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So today I setup and tested my new re-circulation pump.
I went with a Diablo from Angel HomeBrew and after a short chat on the phone bought enough silicon tubing and the correct Camlock fittings to put it all together.
In fact the longest part of the job was mounting it on a wooden board and the rest took all of 5 mins. Very easy to prime but I am wondering how to avoid getting wort all over the brewhouse when I uncouple. Or perhaps I should install a drain valve at the lowest point so I can siphon into a container?
I will need to get a better way of terminating the outlet pipe, probably an elbow fitted in the lid.

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So my first ever keg was tapped today after a closed transfer to a 5 litre mini keg. @Fireside Ales Homebrewery as promised a photo of the first pour, just a small glass of my Blonde Ale with Challenger, Cascade and Citra hops. Lovely and clear, a bit early in the day for me but heck this could be dangerous. I carbed at 12psi in the garage which is quite cool and the carbonation level seems just right for an ale for my taste. I'm glad I went for the flow control tap as it pours like a dream.

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So my first ever keg was tapped today after a closed transfer to a 5 litre mini keg. @Fireside Ales Homebrewery as promised a photo of the first pour, just a small glass of my Blonde Ale with Challenger, Cascade and Citra hops. Lovely and clear, a bit early in the day for me but heck this could be dangerous. I carbed at 12psi in the garage which is quite cool and the carbonation level seems just right for an ale for my taste. I'm glad I went for the flow control tap as it pours like a dream.

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Well that looks absolutely fantastic, and such a lovely view to enjoy whilst you drink you beer too.
cheers 🍻
 
Old Speckled Hen clone bottled yesterday after 3 days cold crash, initial impressions it seems nice but a bit cold to taste properly, time will tell.
I was going to keg the Old Hooky clone as well but I am having problems with a gas leak on the outlet barb from the regulator so that will have to wait. If I can't fix it in a couple of days then I will bottle it.
 
I am about to start a homebuild kettle. Finally most of my parts have arrived from China and a few from the UK.
It will be 56 litre controlled with Inkbird IPB 16S controller, grain basket, whirlpool valve and recirculation pump, I may add a sight tube not decided on that yet.

Today I fitted a valve to the Klarstein to facilitate easy whirlpooling and to check it's performance prior to fitting in the new system.
Having broken a few drill bits and getting nowhere I ordered some Cobalt bits from Amazon on a next day delivery and got the valve fitted today, a bit more involved than I had hoped getting the valve through the double skin but it's in and leak tested.

The whirlpool seems to work adequately, tomorrow I hope to fit a thermowell so I can test run the Inkbird as a controller on the Klarstein.
The Klarstein will become my sparge water heater and will be used for smaller brews.

It seems to work well with a few bits of grain, once the pump is switched off everything moves to the centre, my next real brew will be the test

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Southwold Bitter
So today was my first attempt at cloning Southwold Bitter, taken from the recipe by Graham Wheeler and Roger Protz

I have the 1993 version of GW's book, the 2009 version and also the 4th Edition of the Real Ale Almanac and all seem to vary somewhat on the recipe.
I am making an assumption here that Adnams Southwold Bitter is the same as Adnams Bitter.

The Real Ale Almanac lists
Maris Otter, invert sugar, caramel for colour, Fuggles and Goldings whole hops, with Challenger. Dry hopped with Fuggles, 33 units of bitterness.

The 1993 book lists:
Pale Malt, Chocolate malt, maltose syrup, Challenger and Fuggles hops at 60, Goldings at 15, IBU: 35

The 2009 book lists:
Pale Malt, white sugar, Black malt, Boadicea at 60, Golding at 10. IBU: 33


So, quite a variation and I decided to lean towards the Real Ale Almanac though use pellets and go with the dry hop so my final recipe was:

Batch Size 21L
2.6Kg maris Otter
370g Maltose Syrup (rice)
110g Chocolate (I didn't have enough so used about 35g and made the rest up with Black)

Hops
18g Fuggle at 60
17g Challenger at 60
12g EKG at 15
20g Fuggles dry hopped

Water profile
Ca: 147 Mg:14 Na:9 Cl:82 SO4: 289 HCO3: 22

Yeast
I already have a culture of Adnams dual strain so went with this.

The brew day went pretty well, using the new whirlpool valve certainly made a big difference to how easily the decant to the FV went.
I messed up my total water calculation and so added some late boil but stillmanaged to miss my OG target of 1.037 and rather than add more water I left it at 1.040
 
First brew for a few months due to various other things going on in life.
Time to get one of my favourites back on tap:

Blonde Bear - A clone of the beer by Little Critters Brewery

This time I used all whole hops and decided to alter the water profile to be more hop forward.

Batch Size 21L

Fermentables

Maris Otter 3.2Kgs
Wheat malt 350 gms

Hops
15g First Gold @ 60 mins
30g Jester @ 10 mins
20g First Gold @ 10 mins
30g Jester @ 20 minute hopstand and whirlpool

Water Profile
Ca: 92, Mg: 15, Na: 9, Cl: 70, SO4: 181

Yeast: WLP005

All went fairly well hitting my target OG of 1.040, I ended up with only 20L to the FV instead of 21L perhaps this is down to using whole hops being more absorbent?
I did find filtering the wort into the FV was a much cleaner job with whole hops than with pellets so may try using these more often.

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5 Points Best Bitter
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One of my favourites, I decided to try it with WLP023 Burton Ale Yeast rather than the London I have used for this brew previously.

Targets
ABV: 4.3% OG: 1.045 FG: 1.012 EBC: 17.3 IBU: 39

Fermentables
3.4 kgs Thomas Fawcett Maris Otter
160g Amber
160g Crystal Medium
160g Wheat Malt

Hops
48g Fuggles @ 60
24g Fuggles @ 15
80g Fuggles 20 minute hopstand at 80C

Water Profile
Ca: 154, Mg: 7, Na: 9, Cl:128, SO4: 220

Yeast
WLP023 Burton Ale Yeast

Fermentation
4 days at 20C , 1 day at 21C, 1 day at 22C, 8 days at 23C

Probably the least stressful brew day I have had in m y short brewing 'career'.
I hadn't considered that a stuck mash was very likely with BIAB but on my last brew using my fairly new Recirculation pump I discovered it was and in fact it all stopped pretty soon in the mash, this time I pumped very much slower, and started slow and it was a complete success, which made monitoring mash temperature a breeze.
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I am still having problems getting anywhere near my target mash pH for some reason I cannot fathom, using software I went for an extreme target of 4.95 just to try and push it down but still my mash pH was 5.52, no idea what is stopping it, I do need to recheck my tap water profile again, but even so that seems extreme.
Checking SG with the refractometer with 15 minutes remaining in the boil gave me a reading of 1.041 which was a bit low so I left it to boil down some more before adding my 15 minute hops and restarting the clock. This had the result though of leaving me a little short on wort and I finished with an OG of 1.045 as wanted but with just 19 litres in the FV instead of 20.
 
Today I brewed an ESB to the recipe by Greg Hughes with a couple of differences.

ESB

Targets

ABV: 5.1% OG: 1.054 FG: 1.015 EBC 19.7 IBU: 38

Fermentables
3.8Kgs Maris Otter
400g Vienna
220g Crystal Medium
120g Torrified Wheat

Hops
33g Challenger @ 60 mins
20g EKG @ 10 mins
15g Fuggles at Flameout

Water Profile
Ca: 115 Mg: 25 Na: 9 Cl: 64 SO4: 262

Yeast
Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale

Fermentation Profile
4 days @ 18C, 1 day @ 19C, 1day @ 20C, 1 day @ 21C, 1 day @ 22C, 6 days @ 23C

Method
I ended up with only 3.8 Kgs of Maris Otter, so messed about with the recipe in Brewfather reducing the water to hit the OG but later realised I had some Vienna Malt so substitud this fore the missing 400g, putting the FV volume back up to 20 litres I forgot to re adjust the hops, so this took the IBU up to 38 instead of the recipe's 32, I discovered this but not until after I had measured out the hops so decided to let it run at 38 and see how we go.

Mash pH
Having had issues getting my mash pH down I thought that maybe the Gypsum was not dissolving properly and perhaps sat below the false bottom of the kettle so this time added all the salts the night before to the separate mash and sparge water and made sure that it was all dissolved by morning.
Unfortunately this did not help and my mash pH came out at 5.53 despite a calculated target of 5.22 and adding an additional 2 mls of lactic acid.
I am finding my recirculation method is better now and keeping an even mash temperature (65C) was much easier.

The rest of the brew went well, though I was a bit over volume at the end of the sparge and hence pre-boil SG was a little low so I did a longer boil adding the Challenger with 60 mins remaining, ESK at 10 mins and Fuggles at flameout. I hit the target OG of 1.054, aerated well and pitched the Ringwood yeast.
 
Blonde Bear (version 3)

Another crack at getting close to the Little Critters Blonde Bear. Previous attempts have been a nice beer but some way off the original.
Having returned to an occasional pub drink I have managed to remind myself what the original tastes like. I think I have been missing some smoothness in the mouthfeel and perhaps a little sweetness.
So I added a little oats and light crystal and swapped from WLP005 to Ringwood (mainly because I had some ready to go), I also put the water profile back to balanced as I think it is closer to the style:

Targets
ABV: 4.2% OG: 1.044 FG: 1.012 IBU: 37 Batch Size 21L

Fermentables
3.2Kgs Maris Otter
350g Wheat Malt
250g Flaked Torrified Oats
100g Crystal Light

Hops
18g First Gold @ 60
25g Jester @ 10
20g First Gold @ 10
30g Jester - 20 min hopstand at 80C

Water Profile
Ca: 91 Mg: 9 Cl:99 SO4: 98 HCO3: 43

Yeast
Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale

A nice easy brew day with no errors or stress, and more importantly I managed to fix the issues I have been having with always missing my pH by a long way and got a mash pH of 5.33 and am well happy with that. I missed my OG by 1 point at 1.043 but happy with that.
The brew day took close to 7 hours including the clean up which is about normal for me.
 
Blonde Bear (version 3)

Another crack at getting close to the Little Critters Blonde Bear. Previous attempts have been a nice beer but some way off the original.
Having returned to an occasional pub drink I have managed to remind myself what the original tastes like. I think I have been missing some smoothness in the mouthfeel and perhaps a little sweetness.
So I added a little oats and light crystal and swapped from WLP005 to Ringwood (mainly because I had some ready to go), I also put the water profile back to balanced as I think it is closer to the style:

Targets
ABV: 4.2% OG: 1.044 FG: 1.012 IBU: 37 Batch Size 21L

Fermentables
3.2Kgs Maris Otter
350g Wheat Malt
250g Flaked Torrified Oats
100g Crystal Light

Hops
18g First Gold @ 60
25g Jester @ 10
20g First Gold @ 10
30g Jester - 20 min hopstand at 80C

Water Profile
Ca: 91 Mg: 9 Cl:99 SO4: 98 HCO3: 43

Yeast
Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale

A nice easy brew day with no errors or stress, and more importantly I managed to fix the issues I have been having with always missing my pH by a long way and got a mash pH of 5.33 and am well happy with that. I missed my OG by 1 point at 1.043 but happy with that.
The brew day took close to 7 hours including the clean up which is about normal for me.

I'm going for something similiar soon, my crystal will be about 15% of the grist though and to get the mouthfeel I'm going to mash high. Hope yours ends up ok! 👍
 
I'm going for something similiar soon, my crystal will be about 15% of the grist though and to get the mouthfeel I'm going to mash high. Hope yours ends up ok! 👍
I thought I would go steady with the crystal and build it up to taste brew by brew, I did think about mashing high, I went 66C this time though it did drift up a bit on occasion, what temp do you plan on for the mash?
 
I thought I would go steady with the crystal and build it up to taste brew by brew, I did think about mashing high, I went 66C this time though it did drift up a bit on occasion, what temp do you plan on for the mash?

I was thinking 68c, with the klarstein I reckon that would vary from 66-70 though! 😆

Wasn't sure about my dry hop, it was more of an afterthought and using up the bag of hops. I see you aren't dry hopping? Do you think it would add much too it?
 
I was thinking 68c, with the klarstein I reckon that would vary from 66-70 though! 😆

Wasn't sure about my dry hop, it was more of an afterthought and using up the bag of hops. I see you aren't dry hopping? Do you think it would add much too it?
Haha yes the Klarstein is not very accurate on temperature, but what I do is use a re-circulation pump and have a probe thermometer in the mash and flick the heater on and off manually, that way I can control it much better.
I tend to avoid dry hopping unless a recipe specifically calls for it, I tend to think because I keg now rather than bottle, if it's a bit lack lustre I could always hop tea it. A theory I have yet to put into practice though.
 
Blonde Bear Clone
First brew for around 18 months.
The hops are unfortunately getting on a bit but have been kept in the freezer and smell okay so will see how it goes.
I decided to do another Blonde Bear clone but have upped the hop quantities a bit to compensate and will do a Jester dry hop when I can decide the best method.
I have also changed the water profile to a more bitter oriented chemistry and used WLP002 English Ale yeast.

Targets
ABV4.2%, O.G. 1.044, FG:1.012, EBC: 15.8, IBU:46

Boil Time: 60
Batch Size:21L
Pre-boil vol: 25.3L
Mash Water 11.5L
Sparge Water: 18L
Total Water 29.4L

Fermentables
3kgs MO
350g Wheat Malt
250g Crystal Light
250g Flaked Torrified Oats

Hops
20g First Gold @ 60
35g First Gold @ 10
25g Jester @ 10
40g Jester 20m Whirlpool at 75C

Water Profile
Ca: 149, Mg:9, Na:9, Cl: 132, SO4:191, HCO3: 43

Process
Mashed at 66C for 60 mins, my target pH was 5.2 and came out at 5.21 at 15 mins into the boil (room temp) so was pleased with that considering the difficulties I have had in the past.
The pre-boil volume came out 1 litre higher than target with an SG of 1.037 but rather than correcting with DME I decided to boil it off and so the boil ended up being 90 mins rather than 60 but brought my OG to the target of 1.044 and the Fermenter volume to 21L which was also bang on target.
 
My first brew in a while and thought I would dust off the old brew day thread.To get back into it I went with a Malt Miller AG recipe for TT Landlord.
I do find MM are one of the best companies for the way they pack the liquid yeast, always packed well with a decent ice pack alongside.
The instructions are a little vague and I think if you were a beginner you may struggle if you brewed one of these kits but there is enough info for somebody who has a fair idea of what they are doing.
I was a little disappointed there was no suggested water profile but I found one off of this site that seemed to make sense and went with a Malt forward Cl : SO4 ratio.

Inputting the ingredients into Brewfather I could not get even close to the target results for OG, IBU or ABV and so decided to brew as close as I could to the MM recipe and ignore Brewfather in that respect, this was after all a test of the kit.

MM TT Landlord Recipe (23L Batch)

Fermentables

Simpsons Pale Ale Golden Promise - 4250g
Crisp Pale Wheat Malt - 50g
Crisp Black Malt - 30g

Hop additions
30g EKG @ 90
30g Celieia (Styrian Golding) @ 90
20g Celieia (Styrian Golding) @ 10
20g Celieia (Styrian Golding) @ 0

Water profile
Ca: 140 Mg: 15 Na: 8 Cl: 206 SO4: 108

Targets (As per MM recipe)
ABV: 4.6% OG: 1.045 FG: 1.010 IBU 36.7 pH 5.4

All went well to begin with in the mash, I hit the pH spot on and my PID controller kept the mash temperature at 65C for the full 90 mins and then very easily took it up to mash out at 76C for 10 mins. So far so good. That left me with a pre-boil volume after the sparge of 29L which was a little less than I expected.

The boil was less successful due to my incompetence.
I always pre weigh my hops and put each addition in a little pot lined up in order so I don't make a mistake. This time though stupidly I did the same but left the EKG in the packet as they were the correct weight for a single 90 minute addition.
This lead me to throw in Celieia twice at 90 minutes by mistake and then I put half the EKG in in panic.
I then added the remaining EKG at 10 mins and the final Celieia at flameout.
God know how bitter it will be now, I need to put that in BF and see what it suggests.

The other issue was my wort was lower volume than expected and gave a gravity of 1.049 and rather than top it up I elected to just let it go as is.

I also hadn't read the Wyeast smack pack as I normally use White Labs and didn't see it was supposed to be smacked 3 to 5 hrs before needed, it had a bout 2 hours but had swollen up well enough.

Anyway today it is bubbling along steadily if in no particular hurry.
We shall see in a few weeks how drinkable it is ;)

Meanwhile I shall start working on my next recipe.

Image taken during the mash

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