20 October 2007

posted by benjy edwards

After a hiatus of seven weeks from brewing (a very long time for us!), we’re back to it. Part of the reason for the interruption from brewing was my recent trip to England, where I got to sample some wonderful cask-conditioned ales, not only at many great pubs, but also at the Eastbourne Beer Festival, a CAMRA event with 115 real ales. The one disappointment was not getting to try the Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild, which was supposed to be at the festival but didn’t make it.

One of the great pints I had was Palmer’s Best Bitter, also called IPA by the brewery. It is a great session beer, eminently quaffable with a succulent, juicy mix of hops and malt. The clone calls for 90% Maris Otter pale malt, 5% crystal, and 5% invert sugar, which in our batch was light brown sugar. Target gravity was 1.042, actual ended up at 1.045. The ground water is still quite warm, despite it being October, so ice was used with the immersion coil as a pre-chiller. Wort temperature going to the primary was 70F.

On Thursday I started a couple of vials of White Labs English ale, which never really started to ferment until late Friday night. I added more wort on Friday night and they were finally actively fermenting on Saturday afternoon. Still, it took over 12 hours from pitching to fermentation of the primaries.

I racked the second half of the Dark Ruby Mild to a corny, adding 1/2 cup of corn sugar for primings since it had been several weeks of cold conditioning. Finally, I kegged up another 5 gallons of Simcoe IPA, dry-hopping with two ounces of Simcoe.

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