Thursday, 24 November 2011

Brewday - Black Moon Stout 25/11/2011

I've just finished crushing the malt in preparation for tomorrow's brew.

An oatmeal stout is not a style I've attempted before, but after some recipe searching on the internet and having looked at the malts I had in stock, the grist for this one is made up as follows;

Pale Malt 8400g (80.3%)
Chocolate Malt 550g (5.3%)
Oats (lightly toasted) 500g (4.8%)
Crystal Malt 400g (3.8%)
Carahell 400g (3.8%)
Roasted Barley 210g (2%)

Target gravity is 1.048 and it's to be hopped with Whitbread Goldings to 32.5 IBU's

I intend to add two split vanilla pods at switch-off and leave these to infuse for 40mins before cooling.

As usual, the 10 gallon batch will be split between two fermenters; 1. So they fit in my fermenting fridge and 2. So I can add some toasted coconut to just one. I'm pretty sure the vanilla will work well, but I didn't want the coconut to ruin the complete batch.

Update: A very straightforward brewday with just the single hop addition. Everything was trouble-free, although I'm not sure I'd recommend adding the coconut in the FV as it floated - whether it will sink as it absorbs the wort remains to be seen, so racking might be tricky when the time comes. I wasn't getting much vanilla taste from the wort either, but I'll reserve judgement until it's ready to drink.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Black Moon Creeping

I've started tucking into the recently brewed Best Bitter and Citra Pale Ale, both are pretty good and I'll try to get around to giving some tasting notes and pictures when I find some time. But right now, I'm itching to brew again.

Having sampled some fine oatmeal stout last week, I just have to brew some. I've not done a stout for a couple of years - my last attempt was far too roasty for my liking, but my palate has changed. While I'm still not a massive fan of dark beers, they're more agreeable than they used to be and nice smooth oatmeal stout will be just the job. I'm rather ashamed I've not already got one lined up for Christmas, so I'll have to pencil in a brewday real soon. I might also chuck in a few interesting ingredients to add a twist to the flavour - I'm currently thinking vanilla and coconut, so watch this space for the recipe.

And as I usually have the music cranked up when brewing, with it more often than not featuring tunes from the Black Crowes, there's only one name possible for this forthcoming brew. Black Moon Stout.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Brewday - Gatekeeper 03/11/2011

Thursday will see the brewing boots back on.

A stronger English pale ale, the grist for which will be made up of three malts; a combination of Pale, Carahell and Crystal.

The bittering hops will be my homegrown Target. Impossible for me to know the Alpha Acid content, which is why many homegrown hops are often used purely for aroma. It's difficult to know whether the harvesting of one's own hops will preserve more of the lupulin than the commercial approach, or vice versa. Charles Faram quote Target with an acid content between 8%-12% and with recent harvests at the upper end of the scale, I've assumed 10% for mine.

Two later hop additions will utilise a new hop for me. Delta. An American variety, which apparently has a softer profile than some of the usual suspects.

Target gravity is 1.054 and I intend to split the ten gallon batch between two fermenters and try a different yeast in each.

Interestingly, I decided to check the alkalinity of the brewing water prior to brewing this batch - something I've not done since the spring. It might be worth doing more frequently as the alkalinity appears to have dropped quite significantly. I ran the test three times and got the same result, so I have no reason to doubt the reading. I use Brupaks CRS and DLS to balance the water, and have adjusted my usual additions accordingly.

Update: Aside from a morning power cut, the day was drama free. The hops smelt gorgeous and beer was made, although my efficiency was down.

I ended up with 10 gallons at 1.052, so it won't end up as strong as planned, but it will hopefully still taste good. ( I mashed quite high at 68/69C for a full body and wonder if this contributed to the lower efficiency?)

A pH reading in the mash looked spot on with the new water treatment and I'll update with some tasting notes once it's ready to go.

Gatekeeper (Elite)
Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
Type: All Grain Date: 03/11/2011
Batch Size (fermenter): 46.00 l Brewer: Mark
Boil Size: 57.03 l Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 75 min Equipment: Elite Brewery
End of Boil Volume 52.00 l Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 46.00 l Est Mash Efficiency 76.1 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 
Taste Notes:

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10500.00 g Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC) Grain 1 92.9 %
450.00 g Carahell Malt (25.0 EBC) Grain 2 4.0 %
350.00 g Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (236.4 EBC) Grain 3 3.1 %
70.00 g Target [10.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 36.2 IBUs
21.00 g Delta [6.50 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 5 4.3 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 6 -
20.00 g Delta [6.50 %] - Boil 7.0 min Hop 7 1.8 IBUs

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.054 SG Measured Original Gravity: 
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG Measured Final Gravity: 
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.6 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 
Bitterness: 42.3 IBUs
Est Color: 17.3 EBC