Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Beer #18

An early start at work for a filer software upgrade, had me leaving early and getting home before 14:00. With the whole afternoon ahead of me and the prospect of Gemma not being around, I decided to put the time to good use and get another beer on. Because last times were pretty high strength, somewhat accidentally I decided to go with something a little lighter. I went for a simple malt base aiming for 1.038 and decided to use up the Apollo hops in the freezer.

  • 3kg Maris Otter
  • 200g Crystal Malt
  • 10g Apollo @ 60 mins
  • 10g Apollo @ 15 mins
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 mins
  • 20g Apollo @ 0 mins
  • Danstar Nottingham Yeast, rehydrated

Everything went pretty smoothly and was kind of relaxed. Collected 22L bang on target gravity and pitched.

Beer #16 & #17

Left both of these untouched in the fermenter for 2 weeks and then bottled, both at 1.010, for 6.7% and 6.5%, respectively. Eek.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Beer #17 - SMaSH Challenger

The next beer was a comparison using a British hop. Slightly less volume was collected and it was also a point out in gravity.

  • 5kg Maris Otter
  • 24g Challenger @ 60 minutes
  • 24g Challenger @ 30 minutes
  • 24g Challenger @ 10 minutes
  • 10g Challenger @ 0 minutes

Mashed at 66C for 60 minutes. 60 minute boil. Collected 20L at 1059.

Beer #16 - SMaSH Apollo

So the theme of the next few beers are Single Malt and Single Hop (SMaSH), as a bit of experimentation to try and get to know the different flavours available. First up Apollo (at 17 something % AA).

  • 5kg Maris Otter
  • 10g Apollo @ 60 minutes
  • 10g Apollo @ 30 minutes
  • 10g Apollo @ 10 minutes
  • 10g Apollo @ 0 minutes

Mashed at 66C for 60 minutes. Collected 23L of wort at 1060 OG.

This was also the first outing of the immersion chiller which worked well. I found it quite difficult also using the false bottom (an Ikea splatter screen with bolts through it), as it merely served as a block to free circulation of the wort. Because it doesn't fit tight to the stockpot it didn't really do much to help block out hops. The hop stopper works pretty well anyway, and I used a hop sock over the tap to catch any stray bits that got through, which had a side benefit of aerating the wort quite well on it's way into the fermenter.

Double Brew Day

After the closure of the Thrifty Shopper website, I didn't have a handy way to get ingredients sized for the recipes I wanted to do, that meant ordering a 25kg sack of Maris Otter from the Malt Miller instead. Because of the size of the thing, I didn't really fancy having it delivered to work, so I had to wait until I could organise a time for the other half to be home to receive the delivery. That combined with several family visits delayed brewing rather too long, so I decided to be adventurous and do a double brewday.

This was the first brewday using the pot now it has the tap in it, and I'm not sure how I survived for so long with out it. Other than the length of the day, the fact that I was quite tired and that I had two dogs to look after, it was a breeze. The method was modified a bit and efficiency has increased dramatically.

Essentially, I'm now doing a large volume (26L or so) brew in a bag as I was doing, but during the mash step I heat another smaller stockpot of water up for a sparge step. I sparge using the very ghetto method of using a measuring jug to place water in a foil tray sat on top of the large stockpot, whilst letting the wort out of the tap at the bottom into a fermenter.

The problem with the increase in efficiency is that the beer is way stronger than I'd initially designed, although if I'm honest I did just pick out a round 5kg of grain, and because I've gone particularly bitter on the beer I don't think it's going to hurt it being stronger.