Saturday, March 17, 2012

AG#10 Own recipe Amber all grain home brew - part 3

I've been a bit crap with photos recently and I forgot to update about the day after my brew day for this beer until now.

I pitched the yeast the next morning and wow what a difference getting a good starter going makes, it kicked of within a couple of hours and by tea time (and for the first time) the fermentation blew the lid off my fermenter and filled the airlock with crud.

A quick clean up and I re-sealed the lid.

4 days on it had fermented down to 1,012 and a couple of days later it hadn't dropped any further so I racked it off to secondary with 15g of Bramling Cross hops to dry hop until I get round to bottling it, some time next week.

Early taste notes, very dry but pleasant. Nice full malty flavour and I am pleased with the hopping so far. Thanks again to PDTNC for suggesting I up my original hopping amounts.

I'm looking forward to trying it after a couple of weeks bottle conditioning.

Next on the list, maybe tomorrow depending on if I can be bothered to set all my gear up again (it's becoming a bit of a pain in the proverbial not having a dedicated set up area, there's a lot of kit to hump about and clean out, sterilize etc and I'm always in someone's way), is going to be another batch of the Courage Directors I brewed for my second ever all grain beer.

I have got some speciality malts to get a dunkel weissen type on the go but I'm waiting for a yeast culture I claimed from a bottle of Chimay to increase in quantity a bit before I brew it.

I also want to get a batch of Tim Taylors Landlord on the go having got hold of a large Wyeast smack pack of the (supposedly) same yeast TT use. From what I've been reading on various forums it's a bit like rocking horse shite to get hold of in the UK so, check out brouwland if you want some Wyeast 1469 WEST YORKSHIRE ALE, unfortunately their shitty frames based website design makes it aukward to link to product pages directly.

Oh well, back to it. I'll get some pics of the amber beer taken soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

AG#10 All Grain own recipe Amber - part 2

Continued from part 1 all grain own recipe Amber malt beer... EDIT Pics added and a bit more text.

Well I'm about half way through the boil now and after some good advice from a fellow brewer via Twitter and a couple of comments on part 1 I have altered my hopping schedule.

Scum forming prior to rolling boil. As usual, I skimmed this off before adding the bittering hops.
All of the bittering hops went in at the start of the boil and I have weighed out an additional 50g of Bramling Cross to add in at flame out.

Rolling boil and bittering hops in.
The wort run off from my homemade mash tun smelled and tasted really nice and the OG before boil was 1,045. I ended up without about 27.5 litres of wort in the copper and with the reduced boil time of 60mins evaporation losses will be less than usual so I should end up with around the 23l target volume. I think it is going to be higher than the intended OG so I may have to add some freshwater which means I'll run the risk of being over volume for the size of my fermenting bin so I'll split the surplus into a smaller vessel if need be.

Spent grains which will be making their way into some home made bread and what's left, to the Chickens.
EDIT post boil. I ended up with just over 20l almost 21l and on checking the gravity and allowing for the high temperature got a gravity of 1.052 OUCH!!! So as I'm letting this cool overnight I'll test the OG again tomorrow at room temp (just in case adjustments due to temp aren't bang on) before deciding whether or not to add freshwater to bring that gravity down towards the original target 1.043 - 1.045

Flameout and in goes the 56g of Bramling Cross, lovely smells coming straight off. Quite an impressive amount of break material churning around considering I didn't use my chiller.
EDIT post boil: The aroma hops steeped for 30 minutes before I ran the wort off and sealed it up to finish cooling.

I'll be letting this brew cool overnight rather than using my immersion chiller for various reasons but after it's cooled enough in the copper I'll run it of to FV and seal it up ready to pitch my yeast tomorrow.

I've set up my water bath and aquarium heater and set it to temperature ready to plonk the fermenting bin in tomorrow after the yeast goes in.

See you in part 3...

AG#10 All Grain own recipe Amber - part 1

I've just doughed in and have 90 minutes or so to get some work done (one of the perks of working from home) and begin reporting my first brewday of 2012 on here.

As I mentioned previously I ended up with a surplus of Amber malt and have been looking for ways to use some of it up. Having found a blog post mentioning use of up to 20% Amber malt in a brew I thought I'd give it a go using a much higher quantity than I've previously used.

My first attempt at a 100% own recipe beer:

I'm going to stick with my 90 minute mash schedule but drop my boil time down to 60 minutes a) to save gas and (b) it's still pretty cool outside so I'm expecting a fair bit of condensation :(

Target volume: 23l
Target OG: ? No idea, we'll just have to see but somewhere around 1,050 will be cool (edit: I hit 1.052 but that was almost 2 litres below target volume so with fresh water top up it will be less and, if I can find the bloody calculator for top up amounts, it may well end up around the 1.043 I was told via Twitter to expect).

Grain Bill
Maris Otter Pale Malt - 3.4kg
Amber Malt - 900g
Torrefied Wheat - 250g

The obligatory grain bill shot.
Hops - chosen based on fruity tones (to my nose anyway) to compliment the biscuity, Amber malt.
Challenger - 14g
Northern Brewer - 14g
Bramling Cross - 14g (EDIT plus 50g as recommended on Twitter by @pdtnc)

Lovely hops.
Hop addition timings
Challenger & Northern Brewer: 60 mins
64g Bramling Cross: Flameout with a 20-30 minute steep before cooling. (EDIT altered hopping by adding a further 50g BC after advice on Twitter - see comments below)

Dry Hopping
5g of each of the above in a muslin bag.

Finings, Irish Moss and yeast, 1 sachet of Safale S04 rehydrated and kicked off in a 2l starter of pale malt wort 2 days ago.

I've split the hop additions during the boil to (in my theory and probably why I've seen it done elsewhere) get loads of bitterness from the first additions, less from the secondary but some flavour/aroma. We'll see, it might make no difference. (EDIT altered hopping by adding a further 50g BC after advice on Twitter and putting all bittering hops in at start of boil to offset the sweetness of Amber malt - see comments below)

I chose the hops because to me they smell fruity which is something I want to compliment the biscuit flavours I've found in other beers using Amber malt. Fruity biscuits, what can be wrong with that?

I mashed in with 12l of liquor (20 minutes remaining on mash as I type) which is more than previous volumes that have been around 10. My last brew was a real struggle to dough in with just 10 litres and this time was much easier with a lot less dough balls to break up without pounding the mash to oblivion.

I am also going to batch sparge after I've run off the first wort this time rather than use my spray bar system. again, just to see and it's one less thing to clean afterwards.

See you in part two of my first own recipe all grain homebrew...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First all grain brew of 2012

Well, after a reasonably short winter the temperatures in the house are once again stable enough for me to think about getting a brew on. Don't get me wrong I haven't been sat here shivering but the temp throughout the day varies a lot when relying on a wood burner for primary heating.

When I can afford the luxury of a temp controlled fermentation cupboard plus a place to keep bottled beers warm to prime, the weather won't be such an issue.

So, after too long a break from brewing and worse still having run out of great beer I've dug all my equipment out of the barn, cleaned it up and got it ready for a brew day tomorrow.

I have had a lovely 30kg sack of malts delivered from the superb Malt Miller based in the UK and so it begins.

What to brew? I am torn right now between a traditional English bitter and a German Dunkel Weissen ... I've been culturing a lovely Belgian yeast from a bottle of Chimay over the winter but I think first job is to get a batch of quaffing bitter on the go.

So, I'm having a go at an own recipe idea based largely on the fact I still have an excess of Amber malt. I've been using Amber malt in some recipes now but only in small quantities so for this one I'm going for the maximum of 20% of the grain bill.

75%Pale malt, 20% Amber malt and 5% Torrefied wheat to hopefully help with a nice, thick head.

Hops are going to be Challenger, Northern brewer for bittering and Bramling Cross for aroma.

As the first two are dual purpose I shall also be dry hopping with a few grams of all three.

I'll be using Safale SO4 and I think I might have a go at batch sparging rather than using my spray bar this time. We'll see.

Ok, so that's that for now, watch this space for the brew day.