Thursday, 17 February 2011

Green Bullet casked and a "Nice" bitter in the FV

What with looking after two children under 3 I don't have a lot of time to brew these days so, in order to finalise my recipes for my new venture, I'm now brewing at night.  Last night I racked the last Green Bullet beer (which tastes pretty good) and brewed a fairly standard bitter. 

This recipe was along the lines of what I've been drinking at home for the last few years; pale malt and caragold to an OG of 1.040 with Challenger to bitter and EKG for flavour and aroma.  As I was brewing immediately after racking the previous beer I saved about 400ml of yeast from the FV and pitched this onto the new batch.

The yeast was pitched at 10pm last night and this morning it's well into fermentation.

Monday, 7 February 2011

The last batch bottled and the recipe is being tweaked for the next brew

The first batch of Green Bullet Gold using the new recipe has come out OK.  I had a few issues with the yeast not settling out as quickly as I'd hoped but it's now pretty clear and has been bottled.  Obviously I had to do a certain amount of "Quality control" but I still managed to bottle 60 pints.

I wasn't sure about using crystal malt in the recipe as I tend not to use it in my beers unless I use it to give character to a big barley wine.  I find it a little cloying.  Instead I've been using Caragold which is a very low colour crystal.  To my mind, it gives a more rounded sweetness without the distinct flavour.

So, today, I'll be brewing the same recipe but with Caragold substituted for crystal malt.  No other changes will be made to the recipe at the moment as the bitterness and flavour from the hops is pretty much what I'm looking for.  Of course this may change once I get the grist right as the balance of the beer may well change.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The new face of an old recipe

It's been a long time (several months) since my last post so I apologise for that.  A lot has happened in that time; I've been made redundant, become a house-husband and am currently investigating the feasibility of starting a small-scale commercial brewery.

Part of my feasibility study is coming up with recipes that I think would sell.  That means casting aside some of the stronger beers that I enjoy making and focusing on lower gravity, "Normal" beers.  There are a number of parameters that I have considered in coming up with the first recipe; duty payable, drinking trends, cost of ingredients and, perhaps surprisingly, CAMRA's preferences.

One beer that's drawn much praise over the last couple of years has been my Green Bullet Gold.  This beer is about 4% alcohol by volume, light in colour with citrus aroma and flavour.  So far, so good.  Where this particular recipe falls down is that I designed it with a relatively small proportion of flaked maize.  This helps to dilute the protein in the beer which in turn helps to produce an exceptionally clear product.  So, why am I removing it from the recipe?  Put simply, CAMRA.

Now, I believe CAMRA have done much for the real ale industry, however, while they don't condemn the use of adjuncts in beer the following statement, taken from their web page does seem to cause people to shun beers made with ANY adjunct.  The CAMRA site statres, "Excessive use of fermentables that are not malt is one cause of dull beer".  So I'm taking maize out of the recipe.  

Additionally, I'm swapping caragold out for standard crystal malt, I'm using Nottingham yeast rather than my trusty stock of the Fullers strain and I've further reduced the bitterness down to about 30 IBU.

I brewed this beer on Wednesday last week and it's currently sitting at 5C while the yeast count drops sufficiently for casking (below 2 Mcells per ml).  I'm expecting to rack the beer to cask on Thursday  from where it will be bottled at the weekend.

As for the other recipes being commercialised, watch this space.