For the trial-run of all the kindly donated equipment I thought I'd try a clone by Graham Wheeler of Ringwood Brewery's classic 'Old Thumper'. This is an excellent beer from the old-school, which is malty, hoppy and pretty heavy, weighing in at a respectable middleweight 6% abv.
The recipe was as follows:
Original Gravity: 1.059 (1.048 - 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.014 (1.010 - 1.016)
Color: 11.6 (6.0 - 18.0)
Alcohol: 5.94% (4.6% - 6.2%)
Bitterness: 49.38 (30.0 - 50.0)
5800 g Maris Otter Pale
260 g Crystal Malt
22 g Black Malt
390 g Torrified Wheat
54 g Challenger (8.0%) - added during boil, boiled 90 min
20 g Fuggle (4.8%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
10 g Irish Moss - added during boil, boiled 15 min
Considering the mistakes I made, what with it being my first attempt and all, the result wasn't all that bad. Ok, so I forgot to add about a kilo of pale malt until the rest of the mash had been going for about 20 minutes... and didn't really aerate the cooled wort so the yeast could attenuate properly... but the final result was pretty drinkable, if a little too sweet.
I learnt a lot of lessons from this batch, including how to use the equipment, temperatures to expect and use next time, as well as a general feel and confidence in what I need to do next time to get it right.
In the end I decided to bottle up about 8 litres of the final brew, an arduous process in itself - I must get the cornelius system readt for the next batch.