Sunday, September 12, 2010

The New Kit

As payment for catering the SOBA Winter Ales Festival I received a sexy new 80 litre stainless steel kettle. Dion formerly brewer at Tuatara and currently full time dad and casual welder fitted a ball lock tap and suddenly my brew set up is a dam sight more professional.

This morning I christened the new kettle with a 40 litre batch of Somerset, my golden ale recipe. It went better than I could have hoped for, usually new bits of kit cause all sorts of unexpected problems but today went smoothly with the brew being completed in record time.

I used the kettle as a hot liquor tank for the strike. It was a luxury being able to mash in with hosed in boiling water rather than the usual ladling. The kettle was set up on my electric hot plate that was connected to a timer so the strike liquor was boiling away when I woke at 5am.

For the boil the kettle was set above 2 gas burners. This worked so well that I had a rolling boil 20mins after the end of the run off. I whirl pooled for the first time and it worked just like it did at Emerson’s which I must admit surprised me.
I used to cool my old small kettles by giving them a water bath, the new kettle posed the problem of finding a new form of wort cooling. In the end I decided to carefully run the wort off hot into corny kegs and place them in barrels of circulating cold water. I had the wort down to 18c in 60min. I then used co2 to pump the wort out of the cornys through a hose into the fermentor cornys making sure to aerate the cooled wort as I went.

With a forty litre batch under my belt next I will have a crack at a 60 litre batch of something. There is also this year’s batch of Merchant and Alfred’s Audit to brew.

R.S.B. Homebrewed vs Probrewed

The last rigger of Regional Special Bitter is about to go to a good home so I thought it was about time to talk about how the home brewed version and the probrewed versions differed.

Probrewed R.S.B.
Aroma : light fruit esters, a slight berry fruit hop aroma, some citrus (David Wood described it as grapfruity) and a hint of nutty slightly mocha malt.
Palate: A rich malt body, caramel flavours and moderate orangy hop flavour, before a great big assertive bitter finish.

Homebrewed R.S.B. (aka Brooklyn Bulldog ESB)
Aroma: Red apple esters, light citrus and berry fruit , warm caramel malt. More integrated, hoppy and fruity than the probrewed version.
Palate: Rich malt with hints of toffee and caramel, red apple fruitiness, tangy earthy lightly citrus hop flavour and a long moderately bitter finish. Rounded, rich and integrated .

The two beers are identifiably similar, the biggest difference being that the English yeast culture in the home brewed one gives a much fruitier rounded character and the Belgian Special B crystal malt gives slightly chocolaty lightly roasty notes to the probrewed version. Also the bitterness in the probrewed version is significantly higher than the homebrewed one.