Sunday, 1 June 2014

Brewday - Cream Ale 05/06/2014

It's been a while. A change of work regime has impacted more than expected, but I'm still here and I'm still brewing.

A Cream Ale is on the agenda this week. The local homebrew club has a 'lager' night coming up, but I didn't fancy brewing a lager and thought a Cream Ale might fit the bill just as well.

The weather forecast looks shite, so I'm guessing I'll be in the garage, rather than pulling the brewery out onto the drive and sitting in the sunshine, but hey, ho, I'm looking forward to a day off and what better way to spend it?

I'm not sure if this is an authentic recipe for this American style beer, but I found a couple of recipes on the internet and tweaked them to fit what I had ingredient wise. Either way it should be a pale, lightly-hopped beer, that will be nicely carbonated and served chilled. One that's likely to go down well, should the summer ever threaten to make an appearance.

Cream Ale
Cream Ale
Type: All GrainDate: 05 Jun 2014
Batch Size (fermenter): 50.00 lBrewer: Mark
Boil Size: 59.08 lAsst Brewer:
Boil Time: 75 minEquipment: Elite Brewery 10G
End of Boil Volume 54.08 lBrewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 50.00 lEst Mash Efficiency 72.8 %
Fermentation: Lager, Single StageTaste Rating(out of 50): 
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8000.00 gPale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) (5.9 EBC)Grain173.1 %
1260.00 gMunich Malt (17.7 EBC)Grain211.5 %
1000.00 gMaize, Flaked (Thomas Fawcett) (3.9 EBC)Grain39.1 %
450.00 gCara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC)Grain44.1 %
240.00 gVienna Malt (Weyermann) (5.9 EBC)Grain52.2 %
30.00 gCluster [7.00 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop611.0 IBUs
20.00 gCascade [7.50 %] - Boil 30.0 minHop76.0 IBUs
10.00 gCascade [7.50 %] - Boil 7.0 minHop81.1 IBUs
10.00 gCluster [7.00 %] - Boil 7.0 minHop91.0 IBUs
15.00 gCascade [7.50 %] - Boil 1.0 minHop100.3 IBUs
15.00 gCluster [7.00 %] - Boil 1.0 minHop110.2 IBUs
4.0 pkgSafale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) [50.28 ml]Yeast12-
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.048 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.046 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.010 SGMeasured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.9 %Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 %
Bitterness: 19.5 IBUsCalories: 427.1 kcal/l
Est Color: 10.3 EBC

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Homebrew Review - Blind Tiger

Life is too short for mediocre beer. And if you're brewing ten gallon batches and get it badly wrong, that's a shedload of mediocre beer to get through.

I'm not sure when I last ditched a batch, but this particular beer was a disaster from start to finish. It started with the recipe. A good idea, badly executed.

The idea of a low gravity easy-drinker with a nice hop combo appealed, but the idea of pairing carahell malt with mild ale malt to create a bit more body than you might expect from a lightweight beer, was a bad one. The sickly sweet malts completely dominate this beer and the hops fail to punch their way through.

I overshot on the gravity too, so it wasn't the small beer I was hoping for and the combination of malts made for a much darker beer than the software predicted, so it wasn't as pale as anticipated either.

To add insult to injury, I also took the beer off the yeast too early. Pressure of work made me use a window of opportunity that was far too early, so there's some diacetyl to add into the mix too. Lovely.

So all in all, a pretty poor effort, both in design and execution. I'm ditching all the bottles and will make a decision on the other half of the batch (which is kegged) in the next couple of days. I'm pondering whether to chuck in a load of dry hops to the keg, to see if this makes it more a amenable brew.

Anyhow, I've brewed again since revisiting a recipe that won me a bronze at the National Homebrew Competition a few years back. I'm not sure why I've taken so long to re-brew this one, but at least I can be hopeful of some decent beer to drink in a few week's time.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Homebrew Review - Best Bitter

This beer was brewed back in November

Best Bitter? 

To be honest, it's another disappointing beer. Yes, it looks the part, but in all other aspects it's very unexceptional.

It pours nice and bright, is a decent colour, although the white head doesn't hang around very long. There's not much on the nose, a few earthy and spicy notes, but nothing particularly inviting.

The taste is slightly better, hints of citrus, but the hops are largely underwhelming. To be fair, it was only meant to be an easy drinking ordinary bitter and neither hops nor malts dominate. I guess in that respect, you could say it was nicely balanced, but I was hoping for a bit more from the Simcoe hops.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side. My brewday notes show I mashed on the low side, so I ought not to be surprised. Other than that, I can't detect any obvious brewing faults. It's limitations are purely due to design.

Perhaps if I was drinking this with the sun on my back during a summer heatwave, my impressions would be more favourable. As it is, conditions are grey and wet, much as they have been for the last six to eight weeks. My mood is sombre and the beer is distinctly average. At best.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Homebrew Review - RIP

I brewed this beer at the beginning of December and it's one I've done in some guise or another for several years.

I'm not sure what style you would class it as, but I brew it as my winter ale. But I don't want to give the impression it's verging on old ale or barley wine territory. It's not. I brew it as a traditional English ale, that's a tad stronger and a shade darker than my usual fare.

Bottle Conditioned RIP

So how did it turn out? The appearance is exactly what I was aiming for. A really deep copper colour with a malty nose, although it maybe a little top-heavy on the roasted malt aroma, which is surprising as there's not very much of it in there. There's also a slight hint of diacetyl.

Unfortunately, the roasted malts carry through into the flavour, as it's a shade more acidic than it should be, verging on sour. I hadn't picked up on the slight sourness until the beer was sampled at my local homebrew group, showing the usefulness of meeting with like-minded souls. The handful of roasted barley I used had been in my malt store for quite some time and I'm wondering if this might have contributed to the flavours?

I did take the beer off the yeast quite early too, which probably accounts for the diacetyl. It's a shame, as underneath, there's a nice beer. It looks the part, is nicely carbonated and had I used fresh ingredients and not rushed the fermentation, it could have been a belter. As it is though, I'll drink it, but it's not really one for sharing.

Recipe here.