One Man and his Beer

This is going to be the last beer I brew this year. I'm doing two batches and I'm getting overwhelmed with the packaging - largely because I've got too much else to do: brewing needs attention to detail and getting brewing wrong results in horrible beer. And next year I want to start from scratch and master lagers (and other cool fermented beers).

I've gone back to the book that I learnt to brew from: Greg Hughes's How to Brew Beer. I was pleased to see when getting that link that he has done a new edition. They've freshened it up and it is on the Kindle too. Hooray. This beer is based on Greg's English IPA recipe and I've successfully brewed it five or six times previously. It will be our Christmas beer this year. I'm doing another batch for a friend of mine (that's him in the picture, admiring a previous version).

I've adjusted his recipe a bit for my equipment and hops.

Greg Hughes English IPA - target 23 litres OG 1060

Mash at 65C - 2.5 litres of water to 1kg grain
 3000g pale malt (normal crush)
 3000g pale malt (fine crush)    
  150g crystal malt

Sparged to 30l

Boil 70 minutes

75g challenger 6.73% alpha    70m
40g East Kent Goldings 5.13%  15m
     Protofloc                15m
40g East Kent Goldings 5.13%  turn off

Ferment at 18 with WLP005 (British ale yeast). A starter is required.

I used half fine crush and half normal crush to attempt to get better efficiency. On the second batch, I used different Goldings hops with high alphas and I adjusted the amount accordingly.

I mashed in and thought I hit 65 degrees - but after about 40 minutes the mash tun was around the 64 mark. The second batch I hit 66 on the nose and it felt better.

Both batches gave me a wort of OG 1060/1062 so we will have two batches of IPA. The first batch was a bit bigger than the second.

On the first batch I turned off one of the elements in the boiler for 30 minutes and on the second I just let it go - there was more evaporation, but given I hit the target gravity, it possibly wasn't a bad thing.

During the first brew, I bottled some beer. Oh my goodness. It went wrong. My capper is obviously broken and it managed to smash two bottles. I gave up. Time to get a new capper. Actually, time to stop bottling. It is only the NAWB competition that requires crown capped bottles. I might switch to plastic for the other competitions - it's safer in the post and easier.

For the first batch, the starter was sitting on a stir plate overnight and, annoyingly, it stopped stirring. Sometimes the stir magnet flies off centre. I started it again in the morning and I'm sure it will be fine. I fermented the starter in the brew fridge at 18 degrees overnight. I used the yeast to bottle another beer as well. The beer is fermenting in the dining room but took a good 24 hours to kick off.

For the second batch, I kept the starter in the kitchen overnight on the stir plate - which will be more like 20/21 degrees. I'm fermenting the beer in the beer fridge at 18 degrees and it went off like a rocket. The starter clearly had more yeast in it than the other.

We'll see how it all turns out next week.

Kindly proofread by Matt at Isthmus Consulting.