For this ale, I have strayed outside of Greg Hughes book. This Old Burton Ale recipe is Phill Turner’s and it is the National Association of Wine and Beermakers 2017 annual show recipe. There will be many people brewing this for the show next year. I suspect some people have brewed it already and are nursing the result in bottles or barrels to get the best beer.
I decided to have a go – it is a brown beer 83% Pale Malt, 5% Wheat malt, 5% Light Crystal, 5% Munich and 1.5% Chocolate malt. It is hopped several times during the boil with Goldings. And the recipe calls for dry hopping too, just before barreling.
Now the recommended boil time is two hours and this is where I ran into trouble. About one hour into the boil, my boiler decided to pack up. I nearly gave up at this point but I refused to believe that the boiler was broken. I moved the hot wort out of the boiler into a vat temporarily and looked at the boiler’s element. The sugars from the wort had caramelised on the element. I descaled and cleaned it and managed to get a boil going again.
Since this event, my boiler does not boil nearly as vigorously but it will maintain a rolling boil. But also I take more care of it – I descale it with citric acid after each use.
There was lots of evaporation given the boil time, so I topped up with boiled water. The beer fermented well. I also managed to damage my auto-syphon when I transferred the beer to the barrel. Apparently this is often due to using hops in the fermenter (dry hopping). One of the hops has got into the syphon. There is a piece of plastic that tucks into the bottom of the syphon. This can be fixed but requires patience.
The young beer tasted rather good and I’ve left it in the barrel for a long time to let it mature. Today was the scheduled day for tasting, however I got in at 1am so I decided to exercise my diet cheat day early. The resulting beer is clear and has a good taste. The dry hopping gives a zing on the top of the mouth. The wife informs me that this is her favourite brew so far. I’m happy with it too. All this considering that the boil was interrupted in the middle and I nearly abandoned the whole thing.
It is quite a lively beer and has primed nicely meaning it needs to settle to let the head reduce. It is holding its head to the bottom of the glass. Personally I would not dry hop this again. However two of the ‘volunteers’ who are coming to drink it later love hoppy beers and IPAs so this should suit them down to the ground.