Posts Tagged ‘Landlubber’

Update #3: Landlubber

I’m taking a slightly different approach with the storage of this brew, so I thought I’d keep you updated.

The reason is clarity, and the sticky issue of finings. Now, here’s the rub – I like to keep my brews vegetarian if at all possible. I never use gelatine or isinglass and prefer to use copper finings and a lengthy conditioning period to ensure clarity. This is fine, and makes for clear beers in time, with good preservative qualities. The problem comes when the weather gets warmer and we don’t really want beers hanging around in kegs in the Boxshed for a month or more before tapping. The beer is warmer and any yeast in suspension takes longer to drop. Until now I have got around this problem by extending secondary fermentation and being extremely careful with the way my beer is handled at each stage, but I think it’s now time to investigate finings options once again.

The central problem here is that I am somewhat of a hypocrite when it comes to vegetarianism and beer. Now, any beer loving veggie will tell you that there isn’t actually any fish swimbladder (or cow bits) in a pint of beer. The very way in which finings work means that the animal products drop out of the beer to the bottom of the keg and aren’t passed into the pint glass in normal circumstances. So is a pint vegetarian or not? Is a carrot vegetarian if it was grown in blood and bone? Ack, who knows. What I do know is that my opinion is tainted and blinded by my love of beer, and that although I would conside Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce to contain fish, I wouldn’t pass over a pint of Adnams. It’s laughable, whichever way I look at it, and needs to be reconciled in time. Aaaanyway…

I don’t need to deal with this larger quandry for the next few brews anyway. I bought a half dozen two-stage finings called Condessa in 2008 that are ultra-clear veggie finings, They cost an arm and a leg, the company seems to have now gone out of business, but they did work very well the only other time I used them. If you know what they’re made of or where to source more, please tell me.

So today I have filled eight pint bottles with unfined Landlubber together with glucose solution by syringe. These will go in my Summer bottle stock. The remaining 19L or so is being fined as I type. Essentially the process involves stirring in one sachet of milky liquid, waiting an hour, stirring in a second and different looking sachet of milky gunk, then waiting 24 – 48hrs before kegging. Because I’m doing this in secondary most of the yeast has already been left behind in the primary bucket, but a significant amount will fluff up and fall out of suspension anyway, from memory. I’m hoping this will make Landlubber ready for drinking in just three weeks and clear as a bell to boot. I’ll obviously let you know. The second sachet is going in soon.

As far as finings go, I will probably have to bite the bullet one day and do it for real. My most likely choice will be a chitosan-based solution, which is derived from the shells of crustaceans and is found in pretty much any fertiliser used in home gardens (including the Boxshed, I’ve just discovered – it just gets worse – will my peas be veggie friendly?) Hey ho, a concern for another day.

Here are some rather mirky photos of the Little Bottler, the already rather bright unfined Landlubber, and some more bottles making friends with the bottled Thinking Bitter from last week. It tasted very nice by the way, but with less hops on the finish than we’d hoped for.

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Update #2: Landlubber

Just a quicky. The Landlubber fell below 1.010, and so needed to be taken off the crazy US-05 yeast cake.

This American yeast makes for a clean crisp pint, but the FV is anything but. I can’t leave a beer that is fully fermented sit in an explosion of icky pancake mix for any longer than necessary!

It’s now in a clean bucket where it will stay until next weekend.

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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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A nice brew evening this one, with everything going to plan as per the Landlubber recipe post. The very tiny amount of Black Malt did manage to raise that colour quite dramatically considering it was only 0.6% of the overall bill – very impressive.

We reduced the IBUs in the end by taking out around 6g of the copper hops and bringing both WGV and Bobek additions down to 30g each. Everything else went to plan and we managed to get 25L into the fermenter at a very respectable 1.043, which should produce a 4% brew not a million miles away from the taste of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. Mind you, still couldn’t resisit throwing in some extra Bobek to steep! Today I roused the sluggish S-05, and it’s taking off very pleasingly now.

Here are some photos of the evening.

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I do realise that I didn’t provide a proper brewday account for Thinking Bitter (which is now happily in secondary). I did actually write a draft using what I thought at the time was a very handy iPhone WordPress app, but once I had saved it in Draft Copy it become invisible and inaccessible forever. I’ve put in numerous requests for some help and support from WordPress, cos I can see the little number ‘1’ digit that suggests a file is knocking around in there somewhere, but to no avail. So a Thinking Bitter account will follow when I get round to rewriting it.

In the meantime though, we’ve had another brew! More details on this one down the line too, but for now, how about a recipe?

Landlubber is a brew very much in the style of Timothy Taylor Landlord, based upon many of Graham Wheeler’s calculations. After a bit of tinkering with BeerSmith, we reduced the copper hops to get those IBUs down a litttle, then added a little more aroma on the finish with some steeping hops. We used homegrown WGV hops instead of Goldings and exchanged Styrians for Bobek from Barley Bottom, which are also added at flameout. Our yeast choice in the end was US-05 over S-04 —  not as easy to ferment out but a good frame for those aroma hops.

Here’s the recipe anyway – full account another day:



Style: English Best
Batch Size: 25.50 L
Boil Volume: 36 L
Boil Time: 90 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.0 %

4.65Kg Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC) 99.4%
35g Black Malt 40L (985 EBC) 0.6%

Protofloc Tablet (15 min)
1 Pkgs US-05

Hop profile
WGV, 6%AA, 30g at 90 min
Bobek, 5.4%AA, 30g at 90 min
Bobek, 5.4%AA, 25g at 10 min
Bobek, 17g at flame out

Batch Sparge
Mash Grain Weight: 4.68kg Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Grain Temperature: 13.0 C
Mash In Add 11.6L of water at 72.8C (66C) 90 min
Step Add 9.8L of water at 80.2 (72C) 10 min
Step Add 15.76L of water at 81.9C (76C) 10 min

Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.042
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.011
Estimated Color: 13.9 EBC
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Alpha Acid Units: 2.0 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 4%

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