Archive for September, 2012

Tasting notes #27: Colonel Williams IPA Clone

September 22, 2012 Comments off

A test bottle looked like this five days after bottling – quite proud about the looks:

I suspect it is more of an amber (mahogany) colour than the real thing but only 1% of black malt was used in the recipe so it is very unlikely to affect the taste. But the proof is in the pudding, in this case a pint pulled from a 5-litre mini cask using gravity – this is what it looks like now after 8 days, served at 13.8 deg C:

Nice fluffy head and good carbonation which will decrease as the cask has some time to breath. Aroma is malty with some fruitiness, mouthfeel quite full with good amount of body. This is a moorish beer. Then the bitterness hits and indeed is as intended: plain bitter with no hop aroma to speak of, a malt-forward beer with good generic (and a bit crude) bitterness. Not piney or fruity or citrusy but a solid bitter malty beer with good body. I think Nottingham yeast works well here, none of the S-04 fruitiness but instead a dry emphasis on the hops and malts – as simple as they are.

To test the beer’s stamina to endure travel, instead of shipping it to India by a ship I have sent two bottles to England for Martyn Cornell to, hopefully, enjoy:

I am hoping the soft Tavastland well water won’t deviate too much from the taste profile (as I think this beer could take a lot more up front bitterness and not suffer), also Maris Otter was not used, but still it rather boggles the mind how much mileage one can get with basically one malt and one hop.  Perhaps this will be the new brewing fad, malt-forward bitter IPA’s as enjoyed in the 1800’s…

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting notes #28: Kölsch

September 22, 2012 Comments off

Aroma is fruity in a tropical way, mango and passion fruit, this character comes through in the taste too and dominates the soft grassy bitterness with its fruity sweetness. The hops used in the recipe came with a Brewferm Kölsch kit so no idea what they actually are, not similar to Saaz at all.  Also the yeast (Brewferm Top Ale) came with the same kit (the grain I used in an earlier brew) and is a cracker although it does not leave a tight sediment in the bottle but floats up. Perhaps the fruitiest beer I have brewed and the yeast definitely gets used again next summer.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Brew #30: Rye Wallop

September 15, 2012 Comments off

Decreased efficiency from 80% to 78%, Beer Engine showed 85g increase in the malt bill given 1036 target OG.  Rinsed with 7.4 litres. Things started getting out of hand.  29.5 litres at 1040 indicated 107% mash efficiency. Started suspecting the accuracy of crystallised rye malt’s extract value of 116 degrees litre. Kicking myself for getting all that extra beer then added some liquor into the kettle, hit 1036 at some stage, finally ended up with 28 litres into the fermentor at 1038 OG.

name Rye Wallop
“style” Mild
IBU 18
EBC 910
OG 1038
brewing date 15-Sep-12
yeast Safbrew S33
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 1.585 32.3%
grain 2 Dark Rye (Tuoppi Kotikalja) 2.115 43.2%
grain 3 Wheat 0.500 10.2%
grain 4 Munich 0.500 10.2%
grain 5 Crystal 0.200 4.1%
total 4.900 100%
hops hop gram minutes ibu
bittering Target 10.7% 12 60 14
flavour Fuggle 3.8% 11 20 3
flavour Hallertau Mittelfr. 5.2% 8 20 3
total 31 20
mash schedule minutes degC
step 1 mash in 48
step 2 70 69
Protafloc tablet
mash with 26 litres
sparge with 7.4 litres
into kettle various litres
into FV 28 litres
Categories: Brewing

Brew #29: House Bitter 1043

September 11, 2012 Comments off

The plan following the recipe designed with Graham Wheeler’s Beer Engine: start mashing with 26 litres, rinse with 6.9 litres, target 24 litres, efficiency set at 80%, hit 1045 OG.

Rinsed the malt slowly with 75degC water. Last 2.2 litres to go into the kettle had OG of 1032, after that the grain was very dry and nothing was dropping into the bucket, even when pressed from the top. Ended up with 30 litres at 1039 OG just before the boil started (86% mash efficiency). 24 litres into the fermentor at 1043 OG (76% Brewhouse efficiency).

Some other math. 2.9 litres was soaked up by grain or vapourised during the mash (32.9 in, 30 out). After the boil, hops and cooling took their share the volume was 26 litres indicating 2 litres of wastage (trub) in the kettle (measured amount was 0.85 litres, WTF!?).

So I hit the volume spot on, am two points short the OG, and the actual mash efficiency was six basis points higher than the one used for the grain bill. The plot thickens…

name House Bitter 1043
“style” Bitter
IBU                  39
EBC 28
OG 1043
brewing date 11-Sep-12
yeast Safale S-04
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 3.264 73.6%
grain 2 Munich 0.375 8.5%
grain 3 Vienna 0.375 8.5%
grain 4 Wheat 0.245 5.5%
grain 5 Crystal 150EBC 0.154 3.5%
grain 6 Black 0.024 0.5%
total 4.437 100%
hops hop gram minutes ibu
bittering Target 10.7% 25 60 27
flavour Fuggle 3.8% 31 20 7
aroma Saaz 3.4% 41 10 5
total 97 39
mash schedule minutes degC
step 1 mash in 48
step 2 10 48
step 3 30 62
step 4 20 72
step 5 10 78
Protafloc tablet
mash with 26 litres
sparge with 6.9 litres
into FV 24 litres
Categories: Brewing

Brewing Software Tinkering

September 9, 2012 Comments off

The other day at Jim’s Beer Kit Homebrewing Forum Graham Wheeler threatened to pull his free Beer Engine recipe design programme off the server so I quickly downloaded it just in case. It seems to be very simple and user-friendly and I’ll be using it for my next brew. I have used Beersmith 2 with my 20 litre Speidel Braumeister (and a separate spreadsheet from which I copypaste  my recipes) and it seems quite complicated to use – I have about ten different equipment profiles and although I’ve settled to use 26 litres to brew my rinse water keeps changing from 4 to 8 litres and my batch size in the profile settings is all over the place. What a pain.

But I noticed a neat feature in Wheeler’s software which I’m going to test out.  I have target volume set to 24 litres and efficiency to a conservative 80% (also evaporation 10% and wort loss 2.1 litres). In set defaults there is also a liquor to grist ratio field and when I typed in litres over kilos as per recipe ( 26l/4.44kg = 5.86) on the recipe page I got mash liquor 26 and total liquor 32.9, suggesting sparge or rinse amount of 6.9 litres.

Next week house bitter to see if I can hit target gravity of 1045 and 24 litres into the fermentor as per above.

Categories: Brewing

House Bitter

September 7, 2012 Comments off

Every brewer should have a house bitter (bog-standard brown beer). This is mine with a slight twist.


Malt bill (by weight not extract, close enough for cooking) :

Pale Ale 73.5%

Munich 8.5%

Vienna 8.5%

Wheat 5.5%

Crystal 150EBC 3.5%

Black 0.5%, mainly to adjust the colour, kept below 30 EBC.


Hop bill:

Target for 60 minutes, 27 IBU’s

Fuggle for 20 minutes, 7 IBU’s

Saaz for 5-10 minutes, 5 IBU’s


Yeast Safale S04 for fruitiness (something like Nottingham is too dry for this).

Categories: Brewing