27 May 2012

posted by benjy edwards

Today’s double batch went smoothly, proving yet again that it is possible to produce twenty gallons in under an hour more than it takes to make ten.  The recipes were an American Pale Ale and another attempt at the Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter clone.  The latter beer, brewed two weeks ago, showed signs of great promise as a clone when sampled from the fermenter, but the earthy hoppiness has faded after conditioning.  This may be partly due to dry-hopping the kegs with Goldings and Willamette, when I probably should have used Fuggle. In any event, the beer is not bitter enough, so today’s version has more bittering hops, plus greater additions of Fuggle throughout the boil, including a new 30-minute addition.

Of course both ales were brewed from the same mash, a grist of Maris Otter and light and medium English crystal malts.  The APA was run off first, it being the bigger beer of the two, but also for the fact that I added five ounces of pale chocolate to the mash after the APA wort was collected, in order to achieve the correct colour for the Harvey’s Best.  Original gravity of 1.055 for the APA was higher than I projected, but I’m glad of that, as the lower gravity pale ales served via the co2 faucets tend to be a bit too light in body.  The hops are Nugget for bittering, and a combination of Amarillo and Columbus throughout the rest of the boil.  I haven’t combined the two hops before, but the aroma from the kettle was wonderful, so I have high hopes for the beer.  I may dry hop one of the kegs with Nugget as an experiment, since Glenn Tinseth has said that it works well, despite Nugget having the historical reputation only as a bittering hop.

The Harvey’s wort was collected and boiled about half an hour after the APA, and received over a pound of hops in the kettle (Challenger for bittering, Fuggles and East Kent Goldings later).  Harvey’s uses Progress and Bramling Cross in addition to Fuggles and Goldings, but they are difficult to obtain in the US.  I did find both varieties in pellet form, but they hadn’t arrived in time for this batch.  OG on the Best is 1.040.  Both batches were chilled after a 20 minute rest on the knockout hops.

The four fermenters brewed last week needed to be kegged, so the Hophead kegs got two ounces each of Cascade, and the Batham’s Best Bitter kegs were dry-hopped with Fuggle.  The specific gravity of both batches was 1.014 when kegged.  I will sample the Batham’s next weeked to see the effect of Fuggle as a dry-hop, which will shed light on how that hop will affect the Harvey’s if added to the keg.  I may dry-hop one keg of Harvey’s with Fuggle and omit the dry-hop in the other, to see which one better preserves the earthiness found in the previous batch of Harvey’s that showed early promise, only for that character to fade by the time the kegs were tapped.

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