with the occasional rant about tin openers...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hobgoblin Plus

Note: this beer won Silver Medal in the Milds, Bitters and Ales category in the National Homebrew Club competition on 2nd March 2013.

This morning I’ve put on the biggest mash ever! I have a very limited mash and sparge capacity, and the 24l coolbox is something I’m looking into getting, as it can keep 20-odd litres of mash hot for hours, if necessary. For now I’m still working with 10l mayonnaise tubs with holes drilled through. Not particularly efficient, it’s got to be said; so all my recipes are currently worked up to account for only 60% efficiency. Which mean mashing a lot of grain. I mashed 6 kg, which needed nearly 20l of water. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see it won’t all fit in at once.

Then, by misreading the recipe (it is morning, after all) I added more amber malt than I’d called for. If you’re familiar with the Hobgoblin clone recipe that’s going around (I’m sort of following Orfy’s), then you’ll see that any amber malt is too much. But it was going out of date, and I hadn’t got a chance to use it properly (the only recipe I tried it in was undrinkable because of the obscene amount of DMS present). It’s going to be an interesting beer. It’s also going to be about 6% and barrelled (in an old youngs white thing) for the rest of the winter months, and for a final experiment, I’m going to add gelatine finings to it, to see if I can get it clear a little quicker. It’ll also make it technically illegal for vegetarians to drink, which is such a pity…

Apart from all that it’s a standard all-grain, all-hassle brew.

I’ve found a friendly neighbourhood farmer who’s willing to take the grain off my hands. Though they specialise in organic, and because I don’t use organic ingredients they have to give it to the cat, or something, but it means I don’t have it hanging around unnecessarily. Hops, though. What to do with them?

The beer finally landed in at 6.1%, and after a week it had plenty of condition and was MUCH clearer that it would have been had I not fined it. I’ll definitely use gelatine again for the keg, as it was cheap and easy to use, at one sachet per 4.5 gallons. Also, the 300g or so of amber malt, which did taste very obnoxious after one week, did mellow out nicely in the second.

Next time I’ll use more hops for aroma (still not sure what I’m doing wrong there), and until I get a bigger mash tun, I’ll be reverting to half extract and half mash, as it’s a lot more manageable.

Finally though, to some positives:

1: Don’t be afraid to substitute a half pound of acid malt for a half pound of pale malt (or add an acid rest to your mash schedule), as it vastly improves efficiency if your mash ph as so far been a bit high (that’s alkaliny).

2: Gelatine finings are dead easy to use (better for a homebrewer than the fish finings, as it’s so easy to store and prepare).

3: If you have a cheapo Young’s white beer/cider barrel, put a short length of tube over/in the tap, as it makes dispensing a breeze. Today’s hangover was entirely due to enjoying pouring the beer so much that I repeated the experience ad nausem, so to speak.
Pictures to follow, once Blogger behaves itself.

Next up – Dave Line’s Tiger Beer 1038!

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