2 March 2013

posted by benjy edwards

Today is the second double batch with this pitch of yeast.  Again brewing two ales from the same mash, but this time I chose to split the wort unevenly, so as to create worts of different specific gravity.  I knew that to get an OG of 1.048 for an American pale ale, I should have a pre-boil gravity of 1.040, but I thought I might get a higher mash efficiency than the spreadsheet calculated, so I opted to runoff more wort and less hot liquor into the first kettle.  Unfortunately, I overdid it rather badly, ending up with a pre-boil gravity of 1.046, and an OG post-boil of 1.057.  The effect on the other wort, a cask session bitter (clone of Golden Arrow, one of our favourites), was that I got a starting gravity of 1.032 instead of the 1.040 target.

The grist was Maris Otter and 6% English amber malt, which I chose to experiment with in place of crystal.  I hopped the American pale ale with Willamette for bittering, and additions of Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook at 20 minutes and 10 minutes remaining, then a final charge of Chinook at flameout.  I kept the hopping rate for the Golden Arrow at the usual for a 1.040 OG beer, but since the actual OG was 1.032 it will be relatively more bitter than previous batches.  I expect to notice a difference in the body and flavour as compared to previous batches, but to what extent remains to be seen.  I think differences of less than 5 gravity points are not discernible, but 8 points is a lot, especially at this low end of the scale.

Other than that mishap, the brew day went very well.  Wort clarity was excellent, and despite a brief scare with a slow runoff through the chiller for the APA, it freed up and racked ok.  With no pellets in that batch, the reason for the brief slowdown is a mystery.  I did use some pellets in the Golden Arrow, but added most of them at the end of the boil, and the percentage to whole hops was less than one-third.

When gathering the hops needed for the two recipes, I noticed that we are very low on Fuggle and Cascade, so a couple of pounds of each of those are ordered.  The two batches from last week were kegged up, dry-hopping the Hophead with Cascade and the Boathouse Bitter with Belma.  Racking gravities were low, both at 1.010.  Next week the plan is to brew a couple of dark beers from a single mash, either the hoppy brown ale or an old ale, combined with a milk stout.

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