26 August 2009

posted by benjy edwards

We brewed a batch with our friend Brian Tuwalski, visiting for a couple of days from Portland, Oregon.  We decided on an English session ale so that it could be served at a get-together of former Ohio State rowers in a couple of weeks time.

The recipe was Bishop’s Farewell from Oakham Ales.  The malt bill was Maris Otter and wheat malt, with Northern Brewer hops for bittering and Cascade for flavour and aroma.  The target gravity was 1.041 and we reached 1.042.  The brew went without a hitch.

Since I had racked the dark mild off the yeast a week ago, there was no beer to transfer off of the yeast.  The Bishop’s Farewell began fermenting immediately and will be racked into a firkin some time next week.

19 August 2009

posted by benjy edwards

Time to rack the dark mild out of primary into a couple of corny kegs.  It only gets four days in primary because I wanted to keep the alcohol level at 3.8%, which meant catching the attenuation at 1.015 when casking it, and also to give it more time to condition so that it can be tapped when our friend Brian arrives next week from Portland, Oregon.  If we tap it when he arrives it will have had six days in the corny, that should be plenty to develop condition.

I am keeping the mild at primary fermentation temperature for now so that the remaining yeast can clean up any diacetyl.  The gravity of each half of the batch was 1.015 when racked, so with a couple of points drop in the corny it should be 3.8% ABV.  Sampling out of the primary was good, it seems that it will turn out just like the previous batch that we made.

All our corny kegs are full now, so before the next batch can be packaged we need to empty some kegs.  That should not be a problem with Brian visiting though, plus the fact that the next batch will not even be made until a week from now.  That gives us at least two weeks to free up a couple of corny kegs.

15 August 2009

posted by benjy edwards

The third batch of this yeast is the dark mild recipe I last brewed for Mild Month in May.  I liked it so much that I did not alter the recipe at all, save for adding half a pound of extra Maris Otter in the mistaken idea that our efficiency has gone down since then.  It turns out that we overshot our target gravity by four points.  Quite why it was so far off we’re not entirely sure.  We kept the boil down to an hour, and probably collected more wort during the sparge than last time, which you would think would lower the gravity, not increase it.  In any event, our actual gravity was 1.042 instead of 1.038.  In an attempt to keep the ale consistent and retain its “sessionability”, the plan is to rack it once the specific gravity reaches 1.015.  I will keep testing it as the days go on to see when it hits that mark.

Otherwise, everything else went fine.  We racked the St. Austell Tribute clone from last week to a corny and to the pin, dry-hopping each with 1.5 ounces of Willamette.  The gravity was 1.011 on one and 1.012 on the other, so they fermented well.

The next batch we brew will be with our friend Brian, who will be visiting from Portland, Oregon next week.  Not sure yet what the recipe will be.

8 August 2009

posted by benjy edwards

The second batch with this yeast culture is a new recipe for us, a clone of Tribute brewed by St. Austell in Cornwall, England.  I don’t believe I have tasted the real thing, but the rave reviews on Jim’s Homebrew Forum have convinced me to brew it.  The grist is Maris Otter, wheat, and Munich malt, and Fuggle, Willamette, and Styrian Goldings hops.  The target gravity is 1.044 and we reached 1.045.  We were one point higher than target last week as well, so we nearly have our efficiency dialed in.

The brew went smoothly, we even remembered the steep hops this time!  Perhaps to (over)compensate for forgetting them last week we allowed the steep hops to sit on the wort for 15 minutes before we began cooling the wort.  Comparing the Golden Arrow and Tribute batches might give us an idea how much the steep hops contribute to the aroma in the finished beer, as the recipes are not dissimilar.

The Golden Arrow brewed last week was racked to a couple of corny kegs, with liberal dry hopping of a couple of ounces of Willamette whole hops and an ounce of Styrian pellets in each keg.  Gravity was lower than expected for the yeast’s first fermentation, at 1.011.

1 August 2009

posted by benjy edwards

After a too-long hiatus, we’re back to brewing again.   I missed it!  Today’s batch went smoothly, except for the small matter of forgetting to add the dose of hops at the end of the boil.  I guess that’s what happens when you take time off!

The recipe today was the third batch of a clone of Golden Arrow from Cottage Brewing.  Maris Otter with half a pound of light crystal got us the correct gravity of 1.041, and we did manage to put in the Northern Brewer bittering hops and the Styrian Goldings and Willamette flavour hops with 15 minutes left.  Steve remembered to add the Whirlfloc too, which is more than I managed.

At least forgetting the steep hops should give us an insight into how much hop character they contribute when we do remember to add them.  The plan for this batch is to dry hop the cornies with more hops to compensate, but we can tell at racking time what hop aroma the beer has, if any.

Fermentation got going within 6 hours using a starter of the old standby, White Labs English ale.  There was no beer to rack this weekend, just washing the first corny keg of the Hophead clone which ran out, along with the firkin of the same beer.