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Posts Tagged ‘brewday’

Fermentation all seems to be going well. We’re using SafAle US-05 to make a clean golden ale with hops cutting through the finish. The downside is that fermentation is never particularly spectacular with this particular yeast strain, and it isn’t highly flocculant, so not the best for bottling. Worth the extra care and a period in secondary for the crisper taste though.

We named it Boxshed Snow Drop for a few reasons. Outside the Boxshed the actual snow has now gone but the snowdrops are all coming through. We also have a little white Pekin hen called Snowdrop who is the only one of our birds to have laid through the cold Winter. But mainly, it should prove to be a nice Drop to have while watching the next deluge of Snow!

It’s a pretty selfish recipe, to be honest designed to be drunk by a motivated brewer! It’s over 90% pale malt and uses Target and Northdown as copper hops, with favourites East Kent Goldings and Mount Hood as aroma and steeping additions, all in large measures.

We went for a shorter brew length this time to enable a more vigorous boil without too much mess. A three stage batch sparge began with a cool mash and ended with a hot mash out. Sadly we lost a few litres to the copper when the pelleted hops swamped the hopstopper completely, but still managed to stow away 40 litres or so at the target gravity of 1.047. We’re hoping for a brew in the 4.4 – 4.6 ABV range.

Fermentation is taking place at the cooler end of the recommended scale at around 66-68 degrees, and we’ll test for progress towards 1.012 on Monday.

Really looking forward to drinking this one!



*EDIT: Checked progress on Monday after a pretty unspectacular fermentation to discover that both bins are already down to 1.013. That US-05 is a strange old yeast, but very effective! Brew looks pale and cloudy. We’ll leave it a little while longer and then transfer into secondary fermenters later this week to get rid of some of that yeast and trub and give it a chance to drop a bit clearer.


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Blimey, the Boxshed is finally brewing again!

It’s been quite some time but this first brewday of 2010 will be a premium pale ale with plenty of hops, just how we like it.

Quite exciting really, so there’ll be more updates later, and hopefully a beer or two to fuel the brewer in the cold old shed…

It was really difficult to get a brew on after such a long hiatus and such a disappointment last time out. There was also Christmas and all those snow days to contend with between brews, which made it seem even longer (and the Boxshed colder and less inviting). Remember back when you were small and you spent the whole summer holidays riding bikes, climbing trees and making mud pies only to discover when back in school in September that you couldn’t even remember how to hold a pen? Well it’s a bit like that. Only with snowballs not mud pies. And a brewer’s paddle not a pencil.

But look, it really is happening – here’s the evidence! More updates on the actual recipe another day.

*Late night update : Sheer volume of pellet hops blocked up the hopstopper. We dropped a few litres short to avoid recirculating the fine hop powder, but still took enough for a couple of cornies in two FVs at 1.047



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This is a bit of an unusual Brewday Update bonanza, so undoubtedly we’ll now forget to post for weeks, but we finally discovered why there was no photo of the Styrian hops being thrown in to steep for yesterday’s brewday – I’d taken a video clip instead, then only half remembered doing it.

So here are a couple of slightly embarrassing clips of me fiddling with the Boxshed Timmy’s Original while listening to 6Music (which, by the way, always gets a lonely mention on the brewsheets under the ‘assistant brewer’ column!)

Remember everyone, never drink and brew (too much, anyhow) – there’s every chance you’ll spill either the refreshing pint or the boiling brew. And who’d want to waste a glass of BHJ?


First up, it’s the obligatory rolling boil following the addition of the chiller, auxiliary finings and late hops:



And finally the missing Styrians, in to steep. These always smell a treat, and should lift the aroma finish of Timmy’s Original:

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The morning after the brewday before is always a mixture of grogginess and excitement. Tired, but happy at the malt and hop aromas seeping from the Boxshed, we’re still waiting for that explosive fermentation S-04 brings, but pleased to see plenty of bubbles a-rising.

Here are the remaining photos from the session, following the mash. It was good fun, as all hoppy recipes are. All went well once again, which is great as long as we’re not storing up fortune for a gigantic cock-up somewhere along the line! But hey, nothing stuck or broke, we didn’t drop anything in the wort, and we ended up hitting our target of 1.046 and securing 50L of the good stuff in two fermenters.

Can’t ask for more than that really:


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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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