2 June 2012

posted by benjy edwards

Today was the last batch with this culture of yeast, as I will be out of town for the next three weekends.  After having resupplied the cask ales, it is time to make some higher gravity beer.  Since I wanted to make 20 gallons, this called for using the 26 gallon kettle as a mash tun.  A couple of months ago I had made the mash filter manifold from copper pipe and stainless steel hose braid, and today was its first test.  It passed with flying colours, producing clear wort on the first recirculation.

The recipes were the second batch of the Firestone Walker Double Jack Imperial IPA and another version of the Boathouse IPA, this time hopped with Nugget, Cascade, and Summit.  A pound of Centennial pellets arrived yesterday, so I was able to brew the Double Jack with Cascade and Centennial as the late hops, with Columbus for bittering.  The mash was 66 pounds of domestic 2-row, Maris Otter, and light crystal, which at a mash thickness of one quart per pound, filled the mash tun to its maximum.  I hoped to get original gravities of 1.080 and 1.065, which I think was possible, although some inattention to the rate of sparge during wort collection caused some of the first runnings to be lost in a spillover of the mash tun as the incoming water ran over the top of the kettle.  The actual original gravities ended up being 1.082 for the Double IPA and 1.060 for the IPA, which is fine.

The Double IPA fermentation took off rapidly, and late at night, despite further additions of antifoam, both airlocks had blown off the fermenters and there was a large pool of wort on the floor in the morning.  One of the IPA fermenters also lost its airlock.  I fermented those for a day without any airlocks, and by Sunday night the activity had subsided enough to replace them.

The two batches brewed last week were kegged and dry-hopped, except for half of the Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter.  I’m still trying to achieve the characteristic earthiness of the Harvey’s Best, and I think Fuggle is the correct hop, but the freshness of the dry hop may interfere with the hop flavour derived from the boil.  Comparing the two kegs should shed light on this theory.  The Boathouse Pale Ale was dry hopped with Nugget in one keg and Columbus in the other.  Gravities on the pale ale were 1.014 and 1.012 for the bitter.