Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Brew Day: Brewlywed Bitter

The first of three "traditional English Ales" that I'll be brewing for my sister's wedding next month.

The recipe is a slightly adapted version of the Boddingtons Bitter found in the Brew Your Own British Real Ale book.  Gravity slightly increased (aiming for 1.038 but got 1.040), adjusted the hops to retain the balance (and for what was in stock) and used malted wheat in place of the white sugar (which should help with the expected 'creaminess').
Brewlywed Bitter
Style: English Bitter
Batch Size: 24.00 L
Boil Size: 32.93 L
Estimated OG: 1.038 SG
Estimated IBU: 32.9 IBU
Estimated Color: 6.6 SRM
Boil Time: 90 Minutes
Brewhouse Efficiency: Expected 75.0 %, Achieved 80%

3.50 kg       Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett)
0.25 kg       Crystal Malt - (Simpsons)
0.15 kg       Wheat Malt, Pale (Best Malz)

30.00 gm  Goldings (HG 12) [4.50%]  (90 min)  15.1 IBU
8.00 gm  Magnum (11) [12.20%]  (90 min)  12.2 IBU
6.00 gm  Fuggles [5.60%]  (90 min)  3.9 IBU
14.00 gm  Fuggles [5.60%]  (10 min)  1.8 IBU

5.50 gm       Calcium Chloride (Mash)            
10.00 gm      Calcium Sulfate (Mash)
1.00 gm       Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10 min)
3.60 gm       Brewbrite (Polyclar) (Boil 10 min)
London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) (1.5L Starter)

Mash Schedule: Medium-Light Body, HERMS Step Mash
Total Grain Weight: 3.90 kg
Mash In, Protien Rest  Add 15.00L, rest @ 55.0 C  5 min
Maltase Rest  63.0 C  45 min
Dextrinization Rest  71.0 C  35 min
Mash Out  78.0 C  10 min
Fly sparge, 21L water @ 80C

Yeast for this beer was the 1.5L starter from the 'split' yeast pack as outlined in my Splitting Liquid Yeast Packs guide.

The obligatory weighing-the-grains photo:

In an effort to refine the efficiency from my new system, I adjusted the roller-gap on my mill from 1mm to 0.8mm.

As expected, there was noticeably more fine flour.

But the DIY Perforated Stainless false bottom had no problem filtering the mash (could likely grind the grain finer if required).
The grain bed appears uniform and there was no noticeable internal-channeling, however (as can been seen in the photograph above) the fine-flower did form a bit of a solid layer on top of the grain bed possibly causing some channeling down the sides of the mash tun.  In the future I'll stir the mash some more to 'cut up' the top layer of the mash-bed to help ensure that the recirculated wort washes all of the grain.

Overall brew house efficiency was 80% which is an increase from about 70-75% from the last few brews on the new equipment, so the adjustment should be worthwhile.

The New HERMS Vessel in action:

First runnings from the mash into the kettle:
When fly sparging the flow should not be too quick, so the jug measures the flow so it can be adjusted to between 0.5 and 1L per min.

The last runnings from the mash (approx 3L) were collected to be used as the basis of the starter for the next yeast (Brewlab F40) that I'm growing up:

Due to the low gravity of the last runnings, additional malt-sugar (from an old tin-of-goo) will be needed to get the gravity of the starter to about 1.035 - 1.040.

Lots of home grown Golding, some Magnum pellets and specifically purhased for the wedding beers, some UK Fuggle plugs:

Hops into the kettle at the start of a 90min boil:

It was only the first (or second) time that I recall using UK grown hop plugs, and when cleaning the kettle after the boil, I was surprised to find hop seeds all over the place:

Given that there is no bitterness in the seeds, there was really quite a lot of them from the smallish amount of Fuggle hop plugs used, there are no male plants to pollinate my home grown hops and no seeds in hop pellets so no seeds in those.

I'm finding it's a good habit to clean-as-I-brew, so here is the mash tun clean, empty and recirculating cleaning solution through the HERMS coil ... still with about 45mins of boil time to go:

Collected almost the exact amount of wort in the fermentor (24.5L) with the adjusted efficiency resulting in 1.040 rather than the planned 1.038OG (1.036 in the recipe).

Using an aquarium air-pump, DIY cotton-wool and sample-vial filter to aerate the wort:

The air-pump was not really strong enough to work well with the stainless air-stone I have, so I just put the end of the air-line in the wort and relied on the surface-exchange of oxygen to help aerate the word - and still shook it around a fair bit when the yeast was pitched.

After pitching the yeast, and shaking the fermentor, cling wrap replaces the lid:

Held on with the lid's rubber gasket:

The next day the yeast had started to form a krasuen:
To ensure the wort was well oxygenated, I shook the fermentor up some more at this time.

The fermenting fridge is still full of lagering lagers, so I'll have to remove and keg them before the fridge can be used to ferment this beer.  Luckily the temperature inside the house for the last few days has been very stable between 18-20degC so I've not had to empty the fridge yet, but the beer is fermenting happily.

A couple of days after pitching, the yeast had formed a large solid krasuen, that was ideal for top cropping.
So this beer was used to take the pictures in my Top Cropping Yeast guide.

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