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Posts Tagged ‘Fermentation’

No new brewday reports must signal that it’s time to start planning the next brew. We also need to plan keg and bottle capacity with the Christmas break in mind. It’s been a hectic year away from the Boxshed, and we’re looking forward to a nice chunk of downtime over the Christmas holiday. We’re plotting to get on a bit of a cooking and pickling buzz too, so we need a few beers on tap to offer anyone popping over for some seasonal cheer.

We’ll reserve our keg of Timmy’s Original for December, and perhaps some Dark Garden too, but will be tapping the Brown Corduroys this weekend and drinking it over forthcoming Bonfire nights. Ideally we’ll brew twice more over the next three weeks to create a Boxshed Dry Irish Stout ’09 (yummy with port!), plus an-all new Premium Pale Ale, maybe with a twist.

This means paying bills for old supplies and restocking with Marris Otter and one or two other speciality malts, ordering up some liquid yeast and preparing a starter for the stout, fixing two poppet valves in two faulty kegs, getting hold of some new sanitisers, cleaning a lot of bottles and other vessels, devising a new recipe for a fun pale, and seeing the Timmy’s Original safely into kegs.

All we’ve managed to do this weekend however is move the Timmy’s Original from primary fermenters to clean secondaries. It reached 1.012 with no problems, looks clear, smells great and just needs to be cared for this week prior to racking. Dry-hopping is also an (unlikely) option, but we’ll update if we go take that route.

In the meantime, for no good reason, here are a couple of photos of the Timmy’s transfer, leaving all that once-frenzied trub nicely behind.

PS – There’s an Autumn beer and cider festival going down every day this week at The White Horse, Edwardstone, Suffolk, culminating in a blue grass shindig on Hallloween itself. If you’re in the area, you really ought to pop over there for a pint or six. Here’s the brew list.

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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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Just a quick update of various movements of beers between different buckets, kegs and bottles. It may not look much but then you didn’t have to clean the stone out of the bottles and kegs with a pipe brush and a hosepipe…

The Boxshed Top Secret Autumn Ale finished secondary fermentation, dropping nice and clear. We put 25L into a primed King Keg, which was kept in the warm to build up some pressure and to allow venting of oxygen before being transferred to my bruv’s house down country lanes in the passenger seat of an ageing hatchback. A further 19L filled a cornie for the Boxshed, while several bottles were primed and filled as testers and treats. All are now in cold conditioning, in one shed or another!

The Boxshed Dark Garden ’09 finished primary fermentation and has been siphoned into clean FVs for 5-7 days of secondary in readiness for racking off to a similar selection of kegs and bottles to the Autumn Ale, which has by the way now been given a (hopefully) beguilingly dull name.

*Hopefully there will be news of another brewday later in the week – watch this space*

A few grainy pictures of various transfers:

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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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A quick update on the progress of our latest two brews and some idea of what’s up next.

Thinking Bitter is so easy going and pleasant it tastes perfectly fine right out of the secondary fermenter. It’s finished, essentially, and is just sitting there dropping clear and waiting for me to get my finger out and clean a keg and some bottles for it to live in. I really hate the cleaning part of the brewing process, from mash tun to siphon, but especially Cornelius kegs. And bottles. In that order. These days I tend to use the tried and tested method of rinsing like crazy, soaking and scrubbing with odourless oxycleaner, soaking in sanitiser and then giving the thing a final spray of Iodophor. It’s mindless, takes forever and hurts my back (*grumble, moan, gnash teeth, swear…*). Needless to say though, I’ll get around to it at some point this week and get the Thinking Bitter (appropriate huh?) conditioning. As a Spring ‘supper’, I want it on tap sooner rather than later to glug while gardening.

On to Landlubber then – a completely different beast. Fermentation got off to a steady start then exploded into action after the brew was roused 24hrs in. I’ve always liked US-05 – it forms a spectacular krausen and makes for crisp finished beers that show off aroma hops to their full effect. This yeast isn’t everyone’s cup of beer, but it’s perfect for my own personal tastes, and therefore anyone else who dares to visit the Boxshed and who wants a second pint. Anyway, with 25L in the FV there was always going to be trouble after rousing. It took a couple of hours to look like toasted marshmallow, 24hrs to hit the lid and 36hrs to start spewing out through the airlock in beery ropes of foam. Great stuff! After the whole thing had settled down I swapped the goo encrusted lid and bubbler for nice clean sanitised ones and pushed the head aside to test the gravity – 1.014 and still fermenting well after about 100hrs. It will get its own secondary towards the end of this week.

Finally then, future plans. I realised that my hop stores of primarily English hops such as Goldings, Fuggles, Northdown and the like would probably steer me towards quite similar bitters, milds and goldens to past brews, so I decided to stick in a more unusual hop order. My existing freezer drawer of old reliables from Barley Bottom will soon be complemented by some more exotic hops from CraftBrewer down in Oz! Mount Hood, Simcoe, Willamette and Liberty should all arrive soon, together with some more standard fayre like Challenger and Target that I’ve been struggling to source consistently and in any quality from any UK HBS. When these arrive my immediate plans will turn to my own takes on some commercial brew styles including Fullers Discovery/Adnams Explorer, and various Oakham ales. I’ve also had a request to recreate Flowers Original for the summer, so the Target might come in handy there. Anyway, all good fun.

Here are a few pictures of the Landlubber ferment – sadly not exploding through the airlock though (my iPhone had gone AWOL):

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