Posts Tagged ‘beer’

Now Brewing: Hip Hop – Nelson Sauvin

OK, not quite “Now Brewing”, but I do have an excuse for not blogging. Here she is with me, Sam and Charlotte at the Bristol Beer Factory stout day.

This is a brew that we did a couple of weeks ago and bottled on Friday. We decided to do a SMASH (single malt and single hop) to try out some Nelson Sauvin, which we’d never brewed with before. We settled on “Hip Hop” as a name to use for this and future SMASH experiments, so this one is qualified with the name of the hop.

The recipe is a simple one with just Maris Otter malt, and three additions of the Nelson Sauvin.

Recipe Overview
Wort Volume Before Boil: 25.00 l Wort Volume After Boil: 19.00 l
Volume Transferred: 19.00 l Water Added To Fermenter: 2.00 l
Volume At Pitching: 21.00 l Volume Of Finished Beer: 21.00 l
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.045 SG Expected OG: 1.053 SG
Expected FG: 1.009 SG Apparent Attenuation: 81.9 %
Expected ABV: 5.8 % Expected ABW: 4.6 %
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 57.2 IBU Expected Color (using Morey): 9.3 EBC
Ingredient Amount % MCU When
UK Pale Ale Malt 4.500 kg 100.0 % 5.4 In Mash/Steeped
Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
NZ Nelson Sauvin 12.6 % 20 g 31.1 Loose Whole Hops 90 Min From End
NZ Nelson Sauvin 12.5 % 50 g 26.1 Loose Whole Hops 10 Min From End
NZ Nelson Sauvin 12.5 % 30 g 0.0 Loose Whole Hops In Fermenter

The result is really tasty. It’s a great showcase for the hops, a dangerously drinkable for a 5.9% beer. I’m looking forward to trying some other fancy hops in this way.

Now Brewing: Winter Beermalade

The second brew I made, and the first with extract rather than a kit, was a witbier to which I added a big dollop of homemade marmalade. This was christened “Beermalade”. This weekend we brewed a winter warmer, and decided at the last minute to spice it up with some marmalade. I still have several jars of a very dark marmalade I made a couple of years ago, which also had a little rum in it. In the end we just added a whole jar, so we had to call it Winter Beermalade, to distinguish it from the wheat beer which I’ve renamed Summer Beermalade (and will try to recreate next year).

We’re gradually trying to get our brewing setup just right, and our previous bottleneck was chilling. Frozen Coke bottles may be simple, but aren’t quick. We gaffed around for a few weeks working out the cheapest way to get the bits for making an immersion chiller until we realised it’d only cost about a tenner more to buy a ready-made one, which is bound to be better. So Sam ordered one, and it fantastic. We got from boiling to about 15C in ten minutes, which was an amazing improvement. Overall our brew day took five hours: around 90 mins quicker than our previous one. The next upgrade will be hop filtering. A sheet of muslin really doesn’t cut it.

The brew itself is going really well. A winter warmer is a great traditional British style. A relatively (but not massively) strong ale, with good sweetness and loads of body to warm you up on a cold winter’s night. Unlike some other winter beers, it’s not normally spiced, so our marmalade addition is not traditional, but is delicious. For our grain bill, we used lots of crystal malt for sweetness and body, with Munich and amber malts for more body and a biscuity flavour. We added oat malt and terrified wheat to give it good head retention and hopefully even more rich body. We don’t want the beer to be too hoppy, so it’s a simple combination of Challenger for bittering and East Kent Goldings for aroma.

New immersion chiller

Straining the last of the wort from the hops. Not the best system.

WInter Beermalade fermentation progress

OG: 1.056. Predicted FG 1.010. Predicted ABV 6.2. IBU: 32.7. Colour: 26 EBC (but that doesn’t include the dark marmalade).

Ingredient Amount % MCU When
UK Pale Ale Malt 4.500 kg 78.0 % 4.6 In Mash/Steeped
UK Medium Crystal 0.500 kg 8.7 % 10.2 In Mash/Steeped
UK Oat Malt 0.200 kg 3.5 % 0.1 In Mash/Steeped
UK Torrified Wheat 0.200 kg 3.5 % 0.1 In Mash/Steeped
UK Amber Malt 0.110 kg 1.9 % 0.7 In Mash/Steeped
German Munich Malt 0.110 kg 1.9 % 0.2 In Mash/Steeped
UK Chocolate Malt 0.050 kg 0.9 % 7.7 In Mash/Steeped
Marmalade 0.300 kg End Of Boil
Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
UK Challenger 9.5 % 30 g 27.4 Loose Whole Hops 90 Min From End
UK Golding 5.5 % 30 g 5.4 Loose Whole Hops 10 Min From End

Bristol Beer Factory

Now brewing: Indian Summer autumnal IPA.

For our second St Agnes brew we decided to do a continuously-hopped IPA with a difference. In honour of the “Indian summer” we were having at the time we thought of it, we decided to give it an autumnal twist. We took it darker than an IPA would usually be, and with richer maltiness from crystal and Munich malts. The hops we chose were English Fuggles, with a total of 20 additions!

Checking the temperature of the mash. I wasn't really that bored: I'd just noticed we were being stalked by a cat.

After the temperature fiascos of the last brew, I bought a new thermometer. It did us well.

First runnings

Bags of dry hops

We added hops every five minutes during the boil, plus at flame-out. We also added 30g to the fermenter. Unlike previous dry-hoppings, we put these into muslin bags, to avoid the bottling stick getting all jammed up with bits of hop. Hopefully the flavours will still come through.

Loads of hops

We used 220g of hops in total!

We hit the target OG on the nail. The yeast was the remains of the stuff I’d got from Bristol Beer Factory a few weeks ago. The brew day was on Saturday, so it’s been in the FV for a few days now. It seemed to get stuck at 1.017 with no change for 24 hours and no bubbles from the airlock. Remembering how it came back to life last time, I roused it a bit this morning and it immediately sprung back into life. When I say immediately, I mean the airlock was bubbling again within seconds of putting the lid back on, and had dropped to 1.015 within a few hours. I’m guessing it’ll be done by tomorrow.

Recipe Overview

Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.046 SG Expected OG: 1.055 SG
Expected FG: 1.010 SG Apparent Attenuation: 81.9 %
Expected ABV: 6.1 % Expected ABW: 4.8 %
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 64.6 IBU Expected Color (using Morey): 24.7 EBC


Ingredient Amount % MCU When
UK Pale Ale Malt 3.200 kg 68.1 % 3.8 In Mash/Steeped
UK Munich Malt 0.900 kg 19.1 % 2.0 In Mash/Steeped
UK Dark Crystal 0.500 kg 10.6 % 15.4 In Mash/Steeped
German Melanoidin Malt 0.100 kg 2.1 % 1.0 In Mash/Steeped


Variety Alpha Amount IBU When
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 9.2 90 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 9.2 85 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 9.1 80 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 9.1 75 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 20 g 8.9 70 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 4.3 60 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 4.2 55 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 4.1 50 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 4.0 45 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 3.8 40 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 3.6 35 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 3.3 30 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 3.0 25 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 2.6 20 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 2.1 15 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 1.6 10 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 0.9 5 Min
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 10 g 0.0 At turn off
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 30 g 0.0 In Fermenter

Yeast: Bristol Beer Factory

Malted pigs

As an aside to yesterday’s brew, I think I’ve found some more fans of my homebrew – or at least the malt. These are our (or rather our co-op’s) pigs, just arrived on Sunday. We took the spent malt and hops up to them this morning to see if they liked it. No doubt about that: they went crazy for it. Let’s see if they like the yeast next week (I’ll kill it first to avoid making them ill). Who knows: this might give some interesting flavours to their meat.


Now brewing: Coal Porter

I love a good porter in winter, and as porter is at its best when matured, now is the time to get brewing. Proper porters in the 18th century got their complex flavours from the fact that maltsters were unable to create pale, uniform malts. The malts they used were all different colours, so to recreate this brewers often use several different types of malt in their porter. Not a fan of doing things by halves, I decided to go for ten malts in mine. Some of these are old-fashioned malts like amber and brown, with a little smoked malt to recreate some of the smokiness brought about by the way malts were kilned. Others are modern, such as melanoidin malt, a German innovation which allows the brewer to get some of the rich, deep maltiness found in Oktoberfest beers without the complicated decoction mashing normally required. The base malt is still the good old Maris Otter pale malt. Despite this, the predicted colour was almost black – it doesn’t take a lot of dark malt to get a very dark beer.

Sam joined me for this brew, so about half of those pics were by him.

This is the first recipe that I’ve created using Beer Alchemy for Mac, which is really excellent. The spreadsheet calculator I used before was good, but this is a lot easier.

Ingredient Amount % MCU When
UK Pale Ale Malt 2.900 kg 47.5 % 3.2 In Mash/Steeped
German Munich Malt 0.500 kg 8.2 % 1.0 In Mash/Steeped
UK Dark Crystal 0.500 kg 8.2 % 14.1 In Mash/Steeped
UK Brown Malt 0.500 kg 8.2 % 10.3 In Mash/Steeped
UK Amber Malt 0.500 kg 8.2 % 3.6 In Mash/Steeped
UK Chocolate Malt 0.400 kg 6.6 % 65.3 In Mash/Steeped
UK Smoked Malt 0.200 kg 3.3 % 0.2 In Mash/Steeped
German Melanoidin Malt 0.200 kg 3.3 % 1.9 In Mash/Steeped
UK Oat Malt 0.200 kg 3.3 % 0.1 In Mash/Steeped
UK Torrified Wheat 0.200 kg 3.3 % 0.1 In Mash/Steeped
Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
UK Challenger 9.3 % 35 g 33.1 Loose Whole Hops 90 Min From End
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 25 g 5.5 Loose Whole Hops 20 Min From End
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 25 g 3.3 Loose Whole Hops 10 Min From End
UK Fuggle 3.8 % 25 g 0.0 Loose Whole Hops At turn off
Other Ingredients
Ingredient Amount When
Cinnamon Stick 10 g In Boil
Protafloc 3 g In Boil
Coffee, Ground 20 g In Fermenter

Brewlab 1000-Thames Valley 3

Recipe Overview
Expected ABV: 6.4 % Expected OG: 1.063 SG
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 41.8 IBU Expected Color (using Morey): 69.1 EBC
Mash Efficiency: 80.0 %

Summer Session in bottles

Two of them, anyway. Most of this is going into the cask, but I’ve filled two bottles to take on a trip. It’s cleared nicely, thanks to kieselsol and gelatine. It’s very refreshing with loads of Citra aroma, as I hoped.

Note the ABV has changed: it fermented more than I’d expected, and I can test it more accurately with my new refractometer.

Now Brewing: Tamar Pale Ale.

Last weekend I went to Chilled Cider, which is a tiny festival in a pub in Dorset. Unsurprisingly Sam and I skipped the cider and helped drink them dry of Harvest Pale Ale. I subsequently found out that it was Champion Beer of Britain last year, and very nice it was too. It got me thinking that I’d really like to brew a light, hoppy session beer. Much as I’m enjoying the Flashman IPA, at around 5.8% or so, it’s a bit much to have more than a pint or two. I aimed for under 4%.

The Citra hops that I got for the IPA are fantastic, so I’ve decided to go for a single hop Citra. This was my recipe, for 23 litre length.


4kg Maris Otter
100g Crystal (for a bit of colour and body)

Hop schedule. All are Citra (13.3% AA)

90 min: 5g
20 min: 15g
10 min: 25g
Post-boil: 10g

The YoBrew calculator reckons that’s about 37 IBU. Previously I’ve worked out at about 70% efficiency, so I worked off that, resulting in predicted OG of 1.037, leading to about 3.9% ABV. However I seem to have improved my technique. These are from memory, but I think I got over 1.045. That’s about 85% efficiency! I guess I’ve improved my sparging technique. I diluted it down to around 1.039, which should give about 4%.

Previously I’ve had real problem with clarity of my beers. The Chamomile Lawn never properly cleared, while the IPA is only just clear now. I think I did better with the Beergerac, but that went bad so I didn’t check. I think I’ve done better this time. I added half a tablet of protafloc at 15 mins, and used a big sheet of (boiled) muslin to filter the hops and break material as I poured it into the fermenter. I also did better at making sure I’d waited til it was at a good rolling boil before adding the hops and starting the timings. I think I’ve got a better chilling technique worked out now too: bath full of cold water, with frozen water bottles in it. The pan goes in there, on a cooling rack so it’s not sitting on the bottom, and I leave the tap running slowly.

Anyway, the pic above is the wort that I sampled before it went into the fermenter (before pitching the yeast), after settling in the trial jar overnight. You can’t see it too well, but there’s lots of break material settling at the bottom and the wort itself is pretty much perfectly clear. Winner (so far)!

Now brewing: Flashman IPA

Flashman IPA

Impressive cavalry whiskers

Yesterday was my second all-grain brew day. On one of the hottest days of the year, I think it was appropriate that I had planned to brew an India Pale Ale. This was originally brewed for export to India to lubricate the wheels of Empire. To survive the long voyage, it was brewed with lots of hops and higher than usual alcohol. It’s a style that has been taken up enthusiastically by American brewers in recent years, who have made it their own, with massive, in-your-face hoppiness (with American hop varieties), and very high alcohol levels to match. I wanted to brew a summer session beer, so I didn’t want to go down this path as however tasty they are, they’re not ones to drink in large quantities – both because of the high alcohol levels, but also the massive hoppiness which gets a bit tiring.

Last weekend, my local had Sharp’s new seasonal brew, Atlantic IPA which I found very impressive. I particularly liked the unexpectedly fruity hop aroma. It wasn’t as strong or as powerful as an American IPA, but it had some of the complex hop character. As soon as I got home (no mobile signal in the pub, otherwise I’d’ve done it on the spot) I tried to do some research to find out about Atlantic IPA. Imagine my luck: the head brewer of Sharp’s has a blog, and wrote all about brewing Atlantic IPA, including the hops. It seems it has a number of American hop varieties in it: Centennial, Simcoe and Citra. Being a homebrew newbie, I had to do more research on these, though apparently Citra in particular seems to be the talk of the brewing world – a new variety with remarkable fruity aromas. Seems that’s the one.

As I didn’t want to do a full-on American IPA, I decided against copying all of the hops, but thought Citra could definitely add something to my brew. I went with Maris Otter, the king of English malts, for my base, and in the end didn’t use any others. I used 6kg for a 23 litre length, because I’m not confident of my efficiency and want to be sure of keeping the gravity high enough. Staying English for the hops, I used 40g of Challenger for bittering at the start of the boil. I had Goldings left over from Chamomile Lawn, so went with 50g at 10 minutes. After the boil, I then added 50g of East Kent Goldings, plus 40g of Citra. In the end the gravity was 1.052. With the F40 yeast, that should give me around 5.7 or 5.8 ABV: just about right. An English India Pale Ale, with a bit of extra flash – Flashman IPA. Pics below.

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Now brewing: Chamomile Lawn

Chamomile and lemongrass

This is my first all-grain brew, so was always going to be a bit of an experiment. This is especially the case because I planned to use my own recipe (albeit one based on one from a book). My aim here is for a refreshing beer for springtime. Annoyingly I was under a bit of time pressure when I made it, as I had a deadline to leave the house. This may have caused problems but it seems ok so far.

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