Friday, 20 September 2013

Homebrew Review - Longbow Ale

Brewed at the end of June, the recipe for this beer is here.

This was the beer I put together for my local homebrew group, where we all set out to brew what we like, but using a base of common ingredients. We had the choice of any English hops, but I chose to rely solely on 'Target', simply because it's often overlooked by homebrewers.

If you believe the marketing blurb, it's meant to be a harsh hop, best blended with others. I don't always believe what I read and thought this was an ideal opportunity to see what they bring to the table. A beer with Target all the way through, with hop additions at 60mins, 20mins, 1min, plus a few more thrown in for good measure as dry hops.

The beer pours a lovely deep amber/copper colour and is perfectly clear, with a tight head. Aroma is slightly herbal and vegetal. Not unpleasant, but not necessarily inviting, either.

Malt initially dominates the taste with hints of caramel and biscuit, but that is soon enveloped by the hops, which are a bit of a surprise. Yes they are assertive and maybe not for everyone, but there's a nice floral presence and even a faint hint of citrus and sherbet. Not in a big American way, but it's there.

A bitter finish then develops, but it's not harsh. I drank this bottle in the garden, basking in late September sunshine and it tasted as good as anything I'd brewed in a while. Yes, they need to be used carefully, but if this beer is anything to go by, Target are not the vicious, vindictive, bully of hops they are often portrayed to be.

The mouthfeel is soft and so very different to that earlier beer in which I used US05. The choice of WLP051 was a good one - the final gravity was 1.014 so there was plenty of residual sweetness in the beer, something that worked particularly well to help balance the assertive choice of hop.

So it maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I believe this is a good beer and I'd have no hesitation in brewing it again, maybe adjusting the malts a little, just to add a bit more backbone to the malt base.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Homebrew Review - Galaxy

It's been a while since I reviewed one of my brews and the recipe for this one didn't get posted on the blog. It was brewed at the time I was having Internet problems, hence the omission.

Bottle Conditioned 

I set out to make a low-gravity, hoppy pale ale. The grist consisted of 90% Marris Otter, plus about 5% each of Carahell and Carared, for no other reason than to use up some leftover malt from previous brews.

As for the hops, a friend of mine in Australia was kind enough to send me some Galaxy hops. He also sent me a recipe for a single-hop beer, which will be my next brew. For this one, I used the Galaxy in combination with Nelson Sauvin, with equal additions at 60mins, 20mins, 7mins and at switch-off.

Gravity was 1.042 with Beersmith predicting IBU's at 30. As is my usual M.O. I bottled half the batch and the other went into keg. The keg is long gone.

It pours nice and clear, with a bright white head which soon disipates to a small ring, but does continue to lace the glass. Aroma is what you might expect. Galaxy is known for a 'fruit salad' aroma and that's exactly what's here; pineapple, mango and the like.

Initial taste is similar to the aroma, but the beer soon dries the palate, leaving quite a harsh bitterness. It was always a bitter beer, even from the keg, but as the beer was brewed towards the end of May, this bottle is now past it's best, the beer having dried out significantly (something I've found previously when using US05 yeast).

But overall, it's a promising beer. Very clean, and if overlooking the current dryness, it's a lovely summer quencher. Enough promsie to brew again, although I'd change the yeast and probably rein back the hops a little, to prevent the bitterness from totally dominating this small beer.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Brewday - HGH Pale Ale 12/09/2013

It's time for the annual ritual that is brewing a beer with my homegrown hops. Last year's beer turned out especially good, so I'm planning to do something very similar this time around.

The recipe is essentially the same, although as I'm all out of Carahell malt, I'm going to replace this with Caragold in the same quantity. The Caragold is a lighter malt, but that's probably no bad thing as when I reviewed last year's beer, I did remark that the Carahell had made the beer a shade darker than I had originally anticipated.

I've also altered the hopping slightly. Beersmith predicted IBU's of 42 on last year's schedule and the beer came across significantly more bitter than that estimate. Of course, I had to guess the acid content of the hops and used a conservative 4.5% for the alpha content.

This year I'm assuming 5% alpha and have reduced the hop additions very slightly at various stages, so the recipe now looks like this;

HGH Pale Ale 2013
English IPA

Type: All Grain Date: 12/09/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 50.00 l Brewer: Mark
Boil Size: 61.39 l Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 75 min Equipment: Elite Brewery
End of Boil Volume 55.12 l Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 50.00 l Est Mash Efficiency 77.4 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50):
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11000.00 g Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) (5.9 EBC) Grain 1 90.2 %
1200.00 g Caragold (9.0 EBC) Grain 2 9.8 %
80.00 g Homegrown Bramling X [5.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 3 19.4 IBUs
80.00 g Homegrown Bramling X [5.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 4 11.7 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 5 -
80.00 g Homegrown Bramling X [5.00 %] - Boil
7.0 min
Hop 6 5.2 IBUs
80.00 g Homegrown Bramling X [5.00 %] - Boil
1.0 min
Hop 7 0.8 IBUs
4.0 pkg US West Coast Yeast (Mangrove Jack's #M44) Yeast 8 -
150.00 g Homegrown Bramling X [5.00 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 9 0.0 IBUs
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.056 SG Measured Original Gravity:
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG Measured Final Gravity: 
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.6 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 
Bitterness: 37.2 IBUs
Est Color: 10.1 EBC

That's nearly 500g of hops in a ten gallon batch and as the yield from my hop plants was 900g (dried), there'll be plenty left for another brew.

Brewday for this one is penciled in for Thursday.