foxbat's brewdays

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matt76

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The flavour is bready, toasty with a healthy dose of spice from the Saaz
Wait, wait, wait - back up just a minute there...

What do you mean it tastes of "spice"? What does that actually mean?

Don't worry, I'm not picking on you - it's just I see "spice" thrown around quite a lot in brewing - particularly Belgian yeasts, but also hops - and I'm never really sure what's meant. I wonder if you can expand a bit on what you mean?

To me, spice = chilli, but I guess that's not what you mean.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, coriander, cardamom, cumin - they're all spices too. So what are we talking about?

(I will add, after a bit of kitchen experimenting a few months ago I learned that the flavour I associate with Belgian beers that I'm not keen on is clove. And also don't chew cloves that are 5 years past their sell by date)
 

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It's a bit of a dull and overcast bank holiday here in the south east but I'm still managing to quaff a pair of my Vienna Lagers outside on the patio (oh the hardship). The light's not good for a clear photo, but here we go anyway:



I have to say that I'm not convinced the style offers more to me than a Helles, Pilsner or a Dunkel and I don't ever recall seeing a Vienna lager on tap in Vienna but I am still enjoying it. It's quite similar to a Marzen. The flavour is bready, toasty with a healthy dose of spice from the Saaz and just a little caramel but not nearly as much as the Dunkel I did.
IMG_20210829_170914081.jpg

I'm enjoying a glorious day at Goodwood races. Too much food and booze to list but, hey, it's my anniversary and the wife is happy! Cheers! acheers.
 

foxbat

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Wait, wait, wait - back up just a minute there...

What do you mean it tastes of "spice"? What does that actually mean?

Don't worry, I'm not picking on you - it's just I see "spice" thrown around quite a lot in brewing - particularly Belgian yeasts, but also hops - and I'm never really sure what's meant. I wonder if you can expand a bit on what you mean?

To me, spice = chilli, but I guess that's not what you mean.
I'm rubbish at tasting notes but I'll have a go at this.

Spice as in Saaz to me is a slightly sharp, slightly herbal back of the throat taste that doesn't linger and is very moreish. It's gentle and hard to overdo. Put loads of the stuff in, it only gets better. I love Saaz and it works in just about anything, but in a lager Hersbrucker is my fave.

Belgians to me are much, much more complex than just a Saaz ale.
 

foxbat

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Kegging day today for my final lager of the year, Perle Pils. It's been 3 weeks in the fermenter with the first 5 days or so at 13.5C and then I let it rise of its own free will up to 17.5C where it's now finished after 3 weeks in all.

I sort of had an FG of 1.007 in mind for this and that's where it's finished (after adjusting +1 point for my finishing hydrometer) for an ABV of 4.7%.



I nearly lost my sample before I could take the reading because I brought it in from the garage and put it on the kitchen worktop in front of the mini hifi we have in there and then thought it'd be a good idea to switch the radio on, which I did. Only my wife had a CD in before turning it off and so the machine kindly ejected the empty tray on startup, knocking over my sample jar ashock1. Luckily I was sufficiently caffeine-loaded to react and catch it.

Anyway no trouble with the keg that had been pre-purged with the CO2 from the fermentation and I got an extra bottle from the left overs. Clear-It finings were added, headspace purged and it's on at 20psi for carbonation over the next few weeks.

I'm really looking forward to this one because the warm, flat and unconditioned sample jar tasted lovely; fresh, herbal and slightly green.
 

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I like my brewdays to be an uneventful and relaxing way to spend 6 hours on a Sunday morning but the last couple of times I've had stress-inducing issues with my wort chiller. Basically it's been springing a leak around the hose-to-chiller 'join' that means I've had to reduce the flow rate and stick something under it to catch all the dripping.

This is my old chiller, an S30 made by I don't know who but working perfectly well apart from the aforementioned leaking that's just developed.



A closer examination of the ends of the pipes shows clearly why it's leaking. Over time, my ham-fisted jubilee-clip method of attaching the end of a garden hose has taken its toll on the pipe.



It's so deformed it's no surprise it's leaking. And the other end's just as bad. I decided to buy a replacement and settled on the 'Klarstein 12' coming in at £70 delivered from Hifi-Tower on ebay.



Like the S30 it's made from 12mm OD stainless steel and the coils are not touching (unlike the cheap ones on ebay) so the wort will flow all around them. It's got many more coils than the S30 and a greater diameter so it should outperform it.

I don't want to ruin this one with jubilee clips again so I got on to Ali-Express for some stainless fittings. Somehow the Chinese seem to be able to produce stainless fittings cheaper than we can buy brass ones here.

The first connector is a 12mm compression to 1/2" BSP male connector. Only stainless would work here, anything with a copper or brass olive would have been too soft to grip into the stainless tube.

Connected to that is a braided stainless 20cm hose with 1/2" BSP to garden hose quick-connectors dangling off the end. Except of course this being China I can get a pair of stainless quick connectors for about the same as a pair of plastic ones from the UK. The hose allows the quick connectors to dangle vertically instead of sticking out at 45 degrees where they'd be under some stress and I'm trying to avoid leaks here and at 20cm they won't drag on the patio and pick up dirt when I've got it outside for cleaning.

I've tested it all and after really getting the compression fittings tight it's leak-free and I'm looking forward to giving it a go on the next brew day.
 

foxbat

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I'm switching now from brewing lagers to ales for a while and the next one will be a week on Sunday so I needed to get thinking about the yeast strain I'll use and maintain for these beers. After much back-and-forth deciding, reading reviews and then changing my mind I made the decision and today it dropped through the letter box.



Bought yeast doesn't get any fresher than a Brewlab slope. I only ordered one from them but they sent two which is nice. I'll be building up a first stage starter tonight. Can't wait!
 

matt76

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I'm switching now from brewing lagers to ales for a while and the next one will be a week on Sunday so I needed to get thinking about the yeast strain I'll use and maintain for these beers. After much back-and-forth deciding, reading reviews and then changing my mind I made the decision and today it dropped through the letter box.



Bought yeast doesn't get any fresher than a Brewlab slope. I only ordered one from them but they sent two which is nice. I'll be building up a first stage starter tonight. Can't wait!
Did you buy it direct from them or via a shop? Any idea where (which brewery) this strain is meant to originate from / correlate to?

I've got a pack of Imperial A-09 Pub in the fridge for my next couple of brews actually - I chickened out/am too lazy to grow a starter from Fuller's 1845, plus you mentioned something about it maybe going a bit sour towards the end of the keg...

Plus I needed something to get me over £100 for free delivery from TMM!
 

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Did you buy it direct from them or via a shop? Any idea where (which brewery) this strain is meant to originate from / correlate to?
I bought it direct from them. Hop & Grape are the nominated homebrew supplier but they don't have the Yorkshire strain so I used Brewlab's web contact form to ask if I could buy it direct and they replied that it was no problem and they'd get a culture on right away athumb.. It was £6 for the slope and £5 for P&P.

No idea about the brewery I'm afraid. Most of the information I can find about the Brewlab Yorkshire strains come from old forum posts on Jim's when Brewlab had Yorkshire 1 and Yorkshire 2 for sale. Now they just have "Yorkshire" and the description doesn't match either of the old descriptions for 1 & 2:

Brewlab said:
This Yorkshire ale yeast has moderate fermentation abilities, prefers a high mineral wort and can produce a sulphur flavoured beer. Moderate ester flavours may develop. Light phenolic flavours may be produced. It flocculates moderately well producing a good head initially and cells sediment moderately at the end of fermentation.
That description could match any one of the Yorkshire breweries that I know from growing up there. Sam Smiths, Tetleys, John Smiths, Black Sheep, Theakstons could all produce a minerally, sulphurous bitter on a good day. Sadly a few of those only make bland mass-market beer these days though.

I've got a pack of Imperial A-09 Pub in the fridge for my next couple of brews actually - I chickened out/am too lazy to grow a starter from Fuller's 1845, plus you mentioned something about it maybe going a bit sour towards the end of the keg...
A-09 was one of the ones I nearly selected, along with WLP002. I really wanted a Yorkshire strain though and the times I've used WY1469 it hasn't produced enough character for me in the worts that I'm making. Yeah, the 1845 culture may not have been the healthiest I've ever done. The risk of working from bottle dregs I suppose.

Plus I needed something to get me over £100 for free delivery from TMM!
More kegs by any chance? wink...
 

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More kegs by any chance? wink...
Actually no, it was a counter pressure filler. I think I'm good for now with the 3 kegs as I can't fit another in the kegerator. Although my next brew (with A09 Pub) will be a Porter which I want to warm condition for a couple of weeks before serving... Which... would... mean... there will be space in the..... 😁

(Actually kegging has made a massive difference to the hoppiness and shelf life of the couple of hoppy beers I've done so far. And, even though it's not a hoppy beer, my guess will be it will do a good job of preserving the delicate banana flavour/aroma in my current Hefeweizen, which I suspect would otherwise be sensitive to oxidation)

So any ideas yet what you're going to make with this imaginatively named Yorkshire yeast? Maybe a tried and trusted bitter to see what difference the yeast makes?
 

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So any ideas yet what you're going to make with this imaginatively named Yorkshire yeast? Maybe a tried and trusted bitter to see what difference the yeast makes?
Foxbats mainline would be a cracker with Yorkshire yeast I reckon.
 

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Actually no, it was a counter pressure filler. I think I'm good for now with the 3 kegs as I can't fit another in the kegerator. Although my next brew (with A09 Pub) will be a Porter which I want to warm condition for a couple of weeks before serving... Which... would... mean... there will be space in the..... 😁

(Actually kegging has made a massive difference to the hoppiness and shelf life of the couple of hoppy beers I've done so far. And, even though it's not a hoppy beer, my guess will be it will do a good job of preserving the delicate banana flavour/aroma in my current Hefeweizen, which I suspect would otherwise be sensitive to oxidation)

So any ideas yet what you're going to make with this imaginatively named Yorkshire yeast? Maybe a tried and trusted bitter to see what difference the yeast makes?
I still think your Hefe is going to clear in the keg. You could keep rocking it to keep the yeast in suspension, that might work. Or drink it quickly, that'll also work!

Bitters are definitely a high priority but first of all I need to use up 5kg or so of Weyermann pilsner malt left over from all the lager brewing so it's going to be an extra-pale ale with some English Archer hops that I've bought from CML.

Foxbats mainline would be a cracker with Yorkshire yeast I reckon.
I agree!

So... the starter's on. Eventually. Not the smoothest starter making episode ever. Brewlab recommend a 300ml starter which is then enough to pitch into a homebrew batch. So my plan is to do their 300ml starter followed by a 1.5l starter of which I'll keep back 500ml and pitch a litre.

I made up the 300ml/30g DME wort as usual and chilled it in my dinky 500ml flask. Brewlab say that you should add a bit of the starter wort to the vial and shake it to dislodge the cells from the agar. So I did. Then I tipped the contents of the vial into the flask... and the whole lot including the big wodge of agar slipped out into my flask!

Hmmm. The instructions say that you should not attempt to dissolve the agar and I couldn't leave it in the flask as it would foul the stir bar so I had to sterilize a kilner jar (for its wide mouth) and a stainless spoon, tip the flask into the jar and spoon out the chunk of agar before pouring the jar back into the flask. Bit of a faff, that. Now I know for next time to obstruct the top of the vial with something when pouring to stop the agar coming out.

For the curious here's what the agar looks like with the yeast infection on the surface:



It's in the fridge at 20C on the stir plate. These slopes are meant to kick off within hours so I'll have a peek before bed to see how it's going.
 

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Ah that's really interesting. Funnily enough I've now got myself the kit to do yeast slants and I might have a go at one using the yeast I've got in for my next batch (Omega OYL-111). I've been watching the video here:
 

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There's loads of yeast whizzing around in the 300ml brewlab starter. Very impressive how much it's grown from just a few cells.

It's still giving off a few bubbles so I'll let it run a bit longer before chilling it ready for the main starter stage.
 

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Will do Rod, thanks. Hope you’re enjoying your BZ.

Brewfather looks to be great for giving you mash water amounts, once you’ve done a few brews and got the mash profile right. Dead space amounts and so on. We’re working on that at the minute.
I like my brewdays to be an uneventful and relaxing way to spend 6 hours on a Sunday morning but the last couple of times I've had stress-inducing issues with my wort chiller. Basically it's been springing a leak around the hose-to-chiller 'join' that means I've had to reduce the flow rate and stick something under it to catch all the dripping.

This is my old chiller, an S30 made by I don't know who but working perfectly well apart from the aforementioned leaking that's just developed.



A closer examination of the ends of the pipes shows clearly why it's leaking. Over time, my ham-fisted jubilee-clip method of attaching the end of a garden hose has taken its toll on the pipe.



It's so deformed it's no surprise it's leaking. And the other end's just as bad. I decided to buy a replacement and settled on the 'Klarstein 12' coming in at £70 delivered from Hifi-Tower on ebay.



Like the S30 it's made from 12mm OD stainless steel and the coils are not touching (unlike the cheap ones on ebay) so the wort will flow all around them. It's got many more coils than the S30 and a greater diameter so it should outperform it.

I don't want to ruin this one with jubilee clips again so I got on to Ali-Express for some stainless fittings. Somehow the Chinese seem to be able to produce stainless fittings cheaper than we can buy brass ones here.

The first connector is a 12mm compression to 1/2" BSP male connector. Only stainless would work here, anything with a copper or brass olive would have been too soft to grip into the stainless tube.

Connected to that is a braided stainless 20cm hose with 1/2" BSP to garden hose quick-connectors dangling off the end. Except of course this being China I can get a pair of stainless quick connectors for about the same as a pair of plastic ones from the UK. The hose allows the quick connectors to dangle vertically instead of sticking out at 45 degrees where they'd be under some stress and I'm trying to avoid leaks here and at 20cm they won't drag on the patio and pick up dirt when I've got it outside for cleaning.

I've tested it all and after really getting the compression fittings tight it's leak-free and I'm looking forward to giving it a go on the next brew day.
Hi Foxbat does that fit into a 35L brewzilla, really looks good
 

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Hi Foxbat does that fit into a 35L brewzilla, really looks good
I don't have a brewzilla I'm afraid so I don't know for sure but here's the key measurements that may help you:

width of coils: 21.25cm

height of coils when sitting compressed on the floor: 27cm (they stretch out a bit when lifted or when hanging over the edge of a boiler)

distance from top of coils to underside of "hook" that would sit over the edge of the boiler: 14cm

Just in case I wasn't totally clear: all the connectors are extra that I sourced on Ali Express.
 

foxbat

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Ah that's really interesting. Funnily enough I've now got myself the kit to do yeast slants and I might have a go at one using the yeast I've got in for my next batch (Omega OYL-111). I've been watching the video here:
Have you considered freezing with glycerol instead of slanting? I bought all the bits to do that some years back with the aim of preserving vault straints (White Labs) or PC releases (Wyeast) but never got around to it. Come to think of it, I really would have liked to keep the 2352-PC Augustiner lager strain I used over the summer but didn't. :doh:
 

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Have you considered freezing with glycerol instead of slanting? I bought all the bits to do that some years back with the aim of preserving vault straints (White Labs) or PC releases (Wyeast) but never got around to it. Come to think of it, I really would have liked to keep the 2352-PC Augustiner lager strain I used over the summer but didn't. :doh:
Not heard of it ... will take a look athumb..
 

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The 300ml Brewlab Yorkshire starter has been chilling since it fermented out on Friday and I'm quite impressed with how much yeast grew from just those few cells.



I made up the second stage 1.5 litre starter wort tonight. 500ml will go back in the fridge for the next brew and 1 litre will go into this Sunday's wort.



I decanted most of the spent 300ml starter beer into a glass and had a taste. It's certainly big on esters, fruity and somehow strangely familiar. So I had another sip, trying to place it. Nope. Another sip then. I'm sure it's from a brewery that I know and still it elludes me which is mildly annoying because now I've drunk all the starter beer. I'll have to wait until the main beer's done then!

It's now in the brew-fridge at 20C on the stir plate.
 

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