OG 8 – The Landlord

After losing the SBH and having a big barbecue, stocks have been looking low. Originaly I’d planned a parti-gyle for the end of this cycle of brewing, but being short of a best I decided a lower risk strategy was in order. To that end The latest brew is a slight adaptation of the Landlord recipe in Wheeler’s book.

I won’t give the recipe here, it’s in the book after all, but I did tweak it slightly to replace some of the Golding with Willamette, due to stock shortages.

A straightforward mash and boil gave me a wort at 1044, into which I pitched some S-04 I’d cropped from the bottom of the test brew I did for The Malt Miller. It went like a rocket and was kegged after 9 days. Now it’s clearing down and should be good to try soon.

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Supermassive Black Hole – The collapse

Losing beer is always a tragedy, but to lose it all over the kitchen floor because your keg has cracked is particularly crushing. Suffice to say I don’t think I’ll be buying another King Keg. Shame really, as the brew was looking good after dropping to 1.008. I did bottle a few, and have one remaining though, and they suggest it was more red than black, and did pick up a little roastiness from the Black Malt.

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Weekend Brewing – OG 7 – Supermassive Black Hole

The second day of brewing got me to the brew I’d had planned. Originally I’d sketched out an IPA for this slot in the schedule, but that ended up becoming the King in Yellow for G. This also left me a batch of yeast off the pace too so I decided to have a go at cropping the US-05 that had been used on the King. The final recipe is a black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale:

Fermentable Colour lb: oz Grams Ratio
Pale Malt 5 EBC 12 lbs. 2.0 oz 5500 grams 90.2%
Wheat Malt 3.5 EBC 0 lbs. 8.8 oz 250 grams 4.1%
Crystal Malt 130 EBC 0 lbs. 5.3 oz 150 grams 2.5%
Black Malt 1300 EBC 0 lbs. 7.0 oz 200 grams 3.3%

Hop Variety Type Alpha Time lb: oz grams Ratio
Target Whole 11.4 % 60 mins 0 lbs. 1.1 oz 31 grams 29.8%
Willamette Whole 4.7 % 60 mins 0 lbs. 1.1 oz 30 grams 28.8%
Chinook Whole 11.5 % 15 mins 0 lbs. 0.8 oz 23 grams 22.1%
Chinook Whole 11.5 % Dry Hop 0 lbs. 0.7 oz 20 grams 19.2%

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.059
Final Gravity: 1.015
Alcohol Content: 5.8% ABV
Total Liquor: 34.4 Litres
Mash Liquor: 15.3 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 58 EBU
Colour: 100 EBC

The Black malt was cold steeped for 24 hours rather than mashed. it was strained into the first runoff, and the continuing runoff used to rinse the black malt further. The sparge and boil went to plan, though the result was a shade over 23l at 1056. While this was going on the saved US-05 was busy warming up to room temperature. there was around 100ml of yeast once I’d drained off the excess liquid, which I pitched straight into the cooled wort post boil.

The result after 24 hours was fairly spectacular, with krausen bursting out of the top of the FV. The brew may not be as dark as hoped, but I’ll judge that once it finishes fermenting.

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Weekend Brewing – Malt Miller Extract

This last weekend ended up involving quite a bit of brewing. In a recent email to the oxford brewers mailing list Rob the Malt Miller sent out a request for people to test some new malt extract, having volunteered a bag duly arrived through the post with 1kg of dark malt extract, a bag of Willamette hops, some caramalt and a sachet of S-04.

The recipe supplied called for a 30 minute boil with the 100g of caramalt, the extracgt and 28g of Willamette, with another 17g at 5 minutes before flameout, in a brew length of 10l. This caused my first minor issue. My main boiler is 30l, while the biggest pan I have is around 9l. I went with the boiler, but the 2.4kW element seemed to lead to heavy evaporative losses, and 8.5l or wort at 1045. Topping back up with water I got the brew to 1038, a point above the target OG, put it into a 15l fermenter and fired off the yeast.

The ferment has been rather lethargic thus far, with no real krausen forming, but I’ll give it a week and see where it’s got to.

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Guest Brew – King In Yellow

Over the last year or so plenty of people have helped me drink my beer, but to date no-one’s got involved in the actual brewing. I have, however offered various friends access to the brewery and today G took up the offer. The recipe we settled on is:

Fermentable Colour lb: oz Grams Ratio
Pale Malt 5 EBC 9 lbs. 7.6 oz 4300 grams 94.5%
Wheat Malt 3.5 EBC 0 lbs. 5.3 oz 150 grams 3.3%
Torrefied Wheat 4 EBC 0 lbs. 3.5 oz 100 grams 2.2%

Hop Variety Type Alpha Time lb: oz grams Ratio
Challenger Whole 7.6 % 60 mins 0 lbs. 1.2 oz 35 grams 53.8%
Amarillo Whole 9.5 % 15 mins 0 lbs. 0.7 oz 20 grams 30.8%
Amarillo Whole 9.5 % 0 mins 0 lbs. 0.4 oz 10 grams 15.4%

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.045
Final Gravity: 1.010
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV
Total Liquor: 32.9 Litres
Mash Liquor: 11.4 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 38 EBU
Colour: 7 EBC

The brew day went nice and smoothly; an extra pair of hands definitely helped. We ended up with pretty much exactly 23 litres of wort at 1048. It is now tucked up in the kitchen with a sachet of US-05 hard at work on it.

G also took some pictures of the brewday. First off here’s the HLT and mash tun just before we mashed out. Then there’s the mash itself, and finally there’s the hops and break left after we’d drained the wort.

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Main Sequence results

After the fun and games boiling this brew the ferment proved to be uneventful, if rapid. The main ferment was all done in a week, though it rested for another till I had time to deal with it. The FG was around 1008, giving a final strength of around 4.8%.

The brew is definitely nicer than than my last attempt at a best bitter, but its longevity has been somewhat compromised by problems with the keg.

The keg in question is an old boots effort I got from freecycle. I replaced the old gas injector with a pin valve, but left the old blow off valve in place. This seems a little keen to let al the CO2 out, so there’s no serving pressure unless you release the blow off valve manually. Once the keg’s empty again I’ll seal up the blow off valve completely and just rely on the pressure relief seal in the pin valve.

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All Grain 7 – Main Sequence revisited

The last year or so has seen me attempt 6 brews or varying styles, so for number 7 I decided to look back to the first bitter I made and attempt to deal with the mistakes I made during that first brew day. The most major of these being using light rather than medium crystal malt in the base recipe. Excessive recipe fidding means the revisit has drifted slightly from it’s original stated aims, but here’s what I ended up with:

Main Sequence Revisited

Fermentable Colour lb: oz Grams Ratio
Pale Malt 5 EBC 8 lbs. 13.0 oz 4000 grams 90.9%
Crystal Malt 130 EBC 0 lbs. 14.0 oz 400 grams 9.1%

Hop Variety Type Alpha Time lb: oz grams Ratio
Target Whole 11.4 % 60 mins 0 lbs. 0.5 oz 15 grams 33.3%
Golding Whole 5.7 % 15 mins 0 lbs. 1.1 oz 30 grams 66.7%

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.043
Final Gravity: 1.010
Alcohol Content: 4.2% ABV
Total Liquor: 32.7 Litres
Mash Liquor: 11 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 27 EBU
Colour: 23 EBC

The switch to Target for bittering is mostly just because that’s what was in the freezer, keeping the Goldings for late favour. More errands meant the mash ended up being around 2 hours long. The boil started badly, when I realised I’d left the hop filter on the side. One boiler drain later (it’s handy having spare FVs) the hop filter was in and the wort back on the heat. Worse was, however to come when the element cut out. This happened again after a successful reset, so it was time again to drain down the boiler and take a look.

It turned out that my cleaning regime was to blame, the element was covered in limescale and brown gunge, despite giving it a scrub before starting. 20 minutes with a green scrubber got it shiny again, and, to my great relief, the boil got started again without further mishap. The result of this eongated heating process was just over 20l of wort at a whopping 1052, nearly 10 points above target. I topped the FV up to just under 23l and pitched a sachet of Nottingham, and it now sits under the kitchen table, bubbling gently.

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All Grain 6 – Superluminal Neutrino Lager

Once the brew fridge was working I needed a brew that would benefit from it. A lager was the obvious choice, but rather than a full blown Pilsner or German lager, with the complex mashing schedules that go with it I went for something simple, with a reasonably large adjuct content to keep the finish clean and finish at a low gravity. The recipe was:

Superluminal Neutrino

Fermentable Colour lb: oz Grams Ratio
Lager Malt 2.5 EBC 8 lbs. 13.0 oz 4000 grams 80%
Flaked Maize 0 EBC 2 lbs. 3.3 oz 1000 grams 20%

Hop Variety Type Alpha Time lb: oz grams Ratio
Saaz Whole 3.3 % 90 mins 0 lbs. 1.5 oz 42 grams 100%

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.049
Final Gravity: 1.011
Alcohol Content: 5% ABV
Total Liquor: 33.3 Litres
Mash Liquor: 12.5 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 15 EBU
Colour: 3 EBC

Mashing was at around 67C, and ended up being around 3 hours due to errands needing to be run. The actual OG ended up above 1050 with more than the target 23l post boil.

The yeast was Saflager S-23 which was pitched at 16C. Using the temperature controller I dropped the temperature by 1C per day till it got to 12C and left it for 2 weeks. It now sits in the FV for an initial cooling period and to try and drop most of the yeast out. Then it’ll be bottled and lagered for a few more weeks at as close to 0C as I can get out of the brew fridge.

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Brew Fridge

While I am a hardened bitter drinker, my other half prefers lager. Over the last few years I’ve done a few lager kits for her, with the most successful being the Coopers Mexican Cervesa. Indeed the last kit I did was one of these. However, in my brave, new all grain world I’m trying to be kit free. The coopers is a very forgiving kit, happily fermenting away with no ill effects at room temperature, but if I’m going authentic, with a proper lager yeast, then cool is the way forward, especially for the post-ferment conditioning. To that end I’ve knocked together a temperature controlled brew fridge.

The fridge itself came from freecycle, and is designed to go in a cupboard, but sits on top of the spare freezer in the garage pretty well. Temperature control is provided by an ATC-800+ that came from here. Heat is provided by a 60W tube heater from toolstation.

Originally I’d planned to hard-wire the fridge and heater to the controller, but in the end I stuck sockets on the end of some cables. This should mean I can repurpose the unit for use with the boiler in the future.

The controller itself comes without any enclosure, so here’s it’s been fitted into a fairly bog standard IP55 enclosure that had a suitable hole cut in the front plate.

The tube heater is just sat in a door bin for now, but it should be fairly easy to mount it to the inside of the fridge. Cable running it the other challenge, and for now power for the heater, and access for the ATC’s temperature sensor both just deform the door seal.

The first big test of the new setup is also my first attempt at an all grain lager. But more on that in another post.

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All Grain 6 – Spitfire-ish

I’m rather partial to a pint of Shepherd Neame’s Spitfire, so it seems like a reasonable isea to try and clone it. There are a couple of recipes around on the internet, so I pretty much just swiped one of those. It looks like:

Fermentable Colour lb: oz Grams Ratio
Crystal Malt 130 EBC 1 lbs. 1.6 oz 500 grams 10.5%
Pale Malt 5 EBC 7 lbs. 11.4 oz 3500 grams 73.2%
Torrefied Wheat 4 EBC 0 lbs. 13.0 oz 370 grams 7.7%
Amber Malt 60 EBC 0 lbs. 8.1 oz 230 grams 4.8%
Wheat Malt 3.5 EBC 0 lbs. 6.3 oz 180 grams 3.8%

Hop Variety Type Alpha Time lb: oz grams Ratio
Golding Whole 5.7 % 60 mins 0 lbs. 0.5 oz 15 grams 24.2%
Target Whole 11.4 % 60 mins 0 lbs. 0.9 oz 27 grams 43.5%
Golding Whole 5.7 % 15 mins 0 lbs. 0.7 oz 20 grams 32.3%

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.046
Final Gravity: 1.011
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV
Total Liquor: 33.1 Litres
Mash Liquor: 12 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 47 EBU
Colour: 32 EBC

Having decided on this recipe and got the grains needed I came across various articles that seemed to indicate that the real thing has no amber malt in it at all. However Ive stuck to the above with only a couple of minor alterations; it got an extra 100g or so of MO and about60g extra crystal malt, as it killed off both bags. This also marks the passing of the first batch of 120EBC Crystal, which I bought last May. The brew itself was fairly uneventful, except that I miscalculated my sparge water and ended up about 3l short somehow. Even a bit of kettle top-up couldn’t make up the difference and I finished with under 20l of wort. It did, however, hit 1050, so a couple more litres of cold water in post boil got it back to around the target FG.

It’s now sat in the fermenter with a sachet of Nottingham added. Lets see if the Nottingham is quicker to get working than the S-04 I used last time.

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