Posts Tagged ‘Northdown’

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 brewday was my first of the season, back in early September, and made good use of Pioneer hops which I’d never tried before. Anyway, I called it Pion Brew. To rhyme with Iron Bru, you see?¬†People immediately pronounced it ‘Pee On Brew’. Great. Anyway…

After a lengthy summer brewing hiatus I finally cleaned up all my kit and got ready with an evening brew. I see it as an evolution from my previous golden ales, adding bitterness, a sound combination of copper and aroma hops, plus some extra malt complexity with the small Munich addition. Wheat for head retention largely, and US-05 yeast to ensure dry finish and good drop.

I was looking for a dry citrus finish, and opted for a hottish 90/90 mash, batch sparge and boil for brevity:

I was hoping that Northdown and Pioneer would complement each other like Fuggles and Goldings do, but it was¬†just a theory from reading hop profile information. The Pioneer hops smelled great – like very pungent EKG. The mash all went well, nice and steady. Took lots of runnings, and repeated this with the two-step batches of ten further litres each. I hope there were enough aroma hops, probably should have put in more to steep. I took 21 litres of wort from the boiler at 1.045 and added two litres of water to the FV, making 23 litres at 1.040. I’m hoping for under 4% so happy with that.

Pion Brew

Mash in 10.5l at 75c (66c)
Hold for 90 minutes and drain
Add 10l at 75c (70c)
Hold for 10 minutes and drain
Add 15l at 82.5c (75c)
Hold for 10 minutes and drain

Marris Otter Pale Malt- 3.5Kg (83.3%)
Munich Malt- 350g (8.3%)
Torrified Wheat – 350g (8.3%)

Boiling (90mins)
30g of Northdown (9AA)at 90 minutes
20g of Pioneer (8AA) at 15 minutes
40g of Pioneer (8AA) steep

Other bits
SafAle S-05 rehydrated

This is probably my last use of batch sparging for a while. It still takes me around six hours from start to finish, allowing for a 90 minute mash, two stop sparging, plenty of runnings, a 90 minute boil and up to an hour chilling down to fermentation temperature and resting for the break to settle. I can’t see it getting much shorter than that, really, without going to 60/60, so starting at around 6pm leaves me pitching yeast at around midnight tired and surrounded by sticky equipment, hosepipes and power leads.

I never saw a proper raging ferment on this brew at all. Gas bubbled through the airlock steadily but unremarkably for a couple of days. I then skimmed the break, expecting it to take off a bit, but all it did was reform a head and steadily bubble once more. However, it hit target (1.010) after five days so I transferred it into a secondary fermenter to drop for a week or so before kegging. Looked very bright and yellow – reminded me of a Belgian Pale at that stage.

For reasons beynd my control this brew stayed in secondary for two weeks before being kegged and bottled, held in the warm for a further week, then banished to the shed for cold conditioning. Should be ready for Bonfire Night. Ish. Anyway, here are some photos as ever:


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