Thursday, 27 June 2013

Brewday - Longbow Ale 28/06/2013

With no free time through July or August, I've been busy brewing these past few weeks and Friday will see another brew on the go.

My local homebrew club has a regular schedule of beer styles to brew, but, from time to time, we have one where the style is left open, but only specific ingredients can be used.

So we all get to brew what we like, but only using a set of ‘common ingredients' which were pulled out of a hat, at an earlier meeting. A minimum of 5% on the malts, plus the yeast of your choice.

We don't need this beer until the September meeting, but, with so little time to brew in the coming weeks, I thought I'd crack on.

This time, in addition to Pale Malt, the grist has to include; Crystal, Munich and Caramalt. As for the hops, rather than being specific, we took a broad view; 'American', English' 'Aussie/NZ' etc. And the chosen hop for this brew was English!

Often these 'common ingredient' beers provide a chance to use hops and malts you may not usually be familiar with. Clearly that wasn't going to be the case with the hops this time around, although it does give me an opportunity to try something out.

For a while, now, I've been tempted to make a single hop beer with 'Target'. A robust English hop that seems to be largely ignored among homebrewers. Often referred to as a harsh bittering hop, I have a feeling it tends to get a bit of bad press.

Is it justified? I'm not entirely sure. I've used it in several beers before, but never as a standalone. While I agree it might be an unusual choice for a single hop beer, don't shoot me down unless you've tried it yourself.

Are there any commercial examples out there? Brakspear's 'Triple' is a nice drop of ale and their website lists Target as the sole hop. If that's the case, it can be done.

I also thought that, with the malts we're required to use for this brew, the malty base will need a fairly robust hop to help balance the beer. As I'm brewing it well ahead of the meeting, if the hops are quite harsh, then it will also have time to mellow.

So, I shoved all the ingredients into Beersmith and came up with 'Longbow';

common ingredients 2 (Longbow)
Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
Type: All GrainDate: 28/06/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 50.00 lBrewer: Mark
Boil Size: 61.39 lAsst Brewer:
Boil Time: 75 minEquipment: Elite Brewery
End of Boil Volume 55.12 lBrewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 50.00 lEst Mash Efficiency 77.4 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two StageTaste Rating(out of 50):
Taste Notes:
8000.00 gPale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC)Grain170.2 %
2000.00 gMunich Malt (17.7 EBC)Grain217.5 %
800.00 gCaramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (118.2 EBC)Grain37.0 %
600.00 gCara (Crisp) (34.5 EBC)Grain45.3 %
30.00 gTarget [11.00 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop516.5 IBUs
50.00 gTarget [11.00 %] - Boil 20.0 minHop616.7 IBUs
20.00 gTarget [11.00 %] - Boil 1.0 minHop70.5 IBUs
2.0 pkgCalifornia Ale V (White Labs #WLP051) [35.49 ml]Yeast8-
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.052 SGMeasured Original Gravity:
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SGMeasured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.3 %Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 33.6 IBUsCalories:
Est Color: 19.5 EBC

The IBU's look a little light at first glance, but that doesn't worry me too much. Most of the hops are going in fairly late in the boil and I'm pretty sure the software over compensates.

I'll be mashing in on Friday morning and I'll report back on whether it hits the mark, later in the year.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Back In Business

It's been too long. Nearly four months since I last posted? Unbelievable.

The loss of internet access was the problem in April and that issue wasn't resolved for over a month. Then, out of the habit of posting, lethargy set in.

To be fair, if I'd produced a stunning beer in the meantime, I probably would have been back sooner, but in all fairness, my beers of late have been mediocre. But, I believe I'm turning a corner in that respect and the latest brews  haven't been too bad at all.

My overloaded work schedule through spring and summer doesn't help matters, but this week is a rare quiet one, so I thought I'd return to continue what I'd started.

Hopefully over the next few days I'll be able to put up some of the recent recipes and reviews. Today, I have my latest beer to rack and on Friday, I'm hoping to brew again.

Thanks for hanging in there.