Archive for July, 2014

Tasting impressions #57: Stout Porter

July 28, 2014 Comments off

I brewed this beer last year and have already tasted it twice, here and here. Head is fluffy, huge, tan coloured and has big holes. Aroma has lost a lot of roastiness, has some coffee but mostly fruity sourness. The wife says cough-syrupy aniseed. Mouthfeel is soft and light as a feather, very round. Taste has no ash-tray, not much roasted flavours, not much coffee, not much hops – and has become something more, has become more than the sum of all its parts. Very delicate, very light. Very drinkable and sophisticated. Perhaps my best beer. Time is doing its work in the bottle, ageing and maturing the beer, polishing off the rough edges.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting impressions #72: Rambler’s Cracked Heel Bitter

July 21, 2014 Comments off

This beer on the other hand finished only at 3.9 per cent abv. Reddish coppery colour, pin bright:



Aroma is fruity with some toffee. Mouthfeel is soft and a bit watery. Taste has some roasted notes, caramel and the hopping is very traditional and generic, twiggy.

Just an uncomplicated bitter and in the near future I will brew a similar one with added Columbus and Cascade to give that aromatic lift.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting impressions #71: EKG Oatmeal Pale Ale

July 18, 2014 Comments off

This beer ended up at 5.1 per cent abv. Nice head, ample carbonation, looks a bit hazy:


Perhaps it is the porridge oats that make the head so fluffy but do I feel a difference in mouthfeel  because of oats? Can’t say that I do. So back to using smaller amounts.

Aroma is a bit minty and taste the same with some added vegetative flavours. Sharp and bitter on the tongue but there’s something cloying too. Bramling Cross worked much better as a single hop, let alone Pacific Jade. Quite hefty feel to this and drinkable no doubt, but a large bittering addition of EKG at least in this case does not work. In Hop Back Summer Lightning it works so perhaps I just can’t hack it (offers of brewing apprenticeships gladly accepted). Never mind, one of my older 5 litre mini-casks of this started leaking so problem partially solved. It’s OK really, just not the way I wanted it to be. And it still very young so there’s hope. Onwards and upwards.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Brew #74: Bryggeri Brewpub Homebrew Challenge: DIPA

July 9, 2014 Comments off

I was going to brew an IPA this summer to use up some hops and yeast and interestingly Bryggeri Brewery and Restaurant announced a homebrew DIPA challenge, winner getting to brew a 1000-litre batch of the winning beer.

It wasn’t specified that this couldn’t be a joint effort so I quickly recruited Arde (Ari Juntunen), a famous Finnish IPA hop-head, and as he didn’t have any commercial brewing history either (as a requirement specified in the competition rules), I got to ask some stylistic questions and pointers for which direction to go. I am all about balance but this chap is not, he is the opposite of balance, skewed towards the hops. So some basic characteristics were agreed on the malt base and the hops.

I have got two main obstacles. Speidel Braumeister’s sweet spot is around 1050° and my well water is very soft. As luck would have it, Bryggeri’s head brewer is German so soft water and some balance might not be entirely bad after all…I’m going to double mash with my 20-litre unit – mash half of the grist first then pause and replace the malt with the second half.

When all my instincts shout that 50 IBUs is about right when it comes to the initial bittering addition, I will hike that up to 75. I am using hop bags for the three first hop additions (90 min, 30 min and 15 min) so the utilisation will be poor anyway. Hop stand additions will go into the hop spider. Chinook will be the running theme, accompanied by Columbus in the beginning and Cascade in the end.

We will submit the beer by mid-August provided there are no problems with it later on.

name DIPA
“style” Double IPA
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 129
EBC 18
IBU to OG ratio 1.73
brewing date 9-Jul-14
yeast Lallemand BRY-97
OG 1074
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 6.500 86.9%
grain 2 CaraRed 0.300 4.0%
grain 3 Crystal150 0.120 1.6%
grain 4 CaraMunich2 0.110 1.5%
grain 5 Wheat malt 0.100 1.3%
adjunct 1 Sugar 0.350 4.7%
total 7.480 100%
hops gram minutes ibu %ibu
Chinook 16.5% 28 90 36 28%
Columbus 14.8% 25 90 37 29%
Chinook 16.5% 18 30 17 13%
Columbus 14.8% 16 30 17 13%
Chinook 16.5% 18 15 11 9%
Columbus 14.8% 16 15 11 9%
Chinook 16.5% 15 0 0 0%
Cascade 7.6% 25 0 0 0%
Chinook 16.5% 30 -15 0 0%
Cascade 7.6% 25 -15 0 0%
total 216 129 100%
double mash
mash schedule minutes °C
step 1 – mash in 5 55
step 2 90 66
change of malt
step 3 90 66
step 4 – mash out 15 77
Hop-stand for 30 minutes

EDIT: Dry-hopped the final five days in the FV with 25g of Columbus and 10g of Cascade.

EDIT2: Bottled 25th July.

Categories: Brewing

Brew #73: Christmas Winter Warmer

July 3, 2014 Comments off

Time to brew the Christmas ale in order to give it time to mature and condition. This time no cloying spices, just a simple strong ale (ESB, Winter Warmer, Stock Ale, Burton Ale, in that category anyway). Simple hopping and a new yeast: Mangrove Jack’s Burton Union M79 dry yeast. A Beer I can drink from a large brandy glass while watching A Christmas Carol on TV.

name Winter Warmer
“style” Strong Ale
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 69
EBC 22
IBU to OG ratio 1.18
brewing date 3-Jul-14
yeast Burton Union M79
OG 1058
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 3.930 65.5%
grain 2 Pilsner 0.570 9.5%
grain 3 Amber 0.500 8.3%
grain 4 Cara-amber 0.300 5.0%
grain 5 Oats, flaked 0.100 1.7%
grain 6 Spelt malt 0.100 1.7%
adjunct 1 Light brown sugar 0.250 4.2%
adjunct 2 Sugar 0.250 4.2%
total 6.000 100%
hops gram minutes ibu %ibu
Target 10.2% 30 60 28 41%
Progress 8.25% 20 60 15 22%
East Kent Goldings 6.57% 10 60 6 9%
East Kent Goldings 6.57% 30 60/fwh 20 29%
total 90 69 100%
mash schedule minutes °C
step 1 – mash in 5 55
step 2 – maltose rest 40 63
step 3 – dextrinisation rest 50 70
step 4 – mash out 15 77
Mangrove Jack’s dry yeast:
Burton Union M79


Categories: Brewing

Brew #72: Rambler’s Cracked Heel Bitter

July 1, 2014 Comments off

Continuing my Rambler’s theme of boring brown beers. No hop stand, some chocolate malt for colour and a touch more than usual crystal malt. All new hops to me. Repairing the pipeline first, after that a competition DIPA and finally, hopefully, the burton ale to condition and age in time for Christmas.

name Rambler’s Cracked Heel Bitter
“style” Bitter
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 41
EBC 29
IBU to OG ratio 0.97
brewing date 1-Jul-14
yeast Nottingham
OG 1042
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 3.830 89.8%
grain 2 Crystal150 0.200 4.7%
grain 3 Oats, flaked 0.100 2.3%
grain 4 Wheat malt 0.100 2.3%
grain 5 Chocolate malt 0.035 0.8%
total 4.265 100%
hops gram minutes ibu %ibu
Admiral 13.89% 20 60 29 71%
WGV 7.02% 25 15 9 22%
First Gold 6.44% 25 5 3 7%
total 70 41 100%
mash schedule minutes °C
step 1 – mash in 5 55
step 2 – maltose rest 40 63
step 3 – dextrinisation rest 50 70
step 4 – mash out 15 77
Categories: Brewing