23 April 2017

posted by benjy edwards

Happy St. George’s Day!  All week I’ve been monitoring the Thames yeast as it ferments the Simcoe-hopped cask beer, and I was pleasantly surprised to see near the end of the week that it was clearing nicely.  Not quite the amazing flocculation of the Fuller’s yeast, but very good nonetheless.

Today’s recipe is another cask beer: once again an attempt to reach something close to Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter.  I hadn’t changed the recipe at all, except to include a bit of East Kent Goldings in place of some of the Bramling Cross.  This week I was sure to use filtered water for all of the brewing liquor, and encountered no problems during the brew day until it came time to chill the wort.  At first I noticed a lot of bubbles in the line from the kettle to the chiller, which is very unusual.  I made sure all of the hose connections were secure, but the problem persisted.  It got worse when the flow slowed, then almost stopped.  I had no choice but to sanitize a spoon and scrape off some hops from the kettle screen.  This solved the flow problem, but I had to do it once or twice again to keep it going.  I only used four ounces of the total pound hops as pellets, so I don’t know if that was too muc or if it was the seeds contained in the Bramling Cross whole hops that were blocking the screen.

In any event, it only caused a 15 minute delay in the brew day, so all in all not much bother.  The original gravity turned out to be 1.043 instead of the target 1.040, so perhaps the boil was a bit strong, since we ended up just shy of 5.5 gallons in each fermenter.

While the mash was proceeding, we kegged up the Simcoe version of Hophead.  Clarity was indeed very good, and the yeast attenuated to 1.012 in one carboy and 1.011 in the other.  Best of all, the beer tasted great, with no sign of any ill effects from the chlorinated liquor.  Both were racked to kegs with two ounces each of Simcoe and left to condition at room temperature.

Next week will either be an IPA or a second batch of the Fuller’s 1845 which turned out so well the first time we brewed it.  Also in the works are another IPA, and if we stretch the yeast to a sixth batch, perhaps a double IPA.

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