Tag Archives: Pale ale

Tiny magic things, yeast adventures

I’ve talked to a fair few home brewers over the last two years. Pretty much all aspects of brewing have been discussed. One thing that comes up every now and then is the use, growth and reuse of yeast. Something I’ve mostly avoided, until now.

Since day one of homebrewing I’ve used dry yeast. And, up to only earlier this year I’ve pitched it into the wort dry. Since then I’ve done some rehydration of yeast. And even a couple basic yeast starters. Nothing serious.

Off the back of the Pseudo Lager I wanted to capture that yeast. It was a basic US-05 yeast that did what it shouldn’t have been able to do. It took a strong pale ale extract brew and brought it down to a low 1.006. That’s around the lowest I’ve ever got a final gravity. But what was exceptional was that it did it over a period of a month. All the while temperatures ranged from as high as 14°C down to 0°C, maybe lower. I remember one professional brewer saying that the beer was probably stuffed. Yeast being “turned on and off” is not a good thing, by all accounts.

So, these magical tiny organisms had not only survived, but produced some pretty good beer. Could I get them to make more?

I looked up how to reuse yeast. And there are a few ways. The simplest is to pour new wort directly onto the yeast cake, once bottling of the last beer is done. This is a crude method as you’ve got all the dead yeast and left over hops as well. That not-good stuff is called trube. I say not-good because I haven’t come across anything yet that says it’s specifically bad for the beer.

The next method is referred to as washing. Again, you need to get the yeast after bottling. But this time you don’t have to, and can’t, use it straight away. You’re suppose to pour in some pre-boiled then chilled to room temperature water into your fermentation vessel. Boiling is important because you want water without oxygen, or as little as possible, and the heat should kill anything bad. Then you want to chill because heat kills yeast. Once at temperature dissolve the whole lot in the water and pour into sanitised vessels. These should have some kind of air seal as you don’t want any more oxygen. Put in fridge and wait for the cloudy stuff to settle. At the end there should be clear-ish water/beer at the top, a thin white layer if yeast, then a thick bottom layer of tan/brown coloured trube.

There’s a bit more to it, as I came to realise when I did that with the yeast from the Pseudo Lager. Long story short, I had to throw it all out.

Pale Trial Zwei - empty carboys

Pale Trial Zwei to fill these empty carboys

And that brings me to the last brew a couple Sundays ago (31 August). The Pale Trial Zwei was almost the exact same as Pale Ale Ein, but with Galaxy hops replacing the Victoria Secret hops.

  • 14 litre boil
  • 1.5kg Golden LME @ 40 mins
  • 15 grams Galaxy hops @ 30 mins
  • 11 grams Galaxy hops @ 15 mins
  • 1.5kg Golden LME @ 5 mins
  • 12 grams Galaxy hops @ 0 mins

Gravity came in at 1.047, less than Pale Trial Ein. That’s somewhat expected a there was more water in this by the end to dilute the malt.

And then pitched the wort onto the yeast cakes of Pale Trail Ein.

So, this experiment is to see if this can work as a successful way to reuse yeast. Plus want to see if yeast characteristics from one brew can carry over to the next. This second part is going to be the most interesting as the five Pale Trial Ein beers are different in colour and flavour.

Bottling will be next weekend. Look forward to letting you know how it turned out.

-Mikey

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Gift of the Dad, the bottling

Sunday week ago (31st) was a bottling and brewing day at my place. The five carboys of the Pale Trial Ein were ready for bottling and Pale Trial Zwei needed to be brewed. And Chas was there for it all.

Was great to have Chas back after a bit of a break. Bit of craziness and some well oiled processes made the day run smooth. Or as smooth as possible.

Pale Trial Ein ready to bottle

Pale Trial Ein in the carboys and ready to bottle

Will talk about the brew in another post because there’s a lot to talk about with the Pale Trial Ein. This is the pale ale that I brewed three weeks back. Used some of the equipment and ingredients I got from my Dad.

As there were five carboys of pale ale, and I wanted to keep them separate, we didn’t bother with bulk priming. But we did get to finally use the Easy Siphon I bought a few months back. Once we got it working it worked a treat. The bottling process was slowed down by needing to prime each bottle. That was made harder when I ran out of carbonation drops and had to measure out sugar. Uhg. Needing to take five gravity samples didn’t help.

Comparing the Pale Trial Ein beers was interesting. The first thing is the different colours. Wow. How is that possible? But there you go, same batch in five different carboys with only a couple minor differences in ingredients can make a big change.

Pale Trial Ein samples

The five different samples of Pale Trial Ein (1-5, left to right)

To recap, and make this easier to explain, here are the five types:

  1. Normal yeast nutrient (the one I’ve been using all year)
  2. Normal yeast nutrient plus a Campden tablet
  3. Just newly acquired yeast nutrient (the really old stuff I got from my Dad)
  4. Just a Campden tablet
  5. Newly acquired yeast nutrient and Campden tablet

It was clear that those with the Campden tablets (2, 3 & 5) were darker. But the normal yeast nutrient (1 & 2) was also slightly darker than the newly acquired stuff (4 & 5). And the one with just the tablet (4) is the darkest.

And the flavours, too. Side by side comparison of yeast nutrient was clear. The stuff I normally use (1 & 2) had more smooth full hop flavour up front, but a really bad bitter and metallic taste at the back. The newly acquired (4 & 5) was softer and less hop fruit flavour but rounder and mellow overall with no harsh kick.

When comparing the Campden tablet ones (2, 3 & 5) to non-Campden tablets (1 & 4) it’s clear. The ones with the tablets have a richer hop fruit flavour. And the one with only the Campden tablet (4) is a fair bit dryer from up front to end.

Have to say that the newly acquired nutrient and Campden tablet (5) was the best one. After that, normal yeast nutrient and Campden tablet (2). Then newly acquired yeast nutrient (3). Then just Campden tablet (4). And lastly just the old yeast nutrient (1).

Pale Trial Ein bottled

Pale Trial Ein in bottles, see the numbers on the top

And finally, the gravity readings. They pretty much all came in at 1.014 which isn’t really a surprise. The one with just newly acquired yeast nutrient (3 & 5) came it at 1.015. The beers will end up at 5.8%-5.9% alcohol after conditioning in the bottles. I do hope the bitterness settles down a bit.

To summarise, Campden tablets are awsome. And the really old yeast nutrient is better than the stuff I’ve been using. Go figure. Next post from me will be the write up on the brew.

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Gift of the Dad, the brew

A few weeks ago I got some old home brew equipment from my dad. Then I cleaned it. Now it’s time to brew with it.

I realised the first brew had to use some of the ingredients from the find. This means trying to sanitising with Sodium metabisulfite. That’s going to be interesting as I’ve never used the stuff before. Nutrient salts I already use and will be straight forward. Using a Campden tablet looks like that should be easy. I can see that tannic acid will be helpful in stabilising the beer and clearing it up at the end. But, there’s a fair bit of info saying I need to filter afterward which I’m not set up for. Will have to skip that. One thing I can’t see any use for is Pectinase . That’s more for cider and wine where you need to breaking down plant material.

Plenty of options. Plus, I’ve got eight carboys. Maybe I could test some with and without stuff. One could be a control with a beer I’ve made before (or as close as can be). Then make a second with Sodium metabisulfiteas the sanitiser. Then a third with Sodium metabisulfite, plus a campden tablet… you can see where I’m going with this. To summarise I’m thinking the following.

  1. Control – using the existing yeast nutrient normally use
  2. Same with a Campden tablet and sterilised with Sodium metabisulfite (and all the others after this)
  3. Just the found nutrient salts
  4. Just a Campden tablet
  5. With the found nutrient salts and a Campden tablet
Pale Trial Ein cooling down

Pale Trial Ein cooling down in the sink

Now, what to brew? Should it be the second attempt in the not-beers? Maybe another attempt at an IPA? Or should it be something completely new? What I needed to brew was something simple that worked out. The Pale Ale with just Vic Secret hops was ideal.

As there was going to be a large volume of beer I decided to swap out the dry malt extract with liquid malt extract. It’s cheaper that way. Have decided to call this Pale Trial Ein, ‘cos it’s a pale ale and a trial. Ein is German for one as this will be the first of probably a few goes, and German is the language my Dad grew up with.

  • 14 litre boil
  • 1.5kg Golden LME @ 40 mins
  • 15 grams Vic Secret hops @ 30 mins
  • 10 grams Vic Secret hops @ 15 mins
  • 1.5kg Golden LME @ 5 mins
  • 15 grams Vic Secret hops @ 0 mins
  • 1 flat teaspoon of US-05 yeast in each carboy
Pale Trial Ein done

Pale Trial Ein done and in the carboys

Simple but long day. It took 30 mins to heat up water. And chilling took over an hour even after dumping in four trays of ice and a whole two litre ice block. Might be time to invest in a wort chiller if I continue these big batches.

Worked out that there was about 17 litres of wort at the end. Didn’t top up the carboys. The original gravity reading came in at 1.055 which is pretty good. If the yeast brings that down to 1.014 then I’ll have 5.6% beers. But that’s all dependent on what happens in each carboy.

-Mikey

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Basic Pale Ale 1 – Review

Chas has decided to make a nice pale ale. While I do all sorts of weird stuff with hops in my Australian Pale Ale series, Chas has taken a practicable approach. First, start with some basic malt and what should work for hops. Second, fix anything that’s wrong. Third, enjoy your tasty home brew. Smart.

Basic Pale Ale 1

Basic Pale Ale 1 ready for tasting

The first beer in this journey is the Basic Pale Ale (take 1). It’s an all grain small 4 litre batch. And it turned out quite well.

Once opening up a bottle, there’s a stone fruit aroma like peach or nectarine. Yeasty hints as well. I quite like the smell of this beer. Sort of tropical.

Onto the tasting. First thing that hits is the smooth and creamy feeling. There’s a lightness and delicate fruit flavour up front. Then there’s a slow build up of intensity in flavour, but not a whole lot. Some pine flavour comes out after it warms slightly and grapefruit flavours. Bit of a stewed fruit flavour at the end and slight dry bitterness. Finishes off with some more dryness.

I like the body here. Everything is held together well. No noticeable drop away of substance. The body is on the lighter side but still keeps it all together. Not sure on the alcohol here as a gravity readings weren’t possible. If it’s not too strong it would be good as a session beer.

Only downside is that the sort of stewed fruit and grapefruit flavour doesn’t quite hit the mark. Can’t quite put my finger on it. The reason could be due to not enough malt, not enough body, too much hops, or simply it’s not to my taste.

Food matching, not sure. Basic home cooked meal seams to work well, steamed veggies and pan fried chicken/fish. Things that aren’t too strong.

This is quite a good beer. I could easily knock back a few of theses one after another. I’m sure after a few adjustments this will be a solid beer for all occasions.

-Mikey

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Australian Pale Ale 4 – review

Mikey continued his experiment with different hops with the Australian Pale Ale #4, and this one was pretty tasty.

The beer was a single hop using the Victoria’s Secret hop variety, a really good, relatively new variety.  The hop was used for aroma, taste, and bittering.

In the smell, there were some great subtle aromas: mild citrus and a bit of cut grass.  There was a bit of stone fruit in there too.  On the malt side, there was a bit of sweetness to the smell which tends to be a theme in the Mikey’s Australian Pale Ale series.  The whole point of the series is to keep the same malt and simply show off the hop after all.

In the taste, while it’s called the Australia Pale Ale, it’s closer to the American style, albeit with a very Aussie hop.  Vic Secret is a pretty bitter hop.  There’s a quick build and the bitterness kind of goes “whoosh” into your mouth and sits in the back.  Behind this, at the end, is a little bit of lemon zest as well which is a nice twist.

Other than that, it’s all pretty standard.  It’s a great beer made with a great, versatile hop.

Due to the bitterness, this may be a difficult beer to enjoy with a lots of foods.  It would go well with saltier snacks rather than a meal.  Pop corn or cheddar cheese (not too sharp) would work.

-Chas

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Back to Basics – Basic Pale Ale (take 1)

Oh the humble pale ale!

While it is in fact lager that is the most widely made and consumed beers, it’s probably the pale ale that has the most variants and allows itself the most experimentation – at least according to me.

Because of this, the pale ale is great place for experimentation and a great way to learn more about the craft of beer making.  While Mikey and I have done quite a few brews, of course we still have quite a bit to learn.  So it’s been decided to make the most basic of basic pale ales and work our way up from there.

Keep in mind, yes, Mikey has been been experimenting with “basic” pale ales.  His is an exercise in playing with different hops, seeing how they go as a single hop, and seeing how they interact.  This is an exercise in making a very basic recipe, and building on that very same recipe.

Yes, this is a basic one – just some traditional pale ale malt and some hops.  What hops to use was an educated guess.  We’ll see how it tastes and develop from there.

The Basic Pale Ale

The following is for a four litre batch.

  • 1 kg traditional ale malt

    20140329_130047

    Mashing some grains!

  • 4 grams Chinook (bittering – 60 minutes)
  • 4 grams Cascade (taste – 20 minutes)
  • 4 grams Citra (aroma – 2 minutes)
  • US05 Ale Yeast

The malt was mashed at 65 degrees in five litres of water for 90 minutes.  We felt this was a pretty good rule of thumb to start with.  As mentioned, this recipe will be the skeleton for what will be developed into a unique recipe.

After the initial mashing, we sparged with another 1.5 litres of water.

This left us with 6.5 litres at the start of the boil, noting that this is a recipe for 4 litres!  Unsurprisingly we lost a fair bit of water in the boil and ended up with about 3.5 litres when it was added to the carboy.

We were aiming for an American Pale Ale style of hopping.  According to our calculations, the IBUs came in on the top end of the style, which is fine, especially as there will be some other great fruity, tropical, and pine flavours coming through with the hops.

I’m really keen to see how this turns out. I’m sure there will be some more flavours that we’ll want to add in there, but we’ll let the first batch tell us what those are and go from there.

20140402_192724

Tucked up and ready to go

-Chas

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Shopping, bottling, brewing, and not-beers

Was very keen to get this write up done early. And now it’s Thursday. Oh well.

Saturday was a funny sort of brew day. Had the Australia Pale Ale #4 to bottle and another 4 litre batch to produce. Then there were the not-beers, I’ll get to that later. Unfortunately there was no Chas. My good mate Ian stepped in again to help. That’s two brew days in a row, after not getting him over for the whole of last year!

Before any brewing or bottling a supply run was required. I headed around to Ian’s place. Then, after a coffee and breakfast, we headed off to Grain and Grape in Yarraville. I’ve been wanting to go to Grain and Grape for a while. For home brewers in Melbourne it’s a sort of institution, party because they’ve been around for ages, partly because they’re dirt cheap, and partly because it’s a bit odd. The place is small. Really small. And packed to the brim with stuff. Lots of equipment. And quite a few odd characters both in front and behind the counter. My only piece of advice, don’t go on Saturday unless you absolutely have to. It’s packed on Saturdays.

After leaving Grain and Grape we dropped some stuff at Ian’s place. Then I realised I didn’t pick up any speciality grains. So we went to Cellar Plus. It’s just north of the Vic Market. A lot more laid back place than Grain and Grape. Staff don’t know much about home brewing and the range isn’t the best. But you can pick up essential supplied, like the Crystal grain I was after.

Once done with supplies it was back to my place. First order of business was working out what to brew. Yep, left this one a bit late. Brew for the day was going to be one of three options; the next pale ale, an amber ale or an IPA. Ian was a last minute ‘yes’ to help out. If he was coming it would be something a bit more complex. If he wasn’t it was going to be something very basic. So, as Ian was there to help I decided on doing an IPA with Crystal grains. Had a look in the freezer and knew I had a lot of different hops. After playing around Kit & Extract Beer Designer spreadsheet I came up with an IPA recipe. Decided on a mixture with Warrior for bitterness then Aramilo, Citra and Simco. I’ve never used the last three and looking forward to tasting these. So, here we have the Australian IPA #1.

The steeping grains was the first order of business. Into a grain bag. Then Ian crushed them by rolling them with a rolling pin. Brought two litres of water to a bit over 70°C and chucked in the grain bag. Then we left it to go bottle.

 

Australian Pale Ale #4

Australian Pale Ale #4 all bottled.

Bottling the pale ale was straight forward. Another bulk priming job from carboy to the small fermenter with sugar then using the tap to bottle. Nearly got this process down pat.

The gravity for the Australia Pale Ale #4 came in at 1.011. I was expecting a low reading if the original reading was right. But it came in a bit too high. I’m even more convinced that the original reading was wrong. Anyway, from the readings I have this should be 4.0% after bottling. It had a very pronounced grapefruit bitterness and dryness. Going to be interesting to see how this one turns out.

Once bottling was done it was back to the brew kitchen. The grains had sat for more than the thirty minutes, but that didn’t matter. An extra litre if water went in and we brought it up to a boil. About a third of the dry malt went in. After the hot break the fist hops. Next hops 15 mins later. Rest of malt went in with 5 mins to go. Then final hops at flame out. Not trying the “no flavour hops” method, yet.

  • 3 litre boil, topped up to 4 litre batch
  • 700 grams Light Dry Malt Extract (275g at the start, 425g with 3 mins to go)
  • 4 grams Warrior hops @ 30 mins
  • 3 grams Amarillo hops @ 15 mins
  • 3 grams Citra hops @ 15 mins
  • 2 grams Amarillo hops @ 0 mins
  • 2 grams Citra hops @ 0 mins
  • 3 grams Simcoe hops @ o mins
  • 1 Teaspoon of re-hydrated US-05 yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon of yeast nutrients

Dry hopping

  • 4 grams Amarillo hops @ 3 days
  • 3 grams Citra hops @ 3 day
Australian IPA #1 & not-beers

Australian IPA #1 and the two not-beers ready to ferment

Chilling went very well. The two litres of half frozen ice and just over half a tray of ice cubes went straight into the pot. The pot also sat in the ice bath to help further. When it came to getting the wort into the carboy I tried something extra. Used a muslin bag for extra filtering. Put this at the bottom of the funnel. So, pot into sieve on funnel in muslin bag in carboy. Should have got a photo.

Shook up the carboy before taking a gravity reading. Was a respectable 1.058, just shy of target. Yeast was pitched, yeast nutrient put in, carboy given another shake, and airlock put on. First brew done.

Onto the non-beers! Let me give you some context. My wife loves malty beers and doesn’t like hoppy beers. The question was raised “could you make a beer without hops?” Well, you could technically make a brew without hops. Not sure if you would still call it a beer. Not sure if it would taste any good. Anyway, I decided to make two very small batches of no hop beer.

Australian IPA #1 with hop bag

Australian IPA #1 after three days with the hop bag

The first batch was with dry amber malt extract. Very easy. Boil water. Chuck in malt. Bring it to a hot break. Heat off. Cool in an ice bath. Put in fermentation vessel. Pitch yeast. Add yeast nutrient. Shake. Seal with airlock. Done.

Second batch was done with dry dark malt extract. Both were about 1.2 litres. Both went into soft drink bottles with Pat Mack’s Home Brewing Caps. Perfect set up for these super small experiments. After fermentation I’ll put these in glass bottles to condition.

After three days I went back to the Australian IPA. Time to dry hop. Was planning a 4 grams addition of Amarillo and Citra with a 50/50 split . Worked out a lot closer to 4 grams Amarillo and 3 grams Citra. Whoops. Hope that’s not too much. Ah well, I can just leave it a month to settle before drinking a bottle.

Was quite a good day. Great to have Ian around again. Glad to do a brew with some grains again. And happy to get the not-beers fermenting, even if I’m dreading what they’ll taste like. Talking of taste, the wort for the IPA was very hoppy and undrinkable. Good a sign. Will let you know how that one develops.

-Mikey

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Back with more everything, and the Secret

Enough feeling sorry for myself, time to brew. Back on Saturday 9th we had a brew day at my place. It was a huge fun day, even if the brew we made was only four litres.

I finally managed to get my good mate Ian around for a brew day. Chas made it and my friend Michael was able to join us as well, which made four on the day. More than needed to bottle the cider and the new brew. So, plenty of mucking around was had.

First order of business was bottling the Sneaky Cider. Was another bulk priming job, I don’t think I’ll go back to individual bottle priming. Cider from carboy into the small fermenter with the sugar. Then bottled straight from there. I decided to continue my experiments with soft drink bottles. We filled two 1.25L bottles and the rest filled six stubbies.

Gravity came in at 1.004 which I’m really happy about. Was trying to keep the sweetness low on this. Bulk priming was done with possibly a bit too much sugar, will see. End result should be a cider of 7.8-7.9%. That’s a big kick for such little effort. Nice.

Onto the beer. Due to the mess that is Melbourne weather, I wanted to make sure this brew could be kept cool like the cider. That meant another small batch in the carboy. So, picking up from where I left off it was time for another Australian Pale Ale experiment.

A bit of a side note, I’ve been a little obsessed the last six months or longer with a new Australian hop variety. It’s called Vic Secret (or Victoria Secret, depending on who you ask) and first time I had it in a beer I was blown away. This popped up back in 2012 in a collaboration beer simple called Victoria’s Secret by Beer Here and Northdown (now Edge). A single hop beer. I only had one bottle and really liked it. The beer has just been re-released under the Edge name, with a slight tweak to the recipe. Since then there have been a few other breweries bring out beers with this new hop type. Anyway, I have been trying to get my hands on this stuff so I can make a single hop beer. It’s been very hard to find with a lot of home brew shops not even aware it exists. Then finally a friend found a place that has some. And now I have some.

Australian Pale Ale 4

Australian Pale Ale 4 in the carboy (with ice packs) after 3 days

Australian Pale Ale #4 is a single hop beer. That hop is Vic Secret. The hop is quite high on alpha acid, the bitterness. I was using the same base, light dry malt extract, as I did for the last two Australian Pale Ales. Hop additions were done at 30 mins, 15 mins and 1 min. Nice and simple.

  • 3 litre boil, topped up to 4 litre batch
  • 500 grams Light Dry Malt Extract
  • 3 grams Victoria’s Secret hops @ 30 mins
  • 2 grams Victoria’s Secret hops @ 15 mins
  • 2 grams Victoria’s Secret hops @ 1 mins
  • 1 Teaspoon of re-hydrated US-05 yeast

Michael suggested that the middle hop addition isn’t needed. He’s been doing a fair bit of research into brewing, does a bit of home brewing and has been helping out at some breweries. The idea behind not doing the mid point hop addition is that you’re not really adding any flavour. You can get this from the last hop addition. And you get more bitterness from the first addition. Or that’s the theory. Might give it a go. Expect a post dedicated to this, at some point in the next few months.

Chilling was a quick one. Having these small batches makes it a lot easier. This time there was a lot going on. Two trays of ice and an ice cream container of half frozen water went straight in. The pot sat in it’s bath to chill with ice packs.

Gravity came out at 1.038. Was originally disappointed. There’s a good chance that the sample taken for the reading wasn’t the best. After pouring the wort liquid into the carboy I top it off with water. You’re suppose to shake it before taking a sample so you get something mixed. This wasn’t done. Comparing it to both Australian Pale Ale #2 (1.044) and #3 (1.046), this was low. To put that in a bit if context, the difference of 0.008 in gravity is approximately equal to 1% alcohol. That alcohol helps give the beer a better body. Hope #4 turns out fine.

Like the last few brews the yeast was rehydrated. Somewhere around 1-2 cups of boiled water was put in a glass jug, covered and left to cool. Not sure what it got down to, maybe as low as 25°C. Then a teaspoon of yeast was put in. And to speed things up a teaspoon of the dry malt was also put in. That’s a very small yeast starter. By the time it went into the carboy there was already a bit of a krausen, yeast head.

Yeast in, airlock on, carboy into the big pot of water. Done.

This was a really fun day. Great company, lots of drinks (review of the Iron Curtain Imperial Red Ale within the week), BBQ chicken for lunch, some really dodgy music, and not a tricky brew. Hoping there’s a lot more days like this in the future.

And I’ll be bottling tomorrow. Exciting.

-Mikey

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Red Dog Pale Ale 2 – review

It seams like only yesterday in put up the review for the Red Dog Pale Ale 1. And now here a we are with the second version.

Red Dog Pale Ale 2

Red Dog Pale Ale 2 ready for drinking

As Chas mentioned in the write up of the brew day, not everything went to plan. The main issue being that there wasn’t as much conversion of the grain to sugar as expected. The result was an original gravity lower than planned. I expected this to result in a beer that was thinner than first version, and also dryer. I was right about about one.

There’s a nice passionfruit aroma. Has hints of grapefruit and light malt as well. But that Doesn’t stay with you long. Taste wise it’s light and fruity at the front. Both grapefruit and passionfruit comes out across the length of the beer and lingers for a bit. Both drop away a bit too early. Next there the light body sitting  behind this all which helps give a slight creaminess at the back. The problem I have is that the body doesn’t hold up. As it drops out so does the flavour.

The bite and bitterness of the grapefruit is the main character here. Overall this is a really nice beer. It’s just the light body that drops off which lets the beer down. This is probably due to the issues with the grain.

For matching with food there’s a lot of options. As there isn’t a big profile here so the beer can work with a lot of foods that don’t have a really strong flavour. Chicken, fish & chips, Mexican food, most pub meals, salads and veggies, you get the idea. The beer would get overpowered quiet easily by any rich or dark food.

Despite the issues with the brew, this turned out well. Not a complex beer. This is one you can enjoy any day of the week, or have a few in a row.

– Mikey

Update: Corrected some spelling and gramma. Whoops.

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Return of the Red Dog Pale Ale

Back in October we made a small batch of the Red Dog Pale Ale and enjoyed it so much thought we might up it to 12 litres.  It was a good brew day and a great way to get back into it for the new year, but I think we bit off a bit more than we could chew.  The main lesson: we need bigger pots if we’re going to try an all grain above about six litres…

The recipe we did is the same as what was posted the first time, so I’m not going to both to re-post the recipe.  The first time we did it we only did four litres, this time it was twelve litres, so we just did three times as much of everything…

This resulted in a total grain bill of about 2.4 kilos, so we wanted plenty of water to mash in.  Unfortunately the biggest pot I have is about nine litres so we were only able to mash with 7.8 litres of water without filling the pot too much.  As with the previous recipe we mashed for 90 minutes at 65 degrees, which seemed to work well last time.

After an hour long boil with hop additions, we were left with an OSG of only 1.034, which was much lower than last time’s 1.042 (which had been watered down by mistake!).  I think that due to the pot size we were unable to get adequate water to all the grain; we were still attempting the brew in a bag technique which was probably inappropriate for this sized grain bill.

Red Dog IIShould we try this again I think we’ll need two things: at least one bigger pot to do the boil in and probably a proper mash tun.  This would really make things a whole lot easier and we’ll be able to use much more water for mashing.

The other problem we ran into was during the cold break.  By the end of everything we had about eight litres of boiling water, and we wanted to get it cold fast.  Our usual method of giving it a bath in the sink – even with some ice added – failed to get the temperature down in a reasonable amount of time.  We’ve had trouble with this before, even with smaller batches.  I think I have an excuse to buy a wort chiller now though!

All in all it was a great brew day, and as mentioned a great one to get back into it for the year – with no bottling, a long mash, and a bit of time between hop additions, there was plenty of down time!

We’ll report back in a couple weeks to see how the beer turned out, but I’m not too optimistic!

– Chas

 

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