26 January 2008

posted by benjy edwards

We’re switching gears from brewing English low-gravity bitter to higher-strength American pale ales and IPAs.  Today’s recipe is inspired by Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewery in San Francisco.  Maris Otter pale malt is combined with some Belgian and English crystal malts.  Target and actual gravities were the same, at 1.054.  We bittered with Pacific Gem and the flavour and aroma additions were all last year’s harvest of the home-grown Cascade.

The pin of the Landlord clone was racked two weeks ago, so we vented it and it was very lively.  It took 4 hours before it was quiet enough to hard spile and store in the serving tank.  I got quite a heavy shower of beer in the face when I tapped it after 3 hours or so of venting!

The Palmer’s Best Bitter clone was racked to corny kegs after a week in primary.  Gravities were 1.014 and 1.015 and we dry hopped each keg with an ounce of First Gold plugs.

19 January 2008

posted by benjy edwards

Today we brewed the last English bitter for this yeast culture.  The recipe is another batch of the Palmer’s Best Bitter, since we finished the last batch last weekend and it was so good.  The malt was exactly the same, but we had to change the hops since we’re out of Styrian Goldings and I wanted to use some hops from the 2006 harvest.

It was bitterly cold today, so we had trouble with the water supply hose freezing near the end of the brew session.  Target gravity was 1.042 and we reached 1.043, but had to bump up the brown sugar addition from 14 ounces to 18 ounces in order not to fall short.  We ended up with a 110 minute boil instead of 90 minutes because we were racking the Bishop’s Farewell from the primaries to corny kegs.  We dry-hopped that batch with some Ahtanum hops.

On Friday night I filled a second 3 gallon corny keg I just bought with half of the second half of the Boathouse Porter, then racked the remaining half into the 5 gallon corny keg that contained what is left of the first half of the batch.  The 3 gallon keg will replace the Old Battleaxe barleywine once it is gone.

12 January 2008

posted by benjy edwards

The three long-lost stainless shanks for the draft system finally arrived today, so by late night I had them installed and the kegs pouring. Pictures are posted here (scroll down to the section headed “Co2 Draft System”.  More pictures of the inside are farther down the page under “Beer Serving Tanks”).  I have to say it’s a huge improvement over the plastic picnic faucets.

Brewed again today, the weather was so nice that instead of using the shed we set up the structure on the driveway and enjoyed the sun. The batch today is the first attempt to clone a very fine bitter I had at the Eastbourne Beer Festival in October, Bishop’s Farewell from Oakham Ales. Grist was Maris Otter and 8% wheat malt, with Challenger for bittering and Cascade for aroma. I substituted some high-alpha Phoenix pellets for the Challenger. Target graviy was 1.046 and although our pre-boil gravity was right on at 1.038, we only reached 1.044 post-boil.

The Landlord from last week was racked to the pin and a corny, dry-hopping with the last of the Styrian Goldings. With the current hop shortage, I doubt I will see any more of those until next year or later. Racking gravity was 1.014 on both fermenters. The Boathouse Bitter previously in the pin was finished last night, while late Saturday night as I was cleaning the new faucets and shanks the last of the Palmer’s Best Bitter clone was finished.

5 January 2008

posted by benjy edwards

Back into brewing, the first batch of 2008. In making the yeast starter, we made use of a stir plate lent to us by fellow homebrewer Jonathan Page. The highly flocculent English ale yeast certainly forms considerable clumps when spun on the stir plate. I think the lag time after pitching was reduced, perhaps by a couple of hours. I had two flasks for the starters, so I alternated each one on the stir plate.

The recipe was the thirteenth brewing of the clone of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. The recipe only changed with the addition of an ounce of debittered black malt, in an attempt to get the clone closer in colour to the real thing, and a slight increase in the hops. I brought back a bottle of Landlord on my last trip to England, so when we tap this batch we can compare the two. The original gravity was 1.045, mashed without sparging, and hops work out to 40 IBU, an increase from 36 IBU for the last couple of versions.

1 January 2008

posted by benjy edwards

After a fun New Year’s Eve party over at Steve’s where we managed to polish off 3.5 gallons of homebrew, today I worked on upgrading the pump on the brewing structure.  I replaced the three 3/8″ stainless steel hose barbs with 1/2″ ones, so the flow through the pump should be better because there won’t be as much restriction for the grain that does get through the false bottom and screen to clog the pump.  I cleaned all of the fittings and the pump impeller, and replaced the braided hose as well.

On New Year’s Eve day I had time to rack half of the latest batch of Simcoe IPA to a corny keg, dry hopping with one ounce of Simcoe.  Normally I would use twice that for the dry hop, but due to the hop shortage I need to cut back!