foxbat's brewdays

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foxbat

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I have been cold steeping for ages but i always reduced the liquid and added it around the start of the boil. Last time i added it with the chiller and noticed i got a lot more flavour. The beer actually tastes of chocolate which really amazed me. Seems i was doing it wrong before. You are right about the efficiency, last brew i had to top up with spraymalt which i never do. Also large amounts of adjuncts always mess with my numbers.
What sort of bag are you using? The one i am using now is ok but needs to be bigger.
Funny you should mention chocolate because a lady I know who doesn't drink beer had a sip and immediately said "chocolate". It's turning out to be a decent beer but more of a mild than a porter due to the OG shortfall.

I got the BIAB bag on Ebay. I can't see the same listing any more. It used to show a heavy weight dangling in the bag. There's a listing now showing a bloke in a white coat with blue gloves where the bag looks identical to the one I have.
 

foxbat

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I need to do an update on my keezer build. The delay has been because I'm waiting for multiple coats of gloss paint to cure before I have a hack at sanding and polishing the collar. Hopefully this weekend.
 

foxbat

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Saturday was brewday for my Czech Pilsner. I faffed around with the recipe a little bit during the week and eventually settled on what's basically a lager SMASH for a 22 litre batch:

100% Ireks Pilsner Malt
45g Saaz @60 mins
12g Saaz @15 mins
17g Saaz @10 mins
26g Saaz @5 mins

I really want to taste that Saaz so there's plenty going in during the last 15 minutes. Water is Tesco Ashbeck with just a little calcium chloride to get to this profile: Ca:24, Mg: 3, Na: 9, SO4: 10, Cl:38. 39 IBUs, Boil for 75 minutes.

Brew day went very smoothly, nothing much to report as far as process goes. I mashed for an hour at 65-66C in water acidified with lactic acid to get to a predicted pH 5.3.


Hops used were Crossmyloof Saaz at 4.7% AA.


About 22 litres of 1.042 wort was collected into the fermenter. If the Wyeast 2278 finishes at around 1.007 like every other yeast I use then I can expect a 4.7% dry pilsner as my reward for waiting.

I chilled to 24C with the immersion chiller then put the FV in the fridge. Nearly 24 hours later it's at 10.5C. When it's stabilised in a few hours at 10C I'll pitch the decanted 2 litre starter of Wyeast 2278.

The fermentation schedule will be the Brulosophy quick lager method. I'll keep an eye out for the slow-down in fermentation vigour that indicates we are past the stage where the flavour compounds are created and will then slowly raise the fridge temperature to 20C for a 5 day diacetyl rest before transferring to a keg for lagering.
 

foxbat

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I made some good progress on the kegerator build today and the collar is now more-or-less finished. I settled for a gloss black finish that will contrast nicely with the white of the freezer and will have good moisture resistance. I was going to go for white originally but then discovered at the last minute that gloss white goes yellow rather quickly so I nixed that idea and switched to black.



50mm expanded polystyrene insulation blocks are mounted on the inside to keep the chiller from working too hard. I cut them to shape with a cheap soldering iron modded with a copper rod to create a ghetto hot-wire cutter. The factory cut edges are facing up and my rather more rough cuts downwards. When the collar is mounted I'll finish the lower edges with silicone.

There are two holes in the front ready for the taps. The modded soldering iron poked through the foam to make a hole for the long shanks.



A pair of chromed pipes will take the gas pipes. The pipes go all the way through the insulation to give the pipes support and stop them tearing the polystyrene.



Electrics are all screwed in ready to take the wiring. A pipe goes out the back of the spur and through the insulation for cable routing.



I used some wood off-cuts to build a step sized to exactly fill the trough in the bottom of the freezer next to the compressor. One end of the step houses the 25W ceramic bulb used as the heat source and the other end has the 120mm computer fan used to circulate the hot air coming off the bulb.



The fan is screwed in place over a hole cut with the biggest hole saw that I have. Finish wasn't a consideration for the step so there are paint runs everywhere!



The back end of the lamp holder where the wires go. The mains wires and low-voltage fan cable will go up the side of the freezer and into the back of the spur.
 

foxbat

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More work on the keezer today. The taps are in and really all that's left now is the internal wiring and fixing of the collar to the freezer body with some silicone.

 

foxbat

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I kegged my Czech Pilsner yesterday afternoon after 20 days in the fermenter. It had the first 5 or so days at 10C until I noticed the fermentation was starting to slow then I slowly raised it up to about 18C at about a degree or so a day and left it until yesterday when there had been no signs of activity for a good few days. FG is 1.005 for an ABV of 4.9%.



The Wyeast 2278 flocculated hard leaving possibly the clearest beer in the fermenter I've seen so far. It's now kegged, fined with Kwik-Clear and is sitting at 1C in the keezer for lagering. I'm very much looking forward to this one as the sample jar tasted really good for a warm unconditioned flat lager.
 

foxbat

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After 2 weeks at 1C I could wait no longer and I tapped the keg on Friday night. After the first cloudy pour pulled up the sediment the lager underneath is really, really good. Loads of warm, spicy Saaz flavour blending perfectly with the German Ireks pilsner malt. There's more flavour than your average lager drinker on the clapham omnibus would be happy with but perfect for me. Recipe and photos to follow next weekend when I pour some more.
 

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I've had a few sneaky samples of my saaz smash and it's just like you report, a nice flavoursome brew.
Did a side by side next to a bottle of bier de France I had left over from Christmas and it's lightyears ahead.
Thanks again foxbat for the recipe idea, I'm turning in to your brew-stalker!
 

foxbat

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I've just got the starter on for this weekend's brew. It's going to be a pale gold IPA, hop-bursted in the last 15 minutes with a combination of Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe.





I'd normally use The Yeast Bay Vermont yeast for this kind of beer but decided to go for 1318 this time as the pack was only a month old at the-homebrew-shop. They had 8 in stock last week when I bought this. All gone now. 1318 has a good reputation and I'm looking forward to brewing with it. The brew calls for a 1 litre starter so I've done 1.5 to keep back about 100bn cells for a future brew if this one works out well.

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

foxbat

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I've had a few sneaky samples of my saaz smash and it's just like you report, a nice flavoursome brew.
Did a side by side next to a bottle of bier de France I had left over from Christmas and it's lightyears ahead.
Thanks again foxbat for the recipe idea, I'm turning in to your brew-stalker!
It's a really rewarding feeling when you have one of yours next to a good commercial beer and say; meh, mine's better! Particularly with lagers. Lagers are unforgiving.
 

foxbat

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That was the fastest-to-finish starter I've ever done:

+12 hours - krausen across the whole surface
+24 hours - krausen dying back. just a bit left.
+36 hours - done. creamy yeast held in suspension by the stirring.

I've never used 1318 before. Is it normally that fast? I suppose that being only a month old helps a lot.
 

foxbat

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Today's brewday was a New World IPA loosely based on a previous one I've done that turned out to be one of the tastiest brews yet. The recipe, in brief:

75% Ireks Pale Ale Malt
20% Ireks Munich Malt
5% Flaked Barley
12g Magnum 9.3%, 60 mins, 13.2 IBU
15g Galaxy 12.5%, 10 mins, 8.1 IBU
15g Nelson Sauvin 10.9%, 10 mins, 7 IBU
15g Simcoe 13%, 10 mins, 8.4 IBU
15g Galaxy 12.5%, 1 min, 1 IBU
15g Nelson Sauvin 10.9%, 1 min, 0.8 IBU
15g Simcoe 13%, 1 min, 1 IBU
Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

Water: Tesco Ashbeck adjusted to Ca:55 Mg:10 Na:9 SO4:97 Cl:50 HCO3: 25.

Batch size: 21 litres
Mash at 67C for 60 mins. pH adjusted to 5.30 with lactic acid.
Boil for 60 mins.
40 IBU
OG 1.047
EST FG 1.012 (although I normally attenuate to around 1.007. So we'll see about that)
EST ABV 4.6% (expecting 5.0% ish)

All in all a very smooth brewday with everything going as expected.


I've started skimming off the gunge that gathers on the surface during the boil. I don't know if it makes any difference but it can't hurt.


Lots of foam in the fermenter during the transfer. That's normal because of the residual Starsan that's in there. There did seem to be more this time though. Maybe because of the flaked barley in the recipe?


Collected about 21 litres of 1.046 golden coloured wort.

I pitched the 1 litre starter of Wyeast 1318 at about 19C and it's now tucked up in the brew fridge.
 

foxbat

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7am this morning and the IPA is off like the clappers with at least 2 bubbles per second out of the blowoff tube. I think this is going to be a fast fermentation.
 

foxbat

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After 2 weeks at 1C I could wait no longer and I tapped the keg on Friday night. After the first cloudy pour pulled up the sediment the lager underneath is really, really good. Loads of warm, spicy Saaz flavour blending perfectly with the German Ireks pilsner malt. There's more flavour than your average lager drinker on the clapham omnibus would be happy with but perfect for me. Recipe and photos to follow next weekend when I pour some more.
A bit later than a week but I did get around to taking a photo of the Pilsner for the records:



This one's definitely on the brew-again list and now the keezer's up and running I'm loving doing European lagers this year. Next up is a Munich Festbier, Wyeast 2308 is on its way from the Malt Miller as I speak.
 

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Kegged the Outback Gold IPA today and managed to twinge my back lifting the full keg into the keezer. From now on I'm filling kegs in-place from brewfridge to keezer. I've got about 10cm height difference between the two so it should work although it'll be slow at the end.

As for the IPA, it looks and smells great. It finished at 1.008 for 82% attenuation from the Wyeast 1318. That'll give me a 5.0% brew. Finings were added, the keg was purged and it's sitting at 10psi for carbonation over the next few weeks. Here's the recipe for the IPA:

Code:
Batch Size (fermenter): 22.00 L  
Estimated OG: 1.047 SG
Estimated Color: 10.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 39.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Water profile: Ca:55, Mg: 10, Na: 9, SO4: 97, Cl: 50

Ingredients:
------------
Amt              Name                                             Type          #          %/IBU         Volume      
26.73 L          Tesco Ashbeck                                    Water         1          -             -            
2.20 g           Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash)                  Water Agent   2          -             -            
1.80 ml          80% Lactic Acid (Mash)                           Water Agent   3          -             -            
1.70 g           Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash)                        Water Agent   4          -             -            
1.30 g           Calcium Chloride (Mash)                          Water Agent   5          -             -            

3.13 kg          IREKS Pale Ale Malt (6.0 EBC)                    Grain         6          75.0 %        2.04 L      
0.84 kg          IREKS Munich Malt (20.0 EBC)                     Grain         7          20.0 %        0.54 L      
0.21 kg          Barley, Flaked (3.3 EBC)                         Grain         8          5.1 %         0.14 L      

0.50 g           Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Sparge)                Water Agent   9          -             -            
0.40 g           Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Sparge)                      Water Agent   10         -             -            
0.30 g           Calcium Chloride (Sparge)                        Water Agent   11         -             -            
0.20 ml          80% Lactic Acid (Sparge)                         Water Agent   12         -             -            

12.00 g          Hallertau Magnum [9.30 %] - Boil 60.0 min        Hop           13         13.2 IBUs     -            
15.00 g          Galaxy [12.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min                 Hop           14         8.1 IBUs      -            
15.00 g          Nelson Sauvin [10.90 %] - Boil 10.0 min          Hop           15         7.0 IBUs      -            
15.00 g          Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min                 Hop           16         8.4 IBUs      -            
1.00 Items       Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 7.0 mins)                 Fining        17         -             -            
15.00 g          Galaxy [12.50 %] - Boil 1.0 min                  Hop           18         1.0 IBUs      -            
15.00 g          Nelson Sauvin [10.90 %] - Boil 1.0 min           Hop           19         0.8 IBUs      -            
15.00 g          Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 1.0 min                  Hop           20         1.0 IBUs      -            

1.0 pkg          London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) [124.21 ml]   Yeast         21         -             -            

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.18 kg
----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time    
Mash In           Add 21.73 L of water at 70.2 C          66.5 C        60 min      

Sparge: BIAB Batch sparge 5 L of 75.6 C water
First time I've had both kegs in the keezer at the same time. It's tight but it works.

 

foxbat

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Here's the full recipe for the Pilsner I've been drinking over the last month or so. It's a wonderful hoppy lager that really shows off the warm, spicy flavours of Saaz. I believe the water profile is key to a good pilsner. Water in Plzeň is very soft and low in minerals, which makes Tesco Ashbeck an ideal base. I did a ton of reading about what the water experts Martin Brungard (@mabrungard) and A.J. Delange consider to be the ideal water for brewing a Pilsner and came up with a profile that doesn't need much to be added to the Ashbeck, just a little CaCl was all I needed.

Code:
Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size (fermenter): 21.00 L 
Estimated OG: 1.045 SG
Estimated Color: 5.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 39.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.9 %
Boil Time: 75 Minutes
Water profile: Ca: 24, Mg: 3, Na: 9, SO4: 10, Cl: 38

Ingredients:
------------
Amt              Name                                             Type          #          %/IBU         Volume     
27.44 L          Tesco Ashbeck                                    Water         1          -             -           
3.00 ml          80% Lactic Acid (Mash)                           Water Agent   2          -             -           
0.90 g           Calcium Chloride (Mash)                          Water Agent   3          -             -           

3.80 kg          IREKS Pilsner Malt (3.5 EBC)                     Grain         4          100.0 %       2.48 L     

0.20 g           Calcium Chloride (Sparge)                        Water Agent   5          -             -           
0.20 ml          80% Lactic Acid (Sparge)                         Water Agent   6          -             -           

45.00 g          Saaz [4.70 %] - Boil 60.0 min                    Hop           7          28.2 IBUs     -           
12.00 g          Saaz [4.70 %] - Boil 15.0 min                    Hop           8          3.7 IBUs      -           
17.00 g          Saaz [4.70 %] - Boil 10.0 min                    Hop           9          3.9 IBUs      -           
26.00 g          Saaz [4.70 %] - Boil 5.0 min                     Hop           10         3.2 IBUs      -           

1.0 pkg          Czech Pilsner Lager (Wyeast Labs #2278) [124.21  Yeast         11         -             -           

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 3.80 kg
----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time   
Mash In           Add 22.44 L of water at 68.2 C          65.0 C        75 min     

Sparge: BIAB Batch sparge with 5 L water at 75.6 C
 

foxbat

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This weekend's brew is going to be an Oktoberfest/Märzen style lager and so today is yeast-starter today and it's a big one. I'm using a reasonably fresh pack of Wyeast 2308 (Munich):



I've used this one before. It produces wonderfully rich and deep malt flavours. The calculator's recommended a 2.5l starter so I had to break out the big 5l flask:



Hopefully 48 hours on the stir plate should do it then I can cold-crash for a couple of days and decant the spent DME before pitching into the wort. Not sure on the final grain bill for the recipe yet but I'm going to start with the recipe on the Braumeister website as I'm sure they know a thing or two about how to make German beer.
 

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Those packs of yeast...can't you just bung em in? I'm fancying a crack at liquid yeast but with the least bother to start.
 

foxbat

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Those packs of yeast...can't you just bung em in? I'm fancying a crack at liquid yeast but with the least bother to start.
You could try the Imperial Yeast packs. They come with 200bn cells when fresh and often the calculators recommend less than that for an average ale. Lagers... too risky.
 

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