Wednesday, September 23, 2009

English bitter (brew #39)

Today I sampled the latest batch, an English bitter I brewed on September 7. I have been enjoying English beers lately and would like to find a really good recipe. I've never had it, but I have heard many good things about Timothy Taylor Landlord. When looking for clone recipes, I came across Northern Brewer's Innkeeper kit, which they sold to accompany Wyeast's special release West Yorkshire ale yeast, which supposedly comes from the Timothy Taylor brewery. The yeast and the kit are no longer available, but the recipe was still up at Northern Brewer's site. I adapted it for the malts I had and a different yeast strain:

English bitter:
  • OG: 1.047
  • 41 IBU
  • 5 gallons
Grains & sugar:
  • 6.45 lbs Maris Otter pale malt (Hugh Baird)
  • 0.27 lb Crystal malt (120 L)
  • 1.0 lb Demerara sugar
Hops:
  • 1.0 oz Fuggle hop pellets (4.8% aa) @ 60 min
  • 1.0 oz E. Kent Goldings hop pellets (5.0% aa) @ 45 min
  • 1.0 oz Styrian Goldings hop pellets (3.5% era) @ 5 min
Yeast:
  • Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley ale yeast
This recipe has had rave reviews on the Northern Brewer forum. I was interested to see that it included a generous dose of sugar, since I have lately realized that many or most commercial English ales are brewed with sugar. I think this may be part of what gives them a distinctive mouthfeel and body relative to American beers. Ron Pattinson has several interesting blog posts about brewing sugar in Britain.

Although the brewing went pretty smoothly, I did miss my target mash temperature (153 F) by a few degrees. The mash started out around 150 F, and by the end of an hour was only 145-146 F. I usually don't have much temperature drop, but this could have been a result of the smaller mass of grain in this recipe. This (along with the sugar in the recipe) resulted in a pretty fermentable beer - the final gravity was 1.008. Next time I will definitely try to hit a higher mash temperature. The hydrometer sample tasted good, but would probably be better with a more malty body. I will also experiment with other English yeasts. The one I used seems to be pretty clean, without too much fruity English character. Regardless, it should taste great when kegged.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Kölsch (brew #38)

Way behind on posting this one, but I only just kegged it yesterday after brewing my first attempt at Kölsch on July 19. I had been wanting to brew a Kölsch for a while, and so it seemed like a good choice when I decided to make a lighter beer for upcoming visits by relatives. I used a recipe I found on Mike Dixon's website.

Kölsch:
  • OG: 1.053
  • 25 IBU
  • 5.25 gallons
Grains:
  • 8.52 lbs Pilsner malt
  • 1.0 lb Wheat malt
Hops:
  • 0.55 oz Perle hop pellets (8.2% aa) @ 60 min
  • 1.0 oz Hallertau hop pellets (4.4% aa) @ 15 min
Yeast:
  • Wyeast 2565 Kölsch yeast
This tasted great when kegging. Looking forward to putting it on tap - both taps are occupied at the moment, though, so this one is waiting in the closet.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Centennial pale ale (brew #37)

Last weekend (July 5) I brewed the Centennial pale ale again. The last one turned out great (the keg has long since been emptied) so K requested another batch for an upcoming gathering she's planning. This time I cut back on the crystal malt from 1 pound to 0.75 pound, to make the color a little lighter and maybe make it taste a little crisper. Also, instead of putting 2 ounces of hops in at the end of the boil, I put 1 ounce in at flame-out and saved the other ounce for dry hopping.

I used Wyeast 1272 again, but didn't have time to make a starter. So I also tossed in a pack of dry US-05 yeast to help it along. Here's the recipe:

Centennial pale ale:
  • OG: 1.053
  • 43 IBU
  • 5 gallons
Grains:
  • 10.01 lbs Maris Otter pale malt
  • 0.76 lbs Crystal malt (80 L)
  • 0.11 lbs Chocolate malt
Hops:
  • 0.50 oz Centennial hop pellets (9.1% aa) @ 60 min
  • 0.50 oz Centennial hop pellets @ 30 min
  • 1.0 oz Centennial hop pellets @ 10 min
  • 1.0 oz Centennial hop pellets @ 1 min
  • 1.0 oz Centennial hop pellets @ dry hop (in fermenter)
Yeast
  • Wyeast 1272 American ale yeast II
  • Safale US-05 dry yeast

Friday, July 10, 2009

Club brew at Triangle Brewing Company (brew #36)

About a month late posting this, but I had a great time brewing at the Triangle Brewing Company in Durham on June 6. Rick and Andy generously hosted TRUB, the local homebrew club (of which I'm a member). We paid for the ingredients and brewed a batch on their 10-barrel system with Rick's help. Each of us took home 5 gallons of wort to ferment at home. They called the recipe a saison, but I think it came out as more of a Belgian blonde. Here it is:

Belgian blonde
  • OG: 1.066
  • 23 IBU
  • 300 gallons
Grains & sugar
  • 350 lbs pale base malt
  • 27 lbs Cara 8
  • 125 lbs white wheat
  • 27 lbs Special B
  • 50 lbs white cane sugar
Hops & spices
  • first (bittering) hops: 36 oz Styrian Goldings @ 6.6% AA
  • second (aroma) hops: 10 oz Styrian Goldings @ 6.6% AA
  • lemongrass (dried)
  • coriander (ground)
  • ginger root (dried, ground)
  • pepper (ground)
Yeast
After getting my share home, I fermented it for 3 days at 70 F, then raised the temperature to 78 F (hoping to get maximum attenuation). After 2 weeks, the final gravity was 1.007. I didn't get around to kegging it immediately, so it sat in the fermenter for a third week at 35 F. Now it's kegged and carbonated and tastes great.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Abbey dubbel (brew #35)

Back to back brewing weekends - trying to catch up from a long break from brewing.  This recipe is an experiment - I used grains and hops I happened to have at home already.

Abbey dubbel:
  • OG: 1.067
  • 27 IBU
  • 5 gallons
Grains:
  • 7.5 lbs Pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 1.89 lbs Munich malt
  • 0.64 lbs Munich malt (light)
  • 0.24 lbs Special B
  • 0.76 lbs Crystal malt (120 L)
  • 0.81 lbs Biscuit malt
  • 0.25 lbs Chocolate malt
Hops:
  • 0.55 oz Columbus hop pellets (14.0% aa) @ 60 min
  • 0.27 oz Styrian Goldings hop pellets (4.3% aa) @ 10 min

Yeast:
  • Wyeast 3864 Canadian/Belgian ale
Used a 2 quart starter prepared the day before.  Fermenting at room temperature in the closet.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Centennial pale ale (brew #34)

Brewed the first batch of beer in almost a year.  Here's the recipe:

Centennial pale ale:
  • OG: 1.054
  • 45 IBU
  • 5 gallons
Grains:
  • 9.94 lbs Maris Otter pale malt (Munton's)
  • 1.0 lb Crystal malt (80 L)
  • 0.11 lb Chocolate malt
Hops:
  • 0.50 oz Centennial hop pellets (9.5% aa) @ 60 min
  • 0.50 oz Centennial hop pellets @ 30 min
  • 1.0 oz Centennial hop pellets @ 10 min
  • 2.0 oz Centennial hop pellets @ 0 min
Yeast:
  • Wyeast 1272 American ale yeast II
I had lots of help from friends as you can see in the photo gallery.  Special thanks to Tony and Mark for helping with the entire brew.  And K for taking photos.  Everything went pretty smoothly (especially with so much help), but we filled the kettle before I remembered to install the hop stopper (siphon screen).  After draining all the wort and installing the screen, everything went fine.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yeast starter

Last night I made a 2 quart starter for tomorrow's batch of Centennial pale ale.  The yeast is Wyeast 1272.  I use 2 cups of dry malt extract in 2 quarts of water.  I like to start it two nights before the brew day then put it in the fridge the night before brewing, so that I can pour off the starter beer and pitch the yeast cold into the new wort.