Sunday was my first brew day since starting this blog and that’s quite exciting! I wanted to experiment with a couple of malts that I’ve not used before so I bought some CaraRed and some Melanoidin malt to make something a a bit red in colour but what we ended up with is definitely much more brown than red. That’s fine, every home brew is a bit of an experiment and I’m fairly confident that the beer will be delicious whatever happens.
After the forecast of rain, Sunday ended up being a fantastic day for a brew day with the sun shining for most of the day. I am using the (very reasonably priced) Klarstein brewing system with a few minor additions. You can find out more about my setup here. Like I said above, this is a bit of an experiment so my grain bill consisted of 3kg Pale Ale, 1kg CaraRed, and 1kg Melanoidin. The melanoidin malt is not something I have used before. As I understand, it is widely used in red and Scottish Ales and smells fantastic. The CaraRed is used mostly in Brown Ales, lending primarily caramel flavours. All together, the grain bill smells a bit like one of those chocolate digestives with caramel in the middle.
We mashed in to 17L at 50°C for a 20 minute protein rest, and in this time adjusted the mash pH down to between 5.2 and 5.4. I did this by adding lactic acid powder. In the past, I have seen on homebrew forums people claiming that lactic acid powder does not work or isn’t real lactic acid. I can tell you now that those people are wrong about this. It’s fine, it lowers the pH and introduces no noticeable off flavours to the beer.
The rest of the mash was a step at 64°C for 20 minutes followed by a step at 67°C for 30 minutes, before a 10 minute mash out at 75°C. During this mash out we had a slight issue where the temperature sensor on the Klarstein must have gotten gunked up with protein and was reading a much lower temperature. Luckily we caught this problem early on and it did not significantly affect the temperature of the mash for long. I use a cheap 20 Euro pump to recirculate the wort throughout the mash.
Then it was time to lift the grain out and begin sparging with 13 L of water that was hot from the tap but I didn’t bother actually checking the temperature as I’m pretty sure it isn’t really that important.
For the boil I went for a 60 minute boil time with just two hop additions. The first was a 45 minute addition of 30g Brewer’s Gold. The second hop addition was 30g Fuggles at 20 minutes. I also disolved in 200g of Extra Light Dry Malt Extract to bump up the OG a bit and a little bit of Irish Moss to help with clarity at about 10 minutes.
Finally it was time to chill the wort down and stick it in the fermenter. After boil off, and losses due to absorption by the grain and trub and hoppy bits in the bottom of the kettle at the end of the boil we’re left with 17.5L in the fermenter. We then just pitched a packet of dried English Ale yeast (SafAle S-04). The original gravity of this beer was 1.050 and I expect it to ferment down to around 1.011 for about 5% ABV.
Yesterday evening, I took a gravity reading which came out as 1.010, so I figured it was time for dry hopping so this morning (Friday) I added 20g of Fuggles in a hop sock, weighted down with a sterilised knife. The beer still has a decent amount of yeast at the top but I’m thinking this should be ready for bottling on Sunday.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how this beer turns out, and will post again when I get round to tasting it! I will post the recipe here so if you want to try it out or tell me why it is all wrong, feel free to do so! This beer doesn’t have a name yet so I’m open to any suggestions.
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