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Posts Tagged ‘american hops’

Nothing much to report before the weekend, when we’ll be checking the hops in the makeshift loft ‘oast’ to make sure they’re all fully dried. That’ll mean bagging them up and freezing them until a suitable brewday comes around. We still haven’t invested in a vacuum sealer, so it’s just a matter of stuffing ziplocks and making ’em airtight, just like last year.

In the meantime, the Autumn Ale is shaping up nicely, tested today at 1.018 on its journey from 1.043 to 1.012. I’ll move this brew to secondary quite early because I have the feeling it would go down to 1.009/8 if left alone to clean up for too long. Sunday night, perhaps.

In other news – we’ve run out of draught beer at the Boxshed!

Our Summer hiatus is really starting to bite, so another brewday will have to follow hot-on-the-heels of this one as soon as we can get everything ship-shape. We’ve basically run out of Star-San and Iodophor, so we’ll have to resort to VWP and its clouds of chlorine gas for sanitisation- yuck. On the plus side, I dipped into the final reserves of Boxshed Premium APA last night, enjoying a pint straight from the fridge. What would CAMRA say?

Well, I said “Ahhhhhhhh! Yum! Must brew that again one day!”

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Just a quick update on the progress of the Autumn Ale, which has taken off like a rocket. It seems very happy in a room at almost exactly 20c. The constant burping of the airlocks is actually quite comforting (as well as off-putting and gas-inducing!) and I think the kräusen will hit the lids on both FVs pretty soon.

Just for fun, here’s a quick video clip of fermentation just 14 hours after pitching. Normally we’d skim all that break/trub to encourage a more vigorous ferment, but this time there’s definitely no need, and we’ll just allow it to settle out and stay behind when each beer is moved to a secondary vessel in around a week’s time:

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Good news – the upgraded brewery works a treat and the inaugural brew went very well indeed.

We collected 50L split across two fermenting buckets at the anticipated starting gravity of 1.043. It should ferment out at around 1.012 and deliver a deep brown 4% brew with a fat slice of bitterness and a pleasing hop kick. The blend of malts is intended to provide a complexity that waves goodbye to the Summer and it’s more direct pale ales. But we’ve also loaded plenty of pungent hops at the start of the boil to keep things interesting for the hopheads.

We’re pleased to say there were no problems during the brew. The new HLT is probably a little small in volume, but being able to fill it with a hose and heat liquor in situ was still so much easier and safer than hefting hot liquids around. The big mashtun has been a fixture in the Boxshed for a while now and did its job very well as always, maintaining a constant temperature over 90 minutes with ease. The real star was the new boiler, which was our biggest unknown quantity and worry beforehand. The two large immersion heater elements brought 65 litres of sweet wort to the boil very quickly, and a constant rolling boil could be maintained by using either one of the elements on its own. Special mention must go to the new hopstopper created by fellow enthusiast Garth, which coped admirably with several ounces of pellets without any clogging.

Anyway, enough words, here are the pictures already…

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Just ten years ago it seemed that a trip to America meant drinking a lot of low-grade, fizzy, rice-filled lager, seeking out a few bottles of Anchor Steam or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale if you were lucky enough to be on the West Coast, or plumping for some form of Sam Adams as the best of the rest if you were weren’t. Now of course things are very different, and I’d have to say that along with Belgium, Germany and of course good ol’ Blighty, the US of A stands out for me as one of the very finest beer producing nations on Earth. If you’re fortunate enough to pitch up in Boston, San Francisco or any enlightened city in between these days, chances are you won’t just find a pub serving great ale – you’ll find dozens of brewpubs,  serving dozens of great ales, all on draught and all as hoppy as your head can handle.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m very definitely an American Pale Ale convert. I was even among the grinning fools stumping up £4.50 a pint for the stuff at the Great British Beer Festival despite the many hundreds of perfectly decent British beers on offer at much more reasonable prices. It’s not hard for me to work out why I like them so much, but some of the reasons aren’t exactly, well, CAMRA. I like Pale Ales that are more golden than just plain pale. I seem to love any pint that packs American aroma and dual purpose hops such as Mount Hood, Amarillo, Centennial, Sterling, Liberty and of course Cascade. And, except when within shouting distance of St. Albans, I quite like my Pale Ales served colder than your average British cellar. Not much colder – but a keg in a shed in early November is about right for me.

Anyway, enough of the paff- here’s the recipe brewed today. It’s basically a stronger, more bitter, hoppier version of Ollosson’s famed Townes IPA, but I’ve allowed plenty of headroom for inefficiencies resulting from batch sparging. It’s stronger than my usual brews because it uses a larger grain bill than I normal would opt for. But it’s main charecteristics will stem from some stonking fresh 7.3%AA green Cascade hops, pulled from a large foil pocket when the mash was already on, thanks to my friend Tom, who brews his ales on an altogether higher plane than me in his own purpose-built micro.
 

 

Boxshed Premium APA
Date: 20/11/2008
Style: American Pale Ale
Batch Size: 23.00 L
Boil Volume: 32.00 L
Boil Time: 90 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.0 % (well… …it’s higher really, but I was allowing myself to batch lazily)

Ingredients
6.5Kg Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC) 96.3%
250g Wheat Malt (3.9 EBC) 3.7%
Protofloc Tablet (15 min)
1 Pkgs S-05

Hop profile
Cascade, 7.3%AA, 45g at 90 min
Cascade, 7.3%AA, 25g at 15 min
Cascade, 60g at flame out

Batch Sparge
Mash Grain Weight: 6.75kg Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Grain Temperature: 13.0 C
Mash In Add 17.5L of water at 71.3C (65C) 90 min
Step Add 14L of water at 77.1 (70C) 10 min
Step Add 10L of water at 87.1C (75C) 10 min

Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.057 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.017 (yeah, right)
Estimated Color: 11.4 EBC
Bitterness: 47.8 IBU
Alpha Acid Units: 3.0 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 5.3%

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