Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gail Porter

Having a go at another dark n' complex one today after the Old Peculier from last week looks so promising already. Today's brew is my take on a modern Porter with a simplified and lighter grain-bill from the Porter's of old, along with the greatly accelerated maturing time: 1 month as opposed to 6!

Gail Porter

Size: 23.0 L
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 72.3%

Original Gravity: 1.055
Terminal Gravity: 1.015
Color: 29.6
Alcohol: 5.24%
Bitterness: 36 IBU

5000.0 g Maris Otter Pale
500.0 g Chocolate Malt
265.0 g Black Malt

34g Northdown (8.6%) - added during boil, boiled 90 min
10g Goldings (5.8%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
1.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
10g Goldings (5.8%) - steeped after boil
Danstar Windsor Yeast

The yeast was showing a use-by date that expired about 3 months ago, although a 'flying starter' had it foaming up nicely prior to pitching so it shouldn't give too many problems. I ended up with 25l in the fermenter at OG1.055 so all in all a good days work.

Brewer's Gold - drinking notes

The Brewer's Gold turned out to be a worthwhile experiment - the bitterness you get from big, late hop additions is totally different to a standard bittering addition. The amount of hop flavour is huge, and seems to require more aging to balance with the rest of the flavours. The final beer wasn't really anything like the original although its one to try again sometime, probably with some cascade/citrus hop aroma additions as from this test its hard to believe Crouch Vale use only Brewer's Gold hops in this brew as the taste is very different.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Super Saturday" pt 2: Older and Peculiererer

'Super Saturday' turned out to be a long and tiring one - I finally finished cleaning up some time after midnight making it 17.5 hours in all. The thought of a bumper-crop of beer in store makes it all worth it though. For the second brew of the day I wanted to go for something to lay down for a while until Christmas, a nice winter warmer to take on my travels. It would have to be strong, in order to follow both tradition and also to allow for a nice long maturation period and lots of interesting flavours to develop.

The recipe is based on Theakston's magnificent Old Peculier - full off complex vinous flavours and a delightful winter brew. I also had a few bits of malt left over to use up so I tweaked the recipe and bumped up the strength to make it a true christmas ale.

Older Peculiererer

Size: 23 L

Original Gravity: 1.065
Terminal Gravity: 1.016
Alcohol: 6.43%
Bitterness: 30.16

4700g Maris Otter Pale
650g Crystal 60
130g Black Malt
330g Torrified Wheat
570g White Table Sugar (Sucrose)
15.0 g Challenger (8.6%) - added during boil, boiled 90 min
25.0 g Fuggle (5%) - added during boil, boiled 90 min
10 g Goldings (5.8%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
1 Whirlfloc Tablet - added during boil, boiled 15 min
11 g Danstar Nottingham

"Super Saturday" pt 1: Brewer's Gold

Yes folks, something special to mark the start of the brewing season and also a 'milestone' brew in the brief history of the Nunhead Brewery: all-grain brew #10. Not just that, but in order to avoid total psychological meltdown and get stocks replenished I'm going to do 2 brews in one day. And a long day it will be at that.

After a summer of stockpiling ingredients and preparing equipment for the onset of cooler, brewing weather I realised that all these hops would be slowly diminishing in flavour and bittering potential so I ought to make a dent in them, quick. The temptation to brew yet ANOTHER Styrian Stunner was proving hard to resist (yes it really is that good) but you can get too much of a good thing, so maybe best to save it for another day. Also, what would be nicer than a strong, dark complex beer on a cold and stormy November night? With this thought in mind I went straight ahead and brewed another light, aromatic and fruity pale ale (rolls eyes). But only on the condition that brew number 2 of this marathon day would be something to lay down to mature in time for christmas.

I had an as yet unopened package of Brewer's Gold hops, bought with the idea of trying to replicate the awesome, twice 'Champion Beer of Britain'-winning Crouch Vale 'Brewer's Gold', a lovely pale yellow ale which is sweet, fruity and delicious, in my top 10 favourite beers ever ever ever list, no doubt.

Some insider knowledge gleaned from JHBF stated that Crouch Vale's recipe uses exclusively Brewer's Gold hops, which go into the boil as one huge late addition that gives all the bitterness and a big hit of flavour at the last 15 minutes. For this first attempt I bottled-it a bit and went for 10 IBUs from the full-boil, then a big flavour addition at 15mins to go, then an aroma addition once the boiled wort had cooled to 80°c.

As if a double-brewday with a completely untested hop schedule wasn't enough I thought I'd give batch-sparging a go, in order to try and shave a bit of time off the process and see if there were any gains in quality to be had from employing different methods. More on this later...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Stunned for the second time

If you know anything about the near-legendary Styrian Stunner recipe then there's no need to rewind a few weeks and see me gushing about just how good this beer is. Now the weather has cooled ever so slightly it means brewing is feasible again without any complicated temperature control to keep fermentation in line. I'm also faced with another catastrophe - I've run out of beer. The last batch went down so well at the Big Chill it was quickly seen off leaving stocks depleted save for a couple of bottles which have been earmarked to send across the North Sea to my buddy Jøn in Norway.

Faced with the need to get some more beer, and quick, it made sense to work on perfecting the 'Stunner recipe seeing as it gets to a drinkable stage so quickly. So it is again that I fall into the sweet citrussy, floral aromas of the Styrian Stunner, this time with a bigger, 50g aroma hop addition at flameout to make it even more delicious.

This was also the first outing for the nifty stainless steel boiler I put together over the Bank Holiday weekend, accompanied by molten metal, sparks and metal shards flying everywhere. What fun holesaws, grinders and emery cloths are. It works an absolute treat and performed way better than the previous boiler I was using. Check the ball valve and how shiny it is - just how pro am I now? (Ha). "Just how frikking geeky are you now, more like" (Kim) ;-)