Wednesday 13 January 2010

First Brews of 2010

My brewing resolution this year is to experiment more with kit brews before possibly moving to all grain brewing later in the year. I say possibly, I'd really like to do it but lack of space and the fact the the full mashers seem to spend a whole day brewing keep putting me off. On the other hand, I'm told that "when I try brewing all grain once, I'll never go back"

The promise of beer ready to drink in half the time of conventional kits, that's streets ahead of anything I've ever tasted in my life before seems hard to resist; but how's a lazy twat like me ever going to get round to it?

In any event, I've decided with my latest brew to experiment with some dry hopping. Avid readers (and anyone else who has been subjected to my written or verbal wibblings) will know that I've fallen in love with the citrus zing associated with the Amarillo hop. So I've borrowed (like she's going to want it back) a stocking from my lovely wife, sterilised it and stuffed it full of 40 grams of amarillo with a stone and a couple of rubber bungs to weigh it down.

As you can see from the (bottom) pic, I need a considerably heavier stone. If you're ever shipwrecked, make sure you've got a sackful of hops close by, you'll never sink!

This one's made it down from 1048 to 1010 in five days meaning it will come out about five and a bit percent. The plan is to give it another five days in the fermenting vessel then rack it in a secondary FV for 2-3 days before bottling, add 85g of brewing sugar then bottle. Ideally it'll then get a week in the conservatory and six weeks in the shed but I bet I start it after four.

The second beer of the year if my first attempt at a lager. Just sometimes lager drinkers can get right on my tits. "Have you got any proper beer?" they'd say to me at barbecues last year without even giving it a try. I gave in and got a case of Becks to shut them up but this year, I'm going to have three or four brews to keep lager boys (and girls) happy.

The first one's in the baby FV now. It's a Brewferm gold kit I've made with Youngs lager yeast and some brewing sugar. As you can see from the top pic it's crusting away quite nicely. It started off about with an OG of 1056 and I'm hoping it'll get down to 1016 which would be about 5.2%. To be honest, going for strength alone is missing the point. I want flavour and balance; I've made some cracking beers around 3.5% and a couple of stinkers at 5-6%.

Got a bit of a busy weekend coming up but I hope to have time to rack the Amarillo IPA so I can get the next one on the go, which will be one of a Brewferm Pils, Coopers European Lager or a Mexican Cerveza, and if anyone dare ask me if I've got any Stella or Becks at my next barbecue they can stick it where the sun don't shine.

1 comment:

  1. Can't say enough how all grain tastes better than kits. Maybe it's just that I was rubbish at brewing kits, but I was never that impressed with the ones I did. They just had something about them that didnt taste right.

    All grain does take a whole day (at least for me) but the results are so much better and the control it gives you over your brew is great. I would say though that AG in my experience isnt ready any sooner than kit beer. You can drink it green and its ok, but all the brews ive done have benefited from a minimum of 6-8 weeks in the bottle.