Homebrew Chronicles: Courage Director’s Bitter Clone

In addition to being a lover of music and consuming beer, I have also started homebrewing this year. It has been incredibly rewarding so far, so I am hoping my next batch comes out good as well.

My brother and I brew in our kitchen under the name Quenk Brewing Company. Right now we have only worked with extract kits, but eventually would like to move on to partial-mash and ultimately all-grain brewing.

After our previous batch, a maple brown ale, we decided to go for something not quite as sweet. A pale ale, or something similar. After a quick (well, maybe like an hour) stop at our local brewing supply shop, Maltose Express, we came home with supplies to make a clone of Courage Director’s Bitter. I’ve actually never even heard of this beer, so unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to try it. However, it seems to be exactly what we were looking for- low ABV but a lot of flavor, not much sweetness.

We used mostly British Crystal malt, as well as black malt. For hops, we used German Hallertau Hersbrucker, Styrian Golding, and Irish Moss. I think it’s really amazing firstly, how many different kinds of hop varietals there are, but more importantly, the way they all come together when mixed and combined. For example, I’ve used Irish Moss in sweeter beers, but here with the Hersbrucker and Golding, I am expecting to have a more bitter result.

Now the most important part- the records. I like listening to vinyl while brewing because it breaks up the process a bit. Depending on what you’re listening to, it’s a fun (but not necessarily accurate) way to notice how much time has elapsed. Especially during those long boils when you’re flipping records over in between.

Steve Miller Band- Book Of Dreams

Billy Joel- The Stranger

Rush- Signals

Traffic- John Barleycorn Must Die

I tend to shoot for the classics- in case the brewday turns stressful, you want that familiar record playing in the background to get you back in the right mindset. I’ll turn to the new music when I’m tasting the beer- it’s experimentation with new things across the board. But for stirring 5 boiling gallons of wort, give me the familar records that in some cases have been worn out from playing them too much.

We should be ready to move into the secondary fermenter shortly. And I’ll also be trying my hand at dry hopping for the first time!

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