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Posts Tagged ‘Thinking Bitter’

After a week in secondary dropping clear, the Thinking Bitter is now sitting in my oldest Cornie and a half dozen 660ml Fischer swingtops. These were donated by my friend Mark, who picked them up in France and kindly drank all of the lager somebody had left in them!

This little lot will sit around in the warm for a week (the keg with a blanket of CO2 and the bottles munching glucose.) They’ll all then go out to the Boxshed for another couple of weeks to condition, before being swigged while gardening, weather permitting.

I hope this text and photo look okay – I’m giving the iPhone a second chance.

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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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The main point of this brewday was just to get us thinking about brewing again, hence the name. It was a good opportunity to make a fresh session bitter while clearing out The Boxshed, cleaning all my vessels, and taking stock of, well, stocks. We wanted to create an easy drinking bitter with a hoppy finish and layered malts that used up a few reserves along the way. All in all it went pretty well.

After an APA and a stout in recent brews, it was a bit of a shock to mash such a lightweight grist, but it did smell cracking thanks to the small additions of Munich, Crystal and Roast Barley. Run off and returns all passed without incident using a two-stage batch sparge. It was only once the sweet wort was on the boil and we had added a chunk of nice garden Fuggles into the copper that I realised the sachet of ‘S-04’ I had been relying on was actually a wheat beer yeast and no good in this recipe at all.

A quick phone call later and I was picking up my mate Tom who was open to a bribe of a pint of Winter Ale in exchange for a nice scoop of Nottingham from a large vac pack in his brewery. I managed to get them in at the local and get home in time to add the WGV, Protafloc and chiller. The last of my favourite EKGs went in at flameout and then it was just a matter of chilling and pitching. We achieved 25L at the target 1.036, which was on target for a 3.4% beer.

After 24 hours safely in the fermenter, very little was happening with the Thinking Bitter, and as I partly suspected I had rehydrated the Nottingham in >30c water, I decided to skim the break and repitch the rest of Tom’s yeast. It all took off like a rocket and fermented out to 1.010 in another 72hrs. We now have 24L clearing up nicely in a secondary, and have already had a few shots of the stuff just to see how it’s getting on. Very nice it is too. Here are the few photos we managed:

Just chillin

Just chillin'

..and maxin

..and maxin'

Solid seive shot

Solid seive shot

Hoppiness

Hoppiness

Fermenting (well, it wasnlt actually, but...)

Fermenting (well, it wasnlt actually, but...)

Drinking out of the FV is v.classy

Drinking out of the FV is v.classy

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Righto, well I’m devising a vague plan in my head to brew a pleasantly hoppy session beer that uses up some remnants of grain in an interesting bill, while making the most of some nice homegrown hop reserves I have in the freezer. My yeast options are limited, and this is a very lightweight mash compared, for example, with the recent APA, but it’ll get the Boxshed up and running again, and that’s the main thing, I feel. It’s also very cost-effective, and will hopefully take my mind of the day job for an evening, with less outlay than a trip to the local.

Anyway, here is the recipe as currently formulated. Any comments more than welcome!

 

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

Ingredients
3.75Kg Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC) 92.4%
100g Crystal Malt 40L (78.8  EBC) 2.5%
100g Torrified Wheat (3.3 EBC) 2.5%
60g MunichMalt (17.7 EBC) 1.5%
50g Roasted Barley (591 EBC) 1.2%

Protofloc Tablet (15 min)
1 Pkgs S-04

Hop profile
Fuggles, 4.5%AA, 50g at 90 min
WGV, 6%AA, 25g at 15 min
East Kent Goldings, 40g at flame out

Batch Sparge
Mash Grain Weight: 4.06kg Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Grain Temperature: 13.0 C
Mash In Add 10.4L of water at 72.8C (66C) 90 min
Step Add 8.5L of water at 80.2 (72C) 10 min
Step Add 13.67L of water at 81.9C (76C) 10 min

Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.036
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.009
Estimated Color: 14.4 EBC
Bitterness: 35.5 IBU
Alpha Acid Units: 2.0 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 3.4%

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