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Home brew review
This years Homebrew review of the year isn’t going to be as lengthy as other years as I’ve simply not brewed as much and didn’t try that hard when it came to the National Homebrew Competition, some serious time was spent building a car-port style affair at the side of the house, so the list bellow is the best of what I had time to brew…

  • AG #110Ring of Fire IPA
    This one is also still fermenting, but it smells & tastes so good I thought I’d add it to my end of year round up, it has promise whether I dry hop it or not 😉
  • AG #109Mittlefruh Junga Blonde
    This isn’t actually bottled at the time of writing this but tastes from the FV have been displaying some the traits I was wanting so I have high hopes for another easy drinker like AG#108 but with more spicy character.
  • AG #105Summit 73 E366
    This is bloody marvelous, I hope they re-release Experimental 366 in future years and let us know what its going to be called.
  • AG #104NZ Sour Wheat
    My Sour Mashed wheat beer, this is a style I’d like to pursue further, I dropped lucky and got a really nice balance between the Sour and the balancing sweetness and body.
  • AG #103Farmhouse Rye Noir
    My first attempt at a Saison and it turned out damn well too 🙂
  • AG #102Gods of War
    Easy drinking mix of under-used hops, worthy of a re-brew but with more cara/crystal/hotter-mash/flaked-barley.
  • AG #101SCAN
    Mental but good, in hindsight I’d go a bit easier on things to ensure more of a crowd-pleaser.
  • AG #100Altitudinous Cable
    Everything to the MAX, a touch too much Max which has taken time to settle down, VERY hoppy, this is going to age really well over a few years 🙂
  • AG #99BoomStick
    Massively easy drinking simple recipe.
  • AG #98Robust Wheat Porter
    It seems these user-upper brews always turn out well, this is a mega solid porter with hints of smoke.
  • AG #96Bravo+Apollo=Citra?
    An experiment that turned out good.
  • AG #94Hooded Embarrassment
    Maybe not my best beer but it ticks enough boxes and made for enjoyable drinking.
  • AG #93Pacific Rim
    Nice little hop-combo and worthy of a re-brew.

A nice surprise this year was this book through the post from Andy Hamilton featuring a couple of my homebrew recipes, its full of good stuff and obviously some cracking recipes 😉
Pop, I got a book :-) #BrewingBritainToo many hops and so little time!
My Hop-Freezer is bulging, I should make 2014 the year when I don’t buy any hops!
Sad to say the 50L copper I am building and said in last years review I would finish, is still not complete just the hop-filter to sort out and a mate to finish the socket wiring, I obviously need to get my finger out once the wiring is done.
What I want to do in 2014 is get an upt-to-date Liquor test by Murphy & Son and maybe get my digital Thermometer calibrated so when I mash in at 69°c I am really mashing in at 69°c! (for most beers 69°c seems to be the mash temperature that makes us-05 get to the FG that BeerEngine says it will!)

Happy New Year to all

AG#57 – Paper 23rd June
To celebrate our first wedding anniversary an easy drinker that will hopefully go into a cask to be served on my Handpull.
I’ve run out of Amarillo, I’d have preferred a little more in at Flameout, I might dry hop the cask with a handful of Mittlefruh for a nice subtle floral touch.

Here’s today’s recipe, which is a mix of interesting malts 🙂

Fermentables:
Pale Malt – 1290g – 33.2%
Lager Malt – 1290g – 33.2%
Vienna Malt – 455g – 11.8%
Cara Red – 290g – 7.5%
Munich Malt – 185g – 4.7%
Oat Malt – 185g – 4.7%
Wheat Malt – 185g – 4.7%

Hops:
First Gold – 7.9 % @ 60 mins – 15g (FWH)
Amarillo – 9.5 % @ 60 mins – 10g (FWH)
First Gold – 7.9 % @ 10 mins – 10g
Amarillo – 9.5 % @ 10 mins – 10g
Amarillo – 9.5 % @ 0 mins – 15g (80c Steep)
First Gold – 7.9 % @ 0 mins – 10g (80c Steep)
Columbus (Tomahawk) – 16 % @ 0 mins – 10g (80c Steep)

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.040
Final Gravity: 1.010
Alcohol Content: 3.9% ABV
Total Liquor: 32.2 Litres
Mash Liquor: 9.3 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 80 %
Bitterness: 30 EBU
Colour: 11 EBC
Mashing at 68c for an hour to keep some body in case the US-05 finished a bit dry.

Malt temp:
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Today’s hops, I must find a use for the other 400g of First Gold:
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Spargings running from the tun onto the First wort hops:
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I reckon there are 2 divisions in the meniscus, making me 2 points lower than I should be, so 1038:
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Got 89% Mash efficiency today, collected 31 Litres @ 1033

*Bottled 6th Jun ’11 with 1/4 Tsp per 330ml bottle and two Bag-in-a-Box 10Litre polypins, primed with 45g of sugar dissolved in 90ml of water, one box given 50ml and the other 40ml, fined with Allkleer. Final Gravity is 1008.

C.N.S Hops² – For today’s brew I had the company of Gordon from Elland Brewery, we’d sorted our recipe idea via email using an interesting selection of Cara-Crystal style malts for a ‘hopefully’ multi-layered maltiness with a host of New-world hops. The Bittering addition was to be Pacific Gem & Magnum with the Citra, Nelson Sauvin & Simcoe as a 80c Steep… though… Just a slight hiccup, and subsequent name change, not a major problem just a bit more bitterness than planned 🙂 I managed to throw in the 80c steep hops as First Wort Hops!! (Doh!)
So the beer has been rationalised with its hop varieties now and about 30 EBU’s higher than the original idea.

Fermentables:
Pale Malt – 78%
Vienna Malt – 10%
Cara Red – 4%
Crystal Malt, Extra Dark – 4%
Cara Munich Type III – 4%

Hops:
Citra – 9.5 % @ 60 mins – 30g (FWH)
Nelson Sauvin – 11.3 % @ 60 mins – 40g (FWH)
Simcoe – 12.9 % @ 60 mins – 20g (FWH)
Citra – 13.8 % @ 0 mins – 25g (80c Steep for 30 mins)
Nelson Sauvin 11.7 % @ 0 mins – 41g (80c Steep for 30 mins)
Simcoe – 12.2 % @ 0 mins – 20g (80c Steep for 30 mins)

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.057 (actually missed this, and got maybe 1050-ish)
Final Gravity: 1.015
Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV
Total Liquor: 33.8 Litres
Mash Liquor: 13.2 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 80 %
Bitterness: 94 EBU
Colour: 55 EBC

The rest of the day was myself & Gordon chatting about brewing and beer, tasting a few of my homebrews and a few commercial beers. Thanks go to my brew-monkey for the name change from P.M.C.N.S to C.N.S Hops²  (Hops Squared).

Some of the Hops being weighed out:
AG#56 - C.N.S Hops²
The regular Mash Tun in the 3-Tier Setup:
AG#56 - C.N.S Hops²
First Wort hops should have been Pacific Gem & Magnum (oops!):
AG#56 - C.N.S Hops²
Good rolling boil with the chiller in to sterilise:
AG#56 - C.N.S Hops²
Think I may have over-sparged a litre or so due to being too busy nattering:
AG#56 - C.N.S Hops²
Hop Left-overs and Trub, now going into my new Compost Bin:
AG#56 - C.N.S Hops²

A good day, fairly simple recipe, fairly simple brewers! Good to see you again Gordon.
Probably not going to dry hop, though I may do a small trial with some Styrian Hop oil from The Malt Miller cheers for the freebie, dry hopping with drops… weird!! Cheers Rob.

*Bottled 12th Jun ’11 with 75g of White sugar

*17th Jun ’11 Early taster!!
This is a week-ish in the bottle so far, so a very early taster. Dropped bright and is a lovely amber-red colour.
It has a very full on juicy fruit aroma followed by a good fruitiness in the mouth and a smooth teeth sucking / coating bitterness, maybe just a tiny hint of alcohol warmth.
The flavour is one that lingers on the pallet, bitterness is quite balanced and the body good.
I think you get a bit of malt on the nose too.

Aroma = Spot on.
Flavour = Just a bit green, one more week and it will be getting good.
Bitterness/Body = balanced, maybe it will dry out as it matures.

*26th June ’11
This tastes bloody good now!! Very nice.. Mmmmm Bitterness just where it should be, nice body and fruity and feck Mmmm!

Imperial Smoked Porter – This is serving a couple of purposes; First is a Trial run of a big beer in my newly finished False bottom Mash tun; Second is using up some odd bags of malt and some older hops I had in the freezer and some other part bags of hops.
I’m not expecting the stated bitterness from my hops – http://www.wellhopped.co.uk/Product.htm so I’m going semi-worst case scenario and adjusting AA for age and storage.

Fermentables:
Pale Malt – 70.2%
Caramalt – 8.2%
Peat Smoked Malt, medium – 4.2%
Amber Malt – 3.9%
Oat Malt – 3.5%
Chocolate Malt, Pale – 2.3%
Crystal Wheat Malt – 2.4%
Chocolate Wheat Malt – 1.8%
Flaked Wheat – 1.6%
Chocolate Malt – 1.5%
Flaked Rye 0 EBC – 0.5%

Hops:
Bobek – 3.7 % @ 75 mins – 124g (FWH)
Admiral – 12 % @ 75 mins – 19g (FWH)
Herkules – 15.8 % @ 75 mins – 35g (FWH)
Brewers Gold – 9.1 % @ 10 mins – 68g
Cascade – 5.5 % @ 0 mins – 29g (Flame-out Steep for 20mins)
Saaz – 3.8 % @ 0 mins – 33g (Flame-out Steep for 20mins)
Simcoe – 12.9 % @ 0 mins – 20g (Flame-out Steep for 20mins)

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.076
Final Gravity: 1.021
Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
Total Liquor: 36.8 Litres
Mash Liquor: 20.5 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 70 % (I collected 32L @ 1055 so hit efficiency but had too much liquor)
Bitterness: 121 EBU (I’m not expecting this as the bittering hops were fairly old so subtracting 30% from the AA will be more like 90EBU)
Colour: 140 EBC
Mashed for 90mins @ 66c
Boil for 75mins
Liquor treatment as per GW calc for General Purpose

Bigger bucket than normal with 8.5kg of malts:
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New mash tun full of hot liquor:
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Initial Mash a little high, cooled with cold liquor to 66c:
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Tidy brewsheet (version 3, other two are scibbly works in progress) along with late hops:
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Quite a heap of first Wort Hops in the copper along with the common salt addition:
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What lies beneath, mash leftovers under the mash screen:
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10 min hops going in:
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Break material clumping in the copper:
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Looks near as damn it to me (Showing 72 +2 divisions in the meniscus = 1076), not bad for a first outing of the new Mash Tun:
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I had 3.7 Litres in the new mash tun to just cover the false bottom, the first sparge top-up was a little over 3 litres so I didn’t top-up and subtracted the difference from the Second batch sparge. This was to take into account the liquor under the screen, I ended up with 32 Litres in the copper which i thought too much but by the end of the 75min boil I was at my predicted gravity so I must have worked things out right!

Thoughts on the False bottom:
The mash ran off very well and after a few jugs of recirculating it was also very clear.
After stirring the second sparge and running off I came back to the mash tun to find it had run a load of malt particles into the copper as the last of the mash drained out. I’ll have to keep an eye on it next time to stop this just as it starts to show bits coming through, or have a go a Fly sparging so as to not actually disturb the Mash bed and hopefully limit the amount of malt particles coming through.
New cleaning game, poking bits of malt out of the perforated stainless!

16th May ’11
The usual, Stout+S-04 ferment 🙂 :
Image

*Bottled 25th May ’11 with 71g of White sugar and a tiny sprinkle of Nottingham yeast into each bottle as a bit of a safety precaution as it had dropped very bright. Finished at 1016-1018 so about 7.7% ABV.

*4th JUne ’11 Taster bottle, tasting good the Peat Smoked malt works well with the Strength of this beer, Bitterness just right so I’m glad I adjusted the hop Alpha acids for my older hops.

I just finished building my 45L Igloo Coolbox with Stainless False Bottom its been a fair bit of grinding with an Angle Grinder to make the right shape to fit the moulding of the coolbox, finished off in a few places with some 5/16th beer-line for a snug fit and to fix a corner I took a bit too much off, Its all spaced off the bottom with stainless cap screws. I could have fixed the corner and put Beer-line all round the circumference but had done enough grinding to make-fit.

Some of the tools used:
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Drilled out Tank Connector with modified Elbow fitted so it is level with the flat base of the tun thanks to the coolbox moulding where the tap fits:
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Stainless Steel Cap Screws used as stand-offs so about 25-30mm up from bottom:
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Another Cap Screw in the centre to lift it out with:
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Outside with Tank Connector & Ball Valve fitted:
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False Bottom Fitted:
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I had to give the Perforated stainless a good soak and scrub in Washing Soda to remove all grease that came on it.
I have to say this was easier than cutting and soldering loads of bits of copper pipe… Just needs a test run now! Maybe a BIG beer or a Parti-Gyle brew.

Half Wit – A Belgian Style Wit beer.

Fermentables:
Lager Malt – 3000g – 51.5%
Flaked Wheat – 1500g – 25.8%
Flaked Spelt – 500g – 8.6%
Wheat Malt – 500g – 8.6%
Torrefied Wheat – 320g – 5.5%

Hops:
Golding – 4.2 % @ 60 mins – 10g
Saaz – 3.8 % @ 60 mins – 10g
Golding – 4.2 % @ 30 mins – 8g
Saaz – 3.8 % @ 30 mins – 8g
Saaz – 3.8 % @ 10 mins – 40g

Spices etc:
Crushed Coriander Seed – 12-15g – Last 5mins of boil
Grated Orange Zest – 3-4 Oranges – Last 5mins of boil

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity: 1.012
Alcohol Content: 5.2% ABV
Total Liquor: 34.1 Litres
Mash Liquor: 14.6 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 70 % – I’m being cautious as I’ve got a large amount of un-malted adjuncts
Bitterness: 18 EBU
Colour: 3 EBC
Mash: 67c for 90mins
Boil: 60mins
Yeast: Safbrew T-58

Lots of un-malted wheaty adjuncts:
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FWH & the most pale first runnings I have ever had :):
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Coriander seed well done in with a Pestle & Mortar:
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Orange Zest:
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Safbrew T-58 & stuff:
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The money shot, near as damn it where it should be:
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Smells very orangey!

I got some Tincture of Iodine from the local chemist (£1.10 vs Tincture_of_Iodine_30ml), after just less than an hour I have lots of Starch left. I gave the mash a good stir and decided to extend my mash period.
It has been a little bit scary knowing more than I knew before, the Iodine test… starch conversion complete after 1 hour 50 mins, quite reassuring and handy to know when mashing bigger beers.
Collected 28.5L at 12 brix making my Mash efficiency 77% so I was probably wise to be cautious with my Software setting of 70% and longer Mash until fully converted.
Wort tasting plenty Orangey! Hope that dies back a bit after fermentation.
I went with the Zest of 4 oranges and 15g Coriander.

*Three days Later*
Fermenting at 18c on the Garage Floor, yeast giving off loads of sulphurous aromas and flavours. Orange has died down thankfully. Hydrometer says about 1020.
I am really loving the paleness of this beer though, hope it keeps its cloudiness 🙂

*Bottled 21st Apr 2011 with 75g of priming sugar for a good bit of fizz.

*8th May ’11 – Bottles have dropped pretty clear! Still has sulphur but it goes down pretty well chilled from the fridge.
Image

*10 May ’11 – Another taster later, chilled in the fridge for a few days. I like this but…
If I was to use this yeast again I would ignore advice to ferment cool, I’d let it go for it at a minimum of 20c and let it ferment the heck out of it, this should gas-off the sulphourous stuff with the C02. I think my cool 18c ferment has made it retain the odours, I’d also cut out any Sulphates in the liquor treatment sticking to Calcium Chloride which would have the added bonus of some perceived mouth-feel.
Oh, I will use this yeast again as I think I can get better out of it.

Double Oat Pale – Using Malted & Flaked Oats to hopefully give a full silky body, late hopped fairly heavily with German Hersbrucker & New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops. (This hop combo worked well back in AG#37, so it should do again)

Fermentables:
Lager Malt – 75%
Caramalt – 10%
Oat Malt – 5%
Flaked Oats – 5%
Wheat Malt – 5%

Hops:
Magnum – 14.5 % @ 60 mins – 27g – (FWH)
Nelson Sauvin – 11.7 % @ 0 mins – 50g – (20-30min 80c Steep)
Hallertauer Hersbrucker – 3 % @ 0 mins – 50g – (20-30min 80c Steep)

Final Volume: 23 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity: 1.012
Alcohol Content: 4.7% ABV
Total Liquor: 33.1 Litres
Mash Liquor: 11.6 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 80 %
Bitterness: 40 EBU
Colour: 7 EBC
Yeast: Safale us-05
Liquor Treatment to General Purpose in GW Calc
Mash for 60mins @ 67c
Batch Sparge @ 77c
Boil for 60mins
Protafloc Tablet @ 10mins

Malts and temp:
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Hops weighed out:
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The mash, wooo isn’t this an exciting shot!:
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First Wort Hops, Magnum, lovely smelling and quite sticky:
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Second runnings, a very hydrated pale piss colour:
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80c Steep hops, Hersbrucker & Nelson Sauvin:
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Running to FV, gave my bucket a good caustic soak today, rinse and final StarSan:
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88% Mash Efficiency, and Hydrometer says I hit my gravity Refractometer says I am 1 point low (I need to calibrate it).

Here’s my Pump Clip Design, done in Adobe Illustrator with a little bit of Stock Illustration from Fotolia.

Double_Oat_Pale

My first Casked Home brewed ale:

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*Casked 30th Mar ’11 with about 40g sugar, Alkleer Finings


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