17 April 2010

posted by benjy edwards

We are continuing with the weekly brewing and use of the English Ale yeast culture.  During the last brew cycle we made a batch of old ale using Harvey’s Sussex XXXX Old Ale as the guide, and I wanted to try it again with some changes to see if we could get closer to the real thing.  I increased the amount of crystal malt, up to what Harvey’s has said they use (one-sixth of the grist), and also added a bit more black treacle to the boil.  To make it darker, we used more black malt and added a couple of ounces of debittered black malt as well.   For the first batch I used less crystal because I was concerned how sweet it might be, but it definitely needs more sweetness, maltiness, colour.   The original beer has a great raisin or prune flavour to it.

Target gravity was 1.046 and we reached 1.049, despite reducing the pale malt from the last batch to try to compensate for using more crystal and treacle.  The colour is definitely darker, but not sure if it’s as dark as it should be.  We’ll see after fermentation and the yeast clears out.

We vented the pin of JHB and tapped it.  Despite very little gas when venting it, it has nice condition and a bright hop aroma and flavour from the Mt. Hood.  The Brewer’s Gold batch brewed last week was racked to a couple of corny kegs, one dry-hopped with the remaining Brewer’s Gold pellets and the other with Goldings whole hops.  Gravity was down to 1.012 on each fermenter.

Earlier this week I put up the twine for the hops to climb up, and on brew day the shoots are about 2.5 feet high.  We continue to water them with the water coming out of the wort chiller.

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