Monday, 17 October 2011

Brewday - Citra Pale Ale 14/10/2011

There’s nothing worse than having a shortage of beer in the house when there’s a ten gallon brewery sitting in the garage.

To be fair, the shortage was self-inflicted when I decided life was too short for mediocre beer. And my last two brews were definitely no better than mediocre.

The Green Bullet Gold was an odd beer. The main problem with it was that I used some old hops I had in the bottom of the freezer. Not only had they had been in there a while, they were given free of charge from a brewery in the first place, so they had definitely lost a sheadload of Alpha.

In the brew prior to that one, I was experimenting with amber malt. I’d used it before in beers I hadn’t liked and gave it one last chance.  It won’t get another. 

I decided to ditch all the amber beer and all the bottled GBG. For some reason the kegged version wasn’t so bad, so I’ve been surviving on that.

The upshot was that I needed more beer. The Best Bitter has been bottled but will need time to condition, so in the interim I decided to get another brew on the go to replenish stocks. 

Rather than devise a new recipe, I reached for my brewnotes for the Citra Pale Ale. This took third at the UK National Hombrew Competition and is exactly the sort of ale I needed in reserve. An easy drinking, sunshine number with a little hoppy bite at the death.

It was brewed on Friday – 50 litres at an original gravity of 1.042. My last batch fermented down to 1.012, giving an ABV of 3.9%. Exactly the sort of beer you can chuck down your neck when a thirst needs quenching.

 The familiar sight of golden wort 

I realise I’m lacking something a bit stronger with the winter approaching and I aim to put that right on my next brewday - using homegrown hops.

I’ve also got a dark winter ale to get sorted. For that pair I’ll probably just brew 5 gallon batches. Recipe and brewday notes to follow when I can find some time to fire up the brewery again. 

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Brewday - Best Bitter 29/09/11

I was due to brew the week before, but a dose of incompetence saw the element in the copper burn out. Switched on in error, when the vessel was dry, meant the brewday was cut short.

Thankfully the element was replaced quickly and I was able to start again a week later. After some experimental brews, I wanted an easy drinker that I knew would be good. 

The last brew lacked hop presence, down to the fact that the hops in question had been stored for quite some time. The brew prior to that had used amber malt, which didn't work at all well in a pale ale, so I've been immersed in mediocre beer for far too long.

This recipe is one I've done, in some form or another, for some time. It's a standard English best bitter. I tweak the hops here and there to try and obtain the beer I've planned in my head - I've not always succeeded, but it's always been a pleasure to drink, and I'm hoping this batch will be no different.

There were no hiccups along the way, other than the new element was a bit more efficient than the old one, which I guess should have been expected on the first brew. As a result I boiled off a bit more than planned and ended up slightly short on volume and a tad high on gravity. I couldn't be arsed to liquor back, so left it as it was.

It's currently fermenting at 20C, I'll check the gravity again on day 6 and 7 and see if it's finished. Until then, here's a shot of the sparge in action, and the wort going into the copper;

And here's the recipe, exported from Beersmith. I'll review the beer once it's ready to drink.

Best (Elite)
Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Type: All GrainDate: 29/09/2011
Batch Size (fermenter): 46.00 lBrewer: Mark
Boil Size: 57.03 lAsst Brewer:
Boil Time: 75 minEquipment: Elite Brewery
End of Boil Volume 52.00 lBrewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 46.00 lEst Mash Efficiency 76.1 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two StageTaste Rating(out of 50): 
Taste Notes:
9000.00 gPale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC)Grain195.0 %
470.00 gCaramel/Crystal Malt -120L (236.4 EBC)Grain25.0 %
35.00 gProgress [7.50 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop414.6 IBUs
38.00 gWhitbread Golding Variety (WGV) [6.80 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop314.3 IBUs
25.00 gBobek [4.00 %] - Boil 20.0 minHop53.4 IBUs
15.00 gBobek [4.00 %] - Boil 7.0 minHop70.9 IBUs
1.00 ItemsWhirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)Fining6-

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.045 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.048 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.010 SGMeasured Final Gravity:  
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.6 %Actual Alcohol by Vol: 
Bitterness: 33.1 IBUsCalories: 
Est Color: 17.9 EBC