30 May 2009

posted by benjy edwards

Today we brewed a double batch of the ever-drinkable Hophead from Dark Star Brewing.  The supply of cask ale is dwindling, as well as being decidedly malt-focused, so it will be very good to have twenty gallons of a hoppy session bitter on tap as we head towards late spring and summer.

We mashed 33 pounds of Maris Otter (twice the malt of a single batch), which fit fine in the mash tun.  Then it was run off to two half-barrel kegs, one of which was borrowed from our friend John Brush.  We tried to keep the runoff rate to each kettle exactly the same, and although the pre-boil gravities were the same according to the refractometer, after the 90-minute boil the two original gravities were different, at 1.039 and 1.042.  The hopping was kept exactly the same, using 9.5 ounces of Cascade in each kettle.  One kettle was left to steep with the knockout hops while we chilled the first batch, so there may be a difference in hop aroma due to that – it will be a good experiment to see what effect it had.

The night before I kegged a couple of beers, as one keg ran out this week (the Copperhop) and the first keg of Two Hearted Ale was dangerously low.  The Harvey’s 1859 Porter and the second half of the Milk Stout were kegged.  The porter only dropped a point during its spell in secondary, while the milk stout dropped 5 points.   The force-carbonated half of the English IPA was put on in place of the Copperhop, and the Two Hearted was replaced with the porter.

While we brewed we racked the pale ale brewed last weekend, now dubbed Colin’s Pale Ale after Benjy and Jennifer’s son, to corny kegs.  After one week the gravities were already 1.012 and 1.011, so plenty dry for kegging.  Each keg was dry hopped with 2.5 ounces of Amarillo.

The four carboys of Hophead were pitched with the starter of White Labs London Ale yeast that I started on Thursday night and had split into two flasks on Friday night when pitched into more wort.

Comments are closed.