July 29, 2007

posted by benjy edwards

No brewing this weekend, but I checked the gravity of the JHB on Friday night and again on Sunday, in order to determine when to rack it to the firkin. On Friday the gravity was 1.013, so still a tad high for racking a beer that only started out at 1.037. By Sunday it had reached 1.011, so it’s getting very close. I will check it again on Monday or Tuesday and perhaps rack it then. In the meantime, I’ve lowered the temperature by a few degrees in order to slow down the fermentation and encourage the yeast to settle out.

21 July, 2007

posted by benjy edwards

I pitched a couple of vials of the White Labs English Ale (WLP002) into starters last night, so we’re off and running with another cycle of yeast. The cask beer supply is getting low again, so we brewed a clone of Oakham Ales’ Jeffrey Hudson Bitter. Target gravity was 1.038, and I was determined to hit less than 1.040, so we monitored the gravity as we collected in the kettle. We brewed this in the no-sparge method, but as we collected we noticed that the gravity was going to be 5 to 8 points too low, so we added a bit of hot liquor to the mash and ran that off. Then, inexplicably, the gravity of the kettle runnings was too high, so we had to drain off some of it and add water to the kettle. In the end we finished with a kettle full of wort at about 1.026, so after the 90 minute boil we ended up one point below target, at 1.037. I was happy that we actually achieved an OG of less than 1.040 though! Steve and I think the key with the no-sparge is that you just have to trust your expected efficiency and ignore your refractometer readings, because with this batch and previous batches, if you try to adjust the gravity up as you collect you end up with an overly strong wort. Somehow the refractometer readings don’t quite work until you’ve finished. Perhaps that is because it’s difficult to accurately predict the gravity of a partial kettle based upon a certain gravity of the wort plus the water added up to that point.

This should be a very light session ale, especially since the malt bill was an unchallenging 95% pale with 5% wheat. In colour it will probably turn out even a shade lighter than the Landlord, since wheat is lower in colour than pale malt. Hops were a challenge, as we didn’t have either the Challenger or Mount Hood from the clone recipe. We ended up using some Phoenix in pellet form and some leaf Centennial for bittering, with Tettnanger for aroma. Fermentation began quite late, probably after about 7 or 8 hours, due no doubt to the single day starter rather than our usual stepping up of the starter over two days.

14 July, 2007

posted by benjy edwards

No batch brewed this weekend, but we did rack the Snake River Pale Ale clone to a couple of corny kegs. Both were dry-hopped with Cascade, just over two ounces for each keg. The final gravity was an ultra-low 1.006, for an alcohol by volume of 6% despite the original gravity being 1.052. No off-flavours, but the beer is a bit dry when sampled. The yeast, which has been used six times now, was dumped out.