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Posts Tagged ‘Dark’

Here are a couple of videos that were taken during the recent Dark Garden ’09 brewday that we’d forgotten about.

We haven’t got a free video editing tool to hand (any ideas of the best option, please leave a comment and let us know) so they’re a bit rough and ready and are just raw brewing clips, but you might find them interesting, who knows?!


A vigorous rolling boil is important, but so is nursing it through the first ten minutes or so to stave off a boil-over!


The bitter wort comes out with enough force to aerate the brew and add the yeast during the flow. We alternate between FVs every 5L to keep each vessel’s contents consistent.

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Sorry for the lack of photos this time round – I must have mislaid my camera somewhere between the shed and the house – normal service resumed one day soon I’m sure.

On 1st December we moved the Premium APA into secondary for a further week of fermentation and to drop clear before kegging. I tested the gravity at 1.018 from 1.058 which is spot on but rather surprising as I was resigned to the fact the Fermentis would break it down below the desired level and create a stronger brew than intended. As things have turned out, we’re very happy and unless anyone knows differently, will expect a final ABV of around 5.25%, which will probably be rounded up to 5.3% to take into account some natural priming.

I was also considering dry hopping this one with a further ounce of Cascade, but the sample I smelled and drank during transfer was pungent with hops and I feel will drink well as it stands. In a way I suppose I’m compromising in order not to create a beer so hoppy that it puts off as many people as it attracts, but I genuinely think the current bitterness, malt and aroma balance is worth conditioning and testing. I’ll let you know if I was right after the keg has been drained sometime in the New Year!

For now the APA is resting like a golden millpond. There is sufficient to fill the keg currently housing our Dark Garden, plus a further eight bottles or so which will be used for early testing (!), presents and perhaps future events.

 

*  On the same day we also kegged and bottled the Seasonal Stout, which had been lurking in secondary for long enough at 1.010 waiting for a clean keg. This dry Irish stout tasted superb out of secondary FV and frankly could be drunk with a nice port and a chunk of blue cheese without ever seeing a tap! So we have high hopes for this one, which also stretched to seven swing-top bottles for future sampling. Both the bottles and the keg were naturally primed with neutral glucose. They’ll now sit in the warm for a week before being shipped out to the Boxshed for conditioning, and tapping on Christmas Eve.

**  I found my camera – sadly a little late – but here are two resting shots anyway!

 

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After a week or so in primary, this impressive smelling stout was ready to be moved into secondary. I also wanted to take this opportunity to harvest that valuable liquid yeast, which by now had grown and taken over the bottom of the FV bucket, and which threatened to turn into The Magic Porridge Pot. It will stay in secondary for at least another week, then I’ll post a kegging/bottling update and sort out another brewday, finally…

 

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Well the fermentation for my dry stout was rapid and impressive to watch. This is only the second time I’ve ever invested the extra money and effort to get hold of the most appropriate liquid yeast rather than just shoving in S-04, US-05, Gervin or Nottingham dried yeasts, and I really don’t know why! Last time was when I bought an East Coast White Labs vial for an extract APA style thing and it worked really well, both for that brew and when harvested for the next golden ale I made. This Dry Irish version took off like a rocket, smells superb and will definitely be harvested and used in whatever dark ales I brew in the near future.

As I mentioned prior to kicking off this brew, I ordered the yeast much too late, expecting Patsy at Hope & Grape to travel back in time in order to get the gear to me with enough of a run up to make a worthwhile starter for brewday. As it turned out, 24hrs or so proved more than enough, which is good to know. I boiled up 200g of Muntons Spraymalt in one litre of water, let it cool in a demijohn and shook it well with the yeast vial before putting under airlock.

By the time I needed to pitch the next day the starter didn’t look spectacular, but a layer of yeast had formed in the bottom of the bottle and there was a very gentle fizz and occasional airlock burp. I swirled it up and pitched it into the fermenter as the 20c wort transferred from the boiler. A thorough paddling and a warm room did the rest. Fermentation kicked off after just a couple of hours, in 24hrs the krausen had billowed high enough to coat the underneath of the FV lid in sticky stout tar, and just now, less than 48 hours after pitching, it was already susiding and gravity was down to 1.016 with a lot of action still coming through the airlock.

Very satisfying so far, all in all. I had a sample from the hydro drips while testing the gravity this lunchtime and, yup, it’s stout allright! Bitter and dry as you like, but unmistakeably stout. I plan to move this into secondary towards the end of the week where it will stay for a further week. I’ll update as and when anything interesting happens. Meanwhile, here are some pics as ever:

 

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On tap now and slipping down like a dream. I intended to wait until around Bonfire Night before cracking this one open, but a couple of friends came over for Sunday lunch and so it was the right time to give it a go.

Because it’s a new style to me, achieved what I wanted and is made from Fuggles grown in my own garden, I’d say this was definitely my most satisfying brew to date. Also it will inevitably become Boxshed’s definitive dark ale, and I’ll be knocking up another batch as soon as I can get my hands on some new malt stocks. Yum.

 

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Checked on this today after four days in primary and it had hit its 1.012 target perfectly – nice.

I transferred it into a secondary bucket, leaving all the break and yeast crud behind, and just taking nice clean brown hoppy beer looking stuff into a new home where it will now sit for about ten days.

After checking my hop stocks I found that for some reason I’d left behind a measly 21g of Styrians the other night instead of throwing it in as extra aroma hops. So I boiled up a muslin, some marbles and some thread and bagged the extra hoppage up, popping into the secondary for seven days of dry-hopping.

The secondary is burping once again, so I actually expect this to drop a few points further over that time, but it really has no need to on my account, it smells good and is strong enough for me. Nice colour too, so I’m pretty happy all in all. Plenty of time to screw it up still though.

 

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The plan for this brew was to produce a mild with all of the characteristics of a complex porter. My favourite commercial dark beer is probably Darkstar Over The Moon, and so I wanted to brew something with the same layered malt texture and hoppy profile. I realised this wouldn’t strictly result in a Mild, but the ABV certainly would as I wanted this to be a drinker, not a rare treat.

The only other essential ingredient for this brew was to use my own garden grown Fuggles hops in the copper. I was quite excited about using hops I’d planted, harvested and dried myself, and so was extra careful to get this one right. What made this a little tricky was the fact I’d never actually brewed a dark beer before, and simple things like black as oil first runnings and not being able to just clarity very easily at any stage were all things I hadn;t really considered.

As far as the recipe goes, I settled on six different malts, including two pales, three coloured and some wheat for head retention. On the hop front, Fuggles were a given, and East Kent Goldings made a natural partner, with a decent aroma guaranteed from a nice chunk in to steep. Here it is:

 

Boxshed Dark Garden

Mashing (90mins, 66 – sparge at 75)
MO Pale Malt, 2.7Kg (70%) 
Munich Malt, 400g  (10.5%) 
Crystal Malt, 200g  (5.2%) 
Wheat Malt, 200g  (5.2%) 
Chocolate Malt, 180g  (4.7%) 
Roasted Barley, 170g  (4.4%) 

Boiling (90mins)
Fuggles 4%AA, 45g, 90mins
East Kent Goldings, 30g, 15mins
East Kent Goldings 30g, Flameout steep

Other bits
Campden
Whirlfloc
SafAle S-04 rehydrated

Facts & Figures
Est. Brew length: 23L
Est. OG: 1.040
Est. FG: 1.010
Est. Bitterness: 30.6 IBU
Est. ABV: 3.8%

 

The mash and sparge all went very smoothly. Doing the returns was a bit weird because I’ve never brewed a beer as dark as this, so I simply did six litres in jugs and rinsed the grit each time rather than go by clarity. Check out the gallery to see more – sorry the photos are so gloomy but it was a grim, cold night, our fuses had blown on that lighting circuit, and the steam was pretty dense!

 

 


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