Today we brewed the largest batch we’ve ever brewed on our current equipment: 104 liters of 1.050 gravity American Pale Ale. To make this large of a batch, we mashed in two different mashing tuns (our new 50L tun and old 32L cooler) with 23 kg of malt (Pale Ale, Vienna and Crystal 100), and boiled in two kettles (50L + 25L). After boiling, we gathered 60 liters of 1.080 wort, which we split 50/50 into two 60L fermenting vessels. After this, we still boiled 45 liters of water, which we also split evenly between the fermenting vessels, to get a total of 104 liters of 1.050 wort. We hopped with a massive 550 grams of Cascade, divided into four additions, and plan on adding an additional 100g of dry hop per fermenting vessel. We pitched 3 packs of US-05 per fermenting vessel and set the thermostat to 18.5C. The wort was tasting promising, and hopefully this will result in a nice and easy to drink pale ale!
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We also bottled the Modern Pilsner while bottling earlier this week, and today I decided to try the first bottle of this batch as well. This one only went down to 1.019 from 1.067, giving it an ABV of 6.0% and (at least at earlier sampling) a sweet finish. Compared to the New Year IPA, this one pours a very similar color (golden-orange), but is crystal clear. This time gelatin did its job. A slight white colored head is formed, but it collapses quite quickly leaving some lacing along the glass. A nice appearance for a Pilsner, but it could use a slightly more long-lasting head. The aroma is slightly citrusy, grassy and bready. There are some minor plastic-like tones hiding in the background as well. Not the typical clean and crisp aroma you would want in a Pilsner. The taste begins with some sweet and biscuity malt tones, that are joined by some grassy and slightly citrusy hop tones. The finish is relatively sweet and with a moderate bitterness. Somehow, the flavors don’t really go all too well together. This would have been much better if the beer had been drier, but I think some time in the bottle will improve it slightly as the flavors mend together. Not bad, but not completely satisfied either.
Yesterday, we bottled the batch of American IPA that we brewed in the end of December. The beer fermented down to 1.013, giving it an ABV of 7.5%. It had been in the keg together with 50 g of Nelson Sauvin and 50 g of Galaxy for 2 weeks. Today I thought I’d pop the first bottle, and see how it tastes extremely fresh. We tried clearing the beer with gelatin a couple of days before bottling, but it seems to have had no effect, as the beer is really hazy. The beer pours with a hazy golden, almost orange, color and a slight off-white oily head is formed (quite a careful pour). I wish it was slightly clearer, but heavily dry-hopped beers usually are cloudy. The aroma is extremely hoppy, with tones of tropical fruits, citrus and resin. There is maybe a slight malty sweetness hiding behind all the hops. A really nice aroma, which gets my expectations up high for the flavour. The flavour begins with a slight initial maltiness, but it quickly gets overtaken by a massive fruitiness from the hops. This almost tastes like drinking a glass of multi vitamin fruit juice. The flavour ends with a semi-dry finish and a moderate bitterness. I’m surprised the bitterness isn’t more present, especially with the 100+ theoretical IBUs. Could maybe use slightly more bitterness to help balance the flavours. Can’t really detect any major off-flavours, which I’m happy about, but there is a slight grassiness in the flavour, which I assume is from the heavy dry hopping. Hopefully that will fade in the upcoming weeks. Overall, I’m very happy with this beer!
Today we brewed up a large batch of ESB, and for once everything went quite smoothly. We used a simple malt bill of 91% Maris Otter, 6.4% Crystal 100 and 2.7% Crystal 300. We tried conditioning the malt before crushing it, and it had a huge effect on the flow rate through the malt bed! Will definitely continue conditioning the malt before crushing it in the future! The mash went smoothly, and at the end of the day we managed a 74% overall efficiency, resulting in 44 liters of 1.058 wort. We hopped with East Kent Goldings, Styrian Goldings and Fuggles to around 42 IBU (more weight on bitter hops compared to aroma hops). For the yeast, we again chose some Wyeast 1318 London Ale III slurry from a previous fermentation. It will be very interesting to see how this one turns out!
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I finally got a smartphone, and in the process I joined Untappd. I also linked my Untappd feed to the blog on the right hand side. Feel free to add me as a friend!
I have a bunch of upcoming homebrews in January and February as well. Will report about them in a while!