Archive for February, 2009

Righto, well I’m devising a vague plan in my head to brew a pleasantly hoppy session beer that uses up some remnants of grain in an interesting bill, while making the most of some nice homegrown hop reserves I have in the freezer. My yeast options are limited, and this is a very lightweight mash compared, for example, with the recent APA, but it’ll get the Boxshed up and running again, and that’s the main thing, I feel. It’s also very cost-effective, and will hopefully take my mind of the day job for an evening, with less outlay than a trip to the local.

Anyway, here is the recipe as currently formulated. Any comments more than welcome!


Thinking Bitter
Style: English Ale
Batch Size: 25.50 L
Boil Volume: 36 L
Boil Time: 90 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.0 %

3.75Kg Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC) 92.4%
100g Crystal Malt 40L (78.8  EBC) 2.5%
100g Torrified Wheat (3.3 EBC) 2.5%
60g MunichMalt (17.7 EBC) 1.5%
50g Roasted Barley (591 EBC) 1.2%

Protofloc Tablet (15 min)
1 Pkgs S-04

Hop profile
Fuggles, 4.5%AA, 50g at 90 min
WGV, 6%AA, 25g at 15 min
East Kent Goldings, 40g at flame out

Batch Sparge
Mash Grain Weight: 4.06kg Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Grain Temperature: 13.0 C
Mash In Add 10.4L of water at 72.8C (66C) 90 min
Step Add 8.5L of water at 80.2 (72C) 10 min
Step Add 13.67L of water at 81.9C (76C) 10 min

Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.036
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.009
Estimated Color: 14.4 EBC
Bitterness: 35.5 IBU
Alpha Acid Units: 2.0 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 3.4%

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With my bottles of APA rapidly depleting as friends and family blink into the sunshine and take a refreshed liking to pale ales, we’re soon going to be out of beer. A few pints of stout and a couple of crates of random ales aren’t going to last a lengthy fermentation and conditioning period, even if brewing could start right away.

For this reason our plans are changing, and not in an exciting way, sadly. I can’t wait to accrue enough cash to buy any new gear, with the exception of a pair of site tubes destined for the HLT that is still a boiler, and the boiler which only exists in my head.

I’m also delaying ordering interesting hop varients from New Zealand (Craft Brewer doesn’t seem to be accepting orders anyway right now?). Instead we’re going to kick into 2009 brewing action with a very simple, low gravity ale just to get something in and out of the fermenter quickly. Barley Bottom’s new site is tempting me into a few modest malt purchases to tide me over, and I really ought to read Graham Wheeler’s latest edition too.

I’ll post up a recipe soon, but even as I type and survey my meagre victuals, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a gentle ale made with fuggles and goldings or similar, with a modest weight of pale malt to keep the ABV below 3.5%.

A supping beer to take us towards another payday and provide some further inspiration, then. More when I’m able to drag myself away from spreadsheets and the like…

In other news, The White Horse in Edwardstone recently finished its week long Winter Ale Festival and has already started scheming for its excellent Dark Ale Days fest, to be held in May. I have to admit that some of the stronger Winter fayre proved a bit chewy for my tastes, however Dark Star came up trumps as always with its Old Chestnut, while Oakham’s Oblivion was every bit as impresive as I expected it to be. Good stuff

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Hmmm,  ‘Winter Hiatus’ – not a bad name for a nice brew actually – maybe a ruby porter? Must think on…

Hopefully I’m nearing the end of my self-imposed brewing hibernation. A combination of factors ganged up and stopped me posting for several weeks. Chief amongst these was of course laziness, but there was more to it than that. I think.

Before Christmas we filled all our kegs and went on a  brewing break. After Christmas the whole credit crunch malarkey really hit home, resulting in me spending every waking hour (and some not quite so awake) sitting in front of this here screen, typing for the man. Of course I’d rather be messing around with grain, hops, yeast and various bits of shiny stainless steel, but needs must, and money’s been too tight to mention.

However, I do hope to get back in the swing of things soon. I have grain, plenty of hops in the freezer and no mild on tap, for a start!

We’ve had snow then floods here in East Anglia, but this weekend I’m hoping to get into the garden to clear up the havoc and pile some compost on the hop bines. I may even buy a new plant this week – the year is rolling on and plenty of rhyzomes are back in stock.

As far as equipment goes, my immediate plans are to replace my boiler with a slightly larger capacity vessel and move my current boiler to become a heated HLT rather than the current insulated job. I’m looking forward to this project, but again it’s a question of getting money together here and there which isn’t needed for more pressing matters. Like food. And beer from the local.

Aaaanyway – expect to hear from the Boxshed a little more frequently from now on, at least. More frequently than not at all, anyway, eh?


ps. If you’re at a loose end between 13th and 22nd February and you happen to be in the area, why not visit the Edwardstone White Horse Winter Ale Festival?  The tied Mill Green Brewery is serving up five ales (including the excellent Good Ship Arbella APA) and there will be a further 16 ales on stillage over the week, plus the usual Adnams Bitter and Crouch Vale Brewers Gold on tap. Well worth checking out – you might even catch some live blues and folk while you’re sinking a few.

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