Saturday, 25 February 2012

Codename: Miyagi

Wax on - WAX OFF.

I've been reading more about brewing, always dangerous I know, but I think I've found a few things out. I mentioned last post that one source of the bitter, earwaxy flavour in my beer could have been the tannins in the grain, if I was sparging for too long. In truth I hadn't been measuring how long I had been sparging, working on the theory that any spargewater was getting some good flavour from the grain and was better in the brew than just using water. Turns out that's wrong, and you get tannins, and stuff, that taste bad. However the earwax flavour doesn't seem to just be tannins. Then I found a thread about Gypsum over at homebrewtalk. A fellow had been trying to make water harder and had added two ounces of gypsum to a 5 gallon brew. Gypsum... that's CaSO4, just what I've been adding. I've been adding about 20g to a six gallon brew, so somewhere around a third of what he'd been adding, but still, quite a lot.

I'd been adding it for the Calcium, because Mosman Park water has virtually non, it's very soft, but apparently the other half, the Sulphate, also matters. After some rough calculations I realised that the sulphate part of it was about twice as high as you should have for even a bitter stout. Which explains why only dark, bitter things I make taste any good, and then have a very bitter edge not fully explained by the hops (or tannins). Apparently using soft water is nowhere near as bad for the final flavour as is adding bucket-loads of sour tasting arse...

Armed with this knowledge, I've decided to try one last attempt at a light, hoppy golden ale. In the freezer I have a few Fuggles and a boatload of Styrian Goldings, in the cupboard there's 5kg of Maris Otter malt. Right, so, this time we restrain ourselves on the bittering hops, watch the spargewater gravity carefully, AND completely skip the calcium sulphate. I'm also going to deviate from sensible mole's advice and not use so many campden tablets this time, as they allegedly make life harder for the yeast. They do clear chlorine and chloramines from the water, so I'll still use a couple at least, just not every five minutes.

As a quick aside, I bottled around 23 litres of "Maple Mole Eh?" last weekend, with another 330ml of maple syrup to prime. I've kept the bottles at 18C in the brew fridge for another week, and as many as possible are going to stay there while Miyagi brews. I'm getting impatient to try it but it's at least another two weeks before it's ready to try, and probably a month after that before it's really good.

OK, so Miyagi recipe -

  • 5kg Maris Otter

I'm not going to bother doing a hard-boil on two litres to darken it, we'll go as straw-coloured as possible. I'm in two minds about adding a few oats here as well, but we'll see. The hop schedule is going to be pretty simple in terms of ingredients because all I have is 225g of Styrian Goldings and 85g of Fuggles. (FYI, Styrians are just fuggles grown somewhere outside the UK, apparently). So -

  • 15g Fuggles at 60 minutes
  • 15g Fuggles, 15g Styrian Goldings at 30 minutes
  • 15g Fuggles, 15g Styrian Goldings at 15 minutes
  • 15g Fuggles, 15g Styrian Goldings at 5 minutes
  • Everything else (about 25g Fuggles, 180g Styrians) at 0 minutes.

The 0 minute additions will go into the filter bag and only be mixed in when the wort is poured through the bag prior to chilling with the heat exchanger. According to Beer Engine and Brewmate this will give me a beer somewhere around 4.5% alcohol, with a bitterness of 30-32 IBU, falling roughly within the style of a Best bitter or Special Ale, though a very light coloured one. With NO EARWAX FLAVOUR, Dammit!

Right, I'd best get started, it's 7.50 and I'm relying on doing this all at high speed again to get it done by midnight.

Mash on at 8.24. While digging through the cupboards for my thermometer I found another 12 bottles of Golden Mole or One-Legged or something. It still tastes like bitter earwax, this is not a flavour that matures away with time.

Right, that was quick. All finished and tidied away by midnight. Awesome. No major spills of beer (did get water all over the kitchen floor but hey...), did break the hydrometer when I was clenaing it though. Bum. I controlled the sparge better this time, allowing a slow and steady pour, so I could measure the hydrometer reading and stop it at 1.010. The boil went a bit mad and spilled over while I wasn't paying attention, but I didn't lose much. All in all I got 23 litres at 1.045 out, an efficiency somewhere between 65 and 70%, way up on last time. And hopefully no earwax flavours! We'll find out in about six weeks I guess...

No pics again because, well, you've seen it by now. Also there were no oats.

1 comment:

  1. For the record - Safale 04 yeast was used on this recipe.