It has been almost a Year since my last post on the wonderful world of beer brewing. We have been extremely busy at home and work but the brewing has continued through-out! Just had no time to post, :(
That all changes today with Catherine's Christmas Cracker! My past Year of brewing has been taken up with chasing the best rendition of a lowish abv & high flavour/body IPA. I have drank a good few commercial samples of this type of beer and imbalance is noted by a 'high water' flavour/mouthfeel in some variants which is a major turn off and has me dangerously reaching for a Balls out AIPA @ 7%! At my advancing age this can't be done too many times, so here's how I compensate and keep that massive hop coming through cleanly and in balance. :)
Catherine's Christmas Cracker 15 gallon batch
8kgs Maris Otter
5Kgs Wheat malt
200 grmms Hallertau Tradition (FWH)
250 grmms Cascade pellets flame out
250 grmms Chinook pellets flame out
3 Protafloc tablets
WLP 32 yeast
Expected F.G 1.012
Expected ABV 3.8 to 4.0% & 50 IBU
I am continuing to refine my process which in this instance is with a roughly 60/40 split of basic MO& Wheat Malt.
Rest Temperature of 68 degs along with the Wheat Malt will give me the body I am looking for. I recirculated the mash through the grain bed for an hour before commencing run off. The wheat grain seems to help to catch a lot of dross and produces a nice run off. We recirculated through the grain bed during the sparge until complete.
I have been using disposable scourers on my hop stopper for a while now but these packs I picked up last time we were over in Turkey are absolutely excellent.
Rough end of a hop stopper
Stretch and fit two of them like socks!
I am keeping this brew nice and simple and went with a single hop in FWH guise.
The brewery was filled with a light citrus from the Hallertau Tradition as the malt broke through the hop layer, a shame it is gone for ever! The cooled wort was ran through the hop bed for two hours.
I am using Hop Pellets for the first time and used both Cascade & Chinook as flame out additions.
I had read up on them but was still surprised at how fast they broke up in the kettle..Excellent smell!
First brewday in a while and it went very well. Great to have Martin showing an interest and getting in about. I am hoping that keeping the recipe simple and filtering the hell out of the wort through the process will come through in the glass. I will leave half of the batch post fermentation with only a Cascade Dry hop for Catherine and will break out the Columbus and a few others in the second half of the brew along with some further fermentables to kick it upstairs to AIPA levels of BOOM! :)
Thanks for reading my drivel and hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Here's a last photo of the wort post natural filtration.
Edit, next Day.
I tend to clean my mash tun during the boil and leave the kettle until the next day. I had a very pleasant surprise at the speed of clean up in the kettle with the majority being pellets for the first time. With flowers I normally have a used hop depth over the top of the cooling coil.
A final close up of the top of the hop filter, also had a sniff of the trial jar and extremely citrus, I lok forward to dry hopping this beer enormously and will be keeping stone ruination IPA in mind for the hopping of the experimental 2nd half of the beer post fermentation, watch this space for explosive yeast shots!
Edit, two days later
We are having a -2C spell so all beer decanted into his n hers vessels and brought inside, took off like rockets!
Yeast breaking free of the bag.
Edit 27th Nov
Well, that's the big batch completed!
I added some home made Candi Sugar. In this instance with Lime Juice.
Ran it up to 300 F and held for 20 minutes, enough time to change colour and develop some toffee flavour.
I kept the slab (600 grm) as complete as I could when breaking it out of the tray. I placed it gently in the fermenter and you'll have to take my word for it but there was not a single trace of it on clean up today!
I had a relatively easy time with the hop pellets and used a cloth filter over the bottling valve. Cleaned the cloth every 8 bottles or so and caught a huge amount of hop debris.
In the end the 10 gallon boosted batch had a further 200 grm of Chinook and a 200 grm belt of Columbus pellets. The FV smelled absolutely outrageous and we have a nice little 5.4% abv. I think it will be a cracker (straightener)! Only time and carbonation will tell. We will keep an eye on these clear bottles to see if there is going to be a hop haze issue or not. It makes no odds to me as I am enlightened but some people.....
Catherine's Christmas Cracker is lagging behind at a still 1.020 gravity. I will let things run their course then dry hop further with Cascade. It should be 4 to 4.1% and a slightly lighter colour. Until next time and thanks for reading! :)