Sunday, November 13, 2011

Smoked Brown Kegging, Apfelwein drinking, ESB Brewing and Hops.... Lots of hops

On Thursday I kegged my Smoked Brown Ale.  Original gravity was 1.058 and final gravity was 1.020 giving me a 5.0% ABV beer and 71% efficiency.  I will be happy with 75% efficiency and since I've been steadily increasing I won't complain.  I took a taste from the wine thief (used to get enough beer to take a gravity reading) and it tasted pretty good but I didn't get any smoke flavor.  Once it is carbonated and on tap we will see if any smoke flavor comes through.

On Friday I took the Apfelwein to work for the testing department's Thanksgiving pitch-in using my new portable kegging system.  The system worked flawlessly and the Apfelwein seemed to go over very well as I only came home with about 1/2 a gallon of the 4+ gallons I took.  There seemed to be an even split between people who liked it dry and those who back-sweetened it with Apple cider/juice.  I liked it both ways but had a slight preference for back-sweetening.  With the right mix, it tasted similar to Woodchuck Amber Cider.

On Saturday I brewed my Extra Special Bitter (ESB).  This is the second recipe I've made from scratch so I'm excited to see how it turns out. 

The recipe for the ESB is:
  • 9lbs - Marris Otter malt
  • 8oz - Crystal 60L
  • 8oz - White wheat malt
  • 4oz - Aromatic malt
  • 2oz - Pale chocolate malt
  • 1.5oz - Target hops @60 min
  • 1oz - Styrian Golding hops @2min
  • British Ale II yeast
Total cost for 5 gallons with bulk purchasing the ingredients = $22.43.

I also built up my RO water to something similar to the Burton On Trent water profile.  Up until now, I've kept my water additions fairly light so we will see how this works out for me.  Once fermentation is complete and a keg opens up, I'm going to brew an English barleywine and pitch right on the yeast cake from this ESB.  That should give me enough yeast to chew on a 10% barleywine.

My first bulk hops purchase also came in early last week from Hops Direct.  I ended up purchasing 8lbs of hops and they always send a little more than a pound.
  • Centennial - received 21.5oz
  • Citra - received 18oz
  • Cascade - received 18.5 oz
  • Northern Brewer - received 18.5oz
  • Gr. Target - received 19oz
  • Styrian Golding - received 18oz
  • UK First Gold - received 18.5oz
  • Palisade - received 18.5oz

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