A late tribute to Graham Wheeler

I have just brewed two beers as a personal remembrance to Graham Wheeler. The first was a German Pilsner style beer modelled on Graham’s recipe for ‘Jever Pils’ from his book “Brew Classic European Beers At Home” (1995). This beer has rich aromas of malt and hop. With a delicate and refreshing balance of malt and hop in the mouth, leading to a dry finish with a pleasing blend of hop and honey sweetness. Here is my pump clip label:

germanpilsround

The second was taken from Graham Wheeler ‘s “Home Brewing” book (1990) and modelled on his recipe for an old style porter. This black beer has a biscuity, nutty flavour with a chocolate and roast coffee background. The hops are quite pronounced and give a fruity and spicy character. Pump clip label:

wheelersentire_alt_pumpround

If you are wondering about the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ image above, Graham was rather camera shy and used this particular silhouette as his on-line avatar in brewing forums.

I will sup these two beers slowly and give a thought for Graham, who inspired so many to brew their own quality beer in defiance of commercial blandness. They are brewed in commemoration of his life and with thanks for the rich brewing knowledge that he shared.  Sadly, he left this world to become ‘Supreme Beer Cicerone’ on 30/11/2017. RIP.

A Parti-Gyle Brewing Session – Part 3

So now on to part 3, which is brewing a Brown Ale of the Northern variety. The first gyle, a barley wine, was made as a “no sparge” from the first runnings, and will take a few years to age properly, but here I want to make a session ale that can be enjoyed right away. This will be made by adding more liquor to the previous mash grains in the mash tun, adding additional crystal and roasted malts, and steeping/vorlaufing the new mix for 30 mins before running off. Here are the recipe details:

Recipe Specifications
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Boil Size: 44.79 l
Post Boil Volume: 38.54 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 32.00 l
Bottling Volume: 29.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Colour: 52.6 EBC
Estimated IBU: 24.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 54.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 62.4 %
Boil Time: 75 Minutes

Ingredients:
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60.00 l Thames Water
300.00 mg Potassium metabisulphite
55.00 ml CRS/AMS
15.00 kg Maris Otter (Crisp) (7.9 EBC) 90.4 % (grains left from first brew already in mash tun)
1.00 kg Crystal Malt Dark (240 EBC) 5.6 %
0.50 kg Oats, Golden Naked (Simpsons) (18.0 EBC) 2.8 %
0.20 kg Chocolate Malt Crushed (1050 EBC) 1.1 %
45.00 g Northdown leaf [6.88 %] – Boil 60 mins
0.50 Items Protafloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining
25.00 g East Kent Goldings [5.93] Boil 10 mins
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient WLN1000 (Boil 10.0 mins)
2.0 pkg London Ale (White Labs #WLP013)

Mash Schedule: Steep, then vorlauf to allow grain bed to form before run off.
Total Grain Weight: 17.70 kg (including mash grains from first brew)
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Mash Step Add 56.61 l of water and heat to 77.0 C 77.0 C 30 min
60L of Thames Water treated with 55ml of CRS. ph 5.33, alkalinity 21.

Here’s a picture of the grains in the mash tun left after the run-off from the first brew:
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The next batch of crystal and roast grains ready to be added:
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I am using a fairly new grain that has recently appeared on the home brew market – Golden Naked Oats. This a huskless oat crystal malt described as an “Exotic ingredient for a subtle nutty difference”. The sales jargon for this grain says:

“Sweet berry-nut flavour. Use to add a deep golden hue, light caramel flavours, and a creamy, satiny finish. This unique product from Simpsons has a special, sweet berry-nut flavour. Used at a rate of 4-15% of total grist by weight, Golden Naked Oats will deliver a deep golden hue with light caramel flavours to the finished beer as well as a creamy, satin finish.”

Sounds good, if not poetic! We shall see what difference it makes when it comes to the drinking.

Here’s a shot inside the mash tun just after finishing the vorlauf and before run-off into the boil kettle:
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Running the clear mash liquor into the 100L boil kettle. It’s a lovely dark colour:
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Hops ready to go:
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After the 75 min boil, a picture showing the cooling and running into the conical fermenter:
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As in all my brews, pure oxygen was pumped into the chilled wort using a wand airstone for 60 secs before pitching. Final collected wort was 32L at an OG of 1.043.

So, now that my first parti-gyle brewing session is all over, what do I think? As compared to the standard one-off brew, it can be quite complicated. You have to keep several proverbial balls in the air at the same time, for instance, there are two boil kettles to watch and you need much more treated water. That can involve a double set of water calculations tailored to each brew, as the first and second runnings have a different composition, and not just of sugars. It is also hard to work out, and consequently plug into brewing software, the brewing and mash efficiency for the second brew as you cannot tell with any accuracy the sugars remaining in the ‘spent’ grains.

On the plus side, the second brew gyle does not have to be “re-mashed”, as all the conversion has already taken place. This makes it much quicker to do multiple brews. I would never be able to do two full brews in a day with the normal all-grain mash process.

The main lesson learnt with my parti-gyle session was in under estimating the potential liquor absorption by the grains. I found that initially the mash tun level for the second brew was about 5L short. I also miscalculated the temperature drop when I added the hot treated water from the HLT to the second gyle grains. The steeping temperature dropped to 70C instead of 76C, so my steeping and vorlauf extraction may have fell slightly short on gravity points. At this point I had used all the water from the HLT in refilling the mash tun, so I could not recirculate the mash liquor through the HLT HERMS coil to heat it up.

Having tried the parti-gyle method though, I can say that it was immensely enjoyable and I feel I have earnt another brewer’s stripe to go on my arm. And yes, I would do it again – I am already thinking of a strong Scotch ale and a dark mild parti-gyle. Finally, a picture of the contented brewer, weapon in hand, at the end of a hard day’s work, as taken by SWMBO.
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A Parti-Gyle Brewing Session – Part 2

I went through the prep work for my parti-gyle brew in my last post.

The first beer from the parti-gyle was an English barley Wine, hopefully along the lines of Thomas Hardy’s Ale when fermented and conditioned. Here’s the ingredients:

Recipe Specifications
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Boil Size: 38.12 l
Post Boil Volume: 28.12 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 22.00 l
Bottling Volume: 20.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.117 SG
Estimated Color: 27.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 62.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 54.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 66.3 %
Boil Time: 120 Minutes

Ingredients:
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300.00 mg Potassium metabisulphite
43.00 ml CRS/AMS
14.00 kg Maris Otter (Crisp) (7.9 EBC) 93.0 %
1.00 kg Minch Irish Pale Malt Crushed, Hook Head 6.6 %
0.05 kg Chocolate Malt Crushed 0.3 %
85.00 g Northern Brewer Alpha [7.00 %] – Boil 60 mins
50.00 g Challenger pellets [6.50 %] – Boil 30 mins
0.50 Items Protafloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
40.00 g Crystal (Malt Miller) [3.70 %] – Boil 10 mins
40.00 g Fuggle [4.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient WLN1000 (Boil 10.0 mins)
3.0 pkg Super High Gravity Ale WLP099 (White Lab Yeast )
20.00 g East Kent Goldings (EKG) dry hop 4 days
20.00 g Hallertauer Mittelfrueh dry hop 4 days
1.00 tsp Gelatin (Brupaks) (Secondary 3.0 days) Fining

Mash Schedule: No Sparge Mash
Total Grain Weight: 15.05 kg
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Mash Step Add 48.31 l of water at 72.6 C 66.0 C 90 min
Mash Out Heat to 77.0 C 77.0 C 15 min
50L of strike water. Alkalinity 51. pH 5.62.

Hose configuration:
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By connecting up in this way I can get two lots of water heated for the two brews at the same time. The mash tun is filled with the Barley Wine mash liquor (48L) and the HLT is filled with 60L of liquor for the second brew, which will be steeped and not mashed. The liquor in the HLT is heated up by recirculating from bottom to top, while the mash liquor is circulated via the HLT coil and heats up in that way.

Grains ready to go into the mash tun:

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Mash recirculation under way:
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Pumping into boil kettle after mash is finished:
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Hops all weighed out ready to add to kettle:
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Running into the fermenter and cooling with the CFC to 20C:
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The OG ended up at 1.123, which was spot on the target. That’s enough writing up for the moment. Part 3 – the second runnings – will follow shortly.

A Parti-Gyle Brewing Session (Part 1)

Tomorrow (Friday) and over this weekend I will be trying out for the first time a historical English brewing method in which the same mash is used to produce multiple worts and produce different beers. In my case I will be producing two distinct beers from the same mash and running off the sweet wort into two different brew kettles. One beer will be an English Barley Wine – hopefully a Thomas Hardy clone at 12% – and the other will be a Norther English Nut Brown Ale at 4.5%.

Because a parti-gyle is difficult to do with my 50L Braumeister, I will be getting my 3V system out of mothballs and using that. Actually, it will be a 4V as I will be using two boil kettles for the two different beers. I have not used my 3V system for over 18 months, as I have used my BM exclusively over this period, so it will be an interesting experience.

In view of the amount of preparation needed, I started to set up the operation today. So just in case anyone might be interested I thought I would post some pictures of the setting up and preparation. I will then follow this up with more pictures of the actual brewing after it has occurred. This also gives me the opportunity to show some greater detail of my 3V-4V system itself and hopefully other Hop members will find it interesting.

First picture show the four vessels and the control panel I have built. It uses Blichmann pots: 1 x 75L HLT, 1 x 75L mash tun, 1 x 75 boil kettle and 1 x 100L boil kettle. For Clive’s benefit, the picture also shows my SSBrewtech 64L Brewmaster Chronical – fully assembled and cleaned ready for use.
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This is how the hoses are connected for recirculating the mash and the water in the HLT:
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Both boil kettles and the HLT are fitted with two stainless steel elements each. One 5500w and one 2400w. They are independently switchable, giving a range of power from 2400 to 7900 watts per pot.

That’s it for now. The brewing starts tomorrow and I will put up the brew pictures as quickly as I can afterwards in the “Brewdays” section.

Apologies for my absence

Well, what can I say? It’s been so long since I posted anything. The main reason has been the massive renovation work I have been doing on my Victorian House, which was built in 1890. This is about coming to a close, so I expect to be back brewing at the beginning of March. Having said that, I did manage to do one of my famed brewing walks on Wednesday 15 February. My brother wanted to sample some of the fine pubs in Worthing, Sussex, so we started at Hassocks and walked the South Downs Way to Bramber, where we followed the River Adur path to Shoreham-by-Sea. From there we caught the local train to Worthing. We had booked a room at the Travelodge, so we had all night to tour some great pubs. The finest pub in Worthing must be the Seldon Arms – great range of real ales, pleasant staff and friendly locals. Also managed to get in two micro-pubs – Anchored and the Brooksteed Ale House. I think the total was 14 pints in all over the day. The weather was shocking – heavy rain and mist – so no good views from the Downs, but it was a very pleasant day none-the-less.

A long walk – many miles and many beers!

On Saturday 7 May I walked the entire Medway Valley Path in Kent. I started at Tonbridge at 08:00 and ended up at Rochester at 20:30, some 28 miles later. It was a beautiful day and the countryside was really wonderful. There were some dry areas in terms of beer availability, but nonetheless I still managed to drink 12 pints of great beer along the way. The river path just before Maidstone was closed due to a railway subsidence, but this was not as tragic as I initially thought since the diversion away from the river Medway took me to a pub called the First and Last on the outskirts of Maidstone. I had three great pints here and some great chat with the locals. I got to Rochester with some aches and pains, but all in all a great day.