Wednesday, March 9, 2011

International Homebrew Project: Brewday

Last Saturday was the designated brewday for the International Homebrew Project. Sadly, my camera battery died right at the beginning of the brewing so I have no pictures. Posts about brewing without brewing-porn are pretty useless, but as a record, I thought I'd blog my experience. This is a highly unusual recipe, and I did learn some things that would be good to know if I ever brew a historical recipe (likely from Shut Up About Barclay Perkins) some time in the future. I do 3 gallon batches, so I had to scale the recipe up for efficiency and then down. This what I ended up with:

OG: 1.060
IBU 40

2.5 lbs Warminster Maris Otter  51%
0.375 lbs Simpson's Dark Crystal 8%
0.5 lbs Amber malt 10%
0.375 lbs Brown malt  8%
0.375 lbs Roasted barley  8%
0.5 lbs lactose  10%
0.25 invert sugar  5%

0.5 ounces fuggle @ 120 min
0.4 ounces kent golding (super kent at 7.2% AA) @ 90 min

You can see the recipe on hopville here as well. I opted for maris otter because I dislike mild malt. I suspect modern versions of mild malt are nothing like the mild malt of half a century ago, anyhow.

Making the invert sugar was an imprecise process. My small batch size means I only needed 4 ounces of sugar. If I was thinking, I would have made a larger batch of invert and saved some, but as it was, trying to boil 4 ounces of sugar in 8 ounces of water made it very difficult to monitor the temperature. Nonetheless, there did seem to be a noticeable burnt sugar, creme brulee kind of thing going on in the wort sample. It really tasted amazing. The invert sugar flavor paired with roasty and toasty flavors from brown and amber malts on top of coffee and dark chocolate from the roasted barley should make this a really nice beer.

The other thing was the outrageously long boil. My gravity ended a bit high because I boiled off more than expected. Almost 50% boil off at the end of it.

I chose to use Wyeast 1318 which is apparently Boddington's yeast for this batch. I'm not sure why Kristen England recommend this yeast, but I hadn't really used it before, so I wanted to give it a shot. A week before this brewday, I brewed a pale ale (with some Canada malting pale malt - a new variety for me) to prep the yeast. I conducted an open fermentation and skimmed off the first krausen, pictured below. The second krausen that formed was saved in a mason jar, pictured further below, for the IHBP. This also presented a problem as yeast skimmed from actively fermenting beer also contained unfermented wort, so the jar had to be burped periodically to release pressure.

God forgive me for taking so many pictures of yeast. There must be help for people like me.

You can really see what a top cropping and flocculant yeast this is here

A gravity sample yesterday showed the beer at 1.040 which is about half way there since I expect this to finish around 1.018 or so. The partially fermented wort sample tasted much different than expected with almost no sweetness, so it will really be interesting to see how the beer develops.

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