21 May 2017

posted by benjy edwards

No brewing today, but we needed to keg the IPA we brewed last week.  Each corny was dry-hopped with an ounce of Simcoe and an ounce of Chinook, and force-carbonated.  I was surprised to see that the gravity had dropped down to 1.008, which is very low.  This is no doubt due to the low 149F mash temperature and the malt bill, which was just two-row, pilsner, and Vienna.  The beer is very light in colour, clear, and has great hop aroma and flavour.  This one turned out really well!  With the 1.062 OG and low finishing gravity, this IPA is going to be almost 7.5% ABV.

We’ll take a break for a while and then resume brewing when we’ve got 6 or 8 empty kegs.

14 May 2017

posted by benjy edwards

Today’s batch is an IPA, no surprise there.  It is a different recipe, however, one based on a recent find which I much enjoyed, the IPA from Saint Archer.  It is a typical San Diego style IPA, very crisp, clean, and dry.  From the colour, it appears likely to be only pale malt, so our malt bill is the last 10 pounds of domestic two-row that we had, plus 13.5 pounds of Best pilsner malt, and four pounds of Vienna.  The mash temp was 149F and since we are running low on propane, the strike and sparge liquor were heated by our heatstick and by boiling water on the stove, sparing the last of the propane for the boil.  This worked well, provided one remembers to start first thing in the morning.

During the mash rest, we kegged up the Fuller’s 1845, which despite its day and a half lag and having been brewed on Monday, attenuated down to 1.012, so it will be about 6.5% ABV.  This beer is not dry-hopped, and we force carbonated both kegs since at that strength it is certainly not a session beer.  The colour is a chestnut brown and has a delightful malt flavour.

Once that was done, the wort was recirculated a couple of times and then collected for the boil.  The boil went well, with no boilovers even considering the massive quantities of hops chucked in.  We used Columbus, Simcoe, Chinook, Centennial, and Citra throughout the boil and added a pound of cane sugar at the end.  The target gravity was 1.062 and we reached 1.060.

The total brew day time was four hours, which is quite quick considering we still use a 90 minute boil.  One technique we’ve been doing recently is starting the boil before all the wort is collected, and basing the boil time on when it first boils.  This means that we’re adding the sixty minute hops soon after the full volume is collected.

It is unlikely that we will use this yeast for a sixth time, since we only have 3 empty kegs and 2 of those will be used for the IPA we made today.

8 May 2017

posted by benjy edwards

I had planned to brew on Sunday, 7 May, but the weather was really nice so I took the opportunity to ride my bike.  That should have meant skipping this week, but on Monday my son Owen needed to go to the eye doctor unexpectedly, so after that I had the afternoon to brew.  I enjoyed the Fuller’s 1845 clone we made a while back, so today is the second batch of it.  I had to revise the malt bill somewhat since we were out of Special B and melanoidin, so I used Fawcett’s 120L dark crystal in place of the former and kiln amber in place of the latter.  We will see what those changes do to the beer.  There were no problems during the brew day, but later on it surprised me that we had such a long lag before the yeast began fermenting.

The previous batch was up to 75F at the end of fermentation, and of course I did not want to begin the Fuller’s at the temperature, so the pitching temp was reduced to 65F.  That must have caused the yeast to go dormant, because after 24 hours there was still no activity.  Finally, on Wednesday morning, 36 hours later, the yeast was active.  I had started to think there was something really wrong, so I increased the temperature to 68F on Tuesday and by Wednesday morning the yeast had bumped it up to 69F.  Perhaps having brewed on Saturday last week and not until Monday this week, the extra two days also contributed to the yeast going to sleep.

We also kegged the IPA from last week, which was tasting very nice already.  We dry-hopped each keg with an ounce of Citra and an ounce of Chinook, and the gravity was already down to 1.011.  Clarity was also very good, proving that this Thames yeast does flocculate well.  Next weekend we will brew another IPA, I’m thinking something similar to Saint Archer IPA, a very dry, crisp, and hoppy West Coast IPA from San Diego.