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Aug 12 2011

Brewing Now: Secret Stash Harvest Ale

Whether it's a diet-breaking bag of cookies, dinner rolls in an 80 year old's purse, money in the mattress, or Willie Nelson's back pocket, everyone has a secret stash.

For us, it's the locally-sourced ingredients we're using in our Secret Stash Harvest Ale — an ever-evolving recipe that celebrates the fruits of each year's crop. This year, we're using fresh Cascade and Chinook hops balanced with soft red wheat, sweet corn, potatoes, and honey.

Not only is today the first time we're brewing Secret Stash, it's also the first time we're doing a cereal mash-in at Flying Dog. What does that mean? Allow us to show and tell:

Because potatoes and corn are heavier starches, we boil them separately before any malted wheat or barley is added.

Then, we mix malted barley and wheat with the cereal mixture of corn and potatoes and mash-in. Once everything is transferred into the lauder tun, hot water pours over the mixture and a large metal grate stirs it to extract as much fermentable sugar from the ingredients as possible.

Once we drain the hot wort (sugar water) from the lauder tun and leave behind any solids, it's boiled in the brew kettle and hops are added. In this case, we have fresh Cascades and Chinooks grown locally.

Along with hop additions in the brew kettle and whirlpool, we're also running the wort through our hopback, which Tom Barse (owner of Stillpoint Farm and one of our hop providers) is loading with fresh, whole hops.

And now, we wait. But not for too long. Secret Stash will be hitting stores in the mid-Atlantic in mid- to late-September.