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Archive for December 2012

Here we go again, its the end of another year of Homebrewing and I’ve rattled off a fair amount of brews which are edging me ever closer to my Centenary Brew (100th) All-Grain / Full Mash brewday.

Its been a mad year with Brewers & Home-brewers eager to get their hands on any and all new hop varieties, 2013 is going to be the same… Home-brewers are increasing in numbers along with new Microbreweries, diversity in beer and brewing has never been so great in the UK.
Homebrewers are using Hops from all around the world and an expanding range of Malts from the UK, Germany and Belgium are giving us an ever increasing pallet of flavours to meld together with an excellent range of yeast profiles.
It feels to have been ‘Year of the Dry Hop’ for the last couple of years, but thats not to say every beer should be made this way (Even if it is rather entertaining), some things work better with light hopping and leave a complex blend of malts or interesting yeast to do the talking as @Lugsy51 has been doing with his current fetish for Saison & Rauch Beers.

A few homebrew highlights for me were:

To start with the New Year’s Day Imperial Stout Brew-along was fun; then there was the Twitter #BlackIPAoff that a few of us did and met in MrFoleys, Leeds for a tasting and scoring to find a winner; the second NCB/Saltaire Brewery meeting and competition; the Homebrew highlight was attending the National Homebrew Competition in Bristol and helping out as a steward, it was a long but entertaining day. I seem to recall Vac-Packing quite a few kilos of hops too, though thats not really a highlight!

Here’s some of this years brews that I’m keeping in mind for 2013:

AG #89 – Big Malty Smoke Beer
This one requires another brew, tweaking for a little more smoke and maybe mash a degree cooler, then prime a bit heavier to give it a bit of extra sparkle in the glass.
AG #87 – Chinook Blonde
Just a touch more Chinook at the end with a little less Carapils and it should be about spot on.
AG #86 – Ta Moko II
I’ll brew it again! I hope the next crop of Nelson Sauvin has as much Catty-punch as when I brewed Ta Moko for the first time.
AG #85 – HopZilla IPA
I will do another Heavy on the Dry Hops double IPA, I feel Hop pellets are the way forward with these bigger hoppy beers so as to save on the wort-loss that you get with whole hops.
AG #84 – Liquorice Stout
I shall brew a similar beer without the Liquorice as I believe the base beer to be a very solid stout.
AG #83 – Ring of Fire
Re-brew with tweaks and also an IPA version with added Nelson Sauvin.
AG #82 – Hop Sap IPA
Well… There wasn’t much of this, and if you had a bottle you were bloody lucky, Massively Dry Hopped happiness.
AG #80 – Nit Wit
Yeah… you need a good Wit and I’ll do it again, maybe with a slightly different yeas as the WLP400 was annoying and had to be roused a lot to actually ferment!
AG #78 – Pioneer’s Gold
Ooo, Barleywine… and the Saltaire Yeast worked a treat, mouth-filling and satisfying, steady drinking and wholesome.
AG #77 – UK Cascade
I should do a re-brew as the yeast spoiled this one and I don’t think I got to appreciate the full hop character.
AG #76 – Steaming, Brown & Sticky
Oh yes… this is definitely on the cards, tweaked or un-tweaked this is a great beer.
AG#74 – Is it ‘cos I is Black?
I think there could be lots of Black IPA experimentation ahead with colour & roastiness being areas to keep a check on, it must be Black but the level of Roastedness is quite easy to turn this dark-but-not-dark beer into a hoppy Stout.
AG #72 – Toasted Oatmeal Stout
To do again and not toast the oatmeal, and not prime too much as I’m lead to believe the oats leave slow fermenting residual sugars… giving me Gushing bottles! Still this is going to make some great Beef Stews 🙂
AG #71 – Abyss Imperial Stout
Well, of course! Its nice to see how these strong dark beers develop over time.

Last years review is here it encompasses ’09-’11 and there are still things on that list that could be on the coming years brew-plan.

More for 2013…

I’ll finish off the 50Litre Keg Boiler I’m building and get the electrics installed in the garage to plug the elements into, this should allow me to brew a bit more of the beers I like and also fill a Firkin with one brew.
Things to Brew for: Thornbridge Homebrew Competition, the NCB & Saltaire Competition, the National Homebrew Competition.
We need to have a get-together for a last years Imperial Stouts, that has messy written all over it!
More beer to be drunk and flavours to be experienced 🙂
Buy a good few kilos of a few hops and spread the love….

Green Hop Home-Grown – OK this was almost an impromptu brewday, I tossed a fair few ideas around before coming to my senses and sticking to the program… These hops were picked and Vac-packed / frozen back in early September and its high time I got them used.
So… this is hopefully a solidly English Bitter, no frills, no in yer-face American hops, a good dash of sweet toffee-like Crystal malts, using a single addition of Goldings for the bittering.

Lager Malt – 70%
Wheat Malt – 20%
Caramalt – 5%
Crystal Malt – 2%
Amber Malt – 2%
Crystal Malt, ExtraDark – 1%

Regular Dried Hops:
Golding – 5.1 % @ 60 mins – 74g

Green Hops:
Mix of Fuggles & Challenger 520g @ 10mins
Mix of Fuggles & Challenger 520g @ 5mins

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.045
Final Gravity: 1.011
Alcohol Content: 4.4% ABV
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 37 EBU
Colour: 17 EBC
Yeast: Safale us-05
Mash: 60mins @ 68°c

The Vacuum packed and frozen hops from back here:
Trying some Crisps Maltings Lager Malt:
The malts:
First Wort Goldings Hops:
Other than being a bit squashed, these look and smell just as they did before I packed ’em:
In go the 10min Green Hops:
Protafloc plopped @ 10mins, break material settling out nicely:
Some rather clear wort running to the FV:
Used a bit of the wort to wake up some Brettanomyces, Whitelabs WLP 650, for doing a secondary ferment of whatever I brew on New Years Day (Split the Beer, Bottle half and then Brett the other half):

All in all a pretty easy brewday, not the earliest start but it is my only ‘lazy’ day this week!
I keep forgetting to take a Hydrometer shot, but rest assured it was 1049 and I liquored back 1.7L to 1045, ending up with 21.5L in the FV.
There were some pretty vegetative smells coming from the copper with over 1kg of Green Hops going in but the wort ended up tasting solidly like it had been hopped with Fuggles & Challenger rather than Lettuce and Sprouts!

*Bottled 12th Jan ’13 – with 85g White sugar, still tastes green vegetative, like snapped green plant stems… didn’t bottle it all left some for cleaning the plug hole! (Thats a first for me).

*14th Jun ’13 – some months later, the green vegetative has mellowed and I’m actually having a pint of this! The Malt body is pretty much what I was aiming for and its clear as a bell.

Non Terrestrial Intelligence – I’m using stuff up and have no Pale or Lager malt so I bought some Oat Husks from TheMaltMiller and added 5% to the recipe to aid sparging with so much Wheat Malt. I’m hoping for a fairly big hit of American hops with a good amount of bitterness.
The name comes from the Abyss movie.

Wheat Malt – 76%
Carapils (Weyermann) – 8%
Special B – 8%
Oat Husks – 5%
Black Malt – 3%

Simcoe – 14.2 % @ 60 mins – 25g (First Wort Hop)
Simcoe – 14.2 % @ 30 mins – 25g
Summit – 17.2 % @ 0 mins – 70g
Simcoe – 14.2 % @ 0 mins – 40g
Citra – 13 % @ 0 mins – 40g
Topaz – 16 % @ 0 mins – 10g (I just threw in a Sample I was given at work)
Nelson Sauvin – 12.1 % @ 0 mins – 11g (End of a bag)

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.054
Final Gravity: 1.015
Alcohol Content: 5.1% ABV
Total Liquor: 32.5 Litres
Mash Liquor: 15 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 70 % – (Reduced from my regular 75%)
Bitterness: 62 EBU
Colour: 125 EBC
Yeast: Safale us-05
Mash: 66°c for 2 hours, I did an iodine test at about 90mins which had a tiny bit of starch left.

Malts in the bucket, I added some gypsum to the mash and Calcium Chloride & Mag Sulphate to the boil:
Adding the Mash Liquor to the Mash Tun, added a few degrees higher than my strike temperature and allowed to cool / Pre-heat the tun before mashing in:
I was originally going to use Magnum for bittering but decided to go with the open packs of hops instead so it was Simcoe all the way:
The Oat Husks in the mash:
20min Steep of the Flameout hops:
Initial Gravity reading was 1061, liquored back 2.5L to 1054:
The usual go-to yeast, its easy and clean fermenting:

A good brewday, the Oat Husks / Sparge worked really well and the wort was pretty clear for such a high percentage of Wheat Malt. The wort was smelling great too, put to bed in the fermentation fridge set to 20°c.

*7th Dec ’12 – Gravity at 1014 @about 22°c think its done but will give it another day before chilling it down. The Hydrometer sample tasted very nice too 🙂

*10th Dec ’12 – Down to 1013.5-ish, put on to chill down before bottling, still tasting good 🙂

*Bottled 16th Dec ’12 – with 100g White Sugar into about 20L of beer, still tastes good, would probably have been epic if I’d dry hopped 🙂

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