Saturday, 18 October 2014

Group brewing session

I'd somehow not completely alienated some friends with my incessant and nerdy rambling about beer, and yeast and stuff, and surprised me by agreeing to come round early one Saturday morning to make some beer (I did promise bacon and egg sandwiches).

One of my friends, Richard, always raves on about Castle Eden Ale, so I duly found a recipe in Brew Your Own British Real Ale and went about bastardising it a bit.

I increased the Pale Malt and removed the sugar, I don't want granulated sugar in my beer whether or not Camerons/Castle Eden include it or not. I had the bittering hops (Target) so that was all good, but I would have used Goldings or Fuggles if that was all I had. Because Styrian Goldings are now pretty hard to come by I decided to use some Styrian Celeia, which are one of the newer hybrid "super Styrian" varieties, ok ok I'll stop now before you get bored.

Anyway, I did my best to get organised the night before, sorted the water out at least (campden tablet and CRS to knock the residual alkalinity down to 20ppm CaCO3, wake up at the back) and piled my kit up in the kitchen ready.

Richard turned up first, with bacon, then Matt, Lee was late but he had been working away so we didn't mind (although I think the others were working out how many more bottles they would end up with if he was a no-show).

Richard weighed out the grains and Matt helped with setting everything up, after talking them through the process as the water got up to strike temp it was to to begin to under-let the mash tun and for the excitement and action to begin.

Once that was out of the way we decided to have round one of bacon & egg sandwiches and coffee, we then killed some time making some sour dough bread that I had kicked-off the night before.

As is always the way, the ninety minute mash time went quickly, and we proceeded to batch-sparge the grains, again totally uneventful, although it was handy having so many assistant brewers as this time an open tap was spotted before filling the boiler.

Matt dealt with the hops like a true professional, tipping them in with a deft flick of the wrist and while eating another bacon and egg sandwich I took them through the cooling process. For the late hop addition I'd added  another 25 grams to the frankly pathetic 7g in the recipe, which might not constitute a "massive hop bomb" addition, but it should add a lot of flavour and hopefully a bit of mouthfeel.

We lost 1ltr of beer to the boiler and hops, the pick up pipe must be leaking air so it didn't syphon the last, but in the end 22ltrs of 1.038 wort made it into the fermenter.

It was gone noon at this point, and they had to go, so I pitched the Nottingham yeast and moved the bucket into the fermenting chamber (sounds better than fridge) and cleaned up alone (nothing new there).

It was good fun having people to brew with, it might have been even more fun if we'd had been drinking, but then it might have been a mess and chaotic, as it stand all three left enthusiastic and keen to get brewing, so if you have a friend or two that you haven't bored to death yet why not get them involved one day soon?

As usual our American cousins have gone and gotten organised!

Here's the recipe folks:

Recipe: 30 Close to Eden
Style: Standard/Ordinary Bitter
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 23.00 L     
Boil Size: 27.81 L
Estimated OG: 1.038 SG
Estimated Color: 7.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 35.3 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type       % or IBU     
3500.00 gm    Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC)          Grain      89.86 %      
395.00 gm     Wheat, Torrified (3.3 EBC)                Grai       10.14 %      
20.00 gm      Target [11.00 %]  (90 min)                Hops       27.7 IBU     
33.00 gm      Styrian Celeia [5.40 %]  (10 min)         Hops       7.6 IBU      
0.25 items    Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)          Misc                      
1 Pkgs        Nottingham (Danstar #-)                   Yeast-Ale                 

15.00 gm      Styrian Goldings [5.40 %]  (Dry Hop after 4 days for 7 days

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 3895.00 gm
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp    
90 min        Mash In            Add 9737.55 ml of water at 73.6 C   66.0 C   

22/10/14: After fermenting for four days at 18c I dry hopped with another 15g of Celeia, already tastes great, looking forwards to drinking this one, but not sharing it with FOUR other people!

30/10/14: Bottled 41 500ml bottles, used 56g of corn sugar which should give a reasonably high carbonation (about 1.8 volumes given the beer was 10-11 deg c when I bottled it). So that's 10 bottles each with on left over, decided to add a single coffee bean to the one left over as an experiment.

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