with the occasional rant about tin openers...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pride before fall (or by winter, at the very latest)

Tuesday night I set my alarm for 6 am. It was dark, quiet, and way before I’d usually get up unless there was some sort of emergency. In a way, there was. The homebrew supply is worryingly low (I’m drinking white wine as I write this, and if it weren’t for Mrs Homebrew’s birthday last week we wouldn’t have any of that)! As a result, I was forced up way before dawn in order to get a small all-grain brew going before the day’s choir commitments got in the way. Oh, and I borrowed a thermometer for the mash that very much needed to be back in someone else’s fridge by half 8, so six was as late as I could leave it.

I’m making a gallon to try a new recipe, and I’ve only enough stuff for one anyway. It is a trial of Dave Line’s Fuller’s London Pride, from his book ‘Brew Beers Like those you buy’. The beer bottle says ‘Target, Challenger and Northdown’ are the hops used, whereas the book opts for Fuggles and EKG. Naturally, I’ve gone for Fuggles and Styrian Goldings, as that’s all that was in the freezer.

My morning was spent mashing 1lb 6.5 oz of pale malt and 1.6 oz crystal, followed by a 90 min boil with the hops. The mash and sparge went well, though I’m still struggling to juggle jugs of hot water and the perforated chopped tomato tin I use to spray the grain bed gently. I’ll show you what I mean in a picture one day... actually, for that I’ll need a fourth hand.

Then an interesting weather phenomenon occurred halfway through the boil; a small Cumulo Nimbus formed at the kitchen ceiling. It was a beautiful sight, and at a certain angle a rainbow shone through from the striplight on the roof. I opened to doors and windows to let some of the steam out. Apparently condensation on the walls annoys Mrs Homebrew even more than burnt caramel on the stove, which ranks pretty high.

So, having set the alarm for 6, and by four in the afternoon the beer is frothing away very merrily, which isn’t bad at all. And neither is the state of the kitchen. The walls need a go over with a hair dryer, and I’ve a bag of wet grain I need to get rid of. I’m very happy to report that what went into the bucket will probably end up a lot like an English bitter, and we’ll see how much closer it gets in about 3 to four weeks!