Brewday 52: Hefeweisen

Brewed 26/04/2020

The second brewday of lockdown saw the return of a household favorite, the Hefeweisen. As always, the recipe for the Hefeweisen itself was very simple, though I did make an error when ordering ingredients hence the additions of Hallertau Blanc (9.6% AA) instead of Hallertau Mittelfruh (3.5% AA)! Unfortunately I didn’t spot the error until the brewday was well underway and as a result this Hefeweisen will be around 40 IBU, much MUCH more bitter than normal! Hallertau Blanc hops are known for flavours of white-wine and fruit, elderflower, grapes, grapefruit and lemongrass so fingers crossed the end result will actually work out ok!

The recipe for the Hefeweisen is:

  • 3kg Wheat Malt
  • 1.5kg Pilsner Malt
  • 22g Hallertau Blanc hops @ 60 minutes
  • 10g Hallertau Blanc hops @ 20 minutes
  • 1 pkt Mangrove Jacks Bavarian Wheat Yeast

Traditionally Hefeweisen would be brewed with a decoction mash or at least a multi-stage mash but, to keep things intentionally simple with the new brewery, this time I opted for a single stage 60 minute mash at 66.7C followed by a 60 minute boil. Having 66% Wheat Malt in the recipe and a short boil should help keep the colour light and golden. There’s also no Irish Moss in this recipe as I want to keep as much ‘cloud’ in this beer as possible.

Mash on!

Sparging with the new pump

Coming to the boil!

Hallertau Blanc Hops

Post-boil whirlpooling

Through the Counterflow Chiller

The effects of the Whirlpool

Yeast is keen to get going!

Yeast pitched and tucked away

Yummy!

The new pump, purchased after the death of the little Brown Pump on Brewday 51, was much more up for the task of the Whirlpool. Today, after the boil, I ran it for 15 minutes at around 75% speed (I hadn’t opened the outlet ball value fully) and then let it settle for 15 minutes afterwards. The ‘cone’ of trub in the centre of the kettle wasn’t perhaps as tight as it could have been but the Ss Brewtech Trub Dam still did a pretty effective job at keeping the muck in the kettle and just draining the beer into the fermentor.
Also following on from Brewday 51 I had also setup the old Grainfather Counterflow Chiller for use on this brewday. It worked perfectly, cooling the wort down from 80C to 25C with just one pass through on the way to the fermentor. So much better than the old copper immersion cooler!

Brewday 52 was definitely a success! After a bit of tinkering with Beersmith since Brewday 51 I hit every target number until the very end of the day, ending up with 23l in the fermentor at 1.046 OG instead of 21l at 1.048 OG. This is definitely down to me getting a less vigorous boil and lower evaporation rate than Beersmith expects so a quick tweak in the settings should be all that is needed to iron this out in time for the next brew!

Brewday 51: Isolation IPA

Brewed 05/04/2020

I guess that I can thank the COVID-19 lockdown for forcing giving me the impetus to get the brewery up and working and the first new brew in over 2 years on the go!
The comeback Brewday will be a relatively simple IPA. As this is also the first brew on the Demon Valley Brewing v.3 kit there is intentionally nothing too fancy or clever with this recipe. Basic malts, basic hops and a reliable yeast. Simples.

The recipe for the Isolation IPA:

  • 5.2kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 300g CaraPils Malt
  • 200g Crystal 200 Malt
  • 15g East Kent Goldings hops @ 60 minutes
  • 15g Northern Brewer hops @ 60 minutes
  • 20g Citra hops @ 15 minutes
  • 36g Citra hops @ Whirlpool
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss
  • 1 pkt Nottingham yeast

Again, to stick with simplicity, this will be a 60 minute, single stage Mash at 67C followed by a 90 minute boil. The new kettle has a whirlpool attachment so following flameout I will be recirculating the wort through the whirlpooler to ideally gather all the hop pellet sludge in the center of the kettle and not transfer it to the fermentor! I am hoping the little brown pump is up to this task for today but a new pump is already on the shopping list!

Demon Valley Brewing v.3

Grain Shot.

Mash on!

Breaking into the boil.

Hops! Northern Brewer, EKG, Citra and Citra. (from left to right)

Whirlpooler in action.

All finished!

Not the clearest sample! 1.048 OG.

Brewday 51 was going perfectly to plan until the whirlpooling at which point the little brown pump struggled and then died completely! It was clearly just too old and too under-powered for the task at hand, the new pump on the shopping list just went up a couple of places in priority! Due to the unfortunate demise of the pump, the whirlpool was a abject failure and all sorts of hop sludge transferred to the fermentor with the wort! This shouldn’t cause a big issue in the final beer though as it will be crash cooled once fermentation is complete to drop all this out of suspension before kegging. Fingers crossed!
Another priority job is to set up the Grainfather Couterflow Chiller for use with this new kit. The copper immersion cooler worked ok today but has a small leak (outside the kettle) and is nowhere near as efficient as the counterflow chiller. It should be a pretty easy task to swap out the connectors for use with this brewery kit. One to complete before Brewday 52.

All in all though, Brewday 51 was pretty successful. I ended up with 24l in the fermentor instead of the target 21l, and the OG was 1.048 instead of 1.057 as a result. Presumably the boil wasn’t as vigorous as needed because the pre-boil volume was spot on. I will be double checking Beersmith 3 to make sure there are no obvious errors in there too though!

I’m back!!!

Well it is fair to say that I have not really active on here for quite a while seeing as my last brew write up was 2017!
The brewing has continued, albeit at a vastly reduced amount, though the five brews made since Brewday 45 have all been lost to the back streets of history and I have no longer got any of the recipe info or any brewday photos to add them to the blog!
In fact, I would be hard pushed to remember any of them except the NEIPA made for Brewday 50! That beer was great! I wonder what the recipe was… oh well!

Time for a reset!

So what has happened since 2017?
Well, the Grainfather has gone! It is a great bit of kit for the money and allowed me to keep brewing while life got crazy busy after the birth of our daughter, but, I increasingly found I was feeling a bit disconnected with the brewing process using a one-stop-shop, turn-on-and-walkaway brewery. Although it is definitely not as simple, the engagement to the process I had when brewing on 3 vessels was being sorely missed.

Demon Valley Brewing v.3 is born

The new Brewery is made up of two 10gal (37.5l) Ss Brewtech Kettles, a 10gal (37.5l) Ss Brewtech Mashtun and two Buffalo 3000w Induction Hobs. I’ll be using the same old ‘little brown pump’ from my original brewery setup to move the liquids around and will be converting a second hand Grainfather Counterflow Chiller for use here too.
I should probably note that I was fortunate enough to rebuild the Brewery from the ground up (literally) in 2018 and had beefier electrics installed so all this new kit could be run without risking the house burning down!
There are a few additions still on the shopping list, and a couple of bits still to make, however the basic workings of Demon Valley Brewing v.3 are all in place!

Here’s looking forward to Brewday 51!

Brewday 45: Irish Red Ale 4.1

Brewed 01/10/17

Version 4 was red! Was it a fluke or can it be rebrewed and come out just as good?

For this variation I will be dropping the Roasted Barley to 100g and increasing the smoked Rauch Malt to 300g (from 100g). This should slightly lighten the overall colour of the beer and also give a nice smokey undertone to the malt flavours. This version would also use Fuggles hops instead of Bramling Cross for a little more traditional hop flavour but mostly because I didn’t have any Bramling Cross left in the freezer as it turned out!

The recipe for the Irish Red Ale 4.1:

  • 4kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 200g CaraRed Malt
  • 100g Roasted Barley
  • 100g Dark Crystal Malt
  • 300g Rauch Malt
  • 30g East Kent Goldings hops @ 60 minutes
  • 20g Bramling Cross hops @ 30 minutes
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss
  • 1 pkt Mangrove Jacks M15 Empire Ale yeast

The other major change to this version is that it will be brewed on the Grainfather whereas version 4 (Brewday 27) was brewed on my old three vessel system. In theory this shouldn’t make any difference as Beersmith will adjust the recipe based on the equipment profile but we’ll have to see if that works as intended!

Grain shot!

Hops in!

Colour looks promising!!!

 

Brewday 45 went perfectly to plan and I even remembered to put in the Irish Moss! OG came out at 1.046 so presuming the yeast attenuates as expected this should give an ABV of 4.7% and hopefully a bright red colour!

Brewday 44: Jaipur Clone

Brewed 19/08/17

In order to use up some of the hops I had stored in the freezer I decided to brew the Jaipur Clone from Brewday 26 again. The hop schedule needed to be tweaked slightly to fit my leftover inventory but the vast majority of the recipe was the same as last time and fortunately I had a decent selection of hops on hand to make reasonable substitutions so the end result shouldn’t stray too far from the original clone.

The recipe for the Jaipur Clone:

  • 5.55kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 0.45kg Vienna Malt
  • 12g Centennial hops @ 60 minutes
  • 15g Northern Brewer hops @ 60 minutes
  • 10g Ahtanum hops @ 60 minutes
  • 12g Centennial hops @ 30 minutes
  • 10g Ahtanum hops @ 30 minutes
  • 10g Chinook hops @ 30 minutes
  • 16g Centennial hops @ 0 minutes
  • 48g Chinook hops @ 0 minutes
  • 24g Ahtanum hops @ 0 minutes
  • 40g Amarillo hops @ 0 minutes
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 minutes
  • 1 pkt Nottingham yeast

Mash on!

Hops!

First hops in!

All done, transferring to the fermenter

Into the fermenting fridge

A little bit hazy… oops…

The brewday was going perfectly until I took my eye off the ball and forgot to add the Irish Moss to the end of the boil! Doh!!! As you can see from the pictures above how hazy the beer has finished up as a result of this error! Hopefully crash cooling once fermentation is complete will help drop out a lot of this murk though and the final beer might still end up pretty clear! Alternatively I will be finding out just how important the Irish Moss addition actually is for beer clarity!

OG was bang on target at 1.058 so once the yeast has done its stuff this Jaipur Clone should come out around 5.2% ABV. This is around 1% less than the real thing but I intentionally brewed this lower to make it a bit more session-able!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brewday 43: Banoffee Goze

Brewed: 08/06/2017 and 11/06/2017

No, that’s not a typo! Brewday 43 took place over two separate sessions! This was my first attempt at a sour beer recipe which came to me at 3am in a flash of inspiration… a Banoffee Gose!
Banana & Toffee are great together, Salted Caramel is amazing too so can these flavours be combined into one beer?

The base of this beer would be a ‘proper’ kettle-soured Gose, but with the addition of some Caramalt to impart that toffee flavour. This would darken the beer slightly but hopefully not too much. The Banana would come from the Hefeweisen yeast which I would intentionally stress out and ferment at the high end of the temperature range to maximise this flavour output.
On paper this seems perfectly reasonable but will it work in practice?! There’s only one way to find out!

 

The Recipe for Banoffee Gose is:

  • 2.5kg Wheat Malt
  • 2kg Pilsner Malt
  • 0.5kg Crystal (20L) Malt
  • 13g Hallertauer Hersbrucker hops @ 60 minutes
  • 1pkt Omega Lactobacillus Blend (OYL-605)
  • 1pkt White Labs Hefeweisen yeast (WLP300)

The first stage of the kettle souring process is to complete the mash as normal. Once the sparge was complete I brought the wort to the boil for 15 minutes to pasteurise it and kill off any bacteria in the wort at this point. You don’t have to boil the wort like this if you are willing to risk other bacteria growing in your wort and therefore add a degree of randomness to the souring process – I wanted more control so I chose to boil!

Lacto Starter

Following the mini-boil, the wort was chilled down to 28C using an immersion chiller and then held at that temperature using the Grainfather’s control unit. 48 hours earlier I had made a 1 litre starter using the Omega Lactobacillus Blend. Even though the photo shows the flask sat on one, this type of starter doesn’t need a stir-plate as it doesn’t need to be agitated to promote growth. The stirplate above was turned off!

The starter was then pitched into the wort and the lid of the boiler sealed with clingfilm to keep any other passing nasties out!

All sealed for souring

If you had a PH meter (and I didn’t!) now is the perfect time to take a reading! The wort PH will be around 5, and after 3 days with the Lacto Blend pitched this will have lowered to around 2 or 3. Ta-Daa! Soured wort!

After the souring process is complete, the clingfilm is removed and the wort is brought to the boil for the second time! This 60 minute boil kills off the Lactobacillius cultures and stops the souring process. Hops are added to this boil but only a tiny amount is used because too many IBU’s will negate the sourness.

Boil No. 2

All done! Transferring to the fermenter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second boil completed and the wort was down to an OG of 1.048. The Hefeweisen yeast was pitched and the fermenter fridge set to 32C. I intentionally didn’t create a starter for the yeast pitch because by under-pitching I hoped to stress the yeast even further and create even more Banana flavours!

Once fermentation was complete the FG read 1.016 giving an ABV of 4.2%. Possibly a bit on the strong side for a traditional Gose but not too big! The beer was then kegged and bottled and put away to condition, there wasn’t much in the way of Banana at this point so hopefully it would come through during conditioning…

Brewday 42: Rye Saison

Brewed: 27/05/2017

Taking a lot of inspiration from (Cheshire Brew Crew) Mark’s Rye Saison which we sampled earlier in the year came my own version. The Rye adds a peppery taste which work amazingly well with a Saison base. If it turns out to be anything like Mark’s version I’ll be very happy indeed!

The Recipe for Rye Saison is:

  • 3.8kg German Pilsner Malt
  • 1.36kg Rye Malt
  • 0.3kg Dark Belgian Candi Sugar
  • 1kg Crystal (20L) Malt
  • 43g Styrian Golding hops @ 60 minutes
  • 1pkt Wyeast French Saison Yeast

There is a tendency for the Rye addition to cause mashes to ‘stick’ more frequently so Rice Hulls are added to help keep some structure to the mash when sparging, and the overall OG is boosted with the addition of the Dark Belgian Candi Sugar.


 

 

 

 

 

 

The brewday was mostly without issue although the eagle-eyed amongst you will spot the filter from the Grainfather on the bench in the photo above. That was not supposed to be there! Darn!

The inevitable blocked pump aside, the brewday went ok and I ended up with an OG of 1.059 and with a FG of approaching 1.004 the ABV was a monstrous 7.2%!

 

Brewday 41: Maibock

Brewed: 12/03/2017

After the slightly unplanned interruption of the ‘Recipe Roulette’ Competition brew last brewday it was time to get back on plan for 2017’s brewing endeavours! Up this time is a Maibock. Maibocks (or Helles Bocks) are lighter, more hoppy versions of a typical German Bock. Wikipedia says “Colour can range from deep gold to light amber with a large, creamy, persistent white head, and moderate to moderately high carbonation, while alcohol content ranges from 6.3% to 7.4% by volume. The flavour is typically less malty than a traditional bock, and may be drier, hoppier, and more bitter, but still with a relatively low hop flavour and with a mild spicy or peppery quality from the hops.”
Traditionally this is a spring drink so this batch will all be bottled and conditioned until opening in early May.

The Recipe for Maibock is:

  • 5.5kg German Pilsner Malt
  • 0.5kg Munich Malt
  • 0.4kg Victory Malt
  • 1kg Crystal (20L) Malt
  • 50g Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hops @ 70 minutes
  • 30g Hallertauer Hersbrucker hops @ 20 minutes
  • 1tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
  • 1l yeast starter Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager Yeast

The inclusion of the Victory malt was a last minute thing as I ordered the ingredients based on a recipe designed at 77.5% efficiency however as I’ve been getting nowhere near that on my last Grainfather brews I recalculated this recipe at 72% efficiency in an attempt to fix some of the issues I have encountered so far. This meant I would need more grain to hit my target figures and as a result didn’t have enough Munich Malt in stock! Victory Malt is lightly roasted and brings out the nutty, toasty, and biscuit flavours in the malt bill so should fit quite well with this style.

Mash on!

First hop additions

All done!

This brewday went pretty much to plan! Finally! It is such a relief to be able to say that! I did away with the Hop Spider this time as I didn’t have an opportunity beforehand to blast it clear with the power washer and I suspect that it being blocked caused part of my problems on Brewday 40. I also used the water volume calculations from the Grainfather website and not what Beersmith was telling me as there was almost 4 litres less water required according to Beersmith! As a result of these changes I ended up with 22l in the fermenter at 1.070 OG. Target OG was 1.073 at 23l so there is still a little tweaking to be done however as the Grainfather’s efficiency does drop off with Malt bills over 7kg that may well account for the difference on this occasion and aiming for 21l instead of 23l might have ended up closer to target. Either way, the yeast starter was pitched and the fermenter was placed in the fridge at 10C for the first stage of this 30day fermentation schedule! Fingers crossed!

 

 

 

 

 

Brewday 40: Simcoe & Chilli Double IPA

Brewed: 03/02/2017

January’s meet of the Cheshire Brew Crew homebrew club saw the setting of our second ‘Recipe Roulette’ Competition! Again, each brewer picks a ‘Hop’ and an ‘addition’ from the random selections provided and then has a free reign to brew any beer they chose with those ingredients. Last year I got very lucky with Amarillo and Orange Peel and ended up brewing the Saison in Brewday 33 which went on to be crowned Grand Champion! No pressure for this year then!

This time around I picked Simcoe and Chilli! Not ideal but certainly not too obscure! The Simcoe hops really cry out of a hoppy American/Double IPA so hopefully a big grapefruit hit from loads of fresh Simcoe will be sufficient to balance out the heat from the chillies, and at least I have a little experience with brewing with chilli after the Smoked Chipotle Porter on Brewday 37. It will be a totally different challenge getting the flavours to balance in a lighter beer mind you!

The Recipe for Simcoe & Chilli Double IPA is:

  • 5.75kg German Pilsner Malt
  • 750g Munich Malt
  • 350g Crystal (20L) Malt
  • 25g Simcoe hops @ 60 minutes
  • 35g Simcoe hops @ 10 minutes
  • 45g Simcoe hops @ 0 minutes
  • 20g Smoked Chipotle Chillies @ 7days dry hop
  • 200g Simcoe hops @ 10days dry hop
  • 1packet Mangrove Jacks M42 New World Strong Ale yeast

*** STOP PRESS ***
Brewday pictures coming up!!

Mashing In

Doughing In Grainfather style!

2

Protein Rest

4

Sparging in progress

3

Brewday 40’s little helper!

5

Chilling!

Unfortunately the brewday didn’t go exactly to plan… despite some minor adjustments to my Beersmith profile I managed to end up nearly 6 litres down on final volume 5 points down on target OG. I (as is the Grainfather chap I chatted to afterwards) am at a loss as to where the volume has disappeared to without adversely affecting OG as with so much missing you would expect the OG to be sky high to compensate! It was perhaps a combination of a number of separate smaller issues through the session that caused the cumulative losses. Back to the drawing board with this profile it seems!

Either way, I ended up with 16 litres in the fermenter with an OG of 1.074 instead of the target 21 litres at 1.079. Hopefully the yeast will help me out again and the final ABV should be somewhere around 7.5%. After 7 days in the fermentor I will be adding 20g of rehydrated Chipotle Chillies followed 3 days later by 200g of fresh Simcoe for a 3 dry hop. As the total volume is so low this batch will all be bottled and I will save the Corny Keg space for brewday 41!

 

 

Brewday 39: Ace of Cascade

Brewed 05/01/2017

The second outing for the new Grainfather was another single hopped brew to help use up the surplus of hops crammed into my freezer!  Inspiration for the recipe actually came from Brewdog’s DIY Dog download although they’ve not used Cascade in their ‘Ace of’ series. Again I used the same stepped mash profile as the Brewers Gold III recipe in Brewday 38 but otherwise copied the temperatures and hop timings direct from DIY Dog.

The recipe for the Ace of Cascade:

  • 3.50kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 500g Crystal 20 Malt
  • 20g Cascade hops @ 60 minutes
  • 30g Cascade hops @ 15 minutes
  • 40g Cascade hops @ flameout
  • 160g Cascade hops @ 3day Dry Hop
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss
  • 1 packet Nottingham yeast

*cough* Even though I promised last time… I didn’t manage to take any brewday photos of this session! Sorry! *cough*

The stepped mash worked really well and wasn’t that complicated to program however due to me trying to setup a Grainfather equipment profile on Beersmith I somehow managed to over-sparge with nearly 2 litres of extra water. As a result the preboil and postboil OG’s for this brew were much lower than expected at 1.040 instead of the target OG of 1.054. Luckily for me the Liberty Bell yeast managed to go a couple of points lower than planned too so the FG finished up at 1.012 meaning the final ABV was 3.7%. Off target however not too dramatically in the end. Phew!

I think I have the settings down in Beersmith now so here’s hoping for an issue free Brewday 40!