05: Brewferm Kriek (k)

Yesterday I made Beer eight – All Fuggles Bitter. It’s a variation of my All Goldings Bitter recipe – slightly different steeping grains and more hops.

I kegged All Goldings Bitter on the 26th.  Before kegging it tasted great – malty with a hint of bitterness and hops. But after chilling down in the kegerator the balance has changed completely – obviously I won’t be able to have a bitter and IPA in the same fridge.

The taste when cold has left me not so impressed with AGB, but I have to remember that it’s at the wrong temp and I only started making it on the 19th April. It is still a very green beer and hasn’t had much conditioning time. I probably shouldn’t be drinking it at all! But I was so eager to taste it. The right thing for me to do now is probably to take it out of the fridge and leave it until I finish the IPA, then turn up the fridge temp – then it will have had time and it will be at the right temp.

Since AGB had just a hint of hops, over the weekend I added a hop tea with some more Golding to the keg. I also upped the hops on AFB to compensate.

All Fuggles Bitter

Boil volume: 3 US Gallons
Final wort volume: 6 US Gallons

Predicted OG: 1.035
Actual OG: 1.036 at 30 degrees; 1.040 adjusted to 15 degrees
Predicted FG: 1.009

1.5kg (3.3lbs) Extra-light DME (Muntons spraymalt)
0.5kg (1.1lbs) Wheat DME (Muntons spraymalt)
150g (0.33lbs) Crystal 60L
150g (0.33lbs) Crystal 75L
45g (0.1lbs) Muntons Black 550-600L

Fuggle AA4.7%: 60m 57g (2oz), 20m 28g (1oz), 2m 14g (0.5oz)
(For the Golding I used 48g / 18g / 16g.)

Yeast: S-04

IBU is tricky to calculate – it really depends on which utilisation method you calculate with. Tasty Brew gave me an IBU of 47 for this, based on me adding all the DME at the beginning – but other calculation tools give lower levels. Also, I split the DME addition – adding 1kg of extra-light at the beginning and the rest of the DME before the 20m hop addition – so I’ll get better utilisation. I did the same split for All Goldings Bitter and that wasn’t bitter enough, so what’s important to me now is learning how IBU numbers taste for a certain calculator and utilisation method rather than looking at the numbers as gospel.

Incidentely, I screwed up by leaving the 20m addition in for 5 minutes too long. And that caused me to forget the Irish Moss.

It was fermenting away like crazy this morning – a very good sign. When asking which hops to use for making a British bitter, everyone suggested both Golding and Fuggle, but most people indicated Fuggle as their preference. It will be good to taste them side by side. 

Current bucket status:
1. Brewferm Kriek with cherries (racked onto cherries on 25th April; looks like secondary fermentation is finished)
2. Green Scottish West Coast Flasher IPA (started 27th April)
3. All Fuggles Bitter (started 29th April)

Once again I find myself with full buckets and impatient to make more…

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!

I’ve made some decisions about how I’m going to progress my brewing.

Firstly, I’m going to start making 3 US gallon batches instead of 5-6 US gallon batches when I’m experimenting, especially with IPAs. If I make something not great, I don’t want 5 gallons of it hanging around (like I have at the moment). I can always brew more later.

Secondly, I’m going to start partial mashing. With smaller 3 gallon batches, I’ll be able to partial mash with about 1kg (2.2lbs) of grain using this method (very similar to steeping, actually).

Thirdly, my next three beers will be another bitter (from tasting so far, All Goldings Bitter seems like my best so far), an IPA, and a porter. I’ve not decided the recipes for these three yet but for the bitter I may do an All Fuggles Bitter version of the All Goldings Bitter recipe – either a 5-6 US gallon extract or a 3 gallon partial mash.

Fourthly, I’ve worked out a way to brew through the summer! With the purchase of the kegerator, I was thinking of returning my fridge to the role it was built for – being a food fridge! – but yesterday I remembered that the temperature within the fridge was around 10 degrees when I first put the keg and CO2 tank in, before I turned up the cooling. 10 degrees is the perfect temperature for brewing pilsner! So even though I’m not a big lager fan, this summer I’m going to try brewing some.

Bucket status at the moment:
1. Brewferm Kriek – finished primary fermentation at 1.010 (as per kit specifications).
2. All Goldings Bitter – half way through fermentation at 1.012. It’s still fizzy to taste so fermentation is still going on – hopefully it will get down to 1.010 or 1.008.
3. Empty

Completed beer status:
1. Lager kit: Bacteria free but so bad I wont even drink it. Takes like Bass Pale Ale but worse.
2a. Whispering Wheat kit with wheat DME: I only bottled 10 of these. They taste kit like but they are drinkable.
2b. The above dry-hopped with orange peel, coriander, and nutmeg. This is my favourite of the beers I’ve made so far.
3. All Centennial IPA: This was a my first non-kit beer, but it turned out disappointing. The hop taste is too deep and intense with little aroma except sweetness. I think dry hopping would really liven it up but it’s in bottles. I may experiment with pouring some into a PET bottle and adding a little hop tea – see whether that rescues it.
4. Triple Cock(-up) IPA: Black Rock East India Pale Ale kit with DME. Since I added hop tea to the keg, this has actually become OK. It’s a bit light because of the kit origins, but its drinkable.

This weekend in-between rearranging my apartment to fit in the kegerator, I hope to bottle some of the Kriek and rack the rest onto cherries, and to fill the empty bucket with a new beer – most likely an IPA since until All Goldings Bitter has finished fermenting, I can’t really be sure whether the recipe worked.

The hop tea made a big difference to Beer four (Triple Cock(-up) IPA). It’s now at the level where it’s enjoyably drinkable and I’m very happy with that!

Two deliveries arrived the morning. One is my new regulator from Yahoo Auctions, the other is Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels. I want to do some brewing this weekend in the primary that I have free, before the summer hits. I’m currently formulating the recipe for an IPA. I don’t think DGB will have much input into this beer – I’ll barely have time to scratch the surface of Designing Great Beers before brew day – but it should help with future brews.

Beer five (Brewferm Kriek) has finished fermenting. I’m toying with the idea of bottling half and then racking the other half onto some cherries to see how much difference they make. It’s only a 11L kit so I don’t have much leeway though. The Kriek need 6-8 weeks bottle conditioning so it’s going to be a long time before I can try it!

Last night marked six days since partially bottling Beer two (Whispering Wheat with Wheat Spraymalt) and then dry hopping the rest with hassaku, coriander, and orange peel (details here). I wanted to leave the dry hopping for longer but thanks to stuck fermentation, Beer two has been in the primary for nearly a month now. It’s a miracle Beer two has survived at all – the last thing I want is to risk off flavours from leaving it too long in the primary. So since last night I decided it was time to finally get the rest of Beer two out of there.

It actually tastes pretty damn good after six days dry hopping – I don’t think this beer is going to last very long before it is gone. I tried a bottle of the pre-dry-hopped version (there were only 10 bottles, now 9) and it tastes kit-like. The dry hopping made a big difference.

Beer five was going to be my extract bitter creation but I didn’t have time to make it last night, so instead I made up the Brewferm Kriek kit (my final kit). I was a bit lazy in my sanitisation at a couple of points – eg, after using the stirrer and putting it down, I just washed it with cold water instead of resanitising it when using the stirrer again, and when I rehydrated the yeast, I used the jug that I’d dissolved the cane sugar in. It may come back to bite me, but I think I’ve been a bit anal about sanitisation lately. For example, the cane sugar solution is going into the kit, right? If there are nasties in there, they’re in the beer anyway.

So Beer six will become my extract bitter creation, after the IPAs are ready to bottle. I’m actually thinking to make Beer seven a bitter also, but varying the malts and hops used. I liked having two IPAs come together at the same time, so it will be good to do the same for the bitters. One of them will be a “traditional” bitter with only goldings hops, the other will use goldings for bittering but centennial or another hop during flavouring – inspired by one of Baird‘s bitters.

Last night I had a friend around to watch the bottling process. After it was finished we sampled the two IPAs. The dry hopping of Beer four (Triple Cock(-up) IPA) has really made a difference – my friend actually liked it better than the extract Beer three (All Centennial IPA). I can’t wait to get these into bottles this weekend.