Popped cherries

Popped cherries

With all the excitement of the kegerator at the weekend, I forgot to update on Beer five, the Brewferm Kriek kit.

The Kriek finished fermenting the middle of last week. Taste at the moment leaves a lot to be desired – very bitter and little cherry taste. Brewferm say the kriek should spend 6-8 weeks bottle conditioning before being consumed so it’s possible the taste may improve, but I doubt it, so I decided to bottle just a little of it and rack the rest onto cherries. There are only 9 x 190ml bottles of this little kriek, one of which has already found a home elsewhere. Six of those bottles are Coke bottles – Cherry without the Coke :)

After phoning around various places, I found tinned cherries in National Azabu (no frozen cherries anywhere) so made a trip there to get them. As a bonus, they have huge boxes of Oxi-clean on special at the moment – it’s probably still more expensive than Costco, but I’m glad I don’t need to waste the day on a Costco trip.

The tins actually contain far less cherries than I expected – about 250g of 480g if my memory serves me right. I poured the contents of four into my spare primary and then racked the beer on top (no need to boil the cherries since they’ve already been pasteurised).

I expected with all the extra syrup and cherries for the remaining yeast to spring into life and for the fermentation to go wild, but very little happened for a long time. Only two days later did secondary fermentation really become active. Last night I took a sample to do a hydrometer reading – it now stands at 1.020 (it was 1.010 when I bottled) but the taste is much improved, almost like Belle Vue Kriek now.

Beer seven: Green Scottish West Coast Flasher IPA

Last night I did my first partial mash – another attempt at an IPA. This is a version of the Green Flash West Coast IPA featured on the Jamil show. I’ve taken the recipe posted by Nathan here, the guy who created it for the show.

I’ve copied the hop schedule identically but converted it to partial mash using the grains that I have at home – I don’t have the exact grains in the recipe. I’m also using a 3 gallon batch rather than 6 gallons. I used various online calculators to adjust grain, DME, and hops quantities to match the range of the original recipe.

The original recipe calls for these grains:
14.00 lbs Pale Malt (2-row) America
1.31 lbs Crystal 40L America
1.31 lbs Carapils Dextrine Malt

I replaced these with:
1kg (2.2lbs) Base Malt EBC3.3
1kg (2.2lbs) Ale Malt EBC6.6
0.3kg (0.66lbs) Carared 20L
2kg (4.4lbs) Extra Light Spraymalt DME 19th May 2009: Typo here. Actual was about 2lbs – need to confirm later!

The base and ale malts I ordered from Homebrewing Service when getting Starsan. Instead of crystal 40L I had the choice of carared 20L or crystal 60L, I decided to go for the carared because it’s about two weeks old now (so needs to be used soon) and because my base malts are probably darker than the original recipe (hence using a lighter crystal).

Hop schedule is:
90m: 9g of Simcoe 12.9%
60m: 5g each of Zeus (Columbus) 16.4% and Simcoe.
30m: 5g each of Zeus, Simcoe.
15m: 13g each of Zeus, Simcoe.
10m: 16g of Cascade 7.2%
1m: 9g each of Zeus, Simcoe.

After 7 days it will be dry hopped with 9g each of Amarillo, Centennial, Zeus, Simcoe, and optionally 4g of Cascade.

This is the process I used for the stove top partial mash – I’m using 3 pots, one 16L, one 7L, and one 4L. (My process was based on this guide – I didn’t have two large pots so I improvised.)

1. Heat 9L of water to 71 degrees in the 16L pot then add the grain bag with all the grains. Use heat where necessary to keep temperature around 67 degrees for an hour. I stirred this quite often during the hour to improve circulation.

2. After an hour, take out the grain bag and let it drain through a colander into the 4L pot (the grain stays in the grain bag, I just placed the bag on the colander). Pour the hot wart from the 16L pot into the 7L pot and then heat 6L of water in the 16L pot. When at 73-80 degrees, put the grain bag into this water and leave for 15 minutes. Again I circulated often. About half way through I applied heat to raise the temperature back to 67 degrees.

3. Pour the wort from the 4L pot into the 16L pot and then put the grain bag on the colander again, to drain into the 4L pot. Add the wort from the 7L pot to the 16L pot and start to boil. When the grain stops dripping, add the wort from the 4L pot also.

At this point I took a sample to do a hydrometer reading and work out efficiency. The Tasty Brew calculator had given me an expected gravity of around 1.052 for a 75% efficiency at 11.5L. I got 1.046 at 35 degrees, which is 1.051 adjusted to 15 degrees. I think I had a bit more water though, maybe 3.25G or more – difficult to tell because my pot doesn’t have markings, but I was pretty near the rim.

Since I think I had more water, I wanted to try to calculate efficiency myself.

My rough attempt at ppg efficiency based on 3.25G is:
Efficiency = gravity (51) x gallons (3.25) / lbs of grain (5.06) = 32.7ppg.

According to How to Brew, 30ppg+ is the range to shoot for, so I’m in the right ballpark – not bad considering I don’t have any specialist equipment.

Another way to calculate efficiency is look at the theoretical maximum fermentables you can get out of grain. 46 points is the theoretical maximum and I used 5.06lbs, which gives me a max of 232.76.

For 3.25G, I would have an efficiency of 51 x 3.25 / 232.76 =  71.2%. Not too far from the 75% used on Tasty Brew. I really need to get a pot with markings.

4. Add the hops as per schedule. Before the 15M addition, I took out the hops, stirred in the DME, and when melted and boiling again, returned the hops with the 15M addition. I should have added Irish Moss here but forgot!

5. Continue with schedule, then cool, transfer to bucket, top-up, and pitch rehydrated S-04.

The whole partial mash process was actually pretty simple – the only point where I fell down was cooling the wort (not much cold water to add and a freezer full of hops so I couldn’t make ice!) I actually found doing partial mash to be more relaxed than steeping since I have time during the mash to prepare other things.

Starting gravity turned out to be 1.078-80, bang on the 1.079 predicted by Tasty Brew (FG is predicted as a rather high 1.020). Since Tasty Brew uses 75% utilisation and I got the predicted values, I guess I hit 75%

When taking the hydrometer reading before adding the DME, it dawned on me that if I was making a bitter, I could do a full mash this way – 1.046 is quite high for an ordinary bitter. I should do a full mash and see how it turns out.

I finished the night off by transferring Beer six (All Goldings Bitter) to a keg. I forgot to purge oxygen with CO2 before transferring but I think it should be OK. We don’t purge when we rack to secondary, right? This leaves me with one bucket free again – time to think about Beer eight!