Sunday, 22 August 2010

Turbo Cider 005

We drank all of the honey/AJ bottled TC this weekend. Most of it anyway as I'd clearly overprimed and had half of one bottle on the ceiling almost. It was pretty good, certainly sweeter than the last batch and incredibly fizzy.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Brewing TV

I'm loving the weekly episodes of Brewing TV. I quite enjoyed this week's, in which we had a wander round the basement areas that Jake may turn into a brewhouse.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Beer #5 - Racked to secondary

Because of all the crap around the FV I decided to rack the beer off into another tub and try to get a bit of yeast swirled around. The hydrometer reading had stayed at 1.018 (rather than the 10.016 I had thought it was), so I thought I'd give it until the weekend to see whether there was any movement before bottling.

I stole a glass off whilst siphoning - very nice at the minute with a lot of banana to the nose.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Beer #5 -Crazy fermentation

Beer #5 didn't want to stay in the barrel on the first evening of it's fermenting. I came downstairs to find a puddle of foam having made it's way across the table that my fermenting tub sits on towards the edge and then the floor. Fortunately, I managed to mop it up and put some more towels in it's way to catch whatever came out over the next couple of days. Note to self -put towels down with every brew!

We went away for 4 nights over the weekend sampling lots of ales and music at the Summer Sundae festival in Leicester. I've just measured the gravity, after 8 days it's down to 1.016.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Beer #5 - 'Handflache' Hefeweissen attempt #1

I'm not sure why but my original calculations weren't correct, so I ended up having to make a panic adjustment to the recipe I was using to make it all fit with the ingredients I'd ordered. Basically this meant plumping for a lower gravity and hence alcohol content - this is not necessarily a bad thing, given that I'm hoping for an easy drinking summer beer here. In order to keep it within tolerable levels I also cut down the brew length to 20 litres. So my super simple recipe is:

Handflache (#1) - 20 litre
  • 3kg Dried wheat malt extract (6-10 EBC)
  • 18g Saaz hops (3.5% alpha)
  • White Labs WLP380 Hefeweizen IV Ale Yeast

So adjusted for a 6L partial boil and late extract addition:
  • Put the flame on 6L of water
  • Add 900g dried wheat malt extract
  • When boiling add 18g hops (in muslin bag)
  • Boil for 90 minutes
  • Pour into fermenting vessel and make up to 20L with cold water, aerating
  • Add the rest of the extract
  • When temperature is under 30c pitch yeast
There were issues with the extract powder clumping, but with a bit of a stir it all managed to dissolve. Somehow my hydrometer reading was way more than I had expected given the figures out of Beer Engine. I could be driving it wrong, or maybe the numbers for the extract are out compared to the batch I have (maybe the numbers are for liquid extract). In any case it's looking like I'm at an OG of 1.054 which will be about 5.5% if I get down to an FG of 1.012.

I wonder whether the next wheat experiment should include some pale malt extract?

First extract brew

After some mulling I've decided to try extract brewing. Whilst I'd love to go all grain, I don't have the equipment, or perhaps more importantly the space for the equipment. What I do have is an 11.5 litre capacity stockpot. This obviously poses a slight problem in making a 5 gallon (23 litre) brew. But perhaps the cloud has a silver lining because by adding the bulk of the water (cold) to the wort after boiling I should be able to cool the wort to yeast pitching much more quickly -and possibly aerate it at the same time.

I intend to reduce the boil volume to 6 litres to comfortably fit in the pot and allow plenty of foaming space. Because of hop-utilisation rates changing with extract concentration I am using the excellent Beer Engine to recalculate the amount of extract to use such that I am maintaining the original gravity of the recipe - the remainder will be added to the fermenting vessel. As I am using spray dried extract rather than liquid I'm assuming I can get away without boiling it to get rid of bugs like I would have to with liquid extract.

My first brew is going to be a simple Hefeweissen wheat beer. Recipe to follow.