23 September

posted by benjy edwards

I had to skip two weeks of brewing due to travel, so today was my first chance to reuse the yeast first pitched back on the second of September.  The weekend after that I racked half of each carboy of the Hophead to a pin cask so I could take it on the trip, and today the carboys are still half full.  I racked the rest of each off to a corny keg, dry-hopping both the cask and the corny with 2 ounces of Centennial.  Gravity was down to 1.012 and it was quite tasty.  I prefer the Hophead brewed with Cascade, but the Boadicea kettle hops were an interesting change.

On to today’s recipe, another batch of our dark mild.  The malt bill is Maris Otter, dark Crystal I and II from Fawcett, pale chocolate, chocolate, flaked oats, brown malt, and the slightest hint of peated malt.  Target gravity is 1.042, but we reached 1.045.  Everything went smoothly, and quickly, because we managed to set a new record for a full all-grain batch: less than 3.5 hours for the entire process.  Sticking with the 30 minute mash and the usual 60 minute boil for this beer, we saved additional time by only using one wort recirculation before collecting into the kettle and also starting the boil before all of the wort had been collected.  The bittering hops were added at 45 minutes, Bramling Cross for about 25 IBUs.  The only changes from the last batch was to increase the pale chocolate and chocolate malts for a bit more roastiness.

The plan is to brew again next weekend, probably another cask beer such as a best bitter.  Then for the rest of this yeast culture, we need IPAs, perhaps a single and a double IPA.  The 8% Citra double IPA based on Kern River Citra Double IPA would be a good option.

2 September 2017

posted by benjy edwards

After a break of almost four months, it’s past due time to get back to brewing.  The weather has been great this summer, so I suppose it’s as good a time as any to have a break, but there’s a reunion of my rowing teammates in two weeks, and I’ve been asked to supply some beer.

The recipe is Hophead, but with a different hop than Cascade.  I’ve had a pound of Boadicea whole hops on hand for a while now, so I’m using it here, along with a grist of simply Maris Otter.  Despite being out of practice in making beer, the brew day went very well, with the only omission being that of taking a pre-boil gravity.  It did not matter though, since we achieved an original gravity of 1.042, just a tad higher than target.  We also managed to keep the session to less than 4 hours, helped by the fact that we didn’t need to rack any beer.

Because of the hot summer temperatures, the wort chiller only got the wort down to 86F or so, so I chilled the carboys for a few hours before pitching the yeast, which was a smack pack of Wyeast 1968 that I started on Thursday and fed with more wort on Friday night.  It was nice and active by Sunday morning and there were even signs of fermentation late Saturday night, despite pitching later than usual.

I need to rack this batch next Saturday so it has time to condition for the trip to the reunion on the Oregon coast, and I’ll try to brew another batch for the yeast, but I may need to do that on Sunday since the bike racing team party is on Saturday at my house.  Recipe ideas are for another cask ale, as usual, perhaps Landlord or Harvey’s best bitter.