably figured that we should have had a gravity of 1.085 but we didn't. We ended up with 1.074 instead and we don't know why. So, we added another can of grape concentrate and reach 1.080. My conclusion is that the sugar obtained from the grape concentrate is far less than stated.

On the flip side, the recipe which claims to come in at 1.078 is not high enough to get the abv. amount of 9% stated on the label of the beer. Even if you achieved an attenuation of 80% you will only get an abv. of 7.75% so if you make this beer, beware and adapt as needed to achieve the desired results.

When all was said and done, we got up to 1.080 which should get us a little over 8.6% abv. if we are able to attenuate down to 1.010 or 87%, I don't see that happening. Most likely we'll get 80% attenuation and end up with a final gravity of 1.016 and an abv. of 8%. If anyone knows where we went wrong, let me know but look at the recipe on line first and tell me what you think of their formulation. It may be a good recipe but it doesn't get you the numbers you're looking for.

Back at the brew session: A teaspoon of saffron was added at fifteen minutes left in the boil along with some yeast nutrients and the Irish moss. The saffron looked pretty minuscule in that much wort, just floating around looking like a waste of eight dollars. At the end of the boil we poured in the honey and began chilling the wort with an immersion chiller. Once chilled to 70f. we transferred to our respective carboys and added the muscat grape concentrate and added oxygen from cylinders for maximum aeration.

We then pitched a large quantity of WLP500 Trappist ale yeast that I salvaged from a previous batch of tripel I made several weeks earlier.After four weeks in the fridge, the yeast was still very viable.

The following morning the yeast was fermenting nicely. I'll tell you how it comes out. I plan to bottle and condition this beer for 4 or 6 weeks and I think this will make great gifts for Christmas and new years for the next several years to come.

2 comments:

Jim Reed said...

I have no clue where you went wrong, but I think you will be more than satisfied with the results, if it is anywhere Dogfish. Well, at least the receivers of your gifts will be.

Beer Diary... said...

Hi Jim,
Just racked this beer to the keg yesterday and the gravity was at 1.009 which is really good attenuation and gets it to 8.7% abv. The beer tastes good and alot like the commercial example. So, with the modifications we made, it turned out a success.

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