So, there I am, Sunday afternoon, with the promise of an empty house for a few hours. I try and brew when I'm on my own in the house - it's more harmonious that way. I severely dislike company in the kitchen! My girlfriend has gone to the pictures. No sooner than I hear the car pull away and I'm busy brewing up. Once upon a time the words "fancy a brew?" would conjure up images of crumpets and choccy biccies, but today it's 1 gallon of Feile Pale. I've just got to what I feel is the hardest stage, a sparge (rinsing the sugary grains with hot water) when the phone goes. The phone is always upstairs when it rings. Then, once I'd restarted the sparge, my girlfriend comes in telling me the car tyre's flat! Thank God for Papazian's insistence that all home brew be brewed with a 'Here's One I Made Earlier' pint in the hand. It really does make brew-day feel like it's going a lot smoother!
The reason I'm only brewing a gallon is because I'm currently making another adjustment to my Feile Pale recipe.
This time, for 1 gallon:
OG: c.1050, IBU c.50, probably a little more
Pale Malt: 1lb 5oz (90%)
Crystal (120EBC/55lov): 0.7oz (3%)
Wheat Malt: 1oz (4%)
CaraMalt: .75oz (3%)
Magnum: 0.2oz @60
Magnum: 0.1oz @30
Fuggles: 0.3oz @ 15 + irish moss
Styrian Goldings post boil.
Also, I added in 4oz of pale dried malt extract because I didn't account for Mash efficieny when I worked out the recipe. But I really think this is 'the one'! Actual O.G. was 35, because for some reason I've 1 gal, 3 pints in the fermenter! At least I know that if I had done it right, I'd have got 1048 o.g., so I'm doing something right, if not everything!
This is my third attempt at a good pale ale. The first was a little boring, containing only pale and crystal malts, the second, with wheat malt and more hops was fantastically bitter, but still lacked something (sparkle mainly, because I think I forgot to prime the bottles). This third effort is an attempt to nail down some good bitterness levels, having finally got some reasonably accurate scales, and a good depth of malt flavour. However, I won't know if this recipe is any good until it's fermented. Nevertheless, it should taste, at the very least, amazing. I've started bottling into used brown beer bottles with crown caps. Despite the obvious stupidity of hitting the tops of glass bottles with a hammer, I think they look fantastic, especially with the label above stuck to the side with selotape.
I'm going away for a few weeks in August, but before I go I hope to get one last 5gallon brew in; Orfy's Hobgoblin clone. I'll be pitching it on top of the yeast created by Ken Shales' Lorna Light Bitter, just as soon as it's fermented down enough to keg. I've been very encouraging towards it for several days now, and I've been rewarded by a 24 point drop in 4 days. I can see my window of opportunity getting closed and the curtains drawn, but hopefully, with similar encouragement, I'll have time to Keg the Ken, brew up Gobhoblin and bottle it before I go away in ONE week. I've all but washed the bottles!
All in all, I think I'm getting the hang of this brewing lark.