with the occasional rant about tin openers...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Brewing Britain - Andy Hamilton

Congratulations to author and forager Andy Hamilton, of Booze for Free fame, on the release of his latest book, Brewing Britain. 

Available in all good book stores, and Amazon.
Brewing Britain takes you on a trip through brewing history, buying and growing almost all of the ingredients, malting barley, and drying hops, and plenty more besides.

But most of this is preamble to the main point of the book: brewing beers of the styles commonly found in Britain. Milds and Bitters, IPAs, Stouts, Porters, Saisons (!?) and the odd lager. These come with style notes, common ingredients, commercial examples with tasting notes and a series of tried and tested recipes for making your own classic example.

To finish, Brewing Britain indexes a whole flight of beer festivals, all year round, for you to impart your hard won knowledge/try out your new skills.

Oh, and I've got a beer in it!!

The book would suit anyone with an interest in beer: from kit and all-grain brewer to Beer Sommelier and Real Ale Twat*. And it is coming up to Christmas…

*Viz. That is, Viz, not viz.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tiger Beer clone, all grain.

And a bit about mash pH lower down.

Most visits to this blog come from people searching for tiger beer clones. I’ve referenced it a couple of times, including one previous attempt at the beer, which worked really well. It was mooched from the Dave Line ‘Brew beers like those you buy’ book, with a change here or there (not necessarily because I know what I’m doing, or anything). The first attempt worked quite well, the second was infected, and for Ms Homebrew, the third attempt will be ready in the new year.

This is a 'lite' lager beer, of the kind found in Asia and thereabouts.

3kg Lager Malt (Pilsner malt)
500g flaked rice
300g Carapils or similar
200g Acid malt
Recommended, 200-500g of rice husks or oat husks, as the mash Will be slow to run off.

Mashed in for a rest around 55oc for 30 mins, followed by the main rest at 66oc for one hour, in 10 litres of soft water.

Hallertaur Helsbrucker (2.8%): 25g, 11 IBU
Dana (Super Styrian)    (10.8%): 7g, 11 IBU

Flavour, Hall. Hersb., 10g @ 15 mins with a dose of Irish Moss
Aroma, Tettnang (German), 10g @ 0 mins.

Cool and strain.

This should yield 20 - 22 litres at 1038, which can be fermented with Brewferm Lager yeast, though this time I'm using a sachet of Saflager 34/70 sprinkled into the wort. If you can ferment it at the proper temperatures, do so, otherwise do as you can. Warm is NOT your friend here, though.

A diacetyl rest (14oc about 3/4 of the way through fermentation) is advisable.

Tasting notes to follow.

Rice & Carapils:

It may seem counterintuitive to use rice flakes to lower the beer's body, and carapils to boost it, but what I'm trying to achieve is a beer with very little malt flavour, but some body. Using rice alone will reduce taste and body, but I can add some body back in with carapils (dextrin malts, etc), and as carapils is also tasteless in the beer, it won't affect the malt flavour balance. In addition, I will use relatively high carbonation to give the impression of body.

Mash pH:

Most lagers benefit from a little acid malt to help with mash ph, and in spite of having soft water piped into the house I do have to use it in all my brews to help the ph level. I’m quite happy to do this alongside Burton liquor treatments in my Bitters.

An alternative is to use an acid rest into your mash schedule. It’s at about 35oc (up to 40oc), and should last about 3 hours (or overnight). The acid rest allows the lactobacillus bacteria that are all over your barley malt to flourish for a short period of time, which tends to acidify the liquor. The bacteria don’t make it into the finished beer, though.

Acid malt, though, has already been through this step. Every 1% added to the grist decreases the mash pH (that is, acidifies) by 0.1; so if your tap water is fairly soft, like ours at pH 6.5, to get it at the perfect pH for efficient enzymatic activity which is below 5.5 I’ve added it at 7.5% of the grist (not recommended over 10%).

Acid malt is otherwise the same as your pale malt, so decrease the amount of pale malt used appropriately, which will keep your grist ratios in check. Weyermanns' acid malt is from two row barley, so will not add haze, like you might expect from 6row barley.

Tasting Notes:
The beer is ready, having been lagered at cellar temperature. Hardly lagering at all! After about 3 weeks in the bottle it's nearly perfectly carbonated. 

Aroma: Moderate Ethyl Hexanoate (apple-y), some floral hops, and a moderate grainy aroma.
Appearance: Straw, ever so slight haze, long lasting rocky white head, with a nice beading carbonation.
Flavour: Typically low for a light beer, can taste a little grainy, and a little apple-y. 
Mouthfeel: Nearly a very light body, with a brisk carbonation (though missing the carbonic bite), and some residual sweetness. Very light bitterness.
Overall Impressions: Some tiny modifications to the recipe and I need to pay more attention to ester production (temperature and pitching rates). Otherwise very good.

There is a little residual sweetness, it's medium-light bodied, with a medium high carbonation.

I continued to drink this beer over the course of another month, and the flavour improved dramatically in that time. The yeast cleared up the aetaldehyde (in both this and a Munich Helles I reused it in) and left a delicious and refreshing beer. This beer certainly needed the time to improve and all of a sudden I've gone and run out!

This beer won a silver medal at the National Homebrew Competition 2014, run by www.nationalhomebrewclub.com