AG#18/19 Roosters Homebrew Competition Brew

I brewed a beer for the Roosters Homebrew competition/battle.  The chaps at the brewery have made every effort to make the judging process anonymous, so there were no brewday Tweets *sad face* and I’ll post the recipe details after the judging has taken place.

I split my wort and boiled it up with two different hop combinations and then fermented with two different yeast strains.  I haven’t tried doing this before, but hope it will be a good way to learn something….not sure what, but something! My favourite of the two will be my competition entry.

If you want to get involved in the competition, you have just enough time to get a brew on!  The deadline is Friday 14th September and you need to get your bottles to either Beer Ritz in Headingley or Friends of Ham in Leeds City Centre.  Judging will take place on Saturday 15th September and the winner will need to be available to brew their beer at Roosters brewery on Friday October 12th.

Full entry details on the Leeds Homebrew blog (linked above).

AG#17 Hangerhead Double IPA

Had a crack at brewing an Imperial IPA last week (18/07/12).  I was back using my own kit, rather a bump back down to reality.  No supercharged boiler or immersion chiller to play with and boy did it tell.  Despite my best efforts the planned recipe changed during the brew.  (No photos as  I was busy mucking around sorting the issues).

Original Gravity (OG): 1.089 (°P): 21.3
Final Gravity (FG): 1.020 (°P): 5.1
Alcohol (ABV): 9.09%
Colour (SRM): 8.2 (EBC): 16.2
Bitterness (IBU): 96.6 (Average)

3.4kg Maris Otter
0.300kg White table sugar (added to the copper)
0.180kg Carapils
0.070kg Crystal Malt 30L

10g Columbus (14.2% Alpha) @90 Minutes (Boil)
10g Columbus (14.2% Alpha) @45 Minutes (Boil)
30g Simcoe (14.2% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
30g Centennial (10.4% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Steep)
40g Simcoe (14.2% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Steep)
40 Columbus (14.2% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Steep)

25g Centennial (10.4% Alpha) dry hop Day 5 in FV
30g Simcoe (14.2% Alpha) dry hop Day 5 in FV

Single step Infusion at 65°C for 60 Minutes. Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), Gypsum (mash), Epsom Salts (Boil).  Boil for 90 Minutes. WLP090 San Diego Super (repitched from AG#16).

Strike temp of 73C and 9.0L liquor for 3.650kg grain.  Mashed in at 65C.

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 78C, 12.05L liquor. I didn’t record the gravity readings, I’ll start doing this as soon as I can warrant buying a refractometer.

First hop addition of Columbus added to the copper during transfer from the mash tun (which blocked for the first time.  Last time I had a problem with running from the tun, it was due to the manifold coming apart) .  More Columbus at 45 minutes, followed by Simcoe at 30 mins.

Added a protofloc tablet at 15 minutes.  At the end of the boil the wort was cooled to 80C before further additions of Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe.  These were steeped while I ran to the FV, which was probably 40+ minutes thanks to a blockage.

Collected my target of 11L of wort post boil with SG of 1.068.  Having not been able to check my gravity before now, I was a little pissed off with missing my target OG of 1.089 by a country mile.  I decided to add a further 100g sugar (boiled on the hob for 10 minutes) which I calculate brings the OG to 1072.  As I had already strayed from the recipe and because the wort was looking a little on the light side, I also reduced 200ml of wort on the hob to add a little more colour. Cooled to 20C (which took hours due to cooling in the sink) and pitched my WLP090 yeast starter.

Due to the new OG I have demoted this brew from Imperial to Double IPA.  I’ll try and brew it again when I sort my kit out.  I really don’t know what went so wrong.  Despite that, the brew is happily fermenting and smells great.  If this turns out well, I may still enter it into the National Homebrew competition.

I dry hopped the FV 22/07/12 with 25g Centennial and 30g Simcoe.

Some thoughts from CAMRGB on this beer here.

AG#16 Broadford American Brown Ale (Take 2)

I recently brewed an American Brown Ale for the upcoming Ilkley Brewery competition.  I had high hopes for it based on an interesting malt and hop bill and a Burton Ale yeast.   My first concerns were due to the aromas coming from the FV, which turns out was from the Summit hops I added at flame out.  Having spoken to other homebrewers and a pro brewer I was reassured that the onion/garlic aromas from Summit do dissipate and make way for orange! Sure enough the onion stench moved along.  After my initial panic I had also dry hopped with 20g of US Cascade.  I took a gravity reading on day 7 of primary fermentation and tasted the beer…. describing it as ‘interesting’ doesn’t quite do it justice.  There are several unfamiliar flavours which could be as a result of aromatic or special B malts, which I’ve never used before, the combination of hops, the yeast or the combination of all of them.  The main off-flavour is of elastoplast (I think) and am told this could be chloramines.

Chloramines or Chlorine will give your beer a medicinal or band-aid type of flavor.

I will look into this in more detail, but did the following to avoid this: Water treatment using 1 Campden tablet per 5 Gallons and I use an acid, rather than chlorine, based sanitiser.  I’m hoping that the off flavours are phenols that haven’t been dealt with by the yeast yet, so there is hope, but I didn’t want to chance not having a beer to enter into a competition I’ve helped organise.  So here is the American Brown Ale brewday Mark II.  Despite Chris Ives (Ilkley Brewery) advice to make incremental changes as a way of understanding your brewing process, I decided on a totally different recipe (sorry Chris), and a beer I’ll be calling ‘Mothman’, due to my late night brewing and the critters dive-bombing me and my precious beer.  (Also, thanks to Neil @leedsbrew and Ian @lugsy51 for talking this through with me).

Original Gravity (OG): 1.038  (°P): 9.5
Final Gravity (FG):    1.010  (°P): 2.6
Alcohol (ABV):         3.73 %
Colour (SRM):          16.4   (EBC): 32.3
Bitterness (IBU):      38.8   (Average)
Maris Otter Malt
Crystal 30
Chocolate, Pale
Amber Malt
Flaked Oats
Magnum (12.5% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil)
US Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @ 15 Minutes (Boil)
US Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
US Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma)
Single step Infusion at 64°C for 60 Minutes. Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), Gypsum (mash), Epsom Salts (Boil).  Boil for 60 Minutes. WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast.

Strike temp of 72C and 4.53L liquor for 1.810kg grain.  Mashed in at 64C.

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 84C, 12.23L liquor (total liqour 16.75L).  Collected 13.60L with gravity reading of 1.030 @22C.  My target was 15.1L at 1.036.

First hop additions of Magnum at 30 minutes.  Added a protofloc tablet and immersion chiller at 15 minutes, and a further copper additions of Cascade at 15 and 5 minutes, before a heap of Cascade at flame-out.

Collected 10L of wort post boil with SG of 1.038.  Cooled to 20C and pitched the vial of WLP090 yeast.  No starter for this one, but MrMalty told me that this would be fine.  Ideally I would have made a starter, but the brew impromptu and needed to be done without further delay due to the 14/07/12 deadline.

and a shot of the colour in the daylight

The design and name of this yeast promise a lot!  I’m hoping it saves the day.

A few more photos of the brewday here.

Update 25/07/2012 This beer took joint 1st prize in the Ilkley Brewery competition (along with Matt Lovatt).

AG#15 Broadford Tomahawk IPA

Decided late last night to get a brew on and rebrewed the Tomahawk IPA that won me first place at the Northern Craft Brewers event at Saltaire Brewery back in May.  I only got to drink a half of it on the day, so hopefully I’ll be successful in recreating something close to it.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.058 1.055 (see edit note at the end of the post)
Final Gravity (FG): 1.014
Alcohol (ABV): 5.40%
Colour (SRM): 7.0 (EBC): 13.7
Bitterness (IBU): 65.4 (Average)

4.6 kg (86.96%) Maris Otter
0.300 kg (5.67%) Munich I
0.300 kg (5.67%) Pale Wheat Malt
0.090 kg (1.70) Crystal Malt 30L

28g Pilgrim (11.2% Alpha) @60 Minutes (Boil)
40g US Cascade (7.6% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
10g Columbus (Tomahawk) (16.5% Alpha) @5 Minutes (Boil)
40g US Cascade (7.6% Alpha) @5 Minutes (Boil)
40g Columbus (Tomahawk) (16.5% Alpha) Flame out (steep)
50g Columbus (Tomahawk) (16.5% Alpha) Dry hop

Single step Infusion at 65°C for 60 Minutes. Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), Gypsum (mash), Gypsum and Epsom Salts (Boil).  Boil for 60 Minutes. Safale US-05.

Strike temp of 74C and 13.00L liquor for 5.290kg grain.  Mashed in at 65C.

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 84C, 18.7L liquor.  I didn’t record pre and post boil volumes and gravity readings.

First hop addition of Pilgrim at 60 minutes, then US Cascade at 30 minutes. Added a protofloc tablet at 15 minutes along with immersion chiller, and further copper additions of Cascade and Columbus at 5 minutes.  Steeped Columbus at flame-out.

Collected 19L of wort post boil with SG of 1.058.  Cooled to 20C and dry pitched one packet of US-05 yeast.

A shot of the trial jar in the daylight.

Happy with the brewday.  Came up short again, but still using some borrowed kit and think I lost volume through, the boil; cooling and dead space (approx 4L).  Also, still lots of question marks for me re: mash efficiency.  One day I’ll get time to look at this stuff properly, but at the moment I’m just happy brewing and writing my blog.

I’ll be dry hopping this brew with Columbus (Tomahawk).

A few more photos of the brewday here.

Edit: Just realised a mistake. I changed my recipe on BrewMate and didn’t bother reprinting the brewday sheet.  Subsequently I misread my scribbled changes and my OG was actually 1.055, which explains how I came up short with 19L at 1.058.   I would have liquored back had I spotted this.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.058 (see edit note at the end of the post)
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 6.40%

Update: Dry hopped with 20g Columbus in the FV 17/06/12.

Bottled 24/06/12.

AG#14 Broadford American Brown Ale

Yesterdays brewday was my first attempt at an American Brown Ale and if it works out well it’ll be my entry for the Ilkley Brewery homebrew competition.  I borrowed someone elses boiler and immersion chiller for this brew, so was prepared for fun and games with losses.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.038 (°P): 9.5
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010 (°P): 2.6
Alcohol (ABV): 3.73%
Colour (SRM): 15.3 (EBC): 30.2
Bitterness (IBU): 35.1 (Average)

Maris Otter
Aromatic Malt
Munich I
Special B
Flaked Oats
Pale Chocolate Malt

Chinook (12.5% Alpha) @45 Minutes (Boil)
Galena (12.0% Alpha) @45 Minutes (Boil)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) @45 Minutes (Boil)
Chinook (12.5% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
Galena (12.0% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
Chinook (12.5% Alpha) @15 Minutes (Boil)
Galena (12.0% Alpha) @15 Minutes (Boil)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) @5 Minutes (Boil)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Steep)
Summit (17.5% Alpha) Dry hop

Single step Infusion at 66°C for 60 Minutes. Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), Gypsum (mash), Epsom Salts (Boil).  Boil for 60 Minutes. WLP023 Burton Ale.

Strike temp of 74C and 7.73L liquor for 3.092kg grain.  Mashed in at 65C.

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 84C, 18.7L liquor.  I didn’t record pre and post boil volumes and gravity readings.

First hop additions of Chinook, Galena and Summit at 45 minutes.  Same additions repeated at 30 and 15  minutes.  Added a protofloc tablet at 15 minutes, and a further copper addition of Summit at 5 minutes, before a generous addition of Summit at flame-out.

Collected 15L of wort post boil with SG of 1.040.  Liquored back to 16L and 1.038.  Cooled to 20C and pitched my WLP023 Burton Ale yeast starter.

I’ll be dry hopping this with some more Summit.

A few more photos of the brewday here.

AG#12 Broadford Summer Ale

Brewed a Blonde Ale today for a birthday BBQ next month.  Planned to brew a low abv, modestly bittered, easy drinking summer ale to suit as many of our guests as possible.  It’ll be dispensed from a 20L polypin and hand pump and am reliably informed that there will be no need to prime the beer as the sparkler will do all the work for me.  Proper Northern!

This is just a quick write up for my records and for anyone interested in keeping track of what I’m up to.

I had one hiccup on this brewday. I had a rather worrying discrepency between the SG reading pre and post boil.  I haven’t had chance to work out where I went wrong, but I’ll do better next time.  It may be time to invest in a refractometer so that I can take instant SG readings of hot wort.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.039 (°P): 18.7
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010 (°P): 4.1
Alcohol (ABV): 3.83 %
Colour (SRM): 4.8 (EBC): 9.5
Bitterness (IBU): 21.4 (Average)

70% Maris Otter
14% Golden Promise
11% Munich I
5% Pale Wheat Malt

20g UK Cascade (5.69% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil)
10g UK Cascade (5.69% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil)
35g Saaz (3.4% Alpha) @ 10 Minutes (Boil)
6g UK Cascade (5.69% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil)
26g Saaz (3.4% Alpha) @ 10 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 67°C for 70 Minutes.  Boil for 60 Minutes

Fermented at 20°C with Safale US-05

Strike temp of 75C and 10.0L liquor for 3.73kg grain.  Mashed in at 67C.

Mashed for 70 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 83C, 22.6L liquor.  Collected 29L wort (pre boil) at specific gravity (SG) of 1.042 (1st runnings SG of 1.080 at 39C).

Due to time contraints I had to cut my boil volume to 25L.  First hop addition of 20g UK Cascade at 60 minutes.  Second additions of UK Cascade (10g) and Saaz (35g) at 10 minutes.  Added a protofloc tablet at 15 minutes, and a third copper addition of  Saaz (26g) and UK Cascade (6g).

Collected 22L of wort post boil with SG of 1.036.  Cooled to 20C and dry pitched my yeast.  Back to liquid yeast for my next brew!

I’ll be dry hopping this with some more Saaz.

A few more photos of the brewday here.

AG#11 Broadford Belgian Pale Ale

I needed to fit a brew in so I could take part in the Beer Ritz /Copper Dragon competition, Operation Remix, co-arranged and blogged by Ghost Drinker.  I have the crappy weather to thank for brewing today, but you won’t hear me complaining!  I had a four-year old brew assistant up until the boil, and he’s starting to learn the basics… he still can’t make me a cup of coffee but we’ll get there.

The competition guidelines state that the brewer must choose one of Copper Dragon’s flagship beers, use the specified ingredients and either brew a clone, or remix it!  I opted for Golden Pippin, which is 100% Maris Otter pale malt and hopped with Cascade and Columbus.  I didn’t much fancy brewing a clone, so decided on a Belgian remix, using Trappist Ale yeast and will be dry hopped.  By my standards this is something of an experimental brew, so decided on a 11L brew length. I’m not keen on the idea of 40 pints of ‘weird’ beer, although I’m hoping that I will be kicking myself for not brewing a full 23L.  Here’s the recipe:

AG#11 Golden Pippin Celebration Ale (Belgian Pale Ale)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.051 (°P): 12.6
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010 (°P): 2.6
Alcohol (ABV): 5.34 %
Colour (SRM): 5.5 (EBC): 10.8
Bitterness (IBU): 31.1 (Average)

100% Maris Otter Malt

Cascade (5.7% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil)
Cascade (5.7% Alpha) @ 20 Minutes (Boil)
Cascade (5.7% Alpha) @ 10 Minutes (Boil)
Cascade (5.7% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
Columbus (14.2% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma)
Columbus (14.2% Alpha) @ 3 Days (Dry Hop)

Single step Infusion at 66°C for 60 Minutes. Boil for 60 Minutes.

Fermented at 18°C with WLP500 – Trappist Ale (cropped from my previous brew)

HLT switched on at 10.30am for a reasonably early start.  Strike temp of 73C and 5.5L liquor for 2.20kg grain.  Mashed in at 66C and lost 3C over 60 mins, probably due to the mash tun being so empty.

Sparged at 85C, 11.0L liquor.  Collected 14.0L wort (pre boil) at specific gravity (SG) of 1.040.

First hop addition of UK Cascade added at 30 minutes.  Second addition of UK Cascade 20 minutes, third at 10 mins and fourth at 5 mins.  Added a protofloc tablet at 15 minutes, and Columbus hops at flame out (electricity off).  I really wanted to make the most of the aroma properties of both hops.

Collected 10L of wort post boil with SG of 1.050.  Cooled to 18C and pitched my WLP500 yeast (I added some of the cooled wort to the starter and aerated before pitching).

A couple of things with this brew:

  • 100% Maris Otter with a Belgian yeast may end up very dry! However, as per the Golden Pippin spec I could not use sugar.
  • I’m not entirely sure how my hop choice will get along with the banana that will most likely come through in the final beer from the yeast.  Could be interesting.
  • I used UK Cascade rather than the specified Cascade.  I can’t see this being a huge issue and as these were to hand then they seemed like the sensible thing to use.

More photos of the brewday here.

Updated: 08/05/2012

FG 1.009 making the beer 5.38%

Will bottle tonight and batch prime based on the same information I posted in this post.  Desired volume of CO2 are  4.4 g/l (or 2.2 volumes)

Sugar addition = 53g (sugar syrup added to beer before bottling).

Updated: 19/06/12

This beer won me the competition! Woop.

AG#10 Broadford Belgian Strong Ale

Today’s brewday, yes that’s right I brewed during the day for once, was a Belgian Strong.  It’s my tenth All Grain brew and I’m hoping it turns out well so that I can enter at least one beer into the UK National Homebrew Competition 2012 (Cat. 18D Belgian Golden Strong Ale).  For those interested, entries will be accepted from 20th August through to 7th September, with judging on 15th September.

If you follow my Twitterings you will have seen my #brewday tweets.  The brew went well, but reminded me how much I still have to learn about the basics.  I’ve left the recipe alone, despite the fact that I have ended up with a slightly different beer.  I’ll explain more below, but my reliance on brewing software caught me out on this occasion.

AG#10 Damn Nation

Original Gravity (OG): 1.077 (°P): 18.7
Final Gravity (FG): 1.016 (°P): 4.1
Alcohol (ABV): 8.0 %
Colour (SRM): 3.9 (EBC): 7.7
Bitterness (IBU): 22.8 (Average)

83.06% Pilsner
14.95% Candi Sugar, Clear
1.99% Wheat Malt

1.1 g/L Styrian Golding (4.5% Alpha) @ 90 Minutes (Boil)
1.9 g/L Styrian Golding (4.5% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil)
2.1 g/L Saaz (3.4% Alpha) @ 20 Minutes (Aroma)

Single step Infusion at 65°C for 90 Minutes. Boil for 90 Minutes

Fermented at 20°C with WLP500 – Trappist Ale (yeast starter post here)

HLT switched on at 9am and off to a nice early start.  Strike temp of 75C and 13.6L liquor for 5.12kg grain.  Mashed in at 65C, struggling to raise the temperature to 66C even with boiled kettle water.  I decided against adding more water and making a barley soup, so proceeded at 65C (will use higher strike temp for next brew).

Mashed for 90 minutes and lost 1C.  Sparged at 78C, 16.5L liquor.  Collected 24.8L wort (pre boil) at specific gravity (SG) of 1.041 (1st runnings SG of 1.084 at 32C).  The recipe includes a candi sugar addition to achieve the orignal gravity (OG).


First hop addition of 20g Bobek added at 90 minutes.  Second addition of Bobek 37g at 30 minutes.  Added a protofloc tablet and the candi sugar at 15 minutes, and 40g Saaz hops at flame out (electricity off).

Collected 20L of wort post boil with SG of 1.070.  Cooled to 20C and pitched my 2.2L yeast starter.

With the brewday over it was time to reflect on what went well, blah blah blah.  As it happens there a few learning points for me.  Like many other homebrewers I use computer software to aid the design and cataloguing of recipes (I use BrewMate).  Each software varies and you need to get to know it and your brewing kit before it will play nicely.  Here’s what I can take from this brewday aside from 22L of delicious beer.

  • Check the water/liquor loss calculation settings in your software.  I collected too much wort (pre boil), which contributed to missing my original gravity.
  • Mash temperature is always important and your target temp will depend on what you are trying to brew.  I started cooler than planned and already know that I lose 1C over 90 mins.  This was sloppy work by me and will have affected the extraction and contributed to missing my original gravity.
  • Using sugars is not new to me, but this was my first go with candi sugar (an invert sugar).  The candi I was using was 73% solids.  This should have prompted me to adjust my software to compensate for this.  This was a mistake, but one I’m not going to get upset about and I’ll know for next times.  This was most likely to be the main contributer to missing my original gravity.  However, it also goes someway to making me feel better,  here’s why.  My software calculated my OG based on th % extract it has stored in its settings for pale candi sugar.  The screen shot below (kindly provided by Neil @leedsbrew), shows my recipe as per Beer Alchemy (a different brewing software).  If you put your specs on you can see that it has the OG as 1.071 for 19L.

This helps me in a number of ways, but mainly to realise that I didn’t miss my OG by a country mile.  I did however collect too much wort (20L) which probably accounts for my OG reading of 1.070 (yes I could have boiled for longer, but didn’t want to add additional bitterness and colour).

  • The fun and games doesn’t end there though.  My final learning point(s) are relating to the yeast starter.  I forgot to factor in the 2.2L of 1.040 wort which was housing my yeast, this of course will affect the OG (depending on how much of the starter I decided to pitch).  Usually this will have been factored into the recipe and compensated for.  However as I didn’t so this, here where the options.  Pitch the whole thing and take the hit on the OG, or put the starter in the fridge, let the yeast fall out of suspension, before decanting the excess wort and pitching the yeast.  Thanks to Twitter I received a lot of immediate advice and reassurance on what to do next.  My Yeast Sensai helped me see the situation most clearly “Don’t be worrying about all that shit. Now let the healthy magical yeast do all the work and give you a marvellous beer“.  He was right, what the hell was a I worrying for…yes I want to understand where I went ‘wrong’, but there is really no issue with getting a beer a few points lower than targeted, so long as it tastes great (and I hope it does).   Another kind brewer (Ade @pdtnc) provided a calculation which I did not fully understand, but tells me that my OG is 1.067.
  • Final point and software related.  Brew Mate tells me that my beer will ferment out to a specific gravity (SG) of 1.016.  I’m lead to believe that the software doesn’t account for the yeast strain, and the WLP500 I have pitched will attenuate much further, to a more likely SG of 1.008, which will give me something like 7.8%.

Conclusion = swings and roundabouts!

It’s important not to get hung up on the details, but they are important and I want to understand my process and my kit well enough to be able to use brewing software without the headache.  There will be much opinion on the above and that’s fine.  I like the debate and I’m learning everytime I brew.

This write up should however serve as a warning to any homebrewers who do not want the debate or the dissection of your recipes and practices, not to tweet your recipe and your progress at every stage.  I prefer to do it this way, but get ready for feedback!

Will this be a 18D. Belgian Strong Ale in the eyes of a BJCP judge? I’m not sure, but there is only one way to find out (no, not a fight).

More photos of the brewday here.

EDIT: update on fermentation (for my records).

10/04/12 SG reading of 1.028 so moved the fv to a warmer place.

11/04/12 SG reading of 1.022,

AG#9 Broadford Tomahawk IPA

Another brewnight Friday 2nd March. It’ll be served on the bar at the Northern Craft Brewers event at Saltaire Brewery 31st March. I’m bricking it! but here goes nothing.

Maris Otter Pale Malt (4.6kg) – 90.4%
Munich (200g) – 3.9%
Wheat Malt (200g) – 3.9%
Crystal Malt 60 (90g) – 1.8%

Hops (all leaf):
Pilgrim 28g – 11.2% @60mins
Cascade 40g – 7.6% @30mins
Cascade 40g – 7.6% @5mins
Columbus 10g – 16.5% @5mins
Columbus 40g – 16.5% (flame out / steep 20 mins)
Columbus 50g – 16.5% Dry Hop 5 Days

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.014
Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV
Bitterness: 64.9 IBU (average)
Colour: 7.0 SRM / 13.7 EBC
Yeast: Safale US-05
Mash: 60mins @ 66c
Boil: 60mins

Water treatment: 1 campden tablet in the HLT, 4g gypsum in the mash, 3g gypsum and 2g epsom salts in the boil.

A fairly straightforward brewday (night). HLT on for 17.30 and all wrapped up by midnight, which is early by my usual standards. This was the first brew using my new thermometer, and got a little carried away taking pictures of temperatures.

Grist temp (16C)

Mashed in with 12.7L liquor with strike temp of 75C to achieve 67C mash. I know that I lose 1C over 60-90mins so compensate for that. 66C at the end of the mash.

Running the wort off from the mash tun. Sparged with a further 20.6L of liquor heated to 86C to achieve a sparge strike temp of 78C. I collected 26L of wort (targeted 28L). I didn’t try to adjust the volume at this stage.

Transferred to the copper and boiled for 60 minutes with the hop additions as above.

Running to the FV after the boil. Collected 23L, 1.054, 22C. My final volume should have been 24L at 1.056.  You can also see the cold break in the trial jar.

Cooled and pitched US-05 yeast at a slightly low temp of 18C (03/03/12). Fermentation was slow to get going due to a few silly things. I didn’t let the yeast get to room temp from the fridge, pitched at 18C instead of recommended 20C, forgot to aerate before pitching. Anyway, US-05 is a brilliant yeast for numpties like me and it was going well after 14 hours. Smells great too!!!! I will be dry hopping in the FV and in the cask.

Here’s my pump clip design (I’ll be changing the ABV).

You can see the rest of the pics here.

Update: Won Best Cask at the Northern Craft Brewers event 31st March 2012, at Saltaire Brewery.

A Grand Day Out

It was my birthday at the weekend and I enjoyed some much needed family time at home.  All this safe in the knowledge that I had the day of work on the Monday (yesterday), with a plan to escape the day job and treat myself to a brewday on a larger scale than my home setup.  A while back I wrote about Phil Saltonstall and his Brass Castle Brewery.   Since his launch in September Phil and his beers have enjoyed recognition at local festivals, including his Vanilla Porter (Bad Kitty) winning Champion Beer at the York & Cider Festival.  I’ve continued to watch Brass Castle developments via twitter and always intended to take up Phil’s kind offer of a brewday.

After a late start I arrived at the brewhouse, having navigated the winding roads of my native East Yorkshire countryside, as roads turn to tracks laden with mud and animal produce, and ‘passing places’ save you from the locals “drive straight and true” attitude.  The brewhouse was already a hive of activity as Phil and Assistant Brewer Ian were nearing the end of the mash.  With my keen bat senses I already knew this as I approached the building, steam billowing from every outlet.  A beautiful setting on Lord Halifax’s Garrowby Estate and a much needed increase in capacity from his 1BBL brewery back in nearby Pocklington.

Soon after I arrived I was introduced to Gavin Aitchison (News editor and pub columnist at the York Press) and Paul Marshall (Landlord of the Waggon & Horses, York).  We were given the brief tour of the brewery and then enjoyed the ensuing brewday as we chatted and quizzed Phil and Ian on their operation.  The brew was a single hopped, low abv, Pale Amber Heritage Ale and I understand this will be called Number 1 or #1 with it being the first brew at the new premises.  More information on this from Gavin at the weekend.   Despite the unfamiliar look and the obvious step up from the kit I use at home, there was a refreshing familiarity with the Victorian equipment and the manual processes that went with it.

I have seen a few modern breweries on tours and while I know enough to nod along in the right places, it’s not easy to grasp the brewing process when most vessels are enclosed, electronically controlled and the liquor, wort and beer being despatched at great speed through a mess of stainless steel tubing.  This is certainly the kind of set up that is needed once demand dictates, but at Brass Castle’s Garrowby Brewhouse this is all stripped back to two copper vessels, a hopper and a large gas burner where the coal fire once lived.  As I watched Phil and Ian work together to understand the mechanics, adjust and readjust the pipework, wrestle with levers and pulleys to raise the heavy equipment and generally overcome what many would see as limitations, I felt right at home and realised that my two vessel home set-up and faffy batch sparging process is really all that is needed to brew some tasty beer.

With the beer tucked up in the fermentation vessel and with the fun over, myself, Gavin and Paul quickly said our goodbyes and left Phil and Ian to clean up!  sadly we had left our overalls and wellies at home.  Thank you to my hosts, I had a really enjoyable day and look forward to trying Brass Castle beer again soon!