I began by searching out a recipe that had won an award at the national level. Then, I considered that recipe in terms of my own tastes and the ingredients I had on hand. For example, I had only an ounce of East Kent Goldings (EKG) hops pellets on hand. This wasn't enough to bitter the beer, so I investigated other hops varieties that are suited to Scottish Ales and went with Magnum hops for bittering. I would use the EKG for flavor and aroma so that the beer would remain true to style. I also wanted some Cara-Pils in there for a nice head. Here's how that brewing session went...
9 pounds Maris Otter Malt
10 ounces Munich (Light) Malt
10 ounces Cara-Pils Malt
9 ounces Honey Malt
5 ounces Roasted Barley
0.50 ounces Magnum hops pellets @ 12.7% AA
1.00 ounces East Kent Goldings pellets @ 5.7% AA
1 Whirlfloc tablet
1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1 packet White Labs Edinburgh Scottish Ale Yeast
1 vial White Labs Clarity Ferm
2 Campden Tablets
I had originally estimated this to be a 5.9 gallon batch at 80% Brew House Efficiency in BeerSmith. My actual volume came out at 5.9 gallons but my efficiency was actually 87.7% for this batch, so the figures below represent the finished beer rather than the original estimate:
- Batch Size: 5.9 gallons
- Brew House Efficency: 87.7%
- Boil time: 60 minutes
- Estimated pre-boil volume: 7.3 gallons
- Estimated Mash Efficiency: 87.1%
- Estimated Original Gravity: 1.059 SG or 14.5 Brix
- IBUs: 24.3
- Color: 16.3 SRM
- Estimated ABV: 5.3%
- Total Grains: 11.13 pounds
- Total Hops: 1.5 ounces
- Bitterness Ratio: 0.411 IBU/SG
- Estimated Pre-boil Gravity: 1.052 SG or 12.9 Brix (actual was 13.3 Brix)
All the grain, whether pre-crushed or not, was run through my Cereal Killer mill to ensure a proper and somewhat consistent crush.
Per the formula for The Grainfather and my own experience with the system, I calculated that I would need 4.5 gallons of mash water and 3.75 gallons of sparge water to produce a 6-galllon finished volume of beer. I put 4.5 gallons in The Grainfather kettle and dropped in a Campden Tablet to remove chlorine and chloramine. I also put one in the sparge water kettle and filled it.
A 90-minute mash at 157F was performed with the grain bill, followed by a 10-minute mash out at 167F. The sparge water was heated to 167F and the grain batch sparged into the kettle.
Post-sparge the the kettle contained just over 7 gallons of wort. I added some water to top it off at the needed 7.3 gallon mark my calculations called for.
|The color looks good to me. I wanted a slight reddish hue|
I stirred the wort well and took two or three gravity readings with a refractometer. All three readings came up at 13.1 Brix, versus the expected 11.7 Brix. Clearly I've become more efficient at mashing than I've been in the past.
A 60-minute boil began. Due to the large wort volume, it took The Grainfather quite a while to get up to the boil. Once there, I stirred it to keep ahead of the foam until the foaming stopped. I then began the 60-minute countdown.
- 60 minutes: Add Magnum hops pellets
- 15 minutes: Add Whirlfloc tablet and whirlpool the kettle for a couple of minutes
- 10 minutes: Add the East Kent Goldings and Yeast Nutrient. Start recirculating wort through the counter flow chiller to sterilize it.
- 0 minutes: Switch off the heat, switch off the pump, and run cold water through the counter flow chiller to cool it down. Then move the output hose to the sanitized fermenter and pump the wort into the fermenter.
Using my Inkbird temperature controller, I programmed the following temperature settings:
- Days 1-2: 66F
- Days 3-4: 67F
- Days 5-6: 68F
- Days 7-8: 69F
- Days 9+: 70F
This gradual climb should allow the yeast to finish out fermentation well without stressing it unnecessarily. I attached a fermwrap fermentation heater to the fermenter and plugged it into the Inkbird controller's heat port.
After primary fermentation is complete, I plan to transfer the beer to a clean and sanitized secondary fermenter and pitch in some gelatin to clarify the beer some more. I'm hoping to enter this brew in a competition and want it to look and taste its best.
Post-Mortem and Other Notes
Lately, I've noticed that my brewhouse efficiency has been pretty inconsistent. FOr my last four brews, it's been:
- Boardwalk Belgian Quad 2.0: 74..7%
- Mandarina Blonde Ale 1.0: 83.0%
- Australian Sparkling Ale 1.0: 80.0%
- Scottish 80 Shilling Ale (this brew): 87.7%
I'm still tracking down the issue, but I have a few "suspects" to consider:
April 24: The ale has been fermenting now for approximately nine days. The airlock activity has been relatively mild and slow compared to other yeasts I've used. Despite the fermenter being more full than I often have it, there has been no blow-off through the airlock and no unexpected mess as there was with the Australian ale yeast I recently used. The temperature control system has not needed to cool the beer at all, Although I am very interested to see how this one is coming along, I've resisted the urge so far. Given how "slow and steady" this fermentation has been, I am hesitant to do anything to interrupt or interfere with it.
- Grain Crush - For the Quad, the grain bill consisted mostly of a malt I crushed myself. Later, I discoverer that my mill had a larger gap between the rollers than it should have had, so I adjusted that for the other three batches and efficiency improved.
- Mash Thickness - The Quad had a thicker mash and the largest grain bill of all.
- Grainfather Efficiency - I've heard that The Grainfather delivers greater efficiency for grain bills of a certain size, and lower efficiency above and below that.
Lately I've been keeping stats on the grain bill in pounds, the brew house efficiency of the finished wort as calculated by BeerSmith, mash time, and mash thickness. There hasn't been much correlation so far, but I'm hoping to find out what's causing it in time. My primary suspect at this point is the grain crush. The batches I've made since adjusting the mill have been more efficient.