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Nov 24, 2013
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Essex, UK
I thought I might as well join the fun and post my own brewday log here in the forum. Today is an experimental bitter with the following recipe. I've never used Northdown before but Fullers use it and I very much enjoy a pint of Pride. I've also never added Chocolate malt to a bitter before but it's there in one of my favourite bitters of late: Darkstar Partridge so I'm putting the two together and doing this today:

85% Pale Malt
10% Munich Malt
3% Crystal 240 EBC
2% Low colour chocolate malt (550 EBC*)
25g Northdown 7.5%: 60 minutes: 20.7 IBU
25g Northdown 7.5%: 10 minutes: 7.5 IBU
30g EKG: 5 minutes 6.0%: 4.0 IBU

OG: 1.044
IBU: 32.2
EBC: 21.7

* Geterbrewed say this is 284 EBC which I think is way wrong. If it were 284 it would look like the crystal 240 but it's almost black like the full chocolate so I'm guessing it's 550 which is what other shops quote the low-colour chocolate to be.

I'm using Ireks Pale Malt for a change. I usually use Crisp Clear Choice but Ireks Munich is so tasty I thought I'd give their regular Pale a shot.

This will be a 25 litre split batch. 4 litres will go into a demijohn and be fermented with WLP009 (Australian). The rest will go into the main fermenter and will get Wyeast 1469 (West Yorkshire).

I originally planned to use only WLP009 but it arrived 5 months old and smelled a little sour in the vial so I decided to not risk the whole batch. Instead I overbuilt a starter, kept some in the fridge for next time if it's any good and will pitch the rest into the demijohn. The starter wort tasted OK which is encouraging.

Anyway, brewday...

Got the mash on. Aimed for 66C and got about 66.5 to 66 depending on where I probed. That's fine. Mashed for an hour.

Did the iodine test at 60 minutes to confirm it was done. No problems there.

Dunk sparged for about 10 minutes. Push, prod and agitate the bag. Lifted and squeezed the heck out of it. Only lost about 600ml to the 4.4kg grain bill. Beersmith is showing a healthy 83% mash efficiency.

Got the first lot of hops measured and ready. Lovely fresh pungent smell from the bag. Crossmyloof hops are always fresh.

I use a large 5 gal hop bag so they get lots of freedom to infuse during the boil.

I collected 26 litres of wort in the end. I stopped my immersion chiller at 26C and put the fermenter into the fridge to get it down to about 20C where I'll pitch the yeast.

OG was 1.044 according to two different hydrometers, bang on Beersmith's prediction. I wish I knew why my refractometer is so unreliable. Today it was consistently +4pts above both the hydrometers on pre and post boil readings. On other days it will match 1 for 1. I wonder if wort clarity has anything to do with the degree of refraction. I don't know.

All in all a uneventful brewday that was complete including washing up in 6 hours. Now comes the waiting :)
I pitched both the 1469 and the WLP009 at about 10pm yesterday and this morning, 9 hours later they're both bubbling away strongly.

The might-be-dodgy WLP009 in the demijohn has developed a healthy looking krausen which is encouraging.

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I love brewday threads so glad you started one. I've re-cultured yeast from Coopers Pale Ale bottles before, but that was back in my kit days so I will be really interested how WLP009 fares in some all grain wort. I remember the krausen dropping back quite quickly, so if that happens, don't be alarmed.
I love brewday threads so glad you started one. I've re-cultured yeast from Coopers Pale Ale bottles before, but that was back in my kit days so I will be really interested how WLP009 fares in some all grain wort. I remember the krausen dropping back quite quickly, so if that happens, don't be alarmed.

Thanks, I'll bear that one in mind. It looks like I'm at high krausen now in the DJ as the wort has gone that cream colour you get when it's fully populated with active yeast. It certainly seems healthy and smells good coming out of the airlock:


The 1469 seems to also be at peak activity. I can't see it in the opaque & sealed, stainless fermenter but it's firing bubbles out of the blowoff tube like a thing possessed.

Lovely photos and clear wort. Is that a thermopot you have with an element fitted? I have yet to try the clear choice but i must use it in a raw beer. Also like the ireks malts. I use the pilsner.

Yes it's a thermopot with conversion to BIAB by Angel Homebrew. I posted some pictures here a while back. I control it with an inline regulator that I built so I give it the full 2.4kW to get to the boil then bring it down to 1.5kW-ish to maintain for the hour.

I used Ireks Pilsner malt in my German Pils. Very impressed with it.
I bottled the WLP009 "test" brew today from the DJ. It had fermented out in 4 or 5 days but a thorough d-rest never does any harm. The DJ yielded 7 bottles with an FG of 1.008 giving an ABV of 4.7% before secondary fermentation. No dodgy flavours from the sample jar, in fact it was rather drinkable already with unmistakable notes of London Pride that I assume are coming from the Northdown hops. I'm looking forward to comparing these bottles side-by-side with the main batch, fermented with Wyeast 1469, that I'll be kegging this Sunday.

Yesterday (10 Nov) was the last opportunity for a brewday for me before Christmas so I thought I'd better squeeze one in. I'm all set for stout and bitter so this one is a generously hopped southern hemisphere extra pale session IPA to balance things up a bit.

80% Crisp clear choice extra pale malt
10% Torrified wheat
5% Crisp cara gold
5% Ireks munich

No hops until 15 minutes (hop burst technique). Not a problem with these high alpha hops.

15 mins: equal Galaxy/Motueka/Cascade to 22 IBU
10 mins: equal Galaxy/Motueka/Cascade to 16.5 IBU
2 mins: equal Galaxy/Motueka/Cascade to 5 IBU

The Yeast Bay Vermont Ale Yeast.

IBU: 43.5
OG: 1.041
Batch size: 21 litres (1 corny keg after losses to trub)

Due to other stuff going on during the morning I had to delay the start until 1pm. Looks like I'll be washing up in the dark outside.


26.5 litres of Tesco Ashbeck was adjusted to a balanced mineral profile, 5 litres saved back for a sparge and the remaining water acidified with lactic to a target pH of 5.30. Mashed in at 65.8C and left it for an hour.


Iodine test shows it's done. It always does, but I do the test anyway.


Sparged with 75C water for 10 minutes or so while squashing, prodding and generally agitating the bag as much as possible. Lift and squeeze like mad then drain to the boiler. Got a nice 88% mash efficiency.


A healthy looking hot break on the boil. The power regulator is reduced to 1.5kW to keep things gently rolling. My boil-off is calculated at 3.4 litres per hour.


And today's hops will be these. They smelled absolutely hedonistic. I haven't smelled hops this amazing since the last time I stuck my nose in a packet of Citra.


Things got rather busy around 15 minutes with all the hop measuring to do but I knew it was coming so was prepared (and had the wife to help). That's a large 5 litre strainer bag keeping the pellet gunge at bay while also giving them plenty of space to infuse.

Chilled down to 27C with the immersion chiller, gave it 60 minutes standing time to let the protofloc drop out the gunk then drained to the SS fermenter and stuck it in the fridge for the last bit of cooling before pitching.


I ended up collecting a little over the target 21 litres and the measured OG was 1.040, just a single point off the prediction so that's fine.

Five hours later it had reached 22C so I pitched a litre starter of Vermont Ale Yeast (WLP4000), set the inkbird at 20C and went to bed.

Another happily uneventful brewday and hopefully I'll get something hoppy and tropical for the Christmas season.
Fermentation had started at 8:00am when I checked it this morning and by the time I got back from the remembrance day service it was in to the rock'n'roll phase. Now to ignore it for 10-14 days.

I kegged my Outback IPA today; that's the one with Galaxy/Motueka/Cascade. It had fermented out in a week but I left it for 12 days for a thorough d-rest and to let some trub drop out. The Vermont yeast was rampant yet again giving an FG of 1.006/ABV of 4.5% and I got 1 corny and 3 bottles out of it. I've fined the keg with Kwik Clear and will leave for a couple of weeks at 15psi before I taste it. The sample jar tasted amazing with so much passion fruit and citrus flavour that I've got high hopes for this one.
New year, new brew day. I was up at 7:30 this morning not-quite raring to go but needs must as it were so on with the brewday. Today's recipe is a 13 litre Belgian Blonde batch inspired by Duvel and fermented with yeast cultured up from a bottle of the real thing. Here's the recipe:

75% Ireks Pilsner Malt
10% Torrified wheat
15% Dextrose (brewing sugar). Last 10 mins of boil.
Styrian Goldings @60 mins to 19 IBU
Saaz @15 mins to 9 IBU
Yeast: harvested from Duvel bottle

OG: 1.065. FG: haven't a clue
Water: Tesco ashbeck
Adjusted profile: Ca:41, Mg:4, Na:10, SO4:44: Cl:43

Things didn't exactly get off to a great start as I forgot to save back my sparge water from the full volume before adding the lactic acid. The resulting mash pH will have been slightly higher than expected. Probably not a problem though.

Added grain bag at 68.5C (beersmith calculation) for a target mash-in of 65C. Tested with thermometer and it was about 63C. Hmmm. I know, I'll lift the grain bag, switch the element back on and give it a little boost. Unfortunately I didn't have the three hands required to hold the bag, the thermometer unit and the thermometer probe all at the same time and I dropped the thermometer unit into the boiler. S**t!! aheadbuttaheadbutt Quickly yanked it out by the probe lead and thankfully it still worked throughout the day. Gave up on the idea of messing with anything and put everything back as it was. Turned out that with a stir the mash was at 65 anyway.

That was the end of the cock-ups thankfully and the rest of the day went fine, except I forgot to adjust down my expected efficiency from the usual 80% and ended up hitting an OG of 1.060 instead of 1.065. Should be fine though.


Chilled quickly down to 21C thanks to cold ground water and lower batch size and pitched the starter of harvested bottle yeast.


This is the stuff that overflowed my 3 litre flask, aggressive little yeast that it is. There was a nice thick layer on the bottom of the flask so I decanted before pitching. The fermented DME tasted fine and bland as usual, no signs of off flavours in there.

It's in the brew-fridge at 20C and now the wait begins.
Slight signs of life in the blow-off tube after 8 hours, merrily chugging away after 18 hours and still going strong at 2.5 days. I just turned the inkbird up to 22C because I heard Belgians like a bit of heat :D
The kegerator project has started! I took a trip over to Currys and picked up a C97CFW18 Essentials chest freezer for £109 in the January sales with a plan to kegerise it to take two full size cornie kegs.

Here's the box outside on the patio. I'd already done the maths upfront so I knew the minimum interior dimensions for 2 kegs. Basically, any smaller than about 38x40cm and it won't take two. This one is 40x40cm and it fits two in easily. It will work in temperatures down to -15C so no worries putting it into the garage. This model does not have a high temperature warning alarm so I won't have to dig around inside disconnecting alarm lights and bells.

These are mini kegs in the photo. They are the same diameter as a normal cornie but are not as tall. Both my full height kegs are in use right now so I couldn't use them for this shot. The kegs in the photo are standing on the "step" on the bottom that houses the compressor.

The plan that will unfold over the next month or so will be:

  1. Mount a 25W reptile heater ceramic bulb in an old ATX computer power supply case with fan and place in the "trough" next to the step at the bottom of the freezer. That's the heat source.
  2. Build a stand to cover up the trough and bring it up to the height of the main compartment. Perforate it to allow the heat source underneath to circulate. Varnish/paint to protect against condensation.
  3. Unscrew the lid and build an insulated wooden collar about 20cm tall to give the additional height needed for full-size cornies with disconnects. Drill collar to mount two taps at the front and gas-in, heat power in and thermometer probe in. Fix collar to surface with silicone. Screw existing lid to top of collar.
  4. Buy an Inkbird for temperature control.
  5. Tart it up to make it look more professional than it actually is. <ahem>
I'll keep the updates coming as I get stuff done on the project.
Slight signs of life in the blow-off tube after 8 hours, merrily chugging away after 18 hours and still going strong at 2.5 days. I just turned the inkbird up to 22C because I heard Belgians like a bit of heat :D
I kegged it today, 13 litres into a mini-keg with a short gas-in tube. Fined with Kwik-Clear, purged the head-space with CO2 and left it on gas to carbonate and condition in the cold garage. FG was 1.004 and the sample jar tasted really promising.
Got a starter of Wyeast 1469 on today for a brew at the weekend. I'm building up from an overbuild jar that was saved in the fridge from the last brew. I just love flocculent yeasts. This is the spent starter wort - 'beer' I suppose - that was sitting atop the yeast in the jar in the fridge:


So clear, and it tasted OK. A bit like draft Tetley!

The weekend's recipe is still under construction but it'll be a porter based loosely on my favourite ever: Bateman's Salem Porter.
How's the kegidooda coming along?
Bits have started arriving and I'm planning to cut the wood for the collar this weekend if it stays dry so I can work outside because the mitre saw chucks sawdust for a 10 foot radius of where I'm working!

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