Posts Tagged 'english ale'

AG#12 – Bad Landlord Special Bitter

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The goal of this beer is to make a beer reminiscent of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. Landlord is probably my favourite English beer and it’s a popular choice for homebrewers doing clone recipes. I’ve scoured the internet and come up with this recipe. It relies heavily of Scottish Golden Promise base malt, as does the commercial beer. I’ve only got 3 kg of Golden Promise though, so I’ll be supplementing the grist with some Maris Otter. There’s no crystal malt in the recipe, which is a first for me in an English ale. There’s also a little wheat malt in there, just for head retention. Hopping will be generous – lots of EKG, Fuggles and Styrian Goldings.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 25.40 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 8.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 33.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

3.000 kg Pale Malt, Golden Promise (5.0 EBC) Grain 1 61.9 %
1.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (4.8 EBC) Grain 2 26.8 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 3 6.2 %
0.250 kg Light Dry Extract (15.8 EBC) Dry Extract 4 5.2 %
22 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 13.8 IBUs
17 g East Kent Goldings [6.90 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 6 15.6 IBUs
15 g East Kent Goldings [6.90 %] – Boil 15.0 Hop 7 4.0 IBUs
25 g Styrian Goldings [3.60 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 8 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) (400ml of slurry from Tailgunner Bitter)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.850 kg
Mash In Add 12.88 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 17.63l) of 77.0 C water

Brew Day 06/04/2014 – Mash temp 67C. Wort is really pale. Had a stuck mash and couldn’t get much of a run-off, so I had to stir and re-float the grain bed. It worked bu got a disappointing volume of wort and topped up with water. I measured my pre-boil gravity and naturally was coming in a few points below my target, so I added just a bit of DME to make up the loss. I didn’t do any calculations on the amount of DME to use. I didn’t take an OG reading, or at least, I didn’t record one…

08/04/2014 – I knew there was something wrong when I walked into the room and got a massive bang of sulphur! I didn’t think the English ale yeasts threw out sulphur like that, but it seems the temperature was just too low. I took a temperature reading of 17.4C, not especially low, but a little below WhiteLabs’ recommended range of 18.4-20C for this strain. Moved it to a warmer room and just a few hours later the temperature had risen to just over 19C. It seems a bit more active also. Hopefully that sulphur aroma will fade out with some vigorous fermentation for a couple of days.

27/04/2014 – Bottled with 120g corn sugar (17.5 vol @ 2.6 vol). Got 34 bottles from the batch.

04/09/2014 – I’m really disappointed with the lack of notes on this beer. It turned out really good, probably the best English bitter I’ve done to date. I think the difference, apart from the liquid ale yeast, is the generous quantities of hops I put in the brew. I milled through most of this beer just before the summer but I haven’t really been keeping an eye on what’s in the cellar over the summer months, so I was surprised to see a few bottles of this left. I can’t believe they’ve held up so well being stored in a hot shed over the course of the summer. It’s very crisp, low-moderate head retention, good carbonation, gold in colour, and the hop flavour is still there. I might stash a couple of bottles to put in the competition next year as I don’t have anything else “English” to enter. Will do this recipe again. I’m not sure how much of a “clone” recipe it is, but it’s a satisfying bitter. It’s a source of much online speculation as to how TT get the dark colour in Landlord. Some people speculate it’s through the use of caramel, though others disagree. A lot of home brewers use a small charge of black malt or chocolate malt to darken the wort, and I think that is what I’d do next time. Though at the moment, it’s hard to see me changing anything about the recipe as it makes a fantastic golden bitter as it is.

23/10/2014 – I remember drinking this during the summer and being quite taken with it, but if anything I think it’s improved even more. It’s a revelation really – that a single malt variety could bring so much character to a beer. Is the Golden Promise malt solely responsible for the fantastic flavour, or would I get the same quality from a good Maris Otter malt? The beer is a beautiful pale colour, and still plenty of hop bitterness and flavour there to balance the malt. I was a bit ambivalent about the series of English bitters I did earlier in the year, but my realisation of how good this beer is has changed my mind. Definitely a re-brew of this needed, with perhaps a little pinch of choocolate malt to adjust the colour and make it more “Landlord” like. The challenge will be getting my hands on Golden Promise malt. It’s not available in any of the shops at the moment, even in the UK. Though it is probably only available at certain times of the year.

24/11/2014 – Still tastes pretty decent. Though I’m not sure it could be deemed a blonde ale or a summer bitter, as it’s a bit darker than I remember. Good flavour, but perhaps not as medal winner.

18/12/2014 – Drank the last bottle of this and while it has possibly faded a bit, it still tastes good. I’d love to have a keg of this on the go. Might have another attempt at this with the WLP005 I have in the fridge.

AG#10 – Tailgunner Best Bitter

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It’s been over a year since I did my “series” of English bitters. I did a couple of bitters and a mild last January, all using S-04 dried yeast. The results were pretty mediocre, and although I’ve gained a lot of homebrewing knowledge since then, I’m pretty confident that it’s the fault of the S-04 yeast. I just find it very harsh, and it takes far too long to condition out. After scoring rather poorly in last years competition with a couple of these years, I resolved to never again use a dried English strain again that isn’t Danstar Nottingham.

So I recently splashed out on a vial of WLP002 which will hopefully give a satisfactory result. WLP002 is believed to be the Fullers strain and should lots of characteristic English fruitiness but has a lower level of attenuation, leaving lots of residual body and sweetness. As such, I will need to keep the level of crystal malt restrained and also watch my mash temperatures. I’ve been doing a bit of reading through Graham Wheelers book and I’m going for a fairly standard recipe of Maris Otter, C60 with plenty of wheat malt for head retention and a touch of black malt for colour. I’m hoping for a nice copper colour with this one. I’ll be relying on the Classic English pairing of East Kent Goldings and Fuggles for both battering and flavour, but I’ll keep the size of the additions modest as I don’t want the hop flavours to be pre-dominant. I want to be able to appreciate the full character of the yeast.

I’ll be using a 1.2 litre starter that I made 3 days ago. Hopefully it will be okay as the vial was a little past it’s best before date.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 24.88 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 18.4 EBC
Estimated IBU: 29.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

4.400 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 89.3 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 6.1 %
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 4.1 %
0.025 kg Black (Patent) Malt (985.0 EBC), 0.5 %
22 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 12.8 IBUs
22 g Goldings, East Kent [4.90 %] – Boil 60.0, 14.6 IBUs
10 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 1.2 IBUs
10 g Goldings, East Kent [4.90 %] – Boil 10.0, 1.3 IBUs
1.0 pkg English Ale (White Labs #WLP002)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.925 kg
Mash In           Add 13.79 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 16.52l) of 77.0 C water

16/03/2014 – This was my first outdoor brew day and the rain just about held off. Great not to have the brew stinking up the house or condensation dripping down the windows. Treated 25 litres of mash liquor with 1 tsp of gypsum. I waited until the end of the mash rest before I started heating the water for the sparge. It came up to temperature just in time and was around 90C before transfer to the mash tun. I measured the temperature of the sparge after transfer and it was over 76C. I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a proper sparge temperature since I started brewing all-grain. It might account for the fact that I was several points over my intended OG. I got an OG of 1.050-1.052!

Run-off from the boil was excellent because there was so little hops in the recipe. Wort was very clear also, but I think I’m going to have to adjust my “losses to boiler” in BeerSmith as I got only 18 litres into the fermenter. Still plenty of wort left in the boil but it was mixed up withe break material and hops, so I didn’t want to put that into the FV if I could help it.

Pitched about a litre of the starter wort. The WLP002 is such a clumpy yeast, great hunks of yeast went into the FV. Hopefully it won’t be long before the fermentation kicks off.

31/03/2014 – Bottled using 110g of glucose (17l @ 2.5 vol). Got 34 bottles from the batch. Great aroma from the beer, but tastes slightly harsh. Yeasty, perhaps. FG 1.012.

07/09/2014 – Disappointed with the lack of notes on this beer. It’s held up quite well in the warm shed over the summer months and I’ve still got about 10 bottles of it left. I was impressed with the malty flavours and just looked up the recipe. I was amazed to see that there’s no record of me using amber malt in this, but it’s definitely there. Unless the English ale yeast is bringing out those malty flavours? Could it be Thomas Fawcett base malt I used?

12/10/2014 – This is still really nice. And it’s so obviously got a flavour of amber malt. I just can’t believe I neglected to put this in the recipe. If I were to reproduce it, I’d probably start with 125g of amber malt. It actually drinks more like a brown ale. Though if I were to call it a brown ale, I’d probably add a little chocolate malt to darken the colour a bit.

03/01/2015 – Last bottle and still yum. Big body and flavour for such a low gravity beer. Toasty, malty, perfectly bittered. Wish I had the actual recipe so that I could reproduce it. Would be more inclined to start with 75-100g of amber malt if I were to attempt it again.

AG#2 – Penny Lane Brown Ale

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My first partial mash recipe back in May in 2012 was a great success and was the first indicator I had that “going all-grain”, at least partially, would be the key to producing good beers at home. Krook’s Pale Ale (named after Johnny Vegas’ character in BBC’s Bleak House. Don’t ask, long story…) being a partial-mash recipe allowed me to use some grains that had previously been off-limits because they need to be mashed. Mashing is steeping grain at a controlled temperature for a certain period of time. It’s different from simply steeping grains, which I’d already done as an extract and kit brewer, because temperature is more critical. It’s easy as pie though.

Krook’s used Nottingham dried yeast, which is supposed to be fairly neutral in flavour (though it tastes very English to me) so most of the flavour was coming from the amber malt, which gives the beer a super-malty flavour. I also used dark crystal malt which lent the beer a dark colour and lots of raisin-like caramel flavours. The problem with the recipe though, was that the beer simply came out too dark. So I decided to do a re-brew and designate it a brown ale instead. I’ve rowed back just a bit on the dark crystal and a little on the amber malt. I’ve also added a fair portion of biscuit malt, just because I love it. I’ve added a bit more of the medium crystal malt too, because this is supposed to be a more caramelly beer. Hopping is all EKG.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 26.88 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 11.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 27.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

4.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 83.1 %
0.300 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 5.8 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM), 3.9 %
0.175 kg Amber Malt (22.0 SRM), 3.4 %
0.075 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM), 1.4 %
0.075 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -100L (100.0 SRM), 1.4 %
0.050 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (300.0 SRM), 1.0 %
25 g Goldings, East Kent [6.90 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop, 23.4 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
20 g Goldings, East Kent [6.90 %] – Boil 10.0, 3.8 IBUs
20 g Goldings, East Kent [6.90 %] – Boil 0.0, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007)  – 1.5 litre starter

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.175 kg
Mash In           Add 14.49 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (4.61l, 13.91l) of 77.0 C water

06/11/2013 Brew Day – Despite being in the midst of water restrictions, I decided that I had to get another brew on. For this brown ale, I had 25 litres of mash water in the boiler which had been treated with campden tablet the night before. After the last brew which involved numerous boils of the kettle in order to the bring the water up to mash temperature, I heated the water up much more this time to 85°C. Directly before adding the mash water to the MT I added a kettle-full of boiling water and swirled the contents around. I drained the MT and added 15 litres of water from the boiler. after transfer the mash liquor measured 79.9C. After I added some jugs of cold water it had dropped to 68°C!! So then I had to use my kettle adjustment method to bring it back up to a strike temperature of 73.3°C.

Assuming the mash liquor loses 5°C on transfer to empty (but heated) MT, this means my mash liquor should be heated to 79°C in order to achieve a strike temperature of 74°C.

After doughing-in, I took a temperature reading of 66.9°C and snapped the lid on. I heated 18.5 litres of sparge water to 80°C. But my batch sparge temperature was well below what it should have been after the water had been transferred back to the MT. Obviously I didn’t heat my sparge water high enough but I think the grain bed had cooled so much by the time I did my batch sparge that the resulting temperature was a really low 71.1°C. Assuming the sparge water loses 9°C on transfer to the MT, this means that future sparge water will have to be heated to 86°C to get a proper sparge temperature of 77°C.

I got a disappointingly low OG of 1.040-1.042 (from an expected 1.051) which I suspect is caused by the grain consistency coming from my new grain mill. I’ve only used the mill once and I thought the crushed grain looked a bit coarser than the pre-crushed grain I usually buy. I did think that some grains were barely cracked. However, I couldn’t be sure and decided to trust the factory settings on the mill and mash in. At the end of the mash, the grain definitely looked different from usual. I picked out some grains and it appeared some of the grains were not crushed through. I used the factory setting on the mill which is 0.05, though it’s also possible to adjust the rollers (thinner at 0.025 and thicker at 0.1).

I’m not sure if this has any bearing, but I used a drill on a screwdriver setting and it flew through 5kg of grain. Would I get a different result from doing it manually? My effiencies were set pretty low as it is in BrewSmith (60% total efficiency and 70% mash efficiency) so I have to get this issue sorted before I do another brew. I was thinking of grinding a few test bowls of base grain at the various settings and comparing them to the pre-crushed malt from the HBC. I could also adjust the rollers on the mill but I’m concerned that the 0.025 setting would result in lautering issues.

My pre-boil volume was spot-on but my post-boil volume was a little high, as was my volume in the fermenter. I’m sure this hasn’t helped the efficiency problem either.

One positive that came out of this brew was my discovery that the two kettle elements work very well together at the same time. My pre-boil volume of 27 litre took 21 minutes to come up to a rolling boil. On my previous brew, this process took about 45 minutes. That’s an incredible improvement.

09/11/2013 – I was rather concerned this morning to see that the yeast had completely flocced out, so this evening I took a temperature and gravity reading. The beer was at 13.5°C (holy shit!) and the gravity was just over the 1.010 mark! I decided to move the fermenter into the hall and gently rouse yeast with a sanitised paddle. The slightly warmer conditions will hopefully make sure this attenuates further.

11/11/2013 – I moved this into the kitchen and have it sitting on the worktop as it was 15.5°C out in the hall! It’s definitely bubbling a bit more as a result of the warmer temperature. No more kreusen developing but the layer of bubbles is definitely thicker. I’ll have to take another temperature reading.

11/11/2013 – Evening time, and I’ve just taken a temp reading of 19°C. The bubbling has calmed down a lot, so hopefully it took the increase in temperature to make the thing finish out. I’ll leave it where it is until tomorrow and then move it back to it’s first location in order to cold-crash it before bottling next week.

20/11/2013 – Bottled with 90g of dextrose (18 litres at 2 vol). Got 36 bottles out of the batch.

21/11/2013 – After bottling this last night I checked the bottles first thing this morning to see how cloudy they were. They were absolutely sparkling clear which made me think the yeast had instantly flocced to the bottom of the bottle. So I shook up the bottle and discovered there is no yeast or trub on the bottom of the bottle either. This is a little worrying. There seems to be plenty of bubbles in the beer when I shake the bottle up, however. I’ll have to open up a bottle in a couple of weeks (before I bottle my Pork Chop Porter) to see if I need to be re-seeding these bottles. I think I’ll have to leave it for an extended period at fermentation temperature though – if there are only a few yeast cells in each bottle, then I’ll need to give them time to work.

24/11/2013 – Just drank the beer that was sitting on the saved yeast that is destined for my new batch of Pork Chop Porter. The beer is pretty damn good.  I was concerned there was diacetyl in it, but my fears have been proved unfounded. There’s plenty of English yeast character in the beer – whoever said this yeast is clean is talking out of their arse. The flavour is a little mild, however. You can tell that this is a low-gravity beer you’re drinking and not the 5% brown ale it was intended to be. It’ll be great with a bit of carbonation in.

01/12/2013 – Not even 2 weeks in the bottle but I wanted to check that the batch was carbonating correctly in the bottle with the WLP007 before I bottle-condition another beer with the same yeast. Carbonation is quite light in this particular beer, but it seems to be just fine. The beer is surprisingly good – light bodied as you’d expect considering I missed the target OG so badly, but it’s got quite a good flavour, particularly when it warms up a little. Definitely not competition standard, but a nice easy drinker for the winter months.

10/12/2013 – I think this one is going to disappear pretty quickly! Fantastic malty flavour from the amber malt which works really well with the WLP007. Plenty of crystal sweetness with the C100 showing nicely but nicely subtle. The pale chocolate malt works really well with the amber, giving a nutty flavour. Very faint chocolate tones too. Much nicer when it warms up. Great amber colour. Low head but lasts well. Carbonation well judged I think.

BIAB#2 – Navy Pier Special Bitter

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Tight git that I am these days, I was determined to re-use the yeast slurry from my first BIAB effort, Tailgunner Best Bitter. This recipe is based on a clone recipe I found for the wonderful Goose Island Honkers Ale. So how does this recipe differ from my last special bitter? Well, I’ve left out the torrified wheat and will be using a much bigger amount of plain wheat malt. I’m expecting a significant flavour contribution from this as it’s not there simply for head retention. This is also a much hoppier beer, with three large additions of Fuggles. (Goose Island is reported to use all Styrian Goldings and Fuggles were the closest match I had available.)

Recipe

Boil Size: 12.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 10.00 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.041 SG
Estimated Color: 10.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 60.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

2.600 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 79.0 %
0.395 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM), 12.0 %
0.140 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 4.3 %
0.140 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 75L (75.0 SRM), 4.3 %
0.016 kg Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM), 0.5 %
23 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 19.6 IBUs
21 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 20.0 min, 6.5 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
21 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 3.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Fermentis SafAle S-04

01/01/2013 – I wanted to test my process to see if I can get a consistent efficiency with my BIAB process, even if that efficiency is very low. So I used the same volumes of water and the same method of sparging. I think I may have rinsed the grains a little better in the sparge pot this time though. My OG, which I measured after topping up to about 13.5 litres was 1.052! So I topped up further to the 15 litre mark. This beer is understandably a little darker than my Fool’s Gold Bitter because it has a greater amount of crystal malt. I pitched about 400ml of the S-04 yeast slurry into my 15 litre fermeter and it’s bubbling away like a beast. Hopefully I can get another 25 bottles out of this batch.

I was feeling so smug that I immediately set about doing another batch of beer. Bad move, as it turned out. Here’s the post about it, “Pie-O-My” Amber Ale.

10/01/2013 – Bottled to 2.2 volumes using 75g table sugar. I got 25 bottles out of the batch as expected.

18/02/2013 – I can’t believe I haven’t posted any tasting updates on this beer as I’ve had a few tasters at this point. It’s suffering from the same S-04 bite that has plagued my Tailgunner Best Bitter so far. It’s much murkier also, but it remains to be seen whether this is due to the sizeable portion of wheat malt or whether it just hasn’t dropped bright yet. As you’d expect, it’s got much more caramel and hop flavour, a bit fruitier perhaps. The Tailgunner seems to only now be getting better after 6 weeks in the bottle, so maybe the same will apply here. I’ll taste again at the end of the month.

BIAB#1 – Tailgunner Best Bitter

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I was waiting until the Christmas holidays to do my first all-grain recipe. For the first time ever, not a gram of extract will go into my beer. Not having a mash tun, or even the expertise for conducting a mash using a 3-vessel system, I’ll be using a BIAB method using my two pots. The pots are 20 litres and 10 litres and I’m slightly restricted on boil volume because I’m boiling on the gas hob. So I’ll be doing a slightly smaller batch of 15 litres because I don’t wait to boil at too high a concentration and end up with excessive kettle caramelisation. My previous partial mash efforts have been running at a pretty rubbish 65% efficiency, so for my first BIAB I’m going to use an even lower figure of 60%. If I get a higher efficiency than that, then great. The 30 IBU I’m planning will hopefully stand up against an extra couple of points on my original gravity.

Recipe

Boil Size: 12.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 10.00 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.041 SG
Estimated Color: 10.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 31.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 60.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

2.850 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
0.160 kg Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM)
0.145 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 75L (75.0 SRM)
0.075 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)
0.016 kg Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)
15 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 12.8 IBUs
15 g Goldings, East Kent [4.90 %] – Boil 60.0, 14.6 IBUs
11 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 1.9 IBUs
11 g Goldings, East Kent [4.90 %] – Boil 10.0, 2.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Fermentis SafAle  S-04

Notes

Boil and mash conducted on the same day. I used a much higher boil volume than usual, must have been at least 15 litres, but the hob handled it just fine. I got about 11 litres into the fermenter and had to top up with some water. Fearing a very low efficiency I added water up to 13/14 litres ans took and OG reading of 1.048! Pretty good, so I topped up to the 15 litres mark. The next step will be to actually calibrate these fermenters I’m using.

30/12/2012 – Bottled using 90g table sugar. Bowled over by the sample I took from the fermenter. It’s really bready or grainy, I can’t figure out which word describes it best. Nor can I figure out what has contributed to this flavour, the torrified wheat or the biscuit malt. At this point, I’m going to guess that it’s the torrified wheat given that it’s a very traditional grain in English styles, and my beer tastes very typical and traditional. Should have a nice level of carbonation with the 90g of of sugar. It’s quite bitter, more than the 30 IBU that I was expecting. Got a FG of 1.008. Will give this 3 weeks conditioning before trying a sample. I saved 500ml of slurry that will be rolled over into another all-grain English bitter. This time, it’s going to be based on a clone of Goose Island Honkers Ale – itself based on an English bitter. This will be more caramelly with plenty of fermentables coming from wheat malt and also a little roasted barley for extra character. I’ll be using all Fuggles for this brew, though I might not have enough. In that case I’ll use some Northern Brewer for bittering.

13/01/2013 – I should have been a bit more patient with this. The first taste is a little disappointing. Bags of potential there – a great grainy flavour and some nice residual sweetness from the caramel malt, but it just tastes like an immature beer. A little bit yeasty too, but in fairness, it was only in the fridge for a few hours before I opened it. Another 2 or 3 weeks in the bottle and I reckon this will taste excellent.

24/01/2013 – Over a week later and still no improvement. It still has that S-04 taste. I think this yeast and myself are finished. Which is a pity, as I’ve 75 bottles of beer to drink that were fermented by this yeast!!

31/01/2013 – Opened another bottle and there’s a definite improvement. The beer is now a lot brighter, which i assume is not just because of a warmer temperature and less chill haze. There’s definitely still a yeast bite to the beer though and I reckon it’s going to need another few weeks conditioning. On the plus side, there’s some fantastic grainy, malty flavours coming through. The bitterness is quite full-on for a 30 IBU beer, but it is quite light in body. All in all, there’s now a great English malt and hop character showing through and fingers crossed it will be drinking very well in a month’s time. I’ve decided that I’ll definitely be trying liquid yeasts when I do my next set of English ales. I’ll probably go for the WLP002 as it’s supposed to have low attenuation with high flocculation – a low maintenance yeast, which is pretty much up my street.

12/02/2013 – This is definitely drinking better now. It’s lost most of that yeast bite and unsurprisingly, it has dropped incredibly bright. This thing is sparkling! It’s strange though, on some sips you get lots of that grainy-bready flavour; other sips not so much. I’ll be entering this in the competition anyway and I’m looking forward to getting feedback on it. Another months conditioning should do no harm. I do think the bitter is overcarbonated though; I’ll definitely reduce the amount of priming sugar for future bitters.

18/02/1013 – Absolutely sparkling and the flavour has really improved. 6 weeks seems to be the sweet spot in a moderate-gravity bitter fermented with S-04. I do think it’s overcarbonated though which gives it a slight astringency. I might try dialing back on the hops next time too, say 28 IBU. Still not much head on the beer either.

PM#1 – Krook’s Pale Ale

This is my first recipe using Amber Malt. I want this to be a super malty beer with just a little hop character. I’m using Nottingham yeast which is pretty clean but (to my palate at least) shows a little “English” character and attenuates well.

This is also my first partial mash. I’m using John Palmer’s directions for partial mashing in “Brewing Classic Styles”. John advises heating the strike water to 74°C before doughing in and settling on a mash temperature of around 68°C. Lost a couple of degrees after 30 minutes but applied heat and gave the mash a good stir.

I’m only using half a kilo of base malt for this beer but I need the diastatic power of the base malt in order to convert the amber malt. I’ll ramp up the amount of base malt I use in future brews.

Category: Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
Recipe Type: Partial Mash
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 12 L
Mash Efficiency: 72 %
Total Grain/Extract: 3.33 kg
Total Hops: 78.0 g

Original Gravity: 1.055 (1.048 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.010 – 1.016)
Color: 12.43 °SRM (6.00 – 18.00 °SRM)
Bitterness: 37.0 IBU (30.00 – 50.00 IBU)
ABV: 5.5 % (4.60 – 6.20 %)

Ingredients

  • 0.23 kg Crystal 30
  • 0.5 kg Maris Otter Pale Malt
  • 0.17 kg English Amber Malt
  • 0.11 kg Crystal 100
  • 2.2 kg Dry Light Malt Extract
  • 0.115 kg Dry Wheat Malt Extract
  • 50 g East Kent Goldings (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 28 g East Kent Goldings (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 5 min.
  • Yeast: Danstar Nottingham

Notes

Targets Spitfire ale: FG: 1.011-1.014, SRM: 14, OG: 1.052-1.055, IBU: 35: ABV: 5.2%

Forgot to add Whirlfloc so not sure how this is going to turn out. Planning on doing secondary to give it the best chance of clearing.

13/06/2012 – Bottled using 125g corn sugar. FG: 1.012. Sample tasted excellent.

22/10/2012 – As delicious as this beer turned out, I still have a few bottles left. It’s very, very malty. Almost veering into chocolate territory. Nice level of bitterness giving a dry finish. Definitely a very balanced beer though I think I would reduce the amber malt slightly next time.

EX#3 – Jamil’s Ordinary Bitter

Category: Standard/Ordinary Bitter
Recipe Type: Extract
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 10 L
Mash Efficiency: 77.2 %
Total Grain/Extract: 2.14 kg
Total Hops: 69.0 g

Original Gravity: 1.038 (1.032 – 1.040)
Terminal Gravity: 1.009 (1.007 – 1.011)
Color: 13.80 °SRM (4.00 – 14.00 °SRM)
Bitterness: 32.9 IBU (25.00 – 35.00 IBU)
ABV: 3.8 % (3.20 – 3.80%)

Ingredients

  • 0.34 kg Crystal 100
  • 1.8 kg Dry Light Malt Extract
  • 38 g East Kent Goldings (Whole, 5.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 16 g East Kent Goldings (Whole, 5.00 %AA) boiled 30 min.
  • 15 g Fuggle (Pellets, 4.75 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets (15 mins)
  • Yeast: Fermentis Safale S-04

Notes

Actual OG 1.034. Fermentation not started nearly 24 hours later. Huge amount of sludge on top of beer.

22/01/2012 – Bottled into PET using 55g light spraymalt. FG: 1.010

17/02/2012 – First taste. Promising, but not ready to drink. Bit of astringency from yeast bite I think. Very light bodied, but nice malt flavour still coming through. Will give it another 4 weeks before tasting again.

17/03/2012 – Second taste


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