The name is inspired by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s cleassic song “Midnight Special.” The song is linked to jails and jailhouses. The brewery mentions:
“Midnight Special is about a train that shone its ever lovin’ light in the cells of the prison. The light represented a light of salvation and escape from the walls that held them. There are many historical versions of the song and it is part of what made making this beer so interesting and special to us.”
Jailhouse brewer Glen Golden decided on a black IPA for this new beer hoping to showcase some new malt from Jailhouse’s malt supplier. JH really wanted a big ABV beer, in the neighborhood of 12%, but the bar was set a little too high on that one. Midnight Special should weigh in around 10%. It’s a long boil on this one – 2 hours. The hops are warrior (bitter) and centennial (until the end of the boil). Dry hopped with more centennial.
Midnight Special joins the “Solitary Confinement” series at Jailhouse. Specialty and one time brews will find their way to lockdown here.
Arrival: March 2011
So, for weeks now we’ve been trying to brew our new Solitary Confinement release, Midnight Special. It’s the first in a series of one-off beers we are planning to brew this year, and from what we can tell so far it promises to not only test the limits of the brewery but also your taste buds.
The idea for this beer came from an old prison song called “Midnight Special” Popularized by Credence Clearwater Revival, “Midnight Special” is about a train that shone its ever lovin’ light in the cells of the prison. The light represented a light of salvation and escape from the walls that held them. There are many historical versions of the song and it is part of what made making this beer so interesting and special to us.
After a few conversations about what type of beer it would be, we finally settled on the idea of a Black IPA. Black IPA’s are becoming more prevalent these days and it seemed this would make the perfect match for our “Midnight Special.” I also wanted to try out a new malt from my supplier that would impart dark color without roast flavor and bitterness. It was perfect for this beer.
At this point I envisioned a decently hopped IPA with a respectable amount of alcohol and body when our resident hop head, John Carden, mentioned we should go big or go home. His first thought was to make it a 12%’er. It was a brilliant idea given the name. I’m on record that 8% is about where my limits for balance and enjoyability fall but I do love a good challenge. After a little calculating and research I realized that 12% would not be attainable with our setup and house yeast so we had to settle for closer to 10% ABV. We had a new target. On to the hops.
We scoured the freezer for the hop profile in this beer. Since we would brew this for the first time full throttle (no pilot batch) we felt it best to keep it simple. But, once again we’d go big or go home. This beer is bittered with Warrior hops and then gives way to all Centennial hops every 20 minutes for the last hour of boiling. To achieve the proper bittering and level of alcohol we were shooting for, we had to boil this beer for two hours. We also intend to dry hop with a very generous amount of Centennial hops until we feel it is right. How’s that for creative freedom?
When Midnight Special is ready, we expect it to have a nice malt backbone to support 90+ IBU’s of bitterness and around 10% alcohol by volume. It will have a subtle roast character with a very citrus hop aroma and flavor. Oh yea, it will be black as Midnight!
Solitary Confinement beers from JailHouse will be in very limited quantities each year. Be sure to keep track of what we’re doing so you won’t miss out on each release. http://www.jailhousebrewing.com/pages/newsletter_FORM