Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Brewday: Glasshouse Porter

This evening I brewed a 25L batch of Glasshouse Porter. Thanks to fellow home brewer John for the recipe.

Grain Bill
4450gm Pale Malt (Fawcett MO) 74%
720gm Crystal Malt 12%
360gm Torrified Wheat 6%
300gm Chocolate Malt 4.5%
220gm Roasted Barley Grain 3.5%
Hop Schedule
40gm Challenger 6.8% (90 min) ~25 EBU
42gm Fuggles 4% (15 min) ~7 EBU
26gm Challenger 6.8%] (5 min) ~3 EBU

1 Whirlfloc at 10 min

Fermenting with Safale s04

The brew went well and I ended up with 25L of pitch black wort at 1.058 so this one should be 5.8% - 6.0% - It might even be good to go for Christmas week.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Something to put away for Christmas

I like Christmas it's for the kids really and it's great watching them enjoy everything about the festive season, for me though when they have flaked out and gone to bed from a cocktail of over excitement, loads of racing around and loads of food I want to sit down with a good 'fireside' pint, some walnuts or some cheese and put my feet up.

This year thanks to fellow all grain brewer John, who's blog you must read (here) this Christmas my dark beer will be 'Glasshouse Porter' I knew as soon as I tasted and reviewed this beer that I'd have to brew it so tomorrow I am!

I have scaled & rounded the recipe up from 23L to 25L and replaced the First Gold with Challenger due to availability, this is what I'll be going with:

Grain Bill
4450gm Pale Malt (Fawcett MO) 74%
720gm Crystal Malt 12%
360gm Torrified Wheat 6%
300gm Chocolate Malt 4.5%
220gm Roasted Barley Grain 3.5%
Hop Schedule
40gm Challenger 6.8% (90 min) ~25 EBU
42gm Fuggles 4% (15 min) ~7 EBU
26gm Challenger 6.8%] (5 min) ~3 EBU

1 Whirlfloc at 10 min

Fermenting with Safale s04 (DFS stylee)

Target OG 1.053 at 75% BHE
Target EBU ~35
25L Batch
90 min 68 deg C Mash
90 min Boil

Monday, 19 November 2007

Beer Labels & Bottling

I have decided this evening that I hate (with a passion) bottling beer, I'm no good at it, it annoys me removing labels and sterilising and rinsing the damn things, it's a necessary evil though as in a couple of days I will be posting my beer out for review by other craft brewers. The brew that I bottled is Big Kenny Scottish Ale (x8 bottled - the rest I will keg) it had finished fermenting and was sat at 1.012, making it a quaffable 4.4% beer - good for mid-week Christmas drinking I think.

A sample at bottling is encouraging, lots of complex malt flavours with an a bitterness that I am happy with.

So that these bottles do not go out 'naked' I have spent an hour knocking up a couple of labels, one for this and one for Hookey Street.

Tomorrow I will be preparing for a Wednesday evening brew, I'll be brewing Johns Glasshouse porter. - Looking forward to it.

* Apologies for the label image quality, they don't seem to like being converted from Powerpoint to JPEG's

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Evening Brew - Big Kenny Scottish Ale

Tonight I brewed a Scottish Ale and have named it after one of our relatives from Glasgow who sadly recently passed away.

25L batch
90 min mash (67degC) & boil
Based on BHE 75%
Target OG 1.044

4800gm Pale Malt (Fawcetts MO) Grain 97%
70gm Crystal Malt Grain 1.5%
50gm Roasted Barley Grain 1%
25gm Chocolate Malt Grain 0.5%
80.00 gm Fuggles [4.00 %] (90 min) Hops 31.4 IBU
20.00 gm Styrian Goldings [3.30 %] (15 min) Hops 3.0 IBU
20.00 gm Styrian Goldings [3.30 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 min) Misc

Fermented using Safale s04

Brew Review - Glasshouse Porter

This evening I have been lucky enough to get to sample/review a beer which had been posted to me by a fellow homebrewer; John. The beer in question was his Glasshouse Porter.

It travelled very well, to say that it was bottled straight from Keg it kept it's life extremely well. It was a lovely coloured beer deep brown/red.

Great tightly beaded head which stayed to the end, I got lots of strong coffee and dark chocolate flavour a great big dry/malty aftertaste which lingers. Some hop aroma but not overdone, just about right for this beer I would say. Bitterness was perfect too. I'd describe this as a BIG beer.

I'd pay good money for this and will be brewing it myself - well done that man.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Kegged - Lions Pride & Hookey Street - Amarillo musings

Tonight I kegged the 2 brews that I did last week, the kit brew Milestone - Lions Pride started at 1042 and finished at 1012 so thats a 4.0% abv beer and the all grain brew 'Hookey Street' that I brewed last monday went from 1048 to 1010 so thats a nice 5.1% abv. Just got to wait a few weeks for them to condition...luvly jubbly!

I'll be brewing again this week using Amarillo hops but haven't settled on a recipe just yet. One of my favourite bottled beers Darwin Brewery - Rolling Hitch IPA uses them, it's a citrus, spicy orange flavour hop I think i'll do a version of a beer I did a while ago (Toecutters Twist) but just replace the Styrians with Amarillo. Brewnight will probably be Tuesday this week.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

A brew from a fellow All Grain Homebrewer

This evening I had the pleasure of sampling a bottle of Porter which a fellow all-grain brewer sent to me by post. Here is what I made of it : To say that this was bottled from keg upon opening the cap there was a pleasing 'Hish!' which meant that the master brewer of this beer had done the business and it had travelled well and kept its carbonation, the bottle had been filled within a 1cm of the rim which I think helped. The immediate aroma was one of sweet coffee, when poured it had a nice head, much better than most commercial bottled beers, the picture above doesn't do it justice it had fallen by the time i'd fannied around with the camera. The beer is lovely and clear (when held to the light) very deep dark red/black. It was well carbonated, a little too much initially for my taste, but hey who am I! The flavours I got were a sweet coffee/liquorice a slightly dry aftertaste the flavour really lingers, I have a feeling i'm going to have this one in my throat in the morning. It tastes very 'clean' though and has a definate kick, but at 6.5% thats no surprise.

All in all, if this were a commercial bottled beer i'd buy it on a reasonably regular basis, it's a good old fireside pint this.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Monday Night Brewing

To try to get a good balance between family time, work and brewing I decided to have a go at an evening brew last night, with a bit of preparation the day before I was able to switch the boiler on at 5.45pm and dough in by 6.20pm.

After the excellent results I had with Hookey Street I decided that I had to brew it again, there are two changes from the last time I did this, the first is the bittering hop, using Oregon Fuggle rather than Northdown (as I forgot to pick them up) the second is the addition of Cara-Pils to aid head formation/retention.

Grain Bill
5000.00 gm Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC) Grain 90.3 %
410.00 gm Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (19.7 EBC) Grain 7.4 %
130.00 gm Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC) Grain 2.3 %
260.00 gm Cara-Pils (3.9 EBC) Grain 4.4 %
Hop Schedule
70.00 gm Oregon Fuggle [4.70%] (90 min) Hops 30.1 IBU
20.00 gm Styrian Goldings [3.00%] (15 min) Hops 2.6 IBU
20.00 gm Styrian Goldings [3.00%] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (10 mins)
11g Gervin English Ale yeast starter

25L Batch
Target OG 1052 (75%)
Estimated EBU 31

The brew evening was a success with the yeast pitched and all put away by 11:40pm I missed my target OG by 4 points and ended up with 1.048 rather that 1.052 so it will be a 4.8% beer rather than a 5.3% beer, I can live with that, I think that I rushed the sparge so next time on an evening brew I'll up the grain bill to accommodate for the brewhouse efficiency drop (75% to 69%)

This morning the yeast seemed slow to start but by the time I got home this evening it was well on it's way. Monday night brewing it is from now on then!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Milestone - Lions Pride

As time is tight at the moment I've started to mix kits brews into the schedule along with all grain brews to make sure I've got a healthy stock of available ale. As I've also managed to lure a couple of friends into having a go at home brew I thought I'd try to document a kit brew as best I can.

I've gone for a Milestone - Lions Pride kit which is fairly new on the market and certainly wasn't around when I was last brewing from kits before going all grain.

The blurb reads

The lion is the symbol of power,courage and confidence and also acknowledged as the king of the jungle. As the box shows the 3 lions have long been used as a crest for the Kings and Queens of Europe.

A well balanced light and refreshing copper coloured session ale.

No sugar Required for this 3Kg kit

Makes 40 pints at an ABV of 3.8%

The first thing I noticed about this kit is the fact the the instructions are very clear and go into much more detail than any kit I'd brewed before, ideal I'd say for anyone starting out.

Equipment used :

500ml PET Bottle - for the yeast starter
Large Stock Pot - used to hold the cans to warm them up
Can Opener
Plastic Brewers Paddle
Fermentation Bucket with tap

The kit comes in a box which contains 2 cans of the wort reduction, a packet of Gervin English Ale yeast (small silver packet) and the all important instructions.

The first and most important stage is to sterilise everything that you are going to use and is going to come into contact with the beer.

Once you've done that it's time to make up the yeast starter, I did this by adding 50ml of cooled boiled water (30 degrees C) and 1/2 tsp of sugar to a sterilised 500ml PET bottle, to this you add the contents of the yeast packet and gently swirl around, loosely fit the lid and wait for it to rehydrate.

Next Boil the kettle and stand the two unopened cans in a large stock pot and pour the boiling water around them, this is to soften the contents so that they are easier to pour, this takes around 10 minutes.

After the cans have been warming for about 10 minutes wipe the lid with a sterilised soft cloth and open with a sterilised can opened and pour them both into your sterilised fermenter.

Next you will need to rinse out the cans to get all of the 'goo' out and into the fermenter, I do this by boiling the kettle (twice) and filling each can and waiting a couple of minutes, then using oven gloves (hot cans) empty ONE into the fermenter then pour the contents of the other can back and forth from one can to the other until the cans become clean inside then add this to the fermenter.

Using your brewers paddle stir the goo and hot water together until it has completely mixed in. Once you have done this top the fermenter up to the final volume, for this kit that was 22.5L. I attach a large tube to the tap and hold the end over the bucket and make sure that plenty of air gets mixed in so that the wort it thoroughly aerated, snap the lid onto the fermenter for a bit.

Remember that yeast starter, well that should now look like this, with the yeast nicely re hydrated and hungry for some wort! Add 250ml of your wort to this via the fermenter tap tighten the lid and shake it like mad for 30 seconds,then loosen the lid sightly to let the air escape as the c02 builds up.

It will take a little while for the yeast starter to get going, this one took around 45 minutes.

At this point I took a hydrometer reading, it came out at 1042.

Once the yeast starter is chomping at the bit it's time to pour it into the fermenter to get going on the bulk wort, I pour it in then refill the bottle from the fermenter tap and swish around and add to the fermenter to make sure I get all of the yeast in there.

To keep the light from getting to the brew I 'black bag' the fermenter, this should avoid off flavours caused by 'light strike'.

12 hours later a nice yeasty head had started to appear and the airlock was very active.