19 May 2012

posted by benjy edwards

The second brew day from this run of yeast is a couple of weeks after the first, since I was back in Columbus, Ohio last weekend for a quick trip to visit friends, family, and take in a convenient real ale festival.  Today’s brew is a double batch, the ever-popular Hophead and the second crack at Batham’s Best Bitter. I  tried to get the gravities slightly different in the two batches, and in fact I succeeded, but with a lower volume on the Hophead than the Batham’s.  The Hophead turned in an OG of 1.040, right on target, and the Batham’s Best was 1.044, which was higher than intended, although close to the specified 1.045 of  the recipe.

Hops were all Cascade in the Hophead and Fuggle and Challenger for bittering in the Batham’s, with East Kent Goldings later for flavour and aroma.  Double batch days are always busy, but this one rolled off without a hitch.  The two primaries containing the Harvey’s Best were racked (see next paragraph) and the yeast from those split into another two fermenters.  I’m still experimenting with the minerals in the brewing liquor, having decreased the amount of gypsum in an attempt to lower the dryness of the beer, but upon sampling the Harvey’s I think perhaps the gypsum is not the cause of the astringency.  Maybe it’s either the calcium chloride or the epsom salts.  Mash pH is not a likely problem.  I’m leaning towards the minerals added during the boil as the issue.

I also racked the Harvey’s Best from two weeks ago, and upon sampling from the primary I am happy to see that it resembles Harvey’s.  It has that same resinous earthy hoppiness, though not to the extent of the original.  I thought I’d hopped it very generously, but I think it needs an even heavier hand with the hops to achieve a true clone.  Gravities on the two fermenters varied quite a bit – 1.016 and 1.013, not sure why that is.  We’ll see how it conditions; I seem to always find that the samples from primary are quite different than the finished product.

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