AG#38 Strong Golden Ale – Damn Nation II

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Original Gravity (OG): 1.068 (corrected after adding yeast starter / see below)
Final Gravity (FG): 1.006
Alcohol (ABV): 8.1%
Colour (EBC): 8
Bitterness (IBU): 24 (Average)

5.00kg Dingemans Pilsen Malt
0.12kg Pale Wheat Malt
1.00kg Belgian Candi Sugar (clear)

100g Savinjski Golding (pellet) (2.2% Alpha) @90 minutes from the end (boil)
50g Saaz (pellet) (4.1% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)

WLP 545 Belgian Strong Ale Yeast (liquid) 2.0L starter

I’ve brewed Strong Golden Ale before and it turned out well.  A few tweaks to the recipe, notably swapping WLP500 for WLP545, and substituting Styrian Golding for Savinjski.  Owing to the very low AA% of the Savinjski, I opted to stick with the hop variety but put all 100g in at the beginning of the boil and drop the 30 minute addition.  I worried about these changes for all of 30 seconds, quickly finding comfort in the words of Stan Hieronymus – in his excellent book, Brew Like a Monk –  “remember, brewing is about choices!“.  If you’ve read the book, or tried to brew from it, you’ll know that the recipes within only offer a range to work in.

It was a decent brewday, no drama.  I decided early on that I would brew to my recipe but not get hung up on temperature / volume / gravity / readings.  I’ve found that targets can detract from the fun of brewing a beer.  I know they can be important, but not today.  The usual bit:  For the mash: 5.12kg grain, 13.5L liquor at a strike temperature of 78C. This got me a 67C mash temp, which held for 90 minutes.  Sparged at 76C 18.3L liquor.  The copper I’m using isn’t calibrated, so I didn’t take a pre boil volume. Pre boil gravity was 1.052.

90 minute boil (added the candi sugar at 15 minutes from the end of the boil).  Post boil I collected 17L of wort, with an OG of 1.072.  As you can see from the photo, the Dingemans Pilsen Malt was good to its word “light in colour and low in protein”.

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Pitched the 1.040 2.0L yeast starter at 20C.  I’m making a guesstimate at this point, as I know that I need to adjust my original gravity to include the yeast starter.  Feel free to correct me on this, but I opted to use an average gravity reading for the blend of starter and post boil wort.  I borrowed this from the internet:

( ( OG1 * V1 ) + ( OG2 * V2 ) ) / ( V1 + V2 ) = SG

Where…

  • OG1 is the original gravity of your starter wort (1.040)
  • V1 is the volume of your starter wort (2)
  • OG2 is the original gravity of your wort (1.072)
  • V2 is the volume of your wort (17)
  • SG is the specific gravity of the blend (1.068)

I’ll be sending a few bottles of this over to the good folk at the Beer O’Clock Show, and will be tasted and tested by the other participants in Season 6 of their homebrew special.  So there we have it….Take 2 of a beer I’ve enjoyed brewing, and fingers crossed, I’ll enjoy drinking!

Craft Sparge Monitor.  1 strike = 1 litre

Craft Sparge Monitor.
1 strike = 1 litre

Update 14/01/15 1.046
Update 19/01/15 1.022
Update 22/01/15 1.012
Update 26/01/15 1.008
Update 05/02/15 1.006 bottled. Batch primed 17L with 100g sugar. (6g/l)

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AG#34 Lawnmower Mash

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Original Gravity (OG): 1.048
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.0%
Colour (EBC): 6
Bitterness (IBU): 35 (Average)

4.100kg Pilsen Malt (Dingemans)
0.205kg Pale Wheat Malt

10g Mystery hop from the freezer (leaf) (15.0% Alpha) FWH
50g Summer (leaf) (6.1% Alpha) @15 minutes from the end (boil)
50g Summer (leaf) (6.1% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)
20g Mystery hop (leaf) (15.0% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)
20g Nelson Sauvin (leaf) (13.0% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)
 
Safale US-05 (dry) 1pkt of 11g

I wanted to rid the demons from my last brew, when I seemed to lose the plot a little, and threw loads of random malts together, wpid-1398107043389.jpgwhich will probably end up masking all the hoppy goodness, that I had intended for the so-called IPA.  Anyway, this recipe was also plucked from thin air, but figured that it was a much safer bet.  It’s a pale beer, but not a pale ale.  Brewed with lager malt, but not a lager.  I guess it could be called a hoppy blonde ale, but whatever I call it, I’m aiming for a lawnmower beer – with any luck it’ll be a light, crisp, and refreshing beer, perfect for a hot summer day.

 This was also to be my first brew in my garage (where the lawnmower lives), something which I have convinced myself couldn’t possibly work due to the ancient electrics.  Having damaged my kitchen enough already, I thought I’d give the garage it’s chance.  I have plans to make the space much more brewing-friendly, but it was a revelation to be brewing without the constraints that a family kitchen presents.

Pretty straightforward brewday, except for the element in my old plastic boiler finally gave up.  A quick transfer to one that I had borrowed, and I was back on track.

Strike temp of 75C, 11.0L liquor for 4.305kg grain. Mashed in at 66C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 60 minutes. Sparged at 80C 19.0L liquor.  Collected 25L at 1.042.  60 minute boil.  

I collected 19L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.048. 

Pitched the dry yeast (sprinkled into the FV as I ran from the boiler) at 20C.

03/05/14 finished 1.009.
08/05/14 bottled. Batch primed 18L with 90g sugar.

AG#33 Double IPA – Fainting Goat

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*A myotonic goat, otherwise known as the fainting goat, is a domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat feels panic. (Image from Irked Magazine).

I fancied brewing a biggish IPA of around 7.4%, akin to the strength of Magic Rock’s Cannonball, but the similarities end there. The malt bill is a little busy, and not my usual approach to brewing.  I like to read up on beer style and then work my own recipe around that.  This happens to be a brew that uses up a few odds and ends, and the resulting beer could be either inspired, or a messy waste of time, and hops.  The numbers below represent what actually happened, rather than the calculated recipe. 

Original Gravity (OG): 1.072
Final Gravity (FG): 1.012
Alcohol (ABV): 8.0%
Colour (EBC): 30
Bitterness (IBU): 72 (Average)

4.00kg Pilsner Malt (Dingemans)
1.00kg Amber Malt
0.22kg Melanoidin Malt
0.20kg Golden Promise Pale Ale Malt (Simpsons)
0.20kg Aromatic Malt
0.20kg Munich Malt
0.20kg Pale Wheat Malt
0.18kg Aromatic Malt
12g Summit (leaf) (17.5% Alpha) FWH
30g Ahtanum (pellets) (5.2% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (boil)
30g Bravo (leaf) (17.3% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (boil)
30g Centennial (pellets) (11.2% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (boil)
30g Falconer’s Flight (pellets) (10.8% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (boil) 
70g Ahtanum (pellets) (5.2% Alpha) dry hop
70g Bravo (leaf) (17.3% Alpha) dry hop
70g Centennial (pellets) (11.2% Alpha)
70g Falconer’s Flight (pellets) (10.8% Alpha) dry hop

Malt Miller West Coast Style Ale Yeast (dry) 1pkt of 15g

Strike temp of 75C, 15.0L liquor for 6.00kg grain. Mashed in at 66C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 75 minutes.   First runnings 1.100.  Sparged at 76C 18.0L liquor.  Collected 246L at 1.063. 90 minute boil.  

I collected 20L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.072.  Although on further inspection of the FV once it had settled, there was a couple of litres of hop matter.  This is consistent with the truly terrible run off from the boiler.  The hop stopper kept blocking up and I resorted to using a sanitised spoon to help things along.  Far from ideal.  Decided to stick with a stronger beer (albeit less of it). 

Pitched the West Coast Style Ale Yeast at 20C.

I’ll be transferring to secondary and adding the dry hops for 4 days.
30/04/14 Dry hop. All pellets as above, less Bravo.
04/05/14 Finished at 1.018, so 7% abv

 

50 Shades of Pale (Malted Barley)

I know, I know, terrible title.

I homebrew once a month, if the going is good to fair. I buy my pale malted barley in sacks of 25kg (55lbs) (milled). I brew 19-23L brew lengths, depending on the recipe. I end up with a malted barley hanging around, gradually degrading, and brewing with ‘old’ malted barley is ultimately lowering the quality of the beer that I brew.

Buying in bulk represents good value, as a general rule. So I am loathed to stop buying the 25kg sacks of malt. Brewing more than once a month is likely to reduce my enjoyment of brewing at home, as I have experienced what it is like to rush through a brewday, just to “get it done”. My solution? roast my own malted barley. I have an abundance of pale malted barley (base malt), and I may require additional, smaller quantities of crystal malts (specialty malt). For the sake of any argument – as I don’t claim to be an expert maltster – lets call these light and dark malts.

The last beer I brewed was a Brown Ale, and it was based on an American recipe, which called for Victory malt (which I substituted for Biscuit Malt), and Toasted Wheat Malt. I asked around about Toasted Wheat Malt, with no joy, and decided to toast some Pale Wheat Malt? Obvious, right? Anyway, I put the few hundred grams of Pale Wheat Malt into a small roasting tray, and grilled for about 5 minutes, giving the tray a shake every minute to ensure as much of the grain was exposed to the heat as possible.  Not an exact science.  Will that have made the difference? I guess I won’t know for sure, but it smelled toasted, so I’m assuming that it will have altered the flavour too.

Taking this a step further, and with guidance from the legendary Ray Daniels (Designing Great Beers), a book that is so good, that I’ve systematically turned the corner down on every page – Damn it Ray! – I plan to do the following. I want to brew an Amber Ale. That’s right reader, I will attempt to roast some Pale Ale Malt (Golden Promise) and transform it into Amber Malt. Ray cites the roasting procedure to Dr.John Harrison and the Durden Park Beer Circle.

Roasting Your Own Amber Malt

Place pale ale malt to a depth of 1/2 inch in a foil-lined cooking pan. Cook in the oven as follows:
1. 45 minutes at 230 degrees F (110C)
2. 20-60 minutes at 300 degrees F (149C)

After the first 20 minutes, cut several kernels [Note to self: the grain not the brewers] in half to inspect the colour of the starchy endosperm [stop giggling at the back]. For amber malt, this area should be light buff in colour when finished [seriously guys cut that out, you’re spoiling this for the rest of us].

Continue heating at 300 degrees F (149C) until this colo[u]r is achieved, usually after 45 to 50 minutes.

I will report back with my findings.

Thanks for reading!

AG#32 Texas Brown Ale – Continuity Error

I recently blogged about my intention to brew a Texas Brown Ale.  More about it here.

Here’s the writeup from the brewday last week (28/02/14).  This beer is destined for the Northern Craft Brewers & Saltaire Brewery bar.  Brown hoppy craft cask ale.  No filtration, no pasteurisation, no pressurisation, no vitriol. 

wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-02-26-19.14.18.jpg.jpgOriginal Gravity (OG): 1.048
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.1%
Colour (EBC): 50.4
Bitterness (IBU): 48.9 (Average)

3.30kg Golden Promise Pale Malt (Simpsons)
0.50kg Biscuit Malt (Dingemans)
0.25kg Dark Crystal Malt
0.25kg Chocolate Malt
0.25kg Pale Wheat Malt (toasted)

10g Columbus (Tomahawk) (16.5% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (boil)
12g Brewer’s Gold (7.5% Alpha) @30 minutes from the end (boil)
88g Brewer’s Gold (7.5% Alpha) @10 minutes from the end (boil)
50g Columbus (Tomahawk) (16.5% Alpha) @0 minutes from the end (boil)
100g US Cascade (pellets) (5.8% Alpha) dry hop

Safale US05  yeast.

Strike temp of 75C, 12.0L liquor for 4.55kg grain. Mashed in at 65C (single step infusion).   Mashed for 75 minutes.   First runnings 1.090.  Sparged at 76C 19.0L liquor.  Collected 24L at 1.046. 60 minute boil.  

I collected 17L of wort, post boil, with an OG of 1.056.  Liquored back with 2.0L cooled boiled water to 19L with an OG of 1.048

Pitched US05 yeast starter at 19C.

Update: 03/03/14  1.040 

I’ll be transferring to secondary and adding 100g US Cascade pellets for 3-5 days.

Update: 12/03/14  FG 1.012 (4.8%) Dry hopped with 100g US Cascade pellets (in primary).

N.B. My last brewday led me to look at my efficiencies.  I got in a right muddle and was rescued by a professor of brewing, loosely associated with Stringers Brewery.  I applied the prof’s maths to my numbers from this brew. And I calculated my Mash Efficincy as 80% and my Brewhouse Efficiency as 69%.  Workings out, below. 

Pale malt: 3.5 kg @ 293 L.deg per kilo = 1025.5
Biscuit malt: 0.5 @ 273 = 136.5

Dark crystal malt: 0.25 kg @ 275 = 68.75
Chocolate malt: 0.25 @ 273 = 68.25

wheat malt: 0.25 @ 296 = 74.0

Total potential extract 1025.5 + 136.5 + 68.75 + 68.25 +74.0 = 1373 litre.degrees

My runnings from the mash were 24 litres at 1.046 Specific Gravity, so: 24 litres x 46 degrees = 1104 litre.degrees

My mash efficiency is something like…
 1104/1373 = 0.804 = 80%

Post-boil, I ended up with…
17L @ 1.056 i.e 17 x 56 = 952 and 952/1373 = 0.693
That is 69.0% which I’m calling my brewhouse efficiency.

 A couple of photos:

The grist

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The toasted wheat malt

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First runnings from the mash

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The final colour

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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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AG#25 & 26 Prohibition APA

This is the write up from my brewday from Sunday gone.  It’s an American Pale Ale that will serve two purposes; my entry for the Revolutions Brewing Co. competition (AG#26) and my test brew for the Northern Craft Brewers event in April (AG#25).  As this is an American Pale I wanted to use US hops, opting for trusty Galena for bittering and then Cluster as the main copper hops.  I chose Cluster hops having decided to try a new variety and was happy with my choice.  During the boil I was reading a little more about Cluster hops and stumbled upon this by Beervana;

By the turn of the 20th century nearly every hop grown in the country was Cluster (96%). After Prohibition, Clusters continued to dominate; in 1935, they occupied 90% of the market – Beervana

From a quick read of Beervana’s blog post you learn that Cluster hops were gradually overlooked over the years, and in their place came the ‘C’ hops we enjoy in many of the beers we enjoy today.  Despite all of this I started focusing on one of the comments made at the bottom of the blog;

If you see any brewers talking about them, the phrase they generally use is “catty,” or “cat piss.” They aren’t being catty themselves, cluster literally smells like a litterbox – Daniel Warner

I was 20 minutes into the boil when I read this and started doubting whether Cluster were the right hop for this brew….I had in mind an easy-going, fruity APA (nothing wrong with a bit of cat piss aroma right!).  I Tweeted my dilemma and with 10 minutes to spare before needing to make the hop addition, the ever-friendly Jay Krause (Quantum Brewing Co.) tweeted some sense into me and I stuck with my original plan.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.052
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.6%
Colour (SRM): 9.3 (EBC): 18.3
Bitterness (IBU): 40.0 (Average)
Brew length: 21.0L

3.000 kg (82%) Pale Ale Malt (Dingemans)
1.500 kg (10%) Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.600 kg (6%) Crystal 40
0.200 kg (2%) Pale Wheat Malt

14g Galena (12% Alpha) @60 minutes from the end (boil)
20g Cluster (8.1% Alpha) @30 minutes from the end (Boil)
50g Cluster (8.1% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
10g Cascade (7.8% Alpha) @5 minutes from the end (Boil)
25g Cascade (7.8% Alpha) in secondary for 3-4 days (dry hop)

Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), 1 tsp gypsum (mash). My weighing scales aren’t great and I only need 3-4g, which is a tsp (approx). Same rule for the epsom salts in the boil.

Strike temp of 75C, 13.2L liquor for 5.300kg grain.  Mashed in at 67C, a degree higher than my target as my mash tun loses a bit of heat (single step infusion).  Mashed for 60 minutes and temp dropped to 66C.  Sparged at strike temp of 87C, to sparge at 78C, 18L liquor.  The boil was scheduled for 60 minutes.  All went to plan, Galena in at 60 minutes (from the end of the boil), followed by additions of Cluster at 30 minutes and Cluster and Cascade at 5 minutes.

I collected 21L of wort post boil with SG of 1.052 and ran this off into two FVs:

  • Pitched US-05 at 18C into FV2 (10L) and liquored back 1.8L (total 11.8L) to achieve an OG of 1.044.  I’ve also tweaked this batch with another ingredient, but more about that once the judging has taken place.
  • Pitched WLP090 at 18C into FV3 (11L) leaving the OG at 1.052,  I’ll be dry hopping both batches  Cascade (in primary FV).

Updated 23/01/13

Interesting to see the progress of the different yeast strains.  The only real difference being the OG.  US-05 had taken the SG in FV2 to 1.012 in 3 days, whereas WLP090 (the highly flocculant San Diego Super Yeast) had only managed 12 points in the same time, SG 1.040.  I’ll take another reading today, but here’s how they look (and by the way, no cat piss yet, just lovely fruity hop smells):