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Posts Tagged ‘stout’

Can it really be a whole year since we last updated The Boxshed Brewery website? Pretty unforgivable perhaps, but actually in such a fast-moving world it can sometimes be pleasant to take time out from writing about daily life to sit down with a pint or six and just enjoy it!

Many seasonal brews later, it’s April 2011 and life in the Boxshed is much the same as it was this time last year. It’s Dark Ale time once again in the brewery, while milds, porters and stouts are also fobbing away at my local. None of this beer is going to mash or drink itself – time to get back to black.

We’ll be posting some more updates soon enough, beginning with the outcome of this dry Suffolk stout, currently conditioning in the shade during a surprisingly hot and sunny East Anglian spring. In the meantime, get out in the sunshine yourself, visit your local community pub and check out the dark stuff coming onto taps and stillage.

It’s probably your round…

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Life’s been a whirlwind over the last month or so, but on the brewing front it’s all been about creating an interesting stout.

A test brew and full-on firkin-size brewday culminated in a complex stout which we’re fortunate enough to have on tap at a local ale fest.

The Dark Ale Days festival at The White Horse pub in Edwardstone, Suffolk opens in around an hour’s time at midday Friday 30 April, and runs until Monday afternoon. There are bands every day providing a suitable soundtrack to complement a selection of over 30 milds, porters and stouts from far and wide, including one brew from the Boxshed.

The as-yet-untapped Penny Black Suffolk Stout features eight types of grain as well as three hop varieties grown at the Boxshed. It tasted pretty good in testing and direct from the fermenter, but of course we actually have no idea how it will arrive in the glass. Fingers crossed and many thanks all the fine people at The White Horse and attached Mill Green Brewery who will be working their ale-drenched socks off all weekend serving up all that dark stuff.

See you there?

More details on the brew itself another time.



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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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According to Procrastinationadvice.com, a site that surely is the epitome of self fulfilment, “In order to know the reasons, as to why certain people delay or put off performing their certain tasks or assignments, it is essential to recognize the definition and level of procrastination. The fundamental understanding of the procrastination definition is that, it is an act of delaying or putting off performing some tasks to a later period. This kind of avoidance behavior may be an occasional practice of some individuals. Typically delaying the performance of some assignments can lead to a traumatic situation. Thus, an individual needs to thoroughly understand the definition of procrastinate, so as to understand its significant causes. However, for the persistent procrastinator, it may lead to failure in their assignments and tasks to be furnished.”

Utter twaddle. I’ve just been too busy earning a crust and refinancing my little world to post for a while, that’s all. That and the fact my new iPhone camera doesn’t work very well, doesn’t have a flash, and remarkably lacks both Bluetooth and removable media. It’s a great toy (you can even get brewing software on it created by a fellow UK beer forum bloke), but a crap camera. And phone, frankly.

Anyway, enough bush beating, here’s the latest. The Dark Garden was terrific and as such is long gone. The Pion Brew, Best Bitter and Stout are all finally on tap, although because the Boxshed is so damn cold, the two ales are suffering very badly from chill haze. The same can’t (because it’s simply impossible to tell) be said of the Stout, which as intended tastes terrific with a double port in the bottom of a cold pint.

In other news, thanks to borrowing some equipment off of Tom the microbrewer (he’s normal size you understand, but his plant currently churns out five barrels a pop) and some gratefully received elbow-grease as chance would have it, the APA is also now in 40 pint bottles and has just finished warm conditioning. Oh, plus various swingtops of random beers as well as Pickled Onions (which are great by the way, if you like ’em spicy) have been bundled off as Christmas gifts.

As soon as I work out what the hell Apple is playing at, I’ll post some photos of the current draft offerings and the bottles. If that doesn’t happen before Christmas, I wish you A Very Merry One.

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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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