Over the Valentine’s weekend, the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild resurrected an old tradition — brewing a Bizzaro ale. The first Bizarro was brewed in 2001, and was inspired by Larry Bell’s Eccentric Day ale. Members bring adjuncts and specialty grains, and these are all tossed into the kettles creating—well, A VERY unusual ale indeed. This last batch was brewed at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, Michigan and will be served commercially thanks to Matt and Rene Greff’s Rat Pad program (http://www.arborbrewing.com/index.php?site=cornerbrewery&page=menu3&submenu=2). Homebrewers use a 3 half barrel system, brew a batch and it gets served a few weeks later as one of the Corner’s specialty brews. Brewers are also reimbursed for their ingredients, and get their moment of fame!
Some 40+ members showed up Sunday and our own Mike O’Brien dangerously balanced the mash tun on top of the other two kettles. First 20 pounds of wheat and rye were mashed together, then drained. The initial temp was supposed to be 100o, but instead it was 110o, and a three hour mash ensued. This was followed by another 45+ pounds that mashed a little easier.
Once approx. 20+ gallons had been sparged into two kettles, an insane number of unique and creative adjuncts were added. Additionally, our own Steve Hawley, contributed Michigan homegrown hops from his new hop field (below, as well as contribution of Liberty and more Nugget from Jim and Rog.
Yours truly took it upon myself to make sure I talked to each contributor of the following ingredients, and tried to guesstimate an amount appropriate to the brew — not that there was much appropriate about the brew! My lasting memory will be of the little yellow marshmallow peeps floating momentarily on top of the boil, then slowly becoming part of the brew! And here is the final “tally” of what all went into Bizzaro:
Bizzaro Ale #2
45 lbs. Marris Otter
10 lbs. rye
4 lbs. wheat
2 lbs. corn grits
2 lbs. aromatic toasted malt
2 lbs. fresh spruce under the mash screen
1 stick cinnamon
Hops were provided by Steve Hawley and Jim Satterfield. All but the 1 oz. of Liberty pellets were locally grown in Michigan and no alpha acid information is available.
4 ounces of Centennial @ 60m
2 ounces of Magnum @60m
1.5 ounces of Cascades each, loosely added @ 15m, 10m, 5m and 1m.
1 ounce Liberty hops tossed in @various times starting at about 10m.
Total hops 13 ounces + dry hops
6 pieces of Jamaican country Mauby bark (used to make a concentrated syrup for homemade pop) @60m
8 ounces of Peruvian bitter chocolate (semi-melted in a pot and added) @10m
1 tbls. Of Orange peel @10m
10 Marshmallow Chick Peeps @10m
2 tbls. Cracked Juniper berries @5m
2 tbls. Jamaican jerk rub (Allspice, thyme and hot pepper) @5m
3 Star Anise crushed @5m
12 ounces of molasses @5m
2 tbls. Black pepper (cracked) @5m
4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary @2m
3 ounces fresh Ginger chucks @2m
500 ml. Homemade Michigan maple syrup @2m
1.5 lbs. Dark Belgian Candi syrup @2m
1 once Calendula flower tops (from Bridgette’s garden) @2m
Additional items to go into primary and/or secondary
6 pounds of cranberries, 5 pounds of tart cherries, 4 vanilla beans, more cinnamon, Nugget hops (4 ounces-dry hop), and blueberry extract. Dry Australian Ale Yeast was used to ferment this puppy.
There are tons of pics available of the day’s activities from these websites:
And if brewing this puppy wasn’t enough, Mike O’Brien provided a distinctly Wisconsin treat known as a “fish boil”. Let’s just say that it was another violation of OSHA and food handling laws, but take a look at the final moments of both fish boils at:
As one member said, it is truly incongruous that as brewers, this activity actually requires a boil over. And Rog posited that we were actually losing valuable Omega acids and fish oils, but ce la vie.
Mike O’Brien said “the beer had an OG of 1.080 had a beautiful flowery aroma and flavor with a mouth feel like gravy! We will see what the final product tastes like soon enough at the Rat Pad, and 10 gallons will be aged and saved for club functions for years to come. Several bottle of the 2001 vintage Bizzaro made it to the meeting, and if last years foray into food into the beer project presented at the 2008 AHA National Conference is any guide, we may have out-Dogfish’ed Sam Calagione!”