Archive for November, 2015

AG#50 – Gale Force Cream Ale

This is my first cream ale. The name is slightly confusing – it’s actually the ale equivalent of an American adjunct lager. Crisp, pale and highly carbonated like a light lager, but a slight fruitiness contributed by the ale yeast. The secret to a good cream ale is a cool fermentation temperature which suppresses the ester formation of the ale yeast and contributes to the lager-like character. A common approach to fermentation is to use a clean Californian ale yeast, but there are also some multi-strain yeast products such as WLP080 which ferment at ale temperatures but give lager like characteristics.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 7.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 19.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 59.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

4.000 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 1 78.4 %
0.450 kg Maize, Flaked (Thomas Fawcett) (3.9 EBC) Grain 2 8.8 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 3 5.9 %
0.100 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 2.0 %
0.250 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 EBC) Sugar 5 4.9 %
19 g East Kent Goldings [6.50 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 6 18.0 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 7 –
15 g Saaz [3.00 %] – Boil 1.0 min Hop 8 1.1 IBUs
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35. Yeast 9 –
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.100 kg
Mash In Add 13.58 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 19.68l) of 77.0 C water

29/11/2015 – I hit my intended gravity which was a relief. This wort is definitely the palest wort I’ve ever produced. I couldn’t believe how pale it was in the trial jar. If I can get a good clean fermentation, this could be very good.

30/11/2015 – Keeping the fermenter pretty cold in the hope of reducing the amount of esters that the yeast creates. I want to keep the fermentation as clean as possible.

04/12/2015 – Moved the fermentation into the kitchen as there was very lottle activity going on.

08/12/2015 – It looked the fermentation had reached maximum activity, with the kreusen dropping by 50%, but now it’s kicked up a gear, with the kreusen hitting its previous high mark again. This WLP001 is a weird yeast strain.

24/12/2015 – Racked to secondary and saved the yeast. I probably could have waited for a few days to bottle and harvested the yeast then, but I wanted to encourage the maximum amount of yeast to drop out. The pale colour of the beer is amazing. Flavour is extremely promising also.

28/12/2015 – Primed with 125g of corn sugar (17 litres at 2.7 vol). Got 8 x 750ml and 22 x 500ml bottles from the batch.

17/01/2016 – I had a bottle of this last week and wasn’t too pleased with the flavour. I thought it tasted bitter and astringent, probably a little yeasty. But it seems to be getting better. It’s amazing how the simple grain allows the pilsner malt character to shine. It’s a wonderful biscuity, malty sweet flavour that reminds me of a full-flavoured lager. The head formation is a little disappointing though, which surprises me given the addition of both wheat malt and CaraPils. It’s also quite hazy, which I wasn’t expecting. Myabe it just needs more conditioning time.

22/01/2016 – Absolutely crap head retention, but I can’t figure out why!

25/01/2016 – Head was slightly better on this bottle. Flavour is very nice. Bags of pilsner malt character and lager characteristics. Plenty of body, perhaps too much? Clarity is pretty good. Would brew this again.

AG#49 – Sickboy Scottish Ale

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This is essentially a re-brew of my Krooks Pale Ale, the first partial mash recipe I did. This time I’m doing a full all-grain brew and using a different yeast strain to get a beer that more resembles a clean tasting Scottish ale. I don’t think I’ve ever done a beer before that had only one single hop addition, so this is new territory for me. I’m looking for a nice, Winter eas drinker, a malty beer that will go well with food. I remember my Krooks ale was particularly good with a sharp, salty cheese.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 26.40 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated Color: 26.6 EBC
Estimated IBU: 23.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

4.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC) Grain 1 81.4 %
0.450 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC) Grain 2 8.5 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 3 3.8 %
0.175 kg Amber Malt (43.3 EBC) Grain 4 3.3 %
0.115 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (236.4 EBC) Grain 5 2.2 %
0.040 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC) Grain 6 0.8 %
25 g East Kent Goldings [6.50 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 7 23.7 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 8 –
1.00 Items WLN3200-Servomyces (Boil 10.0 mins) Other 9 –
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35. Yeast 10 –
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.280 kg
Mash In Add 14.78 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 17.40l) of 77.0 C water

22/11/2015 – Mash and boil in one day, which should be the new norm for me, to see if it doesn’t sort the clarity problems I’ve been having lately. Brew day went perfectly, wort possibly a little darker than I had anticipated, but still within the style parameters. I’ve got the fermenter in a pretty cool position, but the weather is so cold at the moment, I hope it doesn’t stall.

10/12/2016 – Bottled with 104g of corn sugar (18 litres at 2.3 vol). 8 x 750ml bottles and 24 x 500ml bottles. Taste is extremely promising, toasty and malty.

12/01/2016 – Should be tasting great at this stage, but it’s not. It’s got a fair bit of astringency which detracts from what otherwise seems like a nice toasty, malty beer. Very disappointed with it. I think my sparge temperature must be to blame.

AG#48 – Wrong Trousers Brown Porter

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I decided to do this brew again because I messed up the water adjustment on the last attempt. This time I’m going with completely untreated water. I don’t have enough of the Cafe Malt this time, so I’m going to add some Light Cafe Malt and increase the amount of chocolate malt slightly.

I’m also using a different yeast this time. I find the WLP007 is a little too neutral. I quite like the high attenuation it gives, but it just doesn’t pull its weight in the flavour department. I was pretty impressed with the flavour and aroma I got when I bottled the Preston Bitter a few nights ago, so it seemed a waste to throw that lovely West Yorkshire Ale slurry down the drain. I’m not sure how it will fare in the dark beer like this porter, but Wyeast recommend it for stouts and porters as well bitters and pale ales.

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: 55.5 EBC
Estimated IBU: 27.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

3.800 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter, Crisp (6.5 EBC), 67.4 %
0.500 kg Brown Malt (128.1 EBC), 8.9 %
0.300 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 5.3 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 5.3 %
0.235 kg CHÂTEAU CAFÉ (500.0 EBC), 4.2 %
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 3.5 %
0.125 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 2.2 %
0.100 kg CHÂTEAU CAFÉ LIGHT® (250.0 EBC), 1.8 %
0.075 kg Amber Malt (43.3 EBC), 1.3 %
26 g East Kent Goldings [6.50 %] – Boil 60.0, 24.2 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
20 g Fuggles [4.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 2.8 IBUs
1.00 Items WLN3200-Servomyces (Boil 10.0 mins)
1.0 pkg West Yorkshire Ale (Wyeast Labs #1469) (400ml yeast cake from Preston Best Bitter)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.635 kg
Mash In Add 15.78 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.29l) of 77.0 C water

07/11/2015 – No water treatment this time. Fast runoff. Great smell from the wort.

08/11/2015 – Uneventful brew day, apart from the biblical weather. Parasol up on the deck, making sure the rain and autumn leaves didn’t fall into the boiler. Hit original gravity. I think I got a bit more break material in the fermenter than usual, probably because I wasn’t patient enough letting it settle.

21/11/2015 – This West Yorkshire yeast is an unusual beast. The yeast cake has only just dropped into the beer, after being on top of a warm kitchen counter for the best part of two weeks. I’m not sure if I’m going to reuse the yeast in another beer, as the jury is still out on what it contributes to a beer. I was going to use it in my smoked porter, but I think I’ll go back to my old reliable, WLP002.

05/12/2015 – Bottled with 111g of corn sugar (19 litres at 2.4 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 18 x 500ml bottles from the batch.

17/12/2015 – Only 12 days in the bottle and already tasting very nice indeed! Lovely coffee and caramel flavours, with just a hint of roast. This will just keep getting better and better.

16/01/2016 – Quite astringent, especially when it warms up. Not surecwhy I gave it such a positive assessment on the last tasting. I’m not even sure if I’ll end up drinking all of the batch.


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