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.
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).
|UK Pale Ale Malt
|UK Medium Crystal
|UK Oat Malt
|UK Torrified Wheat
|UK Amber Malt
|German Munich Malt
|UK Chocolate Malt
||End Of Boil
||Loose Whole Hops
||90 Min From End
||Loose Whole Hops
||10 Min From End
Bristol Beer Factory
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.
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.