Friday, 28 December 2012

Beer #25 & #26 update

I did think number 26 was going to be for the sink too, as it had quite a difficult ferment and in the end finished very high. I tried a bottle after a month and it was undrinkable sweet water. Because time heals all wounds in homebrew I decided just to leave it another month and then feed it to Daz, who pronounced it fine. Not the world's greatest beer, but certainly drinkable.

Beer 25, the red ale, on the other hand, after 2 months was a lovely balanced hoppy beauty. If anything the initial shock of the hops had worn off somewhat, perhaps it could have done with some dry hopping. But still, a very good beer.

Beer #27 - Ruined

Unfortunately for one reason or another (mainly my illness of the past few weeks) this beer ended up sat in primary for way too long. When I went to check it when I was able there were clear signs of infection on top, so the lot got tipped down the drain. Not a happy job.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Beer #27 - Christmas Wheat

I decided to get a brew in quickly once the no-chill cubes arrived. Because I don't have a massive stock of beer available at the moment I wanted something that will turn around quickly, so settled on a repeat of the Wheatherder recipe with a bit of festive spice added.

  • 2kg Pilsen
  • 1.75kg Wheat Malt
  • 500g Oats
  • 30g Saaz @ 60
  • 20g Bobek @ 10
  • 200g mixed peel @ 10
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder @ 10

Came out at 1054. Yeast not pitched, but will be W06.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Changes afoot

I've got minor changes happening with the brewing system. I recently changed the kitchen up a bit, removing a table which was too large and replacing it with a small kitchen island with breakfast bar for two people. This gives me a lot more worktop and generally more space in the kitchen, but does somewhat scupper the brewing, as I used to put fermenters on the table whilst the yeast did it's thing. The solution? I'm going to move the fermenting upstairs to the 'brewing room' - a tiny room in which I store my grain and bottles, etc.

This has some benefits - keep the door closed and I should be able to keep the room warm during the winter months as there is a radiator in there. It also has some downsides - I don't much fancy having to lug full fermenters up the stairs from the kitchen. For this reason I have bought a set of 8 10 litre plastic (food safe, naturally) jerrycans that I can use for wort transfer. I was never completely satisfied with the chilling process as it takes ages, I don't have a tap connector for the chiller hose that fits properly, so we waste a lot of water. So I shall be using the no-chill method, as popularised by the Aussies. This may also allow me to batch up wort in mad production sessions and then just dump it in fermenters as they come free.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Beer #26 - Best Bitter

Having just recently had a couple of lovely pints of classic best bitters at The Blake, another pub that's local to me, I decided to make something along those lines for the second beer of my double brewday. Again more or less winging it recipe-wise. 

  • 3.25kg Maris Otter
  • 0.2kg Pale Crystal
  • 0.2kg Pale Wheat
  • 0.41kg Dark Crystal
  • 20g Northdown @ 60
  • 10g Northdown @ 15
  • 10g East Kent Goldings @ 15
  • 20g East Kent Goldings @ 0
Got a little more from this batch than the last because of the lower hopping. OG was 1044, pitched S04 but awoke to no activity - perhaps I hadn't cooled enough - so I've chucked a packet of Nottingham in this morning. 

Beer #25 Red ale

With the other half off working surveying for bats, I decided I might as well try and get a double brewday in. I was going to try and get an overnight mash done to get a headstart on the day, but met a friend after work. She's a bad person and made me spend most of the night in the pub. Nonetheless I still managed an early start, so had the liquor heating up by 06:30. Because I'm a bit lazy this ended up being a very relaxed and unorganised brewday. I decided I wanted to make a lovely red coloured ale, but fairly bittered with US hops. So this is what I came up with, mainly based on what was in the malt box. This was also the first time I'd used the first wort hopping technique, so it'll be interesting to see how that turns out

  • 0.27kg Pale Wheat malt
  • 0.5kg Caraaroma
  • 0.5kg Carared
  • 4.5kg Maris Otter
  • 15g Columbus @ FWH
  • 15g Simcoe @ FWH
  • 10g Columbus @ 60
  • 10g Simcoe @ 60
  • 10g Columbus @ 30
  • 10g Simcoe @ 30
  • 10g Columbus @ 15
  • 10g Simcoe @ 15
  • 20g Cascade @ 15
  • 20g Cascade @ 0
This had a couple of litres sparged through, which I was glad about because the hops did soak a fair amount. I think I need a bigger boiler, although I struggle enough getting things boiling on the hob at the moment. Collected 16L at 1061 and pitched 2 packets of Nottingham, which may have been overkill.

Beer #24 - Wrong Tim's Aussie Summer

My friend and former work colleague came to visit for Sheffield's excellent Tramlines. So following the festivities I gave him a bit of a lesson in how I brew. I have to say I probably wasn't the best tutor because of the raging hangover from a weekend's massive over-indulgence. However we did manage to get a beer out of it. This time I decided just to do a straightforward single-hopped beer with the Australian hop Summer - mainly because I had some kicking around and also because Tim's local brewery makes a commercial beer with this hop, so he can do a comparison.
  • 0.27kg Pale Wheat malt
  • 0.3kg Pale Crystal malt
  • 2.75kg Maris Otter
  • 20g Summer @ 60
  • 20g Summer @ 30
  • 60g Summer @ 0

Mashed for 60 minutes @ 64.5 C. Ended up with an OG of 1044 onto which US05 was pitched. For various reasons I didn't get to bottling this until 3 weeks after pitching and it had dropped right down to 1004, for about 5.3% ABV, which is a bit more than I was aiming for. I need to send some bottles down to Suffolk for Tim to try.

Beer #23 Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale

The idea behind this beer was because I'd been drinking a lot of Thornbridge Kipling in one of my local pubs, The Hallamshire House. Unfortunately when I came to make it I realised I had no Munich malt in the box, which I know is in the actual recipe. I had planned to chuck in a bit of Pale Crystal for interest, which I weighed out, but forgot to add it. I've left it out of the following recipe.

  • 0.3kg Wheat Malt
  • 3.43kg Maris Otter
  • 17g Nelson Sauvin  @ 60
  • 12g Nelson Sauvin @ 30
  • 50g Nelson Sauvin @ 0
  • S04

Ended up at an OG of 1050 and a FG of 1008 for about 5.6% ABV, slightly higher than Kipling. I probably should have dry hopped, however this was widely lauded by friends as the best beer I've done yet. Early tasters were like drinking grapefruit juice. Nelson Sauvin will definitely get an airing again.

Bit behind

For whatever reason I've not managed to post the last couple of brews I did. I shall endeavour to fix that in the next 10 minutes or so.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Beer # 22 - Wheatherder

Very late in posting this, but last weekend I managed to get a day free to brew. Since we're off to the Beat Herder festival at the end of this month, I thought it would be nice to brew the easy and totally not authentic version of a Wit that I've brewed previously, with some modifications based on a very active thread on Jim's beerkit.

  • 2kg Pilsen
  • 1.75kg Wheat Malt
  • 500g Oats
  • 30g Saaz @ 60
  • 20g Bobek @ Flame out
  • 2 Chamomile tea bags @ flame out
  • 10g Coriander seeds, crushed @ flame out.

Didn't bother with a sparge and collected 14L @ 1053 into the fermenter, in hindsight maybe I should have sparged or otherwise diluted. I intend to bottle into 2L plastic bottles to take to the festival.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Beer #21 - Belgian Blonde

Because I'd taken the day off as a recovery day following a trip to Birmingham to dance to techno, and didn't feel too awful, I decided to do some brewing stuff. I brewed a Belgian Blonde ale and bottled the smoky beer.

  • 250g Abbey Malt
  • 250g Biscuit Malt
  • 250g Candi Sugar (clear, home-made)
  • 740g Wheat Malt
  • 3.45kg Pilsen Malt
  • 35g Hallertauer @ 90
  • 20g Saaz @ 30
  • WLP530

OG 1059, 19.5L

Into the fermenter it was a beautiful golden colour, which is what I was aiming for. I intend to make a second stronger beer and pitch onto the yeast cake.

Continuing problems with immersion chiller tap and connectors meant that the kitchen floor ended up a proper state.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Beer #20 - Lightly Smoky

I finally got a malt and hops order in, went a bit crazy in the end and had 86kg of stuff sent! Although that's not all for me -Daz will be diving into the stash too.

So with all that waiting, and it being a pea souper, I couldn't resist getting a brew on. Daz appeared on the scene just after the mash had finished so I had another pair of hands, which was useful. Because Gemma likes Rauchbier, specifically Schlenkerla, I'd ordered 500g of rauch malt which in hindsight may have been too little, but hopefully will give a lightly smoky taste to the finished beer. Certainly when tasted from the sample jar there was a hint under the sugary maltiness. I used a mix of Pilsen and Munich malts as the base with a touch of wheat for body and a pinch of chocolate to add some colour.

  • 50g Chocolate malt
  • 160g Wheat malt
  • 500g Rauch malt
  • 1kg Munich malt
  • 1.6kg Pilsen malt
  • 32g Hallertauer @ 60 minutes
OG: 1040, 20L into the fermenter.
FG: 1010, 3.9% ABV

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Beer #19 - Bottled

Fortunately, I'd managed to sup just enough bottles to allow me to bottle, after 3 weeks in the fermenter, the crazy user upper brew. I'm determined not to crack into it too early.

Unfortunately the need to bottle came just prior to my birthday. I say unfortunately because as a gift I received an 80 capacity bottle tree and a bottle rinser (Avinatore). This would have come in handy and shortened the washing and sanitising of 60-something bottles. I've just assembled the thing and taken it for a test run on the empties that were building up in the kitchen. I reckon it'll be a boon - with such a small kitchen and lack of sink and drainer space, I normally have to ferry armfuls of bottles back and forth. This will let me do a large batch at the kitchen table.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Beer 16, 17, 18

These all fermented out as they should with 16 and 17 going all bottles and 18 going into bottles and a couple of mini-kegs. I was very disappointed with all of them to start, the 16 and 17 being pretty one dimensional and the 18 seeming quite watery and boring. All have enhanced with a bit more time conditioning and they're all fairly drinkable now.

Beer #19 -Crazy user upper

Because I was stuck in at the weekend because of being on call as emergency support for an upgrade happening at work, I decided to have a brewday. I decided to use up some scraps of malt and hops, but also a 2 tin Wherry kit that I got as a Christmas gift.

  • 2.5kg Maris Otter
  • 0.3kg Crystal Malt
  • 0.08kg Munich Malt
  • 0.1kg Carafa Special I
  • 3kg Woodfordes Wherry extract kit
65c mash, for 90 minutes losing 1 degree. I collected 15L @1048 and 18L which should be slightly stronger (both fementers had 5L of water in before draining the kettle.