Friday, 18 July 2008

Our New Forum - The Home Brew Forum

A few of us with similar interests have decided to set up our own brewing forum. Please feel free to join us.


Monday, 7 July 2008

A Busy Evening

I've had quite a busy evening, I've kegged "Thirst Gold" which I brewed back on June 25, I've prepared everything ready for an evening brew tomorrow and I've had a bash at coming up with something which will hopefully come close to the Brains S.A. Gold I recently wrote about.

Thirst Gold, the OG of this brew was 1.048, after 12 days of fermenting it stabilised at 1.010 so it's around 4.9% abv. I tried something new with this brew and split the overall IBU between the 60 min and 15 min hop additions, aiming for 20 IBU from each, giving a total of 40 IBU, tasting a sample tonight I was very pleased that the First Gold flavour that I recognise from the Badger First Gold bottled beer that I enjoy has come through well and also that it tastes like a 40 IBU beer, meaning my 100g 15 minute addition was worth it in the end! This needs about 4 weeks to mellow out, I'll have a sample each week......just to see how it's coming along!

Next tonight came the preparation for tomorrow nights brew, I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I wanted to have a go at a plain and simple bitter, I have twaeked the recipe a bit to add more crystal malt to hopefully improve the overall malt profile of the beer, I have also increased the Goldings aroma addition, the recipe which I have settled upon is:

Swift Bitter

50L Brewlength, Target OG 1.049 (70% brewhouse efficiency) Target IBU ~36

9.80 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter 87%
0.90 kg Crystal Malt 8%
0.56 kg Torrified Wheat 5%
100.00 gm Challenger [7.00 %] (60 min) Hops 30.8 IBU
35.00 gm Challenger [7.00 %] (15 min) Hops 5.3 IBU
70.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [4.00 %] (steeped at 80 degrees for 15 mins)

Finally tonight I sat down and tried to work out something that will come close to Brains S.A. Gold, the recipe that I came up with is below, I'll be fermentng with US-05 for a nice clean taste, hopfully this one will get brewed on Thursday night, that will be 100L of beer this week, so I'd best get drinking to free up some kegs!

Harvest Sunset

50L Brewlength, Target OG 1.051 (70% brewhouse efficiency) Target IBU ~30

11.00 kg Pale Malt, Marris Otter 90%
0.60 kg Crystal Malt - 60L 5%
0.60 kg Torrified Wheat 5%
80.00 gm Cascade [5.75 %] (60 min) Hops 20.0 IBU
46.00 gm Bobek [5.00 %] (15 min) Hops 5.0 IBU
40.00 gm Cascade [5.75 %] (15 min) Hops 5.0 IBU
50.00 gm Bobek [5.00 %] (steeped at 80 degrees for 15 mins)
25.00 gm Cascade [5.75 %] (steeped at 80 degrees for 15 mins)

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Brains S.A. Gold 4.7%

The bottle neck label tells us that this is a "Delicious golden ale brewed in wales late-hopped with Cascade and Styrian Goldings" There is also an emblem on the main bottle label telling us that this beer won CAMRA's 'Champion Beer of Britain' Bronze in the Strong Bitter Category 2007. So when in the supermarket tonight and it caught my eye I thought that I could do worse, the only thing that put me off slightly was the clear bottle and obvious risk of skunking.

I'm impressed, I'd have to say that this is going to be this summers favourite bottled beer for me. The smell of the hops was there immediately after opening the bottle, the description on the back of the bottle is spot on "S.A. Gold is a full flavoured, hoppy and refreshing golden ale, brewed in Wales at the home of the world famous Brains S.A. The beer is late-hopped using Cascade and Styrian Goldings, giving it complex and refreshing citrus aromas and flavours"

I want to have a go at brewing something close to this, whilst I have around 1kg Cascade I have no Styrians but do have Bobek which are supposed to be similar, I'll have to have a scout around to see if I can find a recipe. I'd imagine that the bittering hop is also Cascade and I'd estimate that its around 30 IBU and just pale malt.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Swift Bitter

It's about time the Fledgling Brewery produced another bird related beer, so in coming up with a recipe that I hope could become a regular brew I've also named it after the Swifts I sat watching cruising around the sky yesteray evening, so Swift Bitter it will be.

I'm targetting a medium strength 4.6%abv (1.048) bitter with around 35-40IBU, 90% Pale, 5% Crystal and 5% Torrified Wheat, I've heard that Challenger and Goldings work very well together so for a 50L brewlength at 70% efficiency this is the recipe I'll be going for.

9.8kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter 90%
550g Crystal Malt 5%
550g Torrified Wheat 5%

100g Challenger [7.00 %] (60 min) Hops 31.1 IBU
35g Challenger [7.00 %] (15 min) Hops 5.4 IBU
50g Goldings, East Kent [4.00 %] Steeped during cooling at 80 degrees for 15 mins.

I'm probably also going to dry hop one of the kegs when the time comes, just to see the difference it makes, i'll probably add 10g Goldings in a muslin bag.

Hopefully I'll get to brew this up next week.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Brewday - "Thirst Gold"

I finally managed to get around to brewing a beer hopped only with First Gold on Wednesday evening. After posting on Jims Homebrew Forum the recipe I was going to go for (see previous post) I was egged on to change the hopping schedule around, quite drastically, so what started out as aiming for 29 IBU from the First Wort Hops (FWH), 8 IBU from the 15 minute additions and 2 IBU from a 5 minute addition ended up with me upping the FWH and throwing a basket full of hops in at 15 minutes to get 9 IBU from both additions. The AA of these hops is relatively high at 8%AA doing this method with a lower AA hop wouldn't be as practical and it could be expensive.

It'll be interesting to see if the bitterness is there and also if there is a notable aroma explosion from using such a large quantity of late hops, there was also a generous amount of steep hops, there were added when the cooling wort hit 80 degrees C and the immersion chiller turned off while they steeped before being turned back on to drop the wort down to pitching temp quickly.

I currently have 2x FV's both with 25L of 1.048 wort fermenting away well.

The final recipe that I went for is:

Target OG 1.047 (70% bhe)
Target IBU ~38
68 degree mash 60 mins
60 min boil
Fermenting with s04

11kg Marris Otter 97%
300g Crystal Malt 3%

50.00 gm First Gold [8.00 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 19.7 IBU
100.00gm First Gold [8.00 %] (15 min) Hops 19.7 IBU
80.00 gm First Gold [8.00 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep 80 degrees 15 mins)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

An itch I have to scratch...

I have wanted to do an all First Gold brew and this week all being well I'll get one done, This recipe is what I have in mind. I am going to have a go at frist wort hopping with this one.

Brew Length 50L
Target OG 1.052 (70% eff)
Target IBU ~ 38

11.3kg Marris Otter 91%
600g Crystal Malt 5%
500g Torrified Wheat 4%
60g First Gold [8.00 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) 28.4 IBU
60g First Gold [8.00 %] (15 min) Hops 7.7 IBU
30g First Gold [8.00 %] (5 min) Hops 2.2 IBU
50g First Gold [8.00 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep for 15 mins at 80 degrees)

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Bike and Beer

I went on a thirty five mile bike ride around the North Warwicksire countryside today, we stopped for a beer at the Plough Inn near Ansley, Nuneaton, the Abbot Ale was very satisfying indeed.

North Warwickshire Cycleway

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Townes IPA Kegged

I managed to get the Townes IPA kegged today, both FV's were down to 1.010 so thats ~4.7% judging by the fact that the kitchen was filled with the aroma of Cascades while I was kegging, it's gonna be hoppy! Thats just what I wanted, my wife thought that the aroma was like lemon cheescake, I'd have to agree. I really think that adding the aroma hops (and a lot of them) at 80 degrees and turning off the immersion cooler for 15 mins helps to lock in the aroma.

Just have to wait a few weeks now until it can be supped, hopefully on a warm evening with a BBQ.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Mmmm Mally's Mild

Ok, Ok, I only brewed this on 14 May, but it's on tap already, for tonight only, just a tester before my Dad comes to give the verdict at the weekend. The picture is awful, I struggle to photograph dark beer, it has a lovely deep dark red/black, the roasted malt come through well and there is a nice dry finish, personally I think I would enjoy it more with a few more IBU's but the style I was after is as it is, so, it's good to go and I hope it gets the thumbs up from papa Wezbrew.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Busy Yeast

Well the S04 seemed to like the Townes IPA I brewed yesterday, both fermenters looked like this first thing this morning, the smell from the Cascades is amazing, in time i think this will be a great beer, fingers crossed.
I picked up some Fiddlers Elbow today, while I'm in the mood for pale ale's I fancy a go at a clone of this, pale, wheat and styrians, sounds good already!

Brewday : 26th May - Townes IPA

I managed to get this brewed yesterday, the day went very smoothly and ended with 50L of 1.045 wort which was spot on what I was expecting. I batch sparged again and I'm pleased with how quickly this gets the job done, so far also I think my beer has more body than the one's I used to sparge right down to 1.006, the final runnings for this one were 1.020.

I used in total 260g Cascade in this brew, 160 for bittering to 40IBU and 100g steeped at 80 degrees for 15 mins, I turned the chiller off while they steeped. This picture is of the 100g aroma hops just after throwing them in.

I do seem to have carried over quite a bit of trub on this brew, i'm not sure if this is something that is down to the batch sparging, maybe I am not recirculating enough and more grain particles are getting into the boiler?

The wort seems very dark in this picture, but this morning now the yeast (s04) has started working it's lightened up quite a bit, there is lots of yeast activity and both fermenters have developed good size yeast heads this morninig. I'm looking forward to this one (as ever) it should be a Cascade fest!

Here is the recipe that I settled on, the Cascades are actualy 7.1% but I based their AA% on 5.75% to allow for hop age, 2007 crop.

Brewlength - 50L
Target OG 1.045 (70% efficiency)
Target IBU ~40
60 Min Mash at 67 degrees
60 Min Boil

10.4kg Marris Otter Pale Malt (96%)
430g Torrified Wheat (4%)
160g Cascade [5.75AA%] (60 min) Hops 41.8 IBU
100g Cascade [5.75AA%] (Steeped at 80 degrees for 15 Mins)

Fermented with 2x packs S04 per 25L Fermenter

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Mally's Mild Kegged and Brewday Planned

Today I have kegged Mally's Mild into 2x King Kegs, they will sit for about 4 weeks then I'll try one. It's a lovely dark brown/red colour and has a good malty taste, pleasingly it tastes like a mild, which is a result.

Tomorrow I'll be brewing another recipe from Marc Ollossons book Real Ale for the Home Brewer, Townes IPA, it should be a nice pale ale with loads of citrus hop flavour, hopefully around the 4.5% mark.

Brewlength 50L
Target OG 1045 (based on reduced efficiency of 70%)
Target IBU 40
60 min mash 67 degrees
60 min boil
Batch Sparging

10.4kg Marris Otter Pale Malt 96%
430g Torrified Wheat 4%
125g Cascade 7.10%aa (60 min) 40IBU
100g Cascade 7.10%aa (steeped after the boil at 80 degrees for 30 mins)

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Saturday Night Suppin'

I've started tonight with a bottle of West Coast Pale although this beer never did live up to a clone of SNPA it's still a great beer I think, the 40 IBU from Magnum and Pearle give the beer a good bitter bite and the aroma and flavour from 80g of Cascade at the end finish it of beautifully.

Next it's probably onto the (very young) Springfield Bitter through the beer engine, although there is always a chance that I'll tuck into some bottles that I have been sent from fellow all-grain brewers to try!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Brewing "Mally's Mild"

It's been a little while since I've posted, I have been busy upgrading to 50L brewlengths simply by converting a 60L fermenter to a boiler by fixing to it the 2 3kw elements and tap from my old boiler. The maiden brew on the new system was of course Big Kenny, I have kegged that tonight, it was quite nice to get 2x 25L kegs from one brewday, I also had a go at batch sparging which worked a dream.

Anyway, tomorrows brew (even if it's not the weather for this sort of beer) is for my Dad, he loves a pint of Mild but we can't seem to find a decent one around here so i'm having a go at brewing something I think he'll like. It's from Marc Ollossons book "Real Ales for the home brewer" - Hoddesdon Dark..

50L Brewlength
Target OG 1.044 (based on 70% efficiency)
Target IBU ~26
60 min mash 66 degrees
60 min boil

8.45kg Pale Malt - Fawcetts Marris Otter 80%
860g Crystal Malt 8.0%
860g Torrified Wheat 8.0%
390g Roasted Barley 4.0%
80gm Challenger [7.10 %] (60 min) Hops 26 IBU
25gm Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (15 min

Not decided what to ferment with yet......but it will be yeast ;)

I think that this one will turn out a nice deep mahogany colour.

*Edit, Had a great nice and easy brew evening, by having a 60 min mash, batch sparging and a 60 min boil the yeast was pitched before 11pm, not bad considering I only started at 17:45 (I did prep everything the night before and have the boiler switched on for me to heat the mash liquor at 17:15). I ended up with 2x fermenters with 25L of 1.044 each, spot on what I wanted, the final runnings from teh tun were 1.020 so hopefully I've managed to extract just 'the good stuff' from the grain. Used S-04 both FV's are currently chugging away nicely with lots of airlock activity.

Friday, 9 May 2008

EB-BK - Even Bigger Big Kenny - 9th May

On 9th May I used the new 10 gallon equipment for the first time, sticking with a recipe I know I really like, Big Kenny:

Brewlength - 50L
Target OG (at 70%) 1.047
Target IBU ~31
Fermenting with 4x S04

10.4kg Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC) Grain 92.47 %
540g Wheat, Torrified (3.3 EBC) Grain 4.76 %
150g Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (118.2 EBC) Grain 1.33 %
110g Roasted Barley (591.0 EBC) Grain 0.95 %
50g Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC) Grain 0.48 %

126.00 gm Fuggles [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops 31.1 IBU
40.00 gm Styrian Goldings [3.30 %] (15 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)
40.00 gm Styrian Goldings [3.30 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)

The brewday went well and I ended up with 50L at 1.047 split between 2 fermenters. This was the first time I had batch sparged, I found it really easy, and fast, I'll be doing it again!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Brew Evening 2 May : Springhead Bitter

On Friday night I brewed this:

25L Brew Length
Target IBU ~29
Target OG 1.041 – 1.047

60 Min Mash @ 67 degrees 3.0L per KG
60 Min Boil
Yeast s-04

5200g Pale Malt (98%)
85g Crystal Malt (2%)

44g Northdown (7.0%) 60 mins (~29 IBU)
25g Fuggle (4.0%) 15 mins
25g Fuggle (4.0%) 0 mins (steeped from 80 degrees)

1 Whirlfloc Tablet 10 mins

I changed a few things for this brew, hoping to get more body in my beer. I upped the grain bill and mashed more than I normally would for a 1.040 beer and stopped sparging at 1.020 leaving some of the sugars in the tun, this way I hope to have collected the best runnings from the mash.

I stopped sparging at 1.020 which gave me 21.5L at 1.050 topped up to 27L with unused sparge water to give a preboil gravity of 1.040.

I got 25L of 1.044 in the end, which is a 70% efficiency, so if I am happy with the results from this method i'll just base future brews on 70% efficiency and stop spargng at 1.020 again.

It has been suggested to me by a more accomplished brewer to try a 'no sparge' brew, so just working with the runnings from the mash!

I do fancy giving that a go, i'm coming around to the opinion that chasing high efficiencies could be a detriment to the quality of the beer.

We will see!

It's currently sat in the fermenting fridge at 19 degrees.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Book - Real Ales for the home brewer

I mentioned in my last post that the recipe for Broadsword was from a book by Marc Ollosson, the recipe had been passed on to me by a friend, I decided to order the book online and it arrived this week, I'm impressed with the information in the book and the range of recipes. I like formulating my own recipes but there are quite a few here that I want to brew or draw inspiration from. I'd recommend this to any home brewer. This is where I ordered it from. (I'm not on commission....honest!) I had an email from the author thanking for my order and was quite pleased to find that it had even been signed.

Looking forward to brewing a few from this.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Brew Evening 23 April - "Broadsword"

A friend of mine reccomended that I try a recipe from a book by Marc Ollason (cheers Vossy), he's brewed it before and it sounds right up my street for this time of year. In Marcs book he describes this beer:

A very refreshing beer, the Fuggles give a good hop charachter while the Styrian Goldings give a superb aroma. The use of carapils ensures that this beer has a good body, slight residual sweetness, and a very pale colour.

I scaled the recipe up from 23 to 25 litres and adjusted for my 75% brewhouse efficiency and came up with this:

Target OG : 1.042 (75% bhe)
Brewlength : 25L
Target IBU : ~36IBU
Mash : 60 mins 65 degrees
Boil : 60 mins

4170gm Pale Malt Marris Otter 89%
520gm Cara-Pils Malt 11%
70gm Fuggles [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops 36.0 IBU
50gm Styrian Goldings [4.00 %] Added at 80 degrees and left for 15 mins

Whirlfloc at 10 mins
Fermenting with S04

Here are a few pics from the brew evening.

The grains weighed out and in a large bag, the thermometer is so that I can judge what strike temperature I'm going to need when I dough in.

The grains being added to the mash liquor in the tun, aka doughing in, I stopped stirring to take the pic!

The initial temperature of the mash 65.2 degrees, quite happy with that.

Tucked up nice and warm for an hour.

After a 60 min mash i'd only lost 0.2 of a degree, a quick test with a drop of videne on a sample of the first runnings confirmed full conversion.

The first runnings being returned to the tun through some pierced tin foil so that I didn't disturb the grain bed.

70g Fuggles weighed out.

Fuggles being added to the boiler.

50g Styrians added once the wort had cooled to 80 degrees, steeped for 15 mins then the wort was cooled quickly.

I ended up with 25L of 1.040 wort, so a little off target OG but I'm not too dissapointed with that.

Looking forward to supping this one in a few weeks.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Largs Thistle The End Result

This is a pint of largs thistle served through the beer engine i'm enjoying this one it has a really complex malt flavour - the beer engine definately enhances it.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Brew Evening 15th April - "Long Summer Nights"

Managed to fit a 'cheeky' brew in today. Inspired by the sunny morning we had I had an urge to brew something that will be a good session-able, pale, hoppy BBQ brew. I have some lovely Cascade in the freezer so decided to go with Northdown for a good 'clean' bittering hop and the citrus from Cascade at 15 Min's and then steeped at 80 degrees after 'flame out' or when you switch the boiler off, where I come from.

I set out as follows:

Brewlength : 25 L
Target OG : 1.042 (75% brewhouse efficiency)
Target IBU : ~35
1 Hour Mash 66 degrees
1 Hour Boil

4300gm Pale Malt, Fawcetts Marris Otter 92.5%
200gm Torrified Wheat Grain 4.5%
150gm Crystal Malt - 60L 3%
48gm Northdown [7.90 %] (60 min) Hops ~35 IBU
30gm Cascade [5.40 %] (15 min)
30gm Cascade [5.40 %] (0 min) (Steeped for 1/2 hr from 80 degrees)

I ended up with 25 L at 1.040 so missed OG by .002, I know why - I used a 3kg bag of Marris Otter from a local home brew shop as I was short. It doesn't matter, if the S04 that I pitched with does it's job it'll be 3.9% I was hoping for 4.0% - that's acceptable!

The wort was nice and pale and very clear, no pictures I'm afraid, I am soon to be reunited with my phone charger so pics of other brews will follow.

Relaxing now with a pint of Largs Thistle served from the beer engine, oh and silly me for thinking about BBQ's this morning, it's tipping it down now....

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Brewday 9th April - Big Kenny

On Wednesday I decided to brew up another batch of Big Kenny, to add a bit more body I've added some torrified wheat and I mashed at 69 degrees. It's bubbling away nicely at the moment.

I went for a 1hr mash and 1hr boil again with no drop in efficiency, I ended up with my target OG of 1.047.

25L Brewlength
Target OG 1.047 (75% brewhouse efficiency)
Target IBU ~ 31
1 Hour Mash
1 Hour Boil

4850gm Pale Malt - Fawcetts Marris Otter Grain 92%
250gm Torrified Wheat Grain 5%
70gm Crystal Malt - 60L Grain 1.5%
50gm Roasted Barley Grain 1.0%
25gm Chocolate Malt Grain 0.5%

63gm Fuggles [5.50 %] (60 min) ~31 IBU
20gm Styrian Goldings [3.30 %] (15 min)
20gm Styrian Goldings [3.30 %] (0 min)

1x Whirlfloc Tablet at 10 mins
Fermenting with S04

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Some Pleasing Feedback

It’s been an interesting day for the Fledgling Brewery today.

A little while ago a friend of mine who works for ‘Bateman's Brewery’ in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire knowing that I am a keen home brewer asked if he could sample my wares, he was duly supplied with a bottle of Big Kenny just before Christmas, he enjoyed that beer (I think he was a bit surprised!) and asked if I could supply another 6 bottles of the same beer so that he could present them to their "taste panel" at one of their monthly tasting sessions for their opinions. I duly brewed up another batch, and after letting the beer come into condition I sent him the bottles.

Today was the day that the 6 members of the tasting panel tried the beer....I was a bit apprehensive to say the least as so far my beers had only been tried by fellow all-grain brewers and a few friends and work colleagues, all of whom it could be argued would be fairly generous with their feedback no matter what they actually thought! I wasn’t expecting any such generosity today.

I received a phone call at lunchtime today to say that the beers had been very well received, of the 6 ‘tasters’ 5 were positive about it and only one of them wasn’t keen, although that apparently was because it wasn’t 'his sort of beer' not that there was anything technically wrong with it. I was told that the Head Brewer enjoyed it and I was over the moon to get the following email from him.

"Neil brought a few bottles of Big Kenny to our Beer Taste Panel this morning. We are always a little cautious of home brewed beer but it was a delight to sample Big Kenny. The most usual fault with home brew we have tried is a harsh flavour called yeast bite. Your Beer had no hint of this. The predominant flavour was of apple fruitiness. The balance of bitterness from the hops & sweetness from the malts was perfect. As you can imagine we get asked to taste a number of beers of this type but I have never had the pleasure of such a delightful example of the home brewer's art.

I must congratulate you on your skill as a brewer. If I was to recommend one home brewed beer Big Kenny would be the one. Keep up the good work."

I personally think that i'm more than entitled to be a bit smug about that for at least a few days!

Monday, 7 April 2008

A change of plan...

Rather than brewing up the Buzzards Walk Pale Ale I had planned to do I'm opting for brewing up another batch of Big Kenny next, this is so that I'll have a tried and tested beer ready in 6 weeks rather than the experimentation brew with the Zeus hops! I don't yet know how my last brew West Coast Pale Ale will turn out so doing this will mean that I don't have two 'unknowns' back to back. The grains will be weighed out tonight for Big Kenny hopeful that I can brew it tomorrow night. The Buzzards Walk will be brewed later in the week I hope.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Beer Engine

Im in a good mood today because I've just ordered myself a reconditioned beer engine off someone in the trade at a good price. Looking forward to getting it and dispensing from a vented cornie keg. I'm also looking forward to designing my own pump clips.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Planning a Brew : Buzzards Walk Pale Ale

It's been a while since the boiler has seen any action so I've decided to get a brew on over the next few days, I want to do an American Pale Ale with the Zeus hops I've had in the freezer for a few weeks now. From what I've read (thank-you Google/wiki) Zeus are: American aromatic high-alpha hop with noticeable bitterness. Similar, if not identical, to Columbus/Tomahawk. (Alpha acid 15.0%) the one's that I have are 12.8%AA I've heard that they are really 'smack you round the face citrus' too. I'm going to use them as bittering along side Perle (50/50 split on the IBU) and then use them for aroma also. I'll be fermenting with US-05 which has turned out really well in my SNPA clone. The name might seem a bit odd, but while I was out walking the dog, I watched a Buzzard for ages, it's the first one I've seen for a while, I love the light nights where you can get out and see a bit of your surroundings after a day at work!

25L Brewlength
Target OG 1.045
Target EBU ~35
BHE 75%

4560gm Pale Malt, Maris Otter 95%
170gm Crystal Malt - 60L Grain 3.5%
70gm Cara-Pils Grain 1.5%

14gm Zeus [12.80 %] (90 min) ~17.5 IBU
26gm Pearle [6.90 %] (90 min) ~17.5 IBU
30gm Zeus [12.80 %] (10 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
30gm Zeus [12.80 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -

Saturday, 29 March 2008

DIY reward

After yet another day getting frustrated with DIY, I am rewarding myself with a well earned beer session, all home brewed except a bottle of SNPA which I have in my sights. Already tried a Q.C. bottle of Randy Sparrow (brewed back on February 28) in fact that leaves me with only 1 bottle the other 6 bottles from that batch are all promised out (hence the Q.C.) very pleased with it, it's a lovely refresing 'soft' ale, very creamy tasting and a cracking 4.6% session beer. The rest of the batch of course remains in the keg. Red Sky Ale will be next in the glass, it's been kegged since February 27th so it should be right, just about now.

Edit: Red Sky, Hmm an interesting taste, smokey on the nose and a big raisin flavour, the colour is very dark, held to the light it's red, but a very dark red. Both of these pictures are of Red Sky Ale

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Drinking From The Tap

We celebrated a friends birthday yesterday with a trip to Church End Brewery North Warwickshire for a few pints from their very popular brewery tap. It's a great place to drink, they always have 8 different beer engines on the go and I think that their beers are superb! You get to enjoy the drinking experience in a well done out, rather plush bar with a large viewing window through to the brewery, the view is dominated by two of their five fermentors, you can see them in this picture. Beers that we tried are Avon Ale, Vicars Ruin and Alter Ale (I think) you can see the tasting notes on the Church End Brewery web site (linked above).

Church End don't do food (except for functions) but you are welcome to take in your meal, picnic take away or whatever, you can also take in your dog but no children are allowed. During the summer you can enjoy their huge garden area (where kids are welcome) and it's ok to take a picnic along, I've even seen people setting BBQ's there during the summer.

I'm really pleased that I have such a great Micro on my door step!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Home Brew Review

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of sampling 2 bottles of homebrew sent to me by fellow all-grain brewers.

First up was JW's Lager sent to me by John This is the first homebrewed lager that I've tried so I made sure that I got the temperature of the beer right earlier in the day. To sum this up in a line: A great session beer to serve up at a BBQ.

I found it to be nicely carbonated and a light golden colour (the pic doesn't do it justice) I thought that it could have done with more hop aroma and flavour but that could be just my preference, it had a very clean/crisp and light taste and a dry finish, ideal I would say at a meat V's hot coals contest and I'm sure that John's going to be very popular this summer if he brews this again!

Following that was an Oatmeal Stout sent to me by Calum, I am not normally a stout drinker but i'd happily see a few of these off.

Carbonation was great, just enough to give the beer some life, it tasted really smooth and really gives your taste buds a treat with a full on roasted malt invasion, (I wonder, does the smoothness come from the roasted oatmeal?) It was nice and sweet with a pleasant finish not at all like the mass produced commercial stouts I normally avoid at the pub, I've also come to expect that a stout will be filling, like having a Sunday lunch after 3 pints but this wasn't like that at all. It would be easy to sit on a cold night in front of the fire and see a few of these down the hatch, i'll be looking for a brew to put away for Christmas, this will be on the shortlist.

Both of these brewers have 2 of my beers to try each, both have a Glasshouse Porter which I bottled back in December, Calum also has a bottle of Largs Thistle and John also has a bottle of Randy Sparrow. I'm looking forward to their feedback, it's the best way to improve your brews in my opinion.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Brewday : West Coast Pale (SNPA clone) 6 March

I haven't been able to post for a while, family life and a bathroom renovation which seems to have been going on forever have seen to that! Still I did manage to brew the SNPA clone back on March 6, which will be called West Coast Pale.

Brewlength 25L
Estimated OG 1.056
Estimated IBU ~40
Estimated SRM ~9
66 Degree Mash - 90 Mins
Boil Time - 60 Mins

5400gm Pale Malt Maris Otter Grain 91.5%
400gm Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 7.0%
100gm Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 1.5%

25gm Pearle [6.90 %] (60 min) Hops 14.5 IBU
20gm Magnum Pellets [13.10 %] (60 min) Hops 24.4 IBU
30gm Cascade [6.80 %] (10 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)
50gm Cascade [6.80 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)

Fermented with 1 packet of US-05 yeast.

I've never used US-05 before apparently this should give the finished beer a nice clean/crisp taste, it certainly behaved differently to the S-04 and Nottingham i'm used to using.

I ended up with 25L at 1.052 (so 4 points below the target) but this went down to 1.008 and I think it'd still be going had I not transferred it to the fridge at 2 degrees to make it stop! It should turn out at about 5.9% SNPA is 5.6%.

The picture above is the aroma/steep hops just after being added it's 50g Cascade that went in after the cooling wort had got to 80 degrees, they steeped for 45 minutes whilst cooling before I ran the 20 degree wort into the fermentor. They gave off a wonderful cirus aroma, the fermented wort really does smell very similar to SNPA, I'm looking forward to trying it, I think it'll come out a bit darker though, I might lighten up a bit on the Crystal next time.

With regard to other brews the Largs Thistle 80/- didn't make it to bottle again because of time I had to keg it, it tastes great. I did bottle 8 of them up which will be sent out for tastings by fellow homebrewers.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Big Kenny - Turned out good

This is a pint of Big Kenny that I brewed back on 31st January, it's in perfect condition right now, and it's crystal clear. I think that this is my favourite of the beers that I've made to date, It's certainly going to be a regular in my tap (aka the garage). It'll be next on the to brew list after my SNPA clone which I now have all of the ingredients for, so hopefully that will be brewed tomorrow.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Brewday : Largs Thistle 80/-

Yesterday I managed to achieve 4 things that I've wanted to do for a while

1. Brew a Scottish Heavy, an 80/- (80 Shilling)

2. Do a brew of which all of it will go to bottle

3. Try a 60 minute mash

4. Try a 60 minute boil

The recipe that I used for this one was 'tweaked' from a fellow home brewer (thanks Mysty)

Brew length - 25L
Target OG - 1.046 (based on 75% BHE)
EBU ~30
60 min 69 degree mash
60 min boil

Brewlength - 25L
Target OG - 1.046 (based on 75% BHE)
EBU ~30
60 min 69 degree mash
60 min boil

4600gm Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 83.33 %
240gm Amber Malt (22.0 SRM) Grain 4.88 %
240gm Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 4.88 %
240gm Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM) Grain 4.88 %
100gm Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 2.03 %
50gm Fuggles [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops 25.3 IBU
20gm Fuggles [5.50 %] (15 min) Hops 5.0 IBU
1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
Yeast - Gervin English Ale

Originally I'd gone for just 4100gm Pale but concerned that I'd drop efficiency with a shorter (60 min) mash I upped it by 500g.

I had a great brewday, by only mashing for 1 hour and boiling for 1 hour I got my brewday down to 5 hours, which will help with the evening brews that I do. I needn't have worried about the efficiency, I got 25L at 1.052 which is a 76.7 brewhouse efficiency, I average 75%. The wort was a nice rich dark colour which I expect to be packed full of character.

This batch has been brewed to be bottled, so in a couple of week's I'll have 40 odd bottles of Largs Thistle 80/- conditioning.

About the name, I wanted to get the word 'Thistle' in there somewhere with the Thistle being the National Emblem of Scotland, when I looked into it I found an interesting story.

It is claimed that the Thistle became Scotland's emblem after the battle of Largs in 1263. Legend has it that during an attempted invasion of Scotland by Norsemen, the Norsemen tried to surprise the sleeping Scottish Clansmen. In order to move more stealthily under the cover of darkness the Norsemen removed their footwear. But as they crept barefoot they came across an area of ground covered in thistles and one of Haakon's men unfortunately stood on one and shrieked out in pain, thus alerting the Clansmen to the advancing Norsemen.

I think that's a great legend, so Largs Thistle 80/- it is!

I got (and 'borrowed') the above from HERE where there is lots more information.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

SNPA clone

I had been reading for a while about how nice a beer Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is so, last weekend I went out a bought six 330ml bottles, well it was only fair to give it a good test! I really liked it, I served it quite cold and found it to be wonderfully bitter with a really prominent hop aroma and flavour. After some research on Jims Home Brew Forum. I found that the hops used are Magnum, Pearle and Cascade.

I'm going to have a try at cloning this beer hopefully next week.

This will be the recipe, i'm just waiting for some of the ingredients to turn up.

Brewlength 25L
Estimated OG 1.056
Estimated IBU ~40
Estimated SRM ~9
66 Degree Mash - 90 Mins
Boil Time - 60 Mins

5400gm Pale Malt Maris Otter Grain 91.5%
400gm Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 7.0%
100gm Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 1.5%
25gm Pearle [6.90 %] (60 min) Hops 14.5 IBU
25gm Magnum [11.00 %] (60 min) Hops 25.6 IBU
30gm Cascade [6.80 %] (10 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)
50gm Cascade [6.80 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)

Fermenting at 18 degrees with US-05

Friday, 29 February 2008

Friday last!

After a manic week at work and hardly any ale in the week I've been looking forward to this Friday night. This is a half-pint sampler of the (not quite ready yet) Wezerection Easter Ale, I'm very pleased with it, it's got real thirst quenching qualities, a lovely dry finish and a cracking aroma, the elderflowers have come through a treat, they actually need to mellow a for while, looking at my notes from when I brewed this in April 2007 it took a month to come good, this isn't that far off. It had 30g Styrians at 15 minutes along with 50g dried Elderflower also at fifteen minutes and a further 40g Styrians steeped after the boil for 45 mins once the wort had hit 80 degrees. I'm looking forward to tapping this keg for real in about two weeks I think.

Other good things that have happened today, managed to acquire some Magnum pellets (courtesy of a fellow home brewer) and also managed to get an order in for some Cascade and some US-05 yeast, all of this means that I'm looking good to go on an SNPA clone brew late next week. I might try to fit another batch of Big Kenny in before that though, maybe Sunday? I also ordered a bottling stick to try to make me enjoy bottling, I hate bottling this had better work, I need to start bottling more of my beers!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Brewing Again (Randy Sparrow)

After the success that was Randy Sparrow I've decided that I want another keg of it, so I've brewed it exactly as I did before :

25L Brewlength
Target OG 1.046 at 75% efficiency
Target IBU ~40
13L Mash Liquor, 90 Min Mash at 67 Degrees
90 Minute Boil

4400gm Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 89.80 %
250gm Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 5.10 %
250gm Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM) Grain 5.10 %
57gm Challenger [7.10 %] (90 min) Hops 39.1 IBU
30gm Fuggles [5.50 %] (15 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)
30gm Fuggles [5.50 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) Yeast-Ale

This evening brewing is thirsty work so the brew is to be accompanied by a few pints of Big Kenny

I was origninally going to do a high gravity (1.090)version and diluting to 50L in my newest aquisition, courtesy of Steve F (cheers) a 66L coolbox but as yet I haven't got around to re-sealing the ball valve so that will have to wait.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Brewday : Red Sky Ale

With my heart set on producing a beer with good malt characteristics with a deep red colour I brewed 25L of Red Sky Ale. The hope was that by adding to a base of Marris Otter pale malt a reasonable amount of Crystal Malt (7%) and small amounts of Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley (both 1.5%) I'd get what I'm after. As you can see from the trial jar at the end of the brew colour wise it turned out a bit darker than I thought although it is definitely red! I’ll see how it turns out but I might ease off or drop the Roasted Barley next time.

I overshot my target OG of 1.046 and ended up with 25L at 1.050, I've tried to bitter this one to around 36IBU using 55g of 6.8aa Challenger (a great hop) and following the pleasing results with "Big Kenny" of using a citrus aroma hop in a complex malt beer I've gone with 20g each of Styrians and Amarillo. St Peters do a beer called Ruby Red Ale, which use Styrians as the aroma hop, I’ll be pleased if it's anything at all like that.

It's fermenting away as it should be after pitching 11g safale s04.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

An update or few...

It's been a while since I last posted for one reason or another. I've been quite busy brewing and bottling though!

Since my last post I have brewed and bottled Big Kenny v2 which seems to taste exactly the same as v1 so thats good, the bottles that I am sending for Sampling are currently say in the beer fridge cold conditioning along with the 30 or so pints that made it into a King Keg. I won't find out until April what the tasting panel at the brewery think of it the worst that'll happen is I'll get constructive feedback so It's worth a punt!

Randy Sparrow turned out lovely, this is a picture of the finished beer, really happy with the clarity. It's got a nice rounded mouthfeel, well balanced bitterness and the fuggles really come through, I'm glad I put the torrified wheat in there the head retention is superb.

I've also brewed & kegged another all-grain brew, a recreation of the first ever AG that I did, it's for Easter and is called Wezerection Easter Ale this is the recipe for that one:

Wezerection Easter Ale
25L Batch
Target OG 1.042 (75% BHE)
Target IBU ~40

4200gm Pale Malt 90%
220gm Crystal Malt 5%
220gm Torrified Wheat 5%
50gm Northdown [7.90%] (90 min) ~40IBU
30gm Styrian Goldings [3.30%] (15 min)
50gm Elderflower (Dried) (Boil 15.0 min)
40gm Styrian Goldings (0 mins)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 min) Misc

This one is very potent, it's going to have ooodles of flavour, I just hope they have all mellowed out by the time Easter is here! I am brewing again Red Sky it's an adaptation of Big Kenny but I've upped the dark grains to try to get a reddish beer, I'm also using some Amarillo late hops with the styrians to see how it works out. The recipe for this one is:

Red Sky

Brewlength 25L
Target OG 1.046
Target IBU ~36

4500gm Pale Malt - Maris Otter 90%
350gm Crystal Malt - 60L 7%
80gm Chocolate Malt 1.5%
80gm Roasted Barley 1.5%
55gm Challenger [6.80 %] (90 min) ~ 36 IBU
20gm Styrian Goldings [3.30 %] (15 min)
20gm Amarillo Gold [4.00 %] (15 min)

Fermenting with S04

I'll try to take some pics to add on through the brew.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Dragon Stout - Jamaica

I've tried a bottle of Dragon Stout tonight that I found in my local Supermarket, it's the first time I've tried it and to be honest I expected it to taste cheap and awful but I was pleasantly surprised. It poured with a good 1/2 to one inch fairly-tightly beaded head and tasted very sweet and light and refreshing, certainly not what I was expecting. It's Brewed by Red Stripe in Kingston Jamaica and comes in half pint bottles and weighs in at 7.5%. It gets the thumbs up from me!

There are some recipes here for cloning it which I might have a bash at and stick a few bottles away for Christmas I have loads of empty Leffe bottles that I could use.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Evening Brewing Again...

I'm pretty (no actually very) low on stocks at the moment, in fact the only home produced beer I have right now is no where near ready and has only just been put into the beer fridge to crash cool with 50 ml aux-fining's after fermentation finished. That Beer is Randy Sparrow the FG was 1.012 from an OG of 1.044 so using the formula (OG minus FG / 7.45) it should be around 4.3% it tasted great from the sample jar the Fuggles really stand out and there is a lovely aftertaste that I've had in other beers where Challenger has been the bittering hop. It's turned out a nice light copper colour, I'm going to be strict with myself and not tap this one until it's ready (about 5 weeks from now).

To get the stocks back up I'm going to brew another batch of Big Kenny there are a couple of reasons for choosing this beer, firstly I thought it was bloody good, secondly before Christmas I dared to take a bottle to a friend of mine who works for a very well established brewery and he's on their tasting panel, he tried it and liked it so much so that he's asked me to brew it again so that he can pass some bottles to their head brewer for his opinion and also present some to the tasting panel!! - Better make sure I get this one right! (Cheers Neil BTW)

Monday, 21 January 2008

Brew-Evening : Randy Sparrow

Well it had been a long time since my last brew but on Thursday night the brewing equipment came out and I got a brew on. As you'll see from a previous post I've come up with a recipe which will be known as Randy Sparrow

I ended up hitting target OG bang on at 1.044 (25l) it's fermenting out well using Safale S04.

Here are a few pictures from the brew :

The grains all weighed out and mixed, they had been mixed the night before and stored in the garage so they were a bit cold ~9 degrees, the temperature of the grain is important as it effects the strike temperature of the mash liquor.

After doughing in I adjusted the mash PH from (about) >6 to 5.2 using 1.5 tsp of CRS the mash temperature was just what I wanted - 67 degrees.

This picture is the first clear runnings after recirculation from the tun, it looks like it's going to be a lovely light copper pale ale this one.

The bittering hop was Challenger, added at the start of the 90 minute boil, 30g Fuggle was added 10 mins from the end of the boil and another 30 added when the cooling wort hit 80 degrees, this picture is of the final hop addition (steep hops) the smell was amazing. I'm going to crash cool with aux-finings as I did with Big Kenny to get this one as clear as I can, with any luck i'll be posting about drinking this one towards the end of February. I'm hoping to get another brew in this week, not decided what to do yet though.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Batemans Rosey Nosey

Tonight i'm having a Rosey Nosey from Lincolnshires Batemans brewery in Wainfleet. Obviously this was their Christmas beer and very nice it is too, a full bodied sessionable (4.9%) winter ale. Very nice on a rainy night like tonight.

As for my own brewing, it's now looking like being the latter part of this week before I can brew Randy Sparrow.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Randy Sparrow

I've not done a brew since 21st November (Glasshouse Porter) so it's time to get the boiler on again this week (probably Wednesday) It's about time that I gave a beer a name fitting for 'The Fledgling Brewery' and I've come up with this which will be 'Randy Sparrow' I expect by the time i'm drinking it the sparrows will be at it like rabbits I've tried to keep it simple(ish) bittering with Challenger and then Fuggles at 10mins and steeped while cooling, hoping for a nice bitter with floral aroma.

Randy Sparrow
25L Batch
Target OG : 1.044
Target EBU : ~40

4400gm Pale Malt (Fawcett MO) (Grain 89%)
250gm Crystal Malt (Grain 5.5%)
250gm Torrified Wheat (Grain 5.5%)
60gm Challenger [AA 6.80 %] (90 min)
30.00 gm Fuggles [AA 4.00 %] (10 min)
30.00 gm Fuggles [AA 4.00 %] (steeped during cooling)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 min)
1 Safale S-04

I'm going to crash cool for a week after fermentation has finished and add Aux finings - I did this with Big Kenny Scottish Ale and it turned out polished.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Brewing Again

After the long lay off because of Christmas i'll be brewing again next week. I'm planning another batch of Big Kenny Scottish Ale this went down very well with friends and family so i'll stick with the recipe as before and use the same post fermentation crash cooling which produced my most polished beer to date.