I recently lost a whole lot of my homebrew to an infection that went undiscovered for months. I'm fairly certain the infection came from a bottling wand used on the infected batches. I replaced it and used the new one to bottle my recent Belgian Dubbel. If that batch is clear of infection in 2-3 months, then the corresponding fermenter has a clean bill of health. If not, it gets tossed too (it's a PET one anyway, so not expensive to trash). For this batch, I'm using a brand new fermenter. If it is cleared of any infection, then I was probably correct about the bottling wand.
5 pounds of Munton's 2-row Pale Malt
4 ounces of Lyle's Golden Syrup (for "No. 1 Invert Sugar" in the recipe)
0.35 ounces of Northern Brewer hops @ 9% AA (60 min. - sub for Brewer's Gold)
0.20 ounces of Saaz hops @ 5.4% AA (30 min.)
1.5 tsp. pH 5.2 Stabilizer (mash)
1/2 tsp. Gypsum (my choice, added to mash water)
1/8 tsp. Brewtan B (added to mash water)
1/4 tablet Whirlfloc (20 min.)
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B (added to boil, 15 min.)
1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (15 min.)
1 packet of Safale S-04 English Ale Yeast (a substitute for Wyeast 1318)
7.4 liters Mash Water (8.4 cm. deep in Brewie+)
7.0 liters Sparge Water (8.0 cm. deep in Brewie+)
I didn't have Brewer's Gold but since it's only being used for brewing, I went with German Northern Brewer as a substitute. I had some Czech Saaz hops I could have used, but I wanted to get rid of the US Saaz, so I used that instead. The amounts used in the original Lees recipe would have resulted in about 12 IBUs, so I adjusted the amounts to bring the bitterness level more in line with the style. I was afraid 12 IBUs might have been too cloying.
Additional characteristics and notes (actual values where available):
- Batch Size: 2.5 gallons estimated (2.5 gallons actual)
- BJCP Category: 11.C Strong Bitter
(I chose that category because of the 5% ABV)
- Original Gravity: 1.049 SG estimated (1.052 SG actual)
- Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.036 SG estimated (11.8 Brix actual, 1.049 SG approx.)
- Pre-Boil Volume: 13.4 liters estimated (13 cm. deep, 11.4 liters actual)
- Final Gravity: 1.011 SG estimated (1.010 actual)
- IBUs: 34
- SRM: 5.0
- ABV: 5.03%
- BU/GU Ratio: 0.693 estimated
- Fermenter Used: Spock
- Bottling Wand Used: First stainless steel one
- Carbonation Method: 3 Brewer's Best tablets per bottle
- Fermentation Temperature: 68F
The original Lees recipe indicates an underlet mash at 156F. That's not too different from what my system does, heating both from the bottom and as wort flows around to the top of the grain bed. It will have to be good enough.
- 10 minutes Mash In at 104F
- 30 minutes Mash Step 1 at 152F
- 40 minutes Mash Step 2 at 156F
- 20 minutes Mash Out and Sparge at 168F
- 90 minutes: No hop additions
- 60 minutes: Add Northern Brewer bittering hops
- 30 minutes: Add Saaz (US) flavor hops
- 20 minutes: Add Whirlfloc
- 15 minutes: Add Yeast Nutrient and Brewtan B
- 00 minutes: Chill to 68F
Trying the S-04 yeast at 64F will also prove instructive for another recipe I've been trying to perfect. Some time ago, I bought a bottle of Coniston's Old Man ale, an English brown ale. The beer had a very mild tartness to it, which I had attempted to reproduce. However, I think I fermented it for too long at too high a temperature and the tartness was pronounced in my beer, versus restrained in the Coniston version. If this beer exhibits a very mild tartness, I think I will be a step closer to perfecting the Old Man Ale clone.
My plan will be to bottle it with 2 or 3 small carbonation tablets, which equates to low or very-low carbonation, consistent with an English cask-conditioned ale.
Post-Brew Notes and Observations
The gravity post-brew came out around 1.060 SG, but the volume was below the 2.5 gallons I expected, so I added distilled water to the fermenter to bring the volume up to the desired amount. This dropped the gravity from 1.060 SG down to 1.052 SG. I considered adding more distilled water to bring the gravity down to the intended 1.049 SG but thought better of it. The initial wort temperature was 70F, which was much higher than I wanted, so I waited for it to drop to ambient basement temperature. Then I'll pitch the yeast and let the fermentation temperature control system get it down to 64F (hopefully before the yeast really gets going).
09:00PM: The yeast has been pitched and the fermenter sealed up in the temperature control setup, with the temp set to 64F. The full package of S-04 was used.According to the yeast calculator on Brewer's Friend, this should be enough yeast to handle the batch with a little to spare.
05/21/2019: Gravity is down to 1.043.
05/22/2019: Gravity is down to 1.018.
05/23/2019: Gravity is down to 1.011.
05/24/2019-05/29/2019: Gravity has held at 1.010 SG, with one or two blips at 1.009 SG. It should be ready to bottle now.
06/01/2019: The beer was bottled today, using 3 small carbonation tablets per bottle (with some bottles being given 2 drops for comparison's sake later). Yield was 24 12-ounce bottles and one 16-ounce bottle. The yeast was disposed of, and the fermenter left to soak for a few hours with PBW to ensure that it's as clean as possible.