Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Beer #6 Racked into 2nd barrel

Because the foam had subsided on the beer I stuck it in the second barrel, taking a sample at the same time. It hasn't shifted very far -I think possibly because it's a little cold. I made sure that the yeast got a good rousing and that I got plenty of slurry in there, so hopefully that will be enough to get it going again. With it having cooled down a bit I must remember to start shutting the bathroom window!

Finer temperature control has definitely got to be on the agenda next.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Spill over

It must have been a little warmer today because after I got back from a walk in the Peak District I noticed the brew making a break for freedom down the side of the barrel. Easily mopped up however.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Beer #6 Healthy ferment

The starter culture of yeast obviously did the trick as I came downstairs this morning to a nice krausen on the ale. Surprisingly only a very small amount had forced itself out when I returned from work, and hadn't even run down the fermenting barrel, so hopefully it's going at just the right rate.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Brewing beer #6

Leaving the starter culture for a while paid off, I started to see a bit of a foam and some accumulation of yeast on the side of the measuring jug. And thus it was time to brew.

I started the base wort off to come up to the boil and then realised I had no bag for the hops. Netto to the rescue - I bought 10 crappy dishcloths for a quid -they're essentially a cotton bag, so I snipped the corner and packed them with the hops. Same with the late addition, they went in another dishcloth bag.

So the other balls up was I forgot to account for the 2L volume of the starter, so I have a lot of volume in the fermenting vessel. If the ferment is in anyway vigorous then we'll probably see that foaming over. Oops. I have stuck a towel round the base of the bin in advance this time. Wasn't far off the OG I'd predicted at ~ 1.042 (it was difficult to read the hydrometer - I need a sample jar), so predicted abv is 4-4.3%.

An observation is that this DME was less prone to clump than the wheat -provided it didn't hit the spoon, my hand or the side of the pan/fermenting bin.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


I haven't yet had any visible movement on the yeast starter I created yesterday, although it has basically only sat overnight and the temperature here has dropped a bit. I chucked a spoon in boiling water and then gave the culture a bit of a stir to rouse the yeast/aerate it. I'm unsure what's best to do - wait until I get activity or just forge ahead and pitch it anyway - I do have a failsafe packet of S04 in the fridge in case this doesn't get going. Although if it doesn't I won't be happy because this yeast cost over a fiver.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Pale ale (beer #6)

My next very simple attempt is for a hoppy pale session bitter. I'm aiming for about 4% ABV (1.040 OG) but quite bitter at 32 EBU. I will reserve judgement on a name until I taste it.

Beer #6 - unnamed as yet (23L)
  • 2628g Pale Spraymalt
  • 29g Challenger (90 minutes)
  • 9g Fuggles (90 minutes)
  • 5g Fuggles (10 minutes)
  • Wyeast #1335 British Ale II
So adjusted for a 6L partial boil and late extract addition:
  • Put the flame on 6L of water
  • Add 685g DME
  • When boiling add 90 minute hops
  • After 80 minutes add additional hops
  • Boil for another 10 minutes
  • Pour into FV and make up to 23L
  • Add the remaining 1943g of DME
  • When temperature under 30C pitch yeast
I think this will be getting done tomorrow so I can make a yeast starter from the smack pack and let it cook up a bit.


I forgot to mention that I bought the bits for the last lot of beer from Thrifty Shopper. Very good prices and excellent customer service. They really bent over backwards to suggest alternative yeasts and then get some out to me when the royal mail lost the first package. A++

Handflache attempt #1 (beer #5)

I've managed to drink almost all of the 'disaster' keg of the hefeweizen (I'm sure my spelling of this changes each time). So taste wise I'm really quite liking it -the first beer I've made without the homebrew tang which, I understand, is the result of using old liquid malt extract. Just getting rid of that has really improved the beer. It's sweet, probably because it didn't ferment all the way down. It lacks a bit of body which I wonder was due to the very vigorous ferment at the start, possibly because of temperatures being too high. Certainly temperature control for fermentation is on the list to look at sorting at some point (I'm guessing the best thing would be to source an old fridge or something to house the FV). I guess because I used all wheat malt extract in the recipe (rather than say substituting 25% for pale malt extract) that also may have had an effect. Although, forum posts seem to suggest most wheat malt extract has something like 45% barley malt extract in there anyway.

I didn't get much clove flavour from the beer but definitely lots of banana both taste and aroma. Because of this and because it's quite 'thin' it goes down the neck rather easily.

Overall, I'm quite impressed with it but I do understand there is a lot of work yet to be done.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Beer #5 - Kegs/Bottles

I think I messed up getting the beer into the secondary vessel and didn't get enough yeast slurry in there, so there hasn't been much, if any movement on the hydrometer -possibly a single point. So I decided to keg. I sealed the FV completely last night and there was a bit of a bulge in the lid so I think there was still very slight activity. With this in mind I decided not to prime and went for it.

On reflection I should have bought new bungs for the mini-kegs that I'd drained of lager a few weeks earlier. One was sound and looks to have sealed properly, although I'm not 100% sure, however one of the plastic parts from one fell in the keg and immediately span off under the top so was pretty much irretrievable. So that's 5L of beer that's going to have to be drunk over the next 2 days. It could be worse I suppose. :)

So I have several bottles full and a 5L keg that will be left for a couple of weeks/a month to mature, and a young drinking mini-keg that I will report back on after I sample it this afternoon.

FG: 1.017
ABV: ~4.8%