Archive for February, 2016

AG#54 – Whamarillo Pale Ale


In my bid to do some new beer styles and experiment with new techniques in 2016, I’ve decided to do my first ever SMaSH beer. SMaSH is a home brewers term meaning “Single Malt and Single Hop”. It’s a way of keeping a recipe simple in order to taste a variety of malt and hops in an unadulterated way. It’s an interesting technique, though it has me worried as I tend to go a little complicated when it comes to recipes. Particularly with hops, where I love the complexity that comes with using 2 or 3 complimentary hop varieties in the same beer.

The decision on which malt and hops to use in this beer is driven by practical reasons. I’ve at least 30kg of Munton’s Maris Otter malt, some of it past its prime, so I’m going to use some of it up in this recipe. I’ve several hops varieties in the fridge at the moment, but I’m going to use Amarillo here, which will give the beer some fantastic citrus flavours.

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: 1.056 SG
Estimated Color: 10.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 52.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.600 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter, Muntons (6.5 EBC, 100.0 %
15 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 21.3 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 14.2 IBUs
51 g Amarillo [9.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10 mins, 10.2 IBUs
34 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10 mins, 7.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (400ml slurry from Harvest Pale Ale)
100 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.600 kg
Mash In Add 15.68 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.35l) of 77.0 C water

28/02/2016 Brew Day – Runoff extremely slow from the mash tun, which I thought was to do with the fact that I hadn’t charged the drill fully and had to crush the grain in stages. I think the grain wasn’t quite as crushed as usual, but not sure. Wort was really clear, but I had to exercise serious patience to let the wort run off fully. I ended with the full pre-boil volume, so I tried to watch the boiler like a hawk. It was a close thing at times. Hops weren’t the freshest, but I was determined to use them, as they’re so expensive. Smells nice in the fermenter anyway. Pitched a yeast cake from the Harvest Pale Ale. It’s surprising how much colour you can get out of this pale malt. Target OG was low at 1.050 – 1.052.

13/03/2016 – Racked to secondary and dry hopped with a metric shitload of Amarillo. Well, 100g to be exact. But as dry hops go, that’s quite a lot, especially in one go.

14/03/2016 – The smell from the fermenter is absolutely amazing. Really intense. I’m going to have to remove the hop bag and leaving the beer to settle for a few days, as I think there is going to be a lot of fine hop matter in there.

20/03/2016 – Bottled with 112g corn sugar (17 litres @ 2.5 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 12 x 500ml bottles from the batch. Lots of sediment in the secondary fermenter from the massive dry hop.

AG#53 – Harvest Pale Ale

This beer is just for me and the missus. A nice hoppy, easy drinker after all the sweet and malty beers I brewed during Autumn and Winter. I’m essentially using my Gale Force Cream Ale recipe, but this time I’m cutting the amount of pilsner with some Crisp Maris Otter in an effort to calm the intense, malty sweetness you get with pilsner malt. I’m also reducing the gravity as I want to make this a bit more sessionable. To do this, I’m simply omitting the corn sugar. For hopping, I’m going to keep things simple by using 100g bag of 2015 harvest Cascade. The additions will all be in the kettle and most will be late kettle additions, in an effort to keep the bitterness low. I’m using dried yeast in the form of Safale US-05 which attenuates like crazy, so I’ll try to keep the mash temperature around 67-68C.
Every few months there seems to be some new variety of hop available, even Citra is deemed passé these days thanks to new hipster varieties such as Belma, Mandarina Bavaria, Equinox, Hull Melon etc. But for me, the Cascade hop takes some beating. It’s old-school, but it delivers a citrus hop punch that reminds me of why I fell in love with craft beer in the first place. I got my hands on a couple of bags of 2015 Cascade so I’m calling this “Harvest Pale Ale” in honour of these spanking-fresh hops. I probably won’t use all of the hops in this batch, as I want an easy drinker, but I’ll make that call on brew day. I’ll probably get carried away by the powerful aroma and end up dumping the lot in! This is also my first use of leaf hops in a long, long time.

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: 1.047 SG
Estimated Color: 8.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 33.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 59.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.9 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes


4.000 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 1 79.2 %
0.450 kg Maize, Flaked (Thomas Fawcett) (3.9 EBC) Grain 2 8.9 %
0.300 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 3 5.9 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC) Grain 4 5.9 %
18 g Cascade [6.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 15.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 6 –
50 g Cascade [6.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 7 8.0 IBUs
75 g Cascade [6.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 Hop 8 9.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast 9 –
50 g Cascade [6.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 10 0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.050 kg
Mash In Add 14.14 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 19.32l) of 77.0 C water

07/02/2016 Brew Day – Good brew day. Got a huge amount of cold break in the boiler, but an extremely clear wort. This might explain lack of head retention in my cream ale, the last time I used the Heidelberg malt. Wort from the mash tun wasn’t much darker, but the runoff from the boiler was considerably darker, probably from all that hop material. OG was spot on, but I only got 17 litres into the fermenter. I’d completely forgotten how much wort is soaked up when using large amounts of leaf hops. Great aroma. Rehydrated a sachet of US-05 and pitched. Fermenting cool.

03/03/2016 – Bottled with 112g glucose. When I removed the bag of dry hops, I realised that I had less volume than expected. I got 30 x 500ml bottles so the carbonation is going to be livelier than intended. Taste was quite grassy and harsh, but I had just removed the bag of dry hops.

13/03/2013 – First taste and although far too young, it’s got a very promising flavour. Not quite as hoppy as I was expecting though.

MEAD#6 – Traditional Mead

Sanitised fermenter and rehydrated a sachet of Lalvin 71B in some of the bottled water. Sanitised the stick blender attachment in the jug of StarSan. Transferred about 3 litres of water to the fermenter and added the honey. Quite a bit of the wildflower honey had crstallised in the jars, and despite leaving the jars in hot water for around 30 minutes beforehand, they didn’t liquify much. I couldn’t leave that much honey in the jar obviously, so I scraped the crystallised honey into a saucepan, rinsed the jars out with some recently boiled water from the kettle and added that to the saucepan. Set it over the heat and stirred constantly, just until the honey was fully dissolved. Then I set the saucepan inside another larger pot containing ice and chilled it down. I used 1 x 900g of blended honey and 2 x 350g organic wildflower honey. On this batch I used 1/4 tsp tannin, 1/4 tsp acid blend and 1 tsp Youngs yeast nutrient. Topped up to the 5.5 litre mark. Blended with the sanitised stick blender to heavily aerate the must and pitched the rehydrated yeast. I have it fermenting pretty cool at the moment and seems to be doing okay.

29/12/2017 – I did my usual multiple rackings with this. Finally got around to doing a taste test and gravity reading. Not surprised to see it had reached 1.000. Up front, I didn’t get the same high acidity I got the last time I did this mead. There’s a slightly acetone flavour there that I’m not happy with. I’ll probably let this age for another 6-12 months and tale another sample then.

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