Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pints: Vaguely British ESB

So I read a post on a homebrewing forum about East Kent Goldings hops that made this hop variety sound interesting, and more importantly, tasty, in beer.  That, and I don't think you hear about it being used very often in hoppy beers, not that I have a problem with hops like Citra and Simcoe.  So to try it out, I decided to make something like a British "extra special bitter".  I went down to my local homebrew store and bought the following ingredients (links to Amazon products included):
At the homebrew store I ran my grain through the mill twice to get a finer crush.  For my first all grain brew-in-a-bag batch, I had terrible mash efficiency and I was hoping that the double crush would help.

On brew day I used my ANOVA Sous Vide cooker to get about 2.5 gallons of water heated to 151F.   The ANOVA is kind of an expensive way to brew, but it makes holding a steady temperature so easy.  Good for making perfectly cooked meat as well!

Heating the mash water, bag o' grains in the back

On a side note, I really need to get a bigger kettle.  The one pictured is only 4 gallons and I think it limits my brewing efficiency because it doesn't hold enough water to properly do BIAB

I mashed for about 2 hours, and at the end I increased the temperature to 170F and held there for about 15 minutes.  During this the wort progressed from quite light to a lovely dark color.  I stirred it several times and added a bit of extra water (about 5 cups).

Near the start

Near the end
I took out the grain bag and put it over my pot.  Had a grate for cooking pizzas on a grill that works great for this; nice and sturdy so you can press it without bending it.
Getting every last drop of wort
While that was draining, I cleaned the ANOVA's heating element so it wouldn't get sticky.  It's very easy to take apart.
Then I started the boil.  Tossed in 1tsp of the Burtons salts right at the beginning.  One hour, starting when it was visibly boiling.  I added 1oz of the EKG hops with 30 minutes remaining for a bit of bittering and 1oz at 5 minutes remaining to get more of the flavor and aroma.  I put all hops in a fine nylon mesh bag to cut back on gunk in the fermenter.
Mmmm, wort.
Next I started cooling it, which, to say the least, took entirely too long.  At least an hour in fact.  Didn't have enough ice on hand.  But, finally, it was down to a reasonable temperature.  I dumped the wort into my fermenter, re-hydrated my yeast in warm water, pitched the yeast, and aerated the mixture with a whisk for a few minutes.  I filled it with water to 2.5 gallons.  After that, into the fermentation chamber it went.  Temperature was set to 65F.  Starting gravity was 1.052.  If I did the math right, I got about 70% efficiency with my mash.
My fermentation chamber/keezer
It started bubbling after about 6 hours.  I'll post about how it turns out in the coming weeks!

Edit:  A link to the future!  Go directly to the tasting!

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