Archive for October, 2015

AG#47 – Pork Chop Porter

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Time to brew another old favourite – this beer has a great balance of caramel and roast. The English yeast also gives it an extra something. This time, I’m going to do a bit of oak aging and soak the oak chips in rum and bourbon.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.066 SG
Estimated Color: 74.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 37.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

5.600 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter, Muntons (6.5 EBC Grain 1 82.5 %
0.450 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC) Grain 2 6.6 %
0.340 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC) Grain 3 5.0 %
0.225 kg Black (Patent) Malt (985.0 EBC) Grain 4 3.3 %
0.170 kg Amber Malt (43.3 EBC) Grain 5 2.5 %
20 g Magnum [10.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 30.0 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 7 –
21 g Goldings, East Kent [6.50 %] – Boil 15.0 Hop 8 5.1 IBUs
21 g Goldings, East Kent [5.70 %] – Boil 1.0 Hop 9 2.8 IBUs
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) [35 Yeast 10 –
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.785 kg

Mash In Add 19.00 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 16.22l) of 77.0 C water

23/10/2015 – Mash and boil in one day for a change – I’d forgotten how bloody exhausting it is. A good brew day, but a very slow runoff from the mash. My pre-boil volume was smaller than usual because I didn’t want my gravity to suffer. As it turned out, I got a disappointingly low OG OF 1.060. I don’t know what is going on, I think I might need to decrease my mash efficiency in BeerSmith. Wort smells and looks good. Pitched most of the yeast cake from my brown porter. I took care not to transfer much of the beer over with the yeast, as I was concerned about the chalky flavour in that beer.

25/10/2015 – Fermentation is going well. I have it fermenting pretty cool at the moment, but will warm it up in a couple of days to let it fully attenuate.

07/11/2015 – Made a couple of “tinctures” – 90ml each of vanilla infused bourbon (Jim Beam) and aged dark rum (Havana Club 7 yo) to which I added 6g of pre-steamed American oak chips. Will soak the chips for a few days to extract the flavour.

13/11/2015 – Bottled with 118g corn sugar (18 litres at 2.5 vol). Got 21 x 500ml bottles (7 rum, 7 bourbon, 7 plain) and 9 x 750ml bottles from the batch. Beer was very clear, hope it carbonates.

16/11/2015 – Starting to get a bit nervous about this. There’s no sediment at the bottom of the bottles!! I’ve been shining my camera phone torch into the bottles for the last two days and there’s not a flake in there! Don’t tell me this is going to be another bloody disaster?!

17/11/2015 – Could be alright here.. there’s a tiny bit of sediment at the bottom of all the bottles now. Will keep an eye on it.

19/11/2015 – Out of the woods. There’s a healthy layer building up in there now, even in the “oak-aged” versions.

15/01/2016 – First taste of the regular porter and it tastes pretty decent. A lot of my dark beers seem really astringent at the moment, but this doesn’t seem to have any of that. Quite bitter though. Nice roast flavour but I was expecting a bit more caramel flavour. The WLP007 has ripped through so much of the sugar. Nice hop flavour there too, along with a pleasing mineral character. Alcohol quite prominent, but not hot. The rum barrel version is undrinkable, big overwhelming blast of oak and tannin. Couldn’t finish it.

 

AG#46 – Preston Best Bitter

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I haven’t been having the best of luck with my last few English bitters. My Tailgunner Bitter that I brewed last May was put in to a cornie keg and it ended up reeking of Cola! I haven’t got to the bottom of that disappointment yet, but time to press on with another bitter. Cola flavours aside, I’ve decided that I’m not that keen on the flavours that WLP007 bring to English ales, I think the WLP002 does a much better job. The problem with WLP002 is that it is a low attenuator, which is great for low-gravity bitters but not brilliant for an English pale ale or similar.

As the home brew shops were sold out of WLP002, I decided to try out one of the Wyeast equivalents, a strain that comes highly recommended from no less than Jamil Zainasheff, an award-winning American home brewer. This strain is alleged to accentuate malt flavours and attenuate well. I’m not sure if I’ll get another brew out of this particular yeast pitch, I’ll wait and have a taste of the resulting Preston Bitter before I decide.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 14.5 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

5.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent 1 –
4.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter, Crisp (6.5 EBC) Grain 2 86.9 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 3 6.1 %
0.150 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC) Grain 4 3.0 %
0.150 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC) Grain 5 3.0 %
0.050 kg Amber Malt (43.3 EBC) Grain 6 1.0 %
26 g Goldings, East Kent [5.70 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 7 19.3 IBUs
10 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi Hop 8 4.3 IBUs
10 g East Kent Goldings [5.70 %] – Boil 10.0 Hop 9 1.6 IBUs
10 g East Kent Goldings [5.70 %] – Boil 2.0 m Hop 10 1.4 IBUs
10 g Styrian Goldings [3.00 %] – Boil 2.0 min Hop 11 0.7 IBUs
1.0 pkg West Yorkshire Ale (Wyeast Labs #1469) [ Yeast 12 –
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.950 kg

Mash In Add 13.86 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 19.52l) of 77.0 C water

10/10/2015 Mash Day – Got a mash temperature of 67C. Wort not as dark as I was expecting.

11/10/2015 Brew Day – Messed up my liquor volumes and ended up with too much in the fermenter, and consequently a low OG of 1.042. What a disaster.

23/10/2015 – I was expecting the yeast to lie on top of the beer for a long time, from the descriptions I’ve read online. There’s a thick pancake of yeast still there, which is very odd for an English yeast strain. Nice smell from the beer though.

25/10/2015 – I moved the fermenter to a colder room and the yeast pancake has finally dropped. Will leave another week or so before bottling.

04/11/2015 – Bottled with 104g of corn sugar (18 litres at 2.3 vol). 12 x 750ml bottles and 18 x 500ml bottles.

22/11/2015 – I’ve started cracking a few bottles of this open, and it’s reasonably promising. It hasn’t dropped bright yet, there’s still quite a bit of haze, which I’m attributing to yeast. It’s got that slightly bitter yeast bite, but it’s not unpleasant. Obviously not, considering I’m about 8 bottles in at this stage. Head is practically non-existent, but the carbonation level is very nice, just what I want in an English bitter. I need to slow down on it, because I think it will taste very nice in another few weeks.

01/12/2015 – The flavours have rounded out considerably on this. It’s a little brighter, which means I can taste more of the beer. However, I don’t think the yeast character is that impressive. I was expecting more from this yeast strain which has a great reputation amongst home brewers. Tastes a little watery, a little. It of biscuit and toast, but not enough to make it interesting.

31/12/2015 – Side by side tasting of the Bad Landlord and Preston Bitter. The Bad Landlord went straight in the sink – massively overcarbonated, thin, astringent, dull and tasteless. The Preston is somewhat of an improvement, but it’s got little head retention and a pretty mediocre flavour. It might be that pushing the fermentation temperature is the key to success with this particular yeast strain. But that can be risky when you don’t have proper fermentation control. In any case, it will be a while before I tackle the West Yorkshire strain again.

AG#45 – Wrong Trousers Brown Porter

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Another “first” for me, an English style porter, with the signature flavour being brown malt. I’d rather be using WLP002 to leave a bit more residual sweetness in this, but the WLP007 is what I have on the go at the moment.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 54.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 26.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

5.00 g Chalk (Boil 60.0 mins)
1.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins)
3.800 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter, Crisp (6.5 EBC), 68.2 %
0.500 kg Brown Malt (128.1 EBC), 9.0 %
0.300 kg CHÂTEAU CAFÉ (500.0 EBC), 5.4 %
0.300 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 5.4 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 5.4 %
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 3.6 %
0.100 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 1.8 %
0.075 kg Amber Malt (43.3 EBC), 1.3 %
29 g East Kent Goldings [5.70 %] – Boil 60.0 mins, 23.6 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
20 g Fuggles [5.10 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 2.9 IBUs
1.00 Items WLN3200-Servomyces (Boil 10.0 mins)
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007)
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.575 kg

Mash In Add 15.61 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.39l) of 77.0 C water

03/10/2015 Mash Day – Wort smells amazing, like a huge cup of coffee.

04/10/2015 Brew Day – Wort was looking especially dark and I thought I had really overshot on my roasted malts. More robust porter than brown porter. The recipe I used as a guide for this brew specified 15g of calcium carbonate which seemed like a massive mineral addition. So I decided to tread carefully as it my first time using this mineral and just used 5g. The taste from the  trial jar was still worringly chalky despite the small addition. Got an OG of 1.052. Hop bag opened mid boil but didn’t have any trouble during the run off. In the trial jar the beer doesn’t look quite as dark as I originally thought it was. I decanted some of the wort off the WLP007 starter as the yeast had flocced hard and pitched about 800ml. Should be a fast enough turnaround on this beer.

10/10/2015 – I took a sample of this as I was worried about the chalky flavour. Didn’t get much at all, so panic over on that. Beer tastes and looks great after only 6 days in the fermenter. Will give it another week before bottling. Took gravity reading of 1.010.

18/10/2015 – Damn. It’s tasting chalky. I will probably now keg this as I don’t want to tie up any bottles on a poor beer.

23/10/2015 – Kegged this and used the yeast cake in the Pork Chop Porter. Couldn’t get much chalkiness this time around, but I’ll wait and see what it tastes like when it’s carbonated.

22/10/2015 – I hadn’t expected to call this into service so soon, but with the disaster that is the latest incarnation of my Bad Landlord Bitter (the headaches!), I need something in the kegerator for the festive season.

19/12/2015 – I have this kegged and it’s only alright. There’s a bit of astringency there that I’m not pleased with. Or possibly bitterness. Noce chocolate and coffee flavour underneath. Thankfully I don’t get a taste of chalk as I had feared, though it might be contributing to the astringency I detect.


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