10 November 2012

posted by benjy edwards

Today we brewed a double batch of cask beer, both from the same mash of 100% Maris Otter.  This is the grain bill for Hophead, one of our staples.  The other batch I am calling Boathouse Bitter, and like Hophead, it is a single malt, single hop (SMaSH) beer.  The hops are a new variety grown by Hopsdirect, called Belma, which are supposed to have orange and tropical fruit flavours.  They certainly smelled great when I opened the bag.

Original gravities were 1.040 on the Boathouse Bitter, and 1.041 for Hophead.  No snags encountered during the brew, but noticed the supply of foam control and whirlfloc is dwindling, so more are on order.  Both batches were hopped at the 60, 30, 15, 5, and 0 minute intervals during the boil.  After the boil, there was a short delay before the chill, as last week’s yeast was reluctant to pour from the dark mild fermenters to a couple of sanitized carboys to split the yeast between the two batches.

Speaking (or is it “writing”) of the dark mild, I racked it to corny kegs today, with no dry hop, of course.  Because of the shorter boil time, I had even more beer left than usual, so I was able to fill two gallon growlers with the extra.  After just one week, it tastes delicious.  I think the added dark crystal and brown malt only improved the recipe.   This beer is an exception that proves the rule that the simplest malt bills make the best beers.   The dark mild has no less than nine different malts.  Racking gravity was 1.014, so with a couple more points’ drop during conditioning, it should be 3.8% ABV.  A perfect autumn session ale!

Next week’s brew is scheduled to be a batch of Harvey’s Best Bitter (more recipe tweaks) and an American pale ale.

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