Friday, 4 May 2012

Dry Hopped Cousin

It may not have been good enough to feature in the Bristol Beer Factory Homebrew competition, but my American Brown Ale has a cousin. A dry-hopped, cask conditioned version.

I tapped it yesterday and it was the first pint pulled through my new, twin beer engine.

The dry hopping has made such a difference to this beer. I'm a hard man to please and while this isn't my best beer, the dry hopping has definitely lifted the flavour.

Many of my brews are re-brewed, but normally with a slight change to the hop or malt schedule, to get them just where I'd like them and this beer is no different. I'd do things slightly differently next time; get the gravity down a bit and the hops up, but I'll definitely have another crack at it.

There is a downside to the cask, too. Once tapped, the cask will not fit into either of my temperature controlled fridges, so it has to be drunk at the ambient temperature in the garage. With temperatures a bit below the norm for this time of year, it's being served at around 8C which is definitely a tad chilly. By the time I reach the end of the pint it's noticeable that the flavour has improved, but with temperatures likely to rise over the next couple of months, hopefully this will not be a problem for future brews.

Like many of my recent beers, the head retention isn't great, either, and that's something else I'll have to work on.

I took pH readings at various points through the brewing process on my latest brew, which may help in this respect.

Mash: 5.5
Sparge Liquor 5.9
First Runnings 5.2
Final Runnings 5.9
Start of Boil 5.5
End of Boil 5.2

The mash pH was a little high, but otherwise the figures look acceptable. I'll be interested to see how this beer fares once it's bottled and conditioned. In the meantime, I'm looking to brew again next week and I'll endeavour to get the readings for the mash and the liquor a little lower.


  1. I love it, a beer engine to serve homebrew. Too bad about the cask not fitting in the fridge but that brings up a question that I get from students all the time. Do Brits drink their beer warm?
    My answer is 'No, they drink their beer at basement temps. which I assume is fairly cool/cold'.
    What's the correct answer Mark? Cheers!

  2. Hi Mark, basement temperature is about right. Personally, I don't like it when a pub serves their beer too cold, though. I think I'm correct in saying the usual dispensing temperature over here should be between 12-14C (54-57F). Is that warmer than ale is served in the US?

  3. Thanks for the answer. I personally don't think of that as warm but but many of the bars here that sell a lot of Bud/Coors, serve in the high 30's to low 40's since we've got the whole "Ice Cold" marketing theme to live up to. I would guess that most pubs here serve their ales around 45f. My kegerator is set at 48f.