29 October 2011

posted by benjy edwards

It has been a while since we made a clone of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, one of my favourite midwest beers.  Having three-quarters of a pound of newly-harvested Centennial grown in Portland by my friend Brian certainly helps.  The malt is Maris Otter, light crystal, Vienna, and carapils, and the hops are entirely Centennial.  The target gravity is 1.058, we reached 1.059 with 25 pounds in the mash.  The bittering addition was with commercial Centennial, with all later flavour and aroma additions except for the last one from the homegrown hops.

The pale ale brewed a week ago was racked to corny kegs and dry-hopped with more Citra.  Right out of the primary it tasted fabulous, although not attenuated as much as expected.  This no doubt was due to the cold snap we had earlier in the week, which affects the fermentation even when using a temperature-controlled fridge.  The initial cooling of the wort in the fridge was switched later than it should have to heating mode.  One keg was force-carbonated and the other left alone to condition naturally.  At 5.3% it should be a nice American pale ale on the handpump.

Next week is the annual Christmas ale, based on Great Lakes’ famed seasonal of the same name.

22 October 2011

posted by benjy edwards

Today we brewed another batch of Boathouse pale ale, but with a hop variety that we’ve never tried before. I’ve heard good things about Citra and like the couple of beers I have tasted, and the hops smelled great during the brew, quite similar to Simcoe.

The malt is Maris Otter, crystal 55, carapils, Vienna, and kiln amber. Target gravity was 1.054, actual was 1.055. The hops were a combination of Citra and Cascade, with Chinook for bitterness. The brew went smoothly, and no doubt this batch will be dubbed Colin’s pale ale since we made it on his fifth birthday.

I also racked the Hophead from last week off odd the yeast, into a couple of corny kegs. The gravities were 1.013 and 1.012, both dry-hopped with the single hop in the recipe, Cascade. Next week’s batch is the Two Hearted clone.

15 October 2011

posted by benjy edwards

This week’s batch is Hophead, a clone of a fantastic hoppy golden ale from a great brewery in Sussex, England – Dark Star.  I’ve been lucky enough to have this beer on draught in a few pubs there, as well as a tour of the brewery by the head brewer himself, who helped me with the clone recipe.  As with many great beers, the recipe itself is dead simple – one hop (Maris Otter) and one hop (Cascade).  Target OG is 1.040, we reached 1.041 today.  The brew went well, and I have hopes that the yeast issues I’ve had with a couple of previous batches may be resolved after having thoroughly cleaned the inside of the ball valve on the boil kettle last night.

I used combination of commercial Cascade (bittering and flavour) and homegrown Cascade (aroma), grown by my friend Brian in Portland.  The Landlord clone from last week was racked to a couple of corny kegs.  Gravities were 1.014 on the half dry-hopped with Styrian Goldings, and 1.013 on the half which was dry-hopped with Styrians and Willamette.

For an upcoming batch I’m thinking of brewing both Fuller’s London Pride and ESB, ten gallons of each at the same time.  I can use the parti-gyle method and with some creative use of the HLT as a second boil kettle, I think I can do the double batch in the time it takes to do a single batch, plus an hour to two hours, staggering the boils so as to do back-to-back chilling of each wort.  Other upcoming batches are a clone of Two-Hearted ale, a double IPA, and our annual Christmas ale.

8 October 2011

posted by benjy edwards

I grabbed a smack pack of Wyeast 1968 a couple of days ago, in place of my customary White Labs WLP002, and I made a starter on Friday night.  I wanted to make another batch of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, which was the final batch of the last run of the WLP002.  It didn’t turn out as I hoped, either from mutation of the yeast due to excessive heat or microflora from the summer air.  I used the last of the Styrian Goldings to crank up the IBUs on this batch to almost 40.  I supplemented with some Willamette as well.

The malt bill is unchanged from the previous batch, except for a reduction of the pale malt by half a pound so as to get closer to the target gravity.  OG turned out to be 1.042, which was spot on.  No issues during the brew, and it was great to hang out with my old friend Brian from Portland and a new neighbour, Jim, and his son.  There was no previous batch to rack, so we just handled the brew as we sampled lots of cask ale and enjoyed a dry fall day.