AG#35 Malted Milk Stout

This will be my entry for the Thornbridge/Waitrose Great British Homebrew challenge.  I’m a bit last minute with this brew, but it should be ok in time for the 31st July deadline.  I’m hoping that someone will put me straight if I’m wrong here, but I’m thinking the lactose puts this beer into the Specialty Beers category; as it contains a “non-core brewing ingredient at a level intended to impart a distinctive and discernible flavour or character“.  It’s my first attempt at a sweet stout, and after having tasted the wort, I decided that the amber malt has added a subtle biscuit flavour, and hope this carries through into the finished beer.  For this reason, I’m calling this a Malted Milk Stout

BrCSYpPIMAA1z1oOriginal Gravity (OG): 1.057
Final Gravity (FG): 1.024
Alcohol (ABV): 4.4%
Colour (EBC): 85
Bitterness (IBU): 27 (Average)

3.23kg Pale Ale Malt (Golden Promise)
0.52kg Roasted Barley (de-husked)
0.44kg Pale Crystal Malt
0.37kg Flaked Oats
0.27kg Amber Malt
0.23kg Lactose – Milk Sugar

30g Amarillo (leaf) (8.7% Alpha) @45 minutes from the end (boil)
Safale US-05 Ale Yeast (dry) 1pkt of 11.5g

Strike temp of 80C, 12.4L liquor for 4.83kg grain. Mashed in at 69C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 75 minutes.   First runnings 1.090.  Sparged at 76C 18.0L liquor.  Didn’t take a reading for pre-boil wort. 60 minute boil.

At 15 minutes from the end of the boil, I added the milk sugar to the copper (which I had dissolved into 1/2 litre of boiled water), along with the immersion chiller and protofloc.  

I’m not sure what the final gravity will be, and the FG should (hopefully) finish a lot higher that the 1.012, but BeerSmith didn’t seem to account for the lactose, neither did it seem to adjust the FG when I raised the mash temp.  Hopefully it’ll finish nearer 1.018 and the 5.2% abv stout that I’m shooting for.  Edit: It finished much higher – yet still within the BJCP style guidelines – at 1.024, making this a 4.4% beer.  Tasting good!

I collected 19L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.057.  Pitched the dry yeast at 20C.

29/06 1.038
02/07 1.033

05/07/1.024

09/07 1.024 – bottled 18L / batch primed with 78g sugar.

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AG#31 Raspberry Blonde

It’s been a while (AG#31 British Hopped IPA, still to write up).  This one is my entry for the Northern Craft Brewers & Saltaire Brewery competition.  

“The Homebrew Competition is to brew a speciality beer:
It could contain Herbs, Spices, Vegetables, Fruit but the idea is you get a 5th ingredient to compliment and add to the Water – Malt – Hops – Yeast”.

I decided to play it safe and go with a simple recipe.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.044
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 4.46%
Colour (EBC): 7.3
Bitterness (IBU): 24 (Average)

2.800 kg Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.800 kg  Pale Wheat Malt

10g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (Boil)
30g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (Boil)
50g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (Boil)
1.400 kg Raspberries (from frozen) in secondary for 5 days

WLP001 California Ale Yeast.

Strike temp of 74C, 9.0L liquor for 3.600kg grain. Mashed in at 66C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 60 minutes.   First runnings 1.082.  Sparged at 76C 19.8L liquor.  Collected 24L at 1.040. 60 minute boil.  Amarillo in at 60 minutes (from the end of the boil), followed by additions at 10 minutes and 0 minutes.

I collected 18L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.044.

Pitched WLP001 California Ale Yeast starter at 19C.

Update: 10/02/14  1.024 

I’ll be transferring to secondary and adding 1.400 kg of raspberries (bought forzen and defrosted).

Update: 16/02/14 – Added 1.4kg raspberries to 18L. The FG was higher than expected at 1.014, making the beer nearer 4.0% abv

Update: 22/02/14 – transferred off raspberries. 15L.

Update: 28/02/14 – bottled 15L primed with 75g sugar syrup (5g/L to achieve 2.5 vols).

Not the most intersting of brewdays, or recipes, but the beer will hopefully be well balanced, with the raspberries the star of the brew.  This was a straightforward recipe, and I managed to make a note of most of my volumes and gravity readings, so thought I would try and understand ‘efficiency’ a little better.  My current understanding is poor, and it’s one of those things that I think “I’ll worry about it next time”.  To make things more confusing, an online calculator gave me one answer, and my calculation based on ‘the maths’ (edit: 12/02 – removed Brew Your Own, & Brewer’s Friend links – see update below), gave me a different answers (see below).  What I have learnt is that efficiency can be measured at each stage of the brew, and that my system, the water profile and the grist will affect efficiency.  I definitely want to get to the point where I can use efficiency calculations and brewing records to influence my brewday planning; but until I’m in a position where I have a brewkit that’s not botched together with whatever I can borrow, I’m not going to get hungup on grist and water treatment variables, too much.  Having a degree of certainty around temp and liquor losses should come first, right?

Back to this brew (I might brave a post on efficency another time).  I asked Twitter to help me out with my efficiency confusion, and the ever-reliable folk helped me out.  Thanks to; @hopsinjoor @RoostersOl @Jimthebrewer @BigAdeBrewing @Dunloptired and @tw05ers for their suggestions.   Al (@hopsinjoor) kindly shared his brew spreadsheet, which I’ll use when I have my kit ‘dialled in’

As ever, thanks for reading, and your comments are – almost – always welcome.  I’m sure there will be comments, as my understanding of efficiency; and the calculations above will be riddled with mistakes.  Hopefully, with practice, reading and comments, I’ll be able to put a more useful post together at some point.

Edit: 12/02 – see comments on efficiency:

The product of volume and gravity in brewers degrees.
For instance…
10 litres at SG 1.040 = 10 x 40 = 400 Litre.degrees.

The maltsters give laboratory extracts for the malts which you might  think of as the extract 1 kg would give in 1 litre. If that were actually possible. For decent pale malts this is probably around 300 (assuming a coarse crush / moisture as is).

That’s to say, one kg of malt mashed under ideal conditions would give you 1 litre of wort with a gravity of something like 1.300.

So, for an example homebrew mash:

Pale malt: 2.8 kg @ 293 L.deg per kilo = 820.4
wheat malt: 0.8 @ 296 = 236.8

You can get these values for extract from a recent malt analysis, but you can look up typical values on the InterWeb , or you could call it 300 and wouldn’t be far wrong.

Total potential extract 820.4 + 236.8 = 1057.2 litre.degrees

What you actually get out of the mash might be 24 litres at 1.040 Specific Gravity, i.e…
24 litres x 40 degrees = 960 litre.degrees

So your mash efficiency is something like…
 960/1057.2 = 0.908 = 90.8%

Post-boil, you might end up with…
 18L @ 1.044 i.e 18 x 44 = 792 and 792/1057.2 = 0.749
That is..74.9% which you might call brewhouse efficiency.

“Thanks Prof!” – full post and source here.

 
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BIAB#1 Amarillo Pale Ale

It’s been a little while since I’ve brewed at home, but recently bought a 10L BIAB (Brew in a bag) kit, or what has been dubbed – the stove top pilot kit.   I bought it online from Massive Brewery for a mere £100 and you can check the site out to see what you get for your money, or tweet Steve @MassiveBrewery

Original Gravity (OG): 1.040
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 4.0%
Colour: Pale
Bitterness (IBU): 40ish

2.500 kg  Golden Promise Pale Malt

20g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (Boil)
50g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (Boil)

If you’re not familiar with BIAB brewing, then in summary, you have one vessel (in this case an 11L stock pot), a bag or two for your grain, and a bag or two for your hops.  The bags keep your brewing liquor and your barley and hops apart, and is essential when you come to transferring to your FV, as there is no hop stopper or tap on this kit.

For anyone who is thinking of trying this, I’ll describe what the brewday entails.  There’s nothing complicated to do, and I tried to be laid back about temperatures etc.  I used the Massive Brewery Excel spreadsheet to calculate the volumes and temperatures for the mash and sparge liquor and treat the 6.25L of mash liquor with roughly a quarter of a Campden tablet.  I used a combination of kettle and warm tap water to get an 80C strike temperature (to achieve a mash temp of somewhere around 70C), then put the two grain bags and the 6.25L into the pot, gave the grain a good stir in each bag to make sure there were no dry spots, then hung the grain bags over the side of the pot, put the lid on and left it for 60 minutes.  Towards the end of the 60 minute mash, I boiled a couple of kettles of water and added them to a large pan (not part of the kit) and added tap water to hit 80C, and in preparation for the sparging. 

To sparge – I lifted each grain bag out in turn and squeezing as much of the wort from the bags and into the stock pot (turning the hob on at this point to start bringing it towards the boil – just as a bit of a time saver).  Then using the plastic fermentation bucket (part of the kit) and a large colander (not part of the kit) I poured the sparge liquor from the additional pan, through the grain bags, each in turn.  I let them sit a while, give the grain a stir and then transferred the wort from the fermentation bucket into the stock pot, squeezing the bags again to get as much wort (sugars) as possible. 

Once the wort in the stock pot reached boiling point I added a 60 minute addition (20g) Amarillo hops.  At 15 minutes from the end of the boil I added quarter of protofloc tablet and the Immersion Chiller (part of the kit).  At 0 minutes (flame out / hob off) I added my second addition of Amarillo hops (50g) and turned the chiller on.  It was

Mashing

I collected 9L of 1.045 wort and pitched half a packet of US05 yeast at 19C.  After 3 days it was down to 1.025 and tasting/smelling great.

I’m impressed with the kit.  It’s basic, but it gives you exactly what you need to brew a beer in about 4 hours, which is a big plus for me at the moment. 

Also included in the kit price, but not shown in the photo: Digital thermometer, hydrometer, bottle capper, crown caps and ingredients for your first beer.  You may need to borrow the odd item from your kitchen, but other than that, the only things you’ll need to buy are some sanitiser and some protofloc (copper finings).

AG#29 West Coast IPA Style Ale

This is my brew for the Yorkshire vs Lancashire homebrew challenge arranged as part of the Leeds International Beer festival 2013.  I opted to brew a West Coast Pale style Ale….this plan evolved mid-brewday:  

Original Gravity (OG): 1.058
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 6.4%
Colour (SRM): 14 (EBC):
Bitterness (IBU): 50 (Average)

4.400 kg  Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.230 kg  Dark Crystal Malt

14g Green Bullet (12.0% Alpha) @40 minutes from the end (Boil)
20g Northdown (9.8% Alpha) @30 minutes from the end (Boil)
35g Cascade (7.9% Alpha) @15 minutes from the end (Boil)
20g Simcoe (15.0% Alpha) @o minutes from the end (Boil)
40g Centennial (11.0% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (Boil)
90g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (Boil)
10g Simcoe (15.0% Alpha) leaf in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
20g Amarillo (8.7% Alpha) leaf in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
20g Centennial (11.0% Alpha) T90 pellets in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
20g Citra (12.0% Alpha) T90 pellets in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)
10g Columbus (12.6% Alpha) leaf in secondary for 3 days (dry hop)

I’ll add the usual info on temperatures etc at some point, but the main thing I learnt from this brew is that it isn’t safe to brew a Pale Ale while drinking super hoppy hoppy IPA and watching a beer review of Magic Rock’s Unhuman Cannonball.  I had already mashed in so the malts stayed the same, however my hop bill went out of the window and I delved into my freezer.  I stuck with the shorter volume collected and the higher OG.  I’ll add more dry hops than I originally intended on, et voilà!  A West Coast/West Yorkshire/Northern Hemisphere inspired India Pale Ale, of sorts.  The IBUs are lower than I would have aimed for had I intended to brew a 6.4% IPA, but the BU:GU ratio is still a respectable 0.86.

This beer will now be tasted alongside other Leeds Homebrew/Team Yorkshire beers, before we put forward our gladiator beers to be scrutinised by a panel of judges selected by the Leeds International Beer Festival.  Our Lancashire foe will be doing the same, and the best of Yorkshire will be pitted against theirs during the @LeedsBeer Fest in September.