Archive for March, 2009

Just a short iPhone post after a very tricky and tiring evening of stainless steel brewfacturing!

Tonight I began cutting holes in the 70L pot as the first stage of building the Boxshed’s new boiler. Sadly, although I had a lot of fun making a big mess with power tools, I had a bit of trouble burning out the largest holesaw while making new homes for the elements. Oh dear. Lots, lots more on this project another day though!

To make myself feel better after the boiler cock-up, I fitted a sight tube (cheers again Garth) to our old boiler, which will soon become the HLT. Here it is. Please ignore the big ding around the thermostat – it was there when I acquired the Burco as a ‘graded’ product. I’m also adding a sight tube to the new boiler, hopefully, so I’ll explain what happened in more depth in a future post.

Enough for today though! Zzzzzzzzzzzz….

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This is a desperate post created to relieve the tedium of a crawling train journey back from That London. I’m probably chugging past Witham or some other hell hole right now…

Anyway! Apologies for the grumpiness and iPhone-ness, but yesterday I moved this brew into secondary and thought it might be worth posting as the colour is so cool.

*Some good progress on the new stainless setup by the way. On the plus side, I have all the vessels and bits and pieces I need assembled, including new staging. On the downside I don’t have a working brewery in the meantime, so don’t expect much brewday action in the near future (although the last three brews still need to condition for drinking anyway!)

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Right, this idea is not intended to be useful for anything other than a stopgap situation. I made mine because I had a brew planned and all my hops were suddenly only available in pellets. I use a standard looking drilled copper pipe filter in my copper – a Brupaks style gadget attached to my tap with tubing. It would have struggled to have handled all those Challenger, Mount Hood and Willamette pellets from Down Under.

I’m soon to have a new boiler and when I do I will ask a friend to help make a proper Hop Stopper, but if you get caught short – steal a 10″ stainless steel sieve from the kitchen or ironmongers, bend up the expensive looking handle at a right angle and squish on a flat surface until you have made the sieve sit square. Get a Dremel (or kitchen scissors, razor blades, welding torches, hangnails…) and cut a small hole with side slices, so you can shove a standard squished 12mm copper pipe hop filter through it.

Anyway, you can get the idea and the sieve is still usable.

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Here’s the usual gripping array of brewday photos! This time they’re from last night’s BHJ. There was no opportunity until this lunchtime to post I’m afraid:

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I’m writing this report up in stages during a brew evening, so if you’re really lucky, it’ll start of all optimistic and cocky yet end in disaster and woe. However if I’m lucky, it’ll go largely to plan, with just a few fun obstacles along the way.

This evening’s brew is Boxshed Hop Juggler (BHJ), a completely new recipe for the Boxshed, loosely inspired by Oakham Ale’s excellent Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (JHB). I say loosely because noone has managed to come up with a satisfactory recipe to ‘clone’ this beer as yet. Marc Ollosson gave me the basic IBU strength and the tip to use Challenger for bittering, but the feedback from craft brewers having a stab at his recipe, always suggests that it doesn’t hit the right aroma hop notes with the stated small addition of Mount Hood.

Oakham’s recipe history was inspired by a lack of available English hop varieties during a time of low yield in this country, as well as a surge of interest for American hops. The brewery’s own website mentions the following: “The choice of varieties was influenced by the scarcity of Goldings and Fuggles at the time and the suggestion by Mr Paul Corr-Bett of Charles Faram and company that the American varieties of Mount hood and Willamette might be used instead.” We’ve taken this information on board and decided that a few more IBUs are needed from those copper Challenger hops, more Mount Hood need to bump flavour towards the end of the boil and contribute to the bitterness as well as the aroma, while a bunch of Willamette at flameout might just steep in the missing citrus and spicey highlights. I guess time will tell!

The mash is currently underway at just 65c to ensure the required dryness.

All good so far. After a 90 minute mash held at 65 degrees in the thermobox, I took around a half dozen jugs of runnings in turn and returned them into the mash before draining. These pale brews always look a little cloudy and thin, but once the turgid bits and pieces were out of the flow, it all ran into the boiler looking fine enough. It also tasted very sweet and pleasant. I’ve now topped up the mashtun with 9.5 litres at 77c for the first of two bath sparges and given the thing a good stir. I’ll check back in ten minutes or so. In the meantime I’m going to have a pint of mystery beer that I found in the Boxshed – a swingtop with no labels on it. I hope it’s a good ‘un…

Think it’s our own Best Bitter. Last of the stout next. Right, second batch coming to the end, copper nearly at boil, Challenger pellets all measured out. Better get with it…

Slight stuck mash with five litres or so still in the tun. I was at the end of a sack of grain, so suspect undue flouriness. Restirring, waiting ten, taking runnings and going again…

Okay, that worked out just fine, must have been flour as I’d guessed. Challenger pellets in, boil on in anger. Man, I’m so cold. Need to warm hands over the copper.

Good stuff – all rolling nicely, Willamette and Protofloc going in now. Nice 6Music accompaniment! ‘Dr Strangely Strange’ – sixties band from Kerry.

All hops in, Protofloc, chiller on – it’s all down to the Acme Hop Thingy next. I find using pellets really odd and not as satisfying as whole flowers, but if they filter out fine, then the proof will be in the tasting!

Excellent – nothing untoward in the end – 25L in the fermenter at 1.041. The flow from the copper was slower I guess, but the makeshift Hop Stopper wotsit worked a treat thankfully! Left a strange mound of green slop in the boiler like no hop bed I’ve ever seen before, and the cold break is a much more granular cloud, but the wort ran into the FV pretty clear (more bits in the seive though). Pitched US-05 half way through the run-off, and it’s all now indoors. I’ll rouse this brew 24hrs into the ferment, because that worked a treat last time out with this yeast.

Right, everything cleared up apart from the tun and copper! Time for some sleep and a Lemsip.


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