5 November 2016

posted by benjy edwards

Today it is Bonfire Night in England, in celebration of Guy Fawkes Day.  Here in America, it is Teach Someone to Homebrew Day.  We are brewing today, but not teaching.  The recipe is a new one for us, an attempt to brew Fuller’s 1845, a bottle-conditioned English old ale for which a lot of professional brewers have respect.  Since we use the Fuller’s yeast strain for almost all of our beer, that certainly can’t hurt.

The grist is Maris Otter, English medium crystal, biscuit, melanoidin, Special B, and a touch of chocolate malt.  Target gravity is 1.064 and an ABV of 6.4%.  Our pre-boil gravity was correct, after having re-calibrated the refractometer since the last few brews have hit our OG but the pre-boil readings were way off.  It turns out that a fraction of a Plato error near zero (distilled water) translates to several points when reading original gravities.

Using our new bench pH meter, we got great mash and sparge liquor measurements, after adding more lactic acid than we have in the past.  The mash pH was 5.46, right in the range, and the hot liquor is 5.87, very close to the 5.80 ideal.

While the mash rested for 30 minutes, we kegged up the Citra pale ale brewed six days ago.  The gravity had dropped down to 1.010, so the yeast is attenuating well now.  Tasting this beer reminds me of why I love Citra so much.  Lovely hop.  Both kegs were dry-hopped with two ounces of Citra.  We force-carbonated one keg and are going to cask condition the other one.

Back to the old ale: the rest of the brew went well, the colour looked right when the kettle was full, so no adjustment was necessary.  When milling the malt it appeared very light in colour, but it shows what a small amount of chocolate malt makes, driving the colour from pale to brown.  The wort was bittered with a large charge of EKG since it is only 3.7% alpha, with a smaller amount of East Kent Goldings at fifteen minutes.  The gravity turned out to be 1.060, so the boil may not have been quite vigorous enough, but if we get good attenuation from out 150F mash temperature, we might reach the target 6.4% ABV.

We are still undecided on whether to use this yeast one more time, but if we do so, it is likely to be an IPA of some description.  Perhaps some domestic two-row, wheat, and either Munich or Vienna along with some great hops, such as Mosaic, Simcoe, Chinook, and Citra.  I also have some hop extract that I could use to cut down on the mass of whole cone hops in the boil.  I bought another pound of Cashmere recently after brewing a SMASH beer of our Hophead but using Cashmere instead of Cascade.  It’s a great hop.

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