Posts Tagged ‘Oakham Ales’

I’m writing this report up in stages during a brew evening, so if you’re really lucky, it’ll start of all optimistic and cocky yet end in disaster and woe. However if I’m lucky, it’ll go largely to plan, with just a few fun obstacles along the way.

This evening’s brew is Boxshed Hop Juggler (BHJ), a completely new recipe for the Boxshed, loosely inspired by Oakham Ale’s excellent Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (JHB). I say loosely because noone has managed to come up with a satisfactory recipe to ‘clone’ this beer as yet. Marc Ollosson gave me the basic IBU strength and the tip to use Challenger for bittering, but the feedback from craft brewers having a stab at his recipe, always suggests that it doesn’t hit the right aroma hop notes with the stated small addition of Mount Hood.

Oakham’s recipe history was inspired by a lack of available English hop varieties during a time of low yield in this country, as well as a surge of interest for American hops. The brewery’s own website mentions the following: “The choice of varieties was influenced by the scarcity of Goldings and Fuggles at the time and the suggestion by Mr Paul Corr-Bett of Charles Faram and company that the American varieties of Mount hood and Willamette might be used instead.” We’ve taken this information on board and decided that a few more IBUs are needed from those copper Challenger hops, more Mount Hood need to bump flavour towards the end of the boil and contribute to the bitterness as well as the aroma, while a bunch of Willamette at flameout might just steep in the missing citrus and spicey highlights. I guess time will tell!

The mash is currently underway at just 65c to ensure the required dryness.

All good so far. After a 90 minute mash held at 65 degrees in the thermobox, I took around a half dozen jugs of runnings in turn and returned them into the mash before draining. These pale brews always look a little cloudy and thin, but once the turgid bits and pieces were out of the flow, it all ran into the boiler looking fine enough. It also tasted very sweet and pleasant. I’ve now topped up the mashtun with 9.5 litres at 77c for the first of two bath sparges and given the thing a good stir. I’ll check back in ten minutes or so. In the meantime I’m going to have a pint of mystery beer that I found in the Boxshed – a swingtop with no labels on it. I hope it’s a good ‘un…

Think it’s our own Best Bitter. Last of the stout next. Right, second batch coming to the end, copper nearly at boil, Challenger pellets all measured out. Better get with it…

Slight stuck mash with five litres or so still in the tun. I was at the end of a sack of grain, so suspect undue flouriness. Restirring, waiting ten, taking runnings and going again…

Okay, that worked out just fine, must have been flour as I’d guessed. Challenger pellets in, boil on in anger. Man, I’m so cold. Need to warm hands over the copper.

Good stuff – all rolling nicely, Willamette and Protofloc going in now. Nice 6Music accompaniment! ‘Dr Strangely Strange’ – sixties band from Kerry.

All hops in, Protofloc, chiller on – it’s all down to the Acme Hop Thingy next. I find using pellets really odd and not as satisfying as whole flowers, but if they filter out fine, then the proof will be in the tasting!

Excellent – nothing untoward in the end – 25L in the fermenter at 1.041. The flow from the copper was slower I guess, but the makeshift Hop Stopper wotsit worked a treat thankfully! Left a strange mound of green slop in the boiler like no hop bed I’ve ever seen before, and the cold break is a much more granular cloud, but the wort ran into the FV pretty clear (more bits in the seive though). Pitched US-05 half way through the run-off, and it’s all now indoors. I’ll rouse this brew 24hrs into the ferment, because that worked a treat last time out with this yeast.

Right, everything cleared up apart from the tun and copper! Time for some sleep and a Lemsip.


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