Monday, 24 August 2009

Big beer

I need to brew. 500kg or so of malt arrived last week so I've got little excuse. Hopefully I'll get two fermenters full today.

The last few times I brewed I alternated between my regular session beers and some experimental bigger beers. OK, still only in the range 5-7%, not exactly big beers for many, but still just above the normal range you'd expect.

Yesterday I asked Alan, my bar/cellar man, what I needed to brew. After a short discussion it transpired that I need to brew "everything". What, all that big stuff gone? So it would seem. Putting a combination of Cascade and Centennial hops in beer, making it a little stronger, using some more interesting malts and dry hopping seems to be a winner with some. I just need to work out which of my experimental recipes to use.

Then again, Woolpacker 3.8% and Light Cascade 3.4% still win with pure volume of sales, just. Make of that what you will.

We've already sold Ann's 53rd and my 54th birthday Tokyo* and I've only had the stuff a couple of weeks. Perhaps I'd better put some in the safe after all.

18 comments:

Ron Pattinson said...

If you ever fancy a go at an historic beer, I've recipes for just about anything you can name.

Woolpack Dave said...

Thanks Ron, it's very likely I'll take you up on that.

Saruman said...

From the sounds of things, you need to brew your own Tokyo :D
You have done very well on the IPA style and I know you have done a stout (yet to try it).
How about a wheat beer?
Or a style I fell in love with before I got to your place on Thursday was Dark mild.

Cooking Lager said...

Why not have a bash at a munich helles? An unpasturised none adjunct lager would not destroy your integrity, and would even be drinkable to the likes of me

Woolpack Dave said...

I've done a mild before, but doesn't sell fast enough. Ties up too many of my casks and sometimes it gets thrown out.

I don't think I'm quite up to Tokyo* strength yet. I need a whole new set of knowledge. Still, there is a Guild seminar on barley wine in October....

To do wheat beer justice you need a different yeast. Same with lager.

I do agree though, a none adjunct nicely cool fermented lager is worthy of consideration. Perhaps when I can spare a fermenter for 6 weeks in the winter.

Saruman said...

Different yeast is a problem? That raises a question I meant to ask you about yeast. As a homebrewer I buy either a vial of liquid yeast or a sachet of dry yeast. Each a different type depending on the style I am making.
Are you using the same strain for all your beers?

I am not sure how you organise your yeast on a larger scale like yours but I see no reason you could not culture some yeast even from a homebrew sized vial and keep it in the fridge.

Oh and do you reuse your yeast? some homrebrewers do but since the cost of yeast is so minimal for homebrewing, I see no reason to other than to impart some flavours from the last batch.

Crown Brewer Stu said...

Wheat Beer Yeast WB-06 from Farams

StringersBeer said...

We do a dark mild nowadays, but we just call it "Dark Country". We hope it's easier to sell a "dark, lightly hopped ale with a refreshing dry finish" than a "Mild". And of course, we're not the only ones. Perhaps the "stealth mild" should be a recognised style in its own right.

Come to think of it, didn't you do a proper imitation lager, made from malt, rather than the broken biscuits & old bus tickets they use for cooking lager, [searches...] Saazy Lamm? How hard was it to clean and fill keg(s) without special kit?

Woolpack Dave said...

Yeast, mmm, what would we do without it?

I perhaps was not really saying getting a different yeasts is a problem. It's just another complication, but at least an interesting one.

I've got Firmentis S-33 and T-58. Final Frontier used T-58. Normally I use Nottingham. Zippy Red was fermented with Nottingham. I always use dried yeast to eliminate yeast infection problems. I have too many gaps in my brewing to successfully pitch on.

Apparently S-33 is OK for Wit Bier.

A Firmentis pack is 500g and costs around £18 I think. Once it's open it is supposed to be used within one week. I use 250g per 2.25brl brew. I'd prefer not to waste £9 worth of yeast per brew. It might not seem much but look after the pennies and .......

Woolpack Dave said...

Stringers, yes I did put a beer in a keg. It wasn't a lager though. Perhaps no less a lager than some of the main steam fizzy things out there, but it worked.

I just transferred 30l from a stillaged cask into the keg. No filtering. I just let the finings in the cask do the job. The problem is, without an force carbonation it takes ages for the gas in the keg to carbonate the beer.

You need no special kit but a conditioning tank might be handy. I'll show you the keg next time you deliver me some beer.

Saruman said...

Ah nottingham is a favourite. I have plenty of S33 at home too and used it with great results, especially with my Raspberry beer which gave it a nice Belgian feel.

Barm said...

If you can afford the storage space, you could do a nice strong winter warmer and mature it until Christmas time.

Wurst/Whorst- Brewing Arts Instructor, CEO APRK said...

In brewing circles, S-33 is the old EDME strain. It supposedly has NO Belgian character at all.

I think you should brew a West Coast Pale Ale. Get hold of some Simcoe, Amarillo, Summit and Columbus hops. Something along the lines of Rooster's Yankee or Dark Star's American Pale Ale. If you need a brewing adviser or director, I'm currently running a special offer.

Woolpack Dave said...

Wurst, I suspect even with your special offer, I couldn't afford to pay for your skills.

But I'll definitely look up those hops. I've never used any of them. Thanks for the tip.

Even T-58 didn't overwhelm me with Belgian style, although it is there. I suspect I need to up the ABV to really get it.

Peter Brissenden said...

Simcoe and Amarillo are really nice hops for a refreshing, light, summery beer.

Halletauer and Cascade together are a winning combo too.

Oblivious said...

What about a Saison given its harvest time

I can back up Wurst S-33 is not a Belgian yeast, quite neutral great for porters

Brewferm Blanche (wheat) is good for a wit and would get you in the ball park for a Saison

Erlangernick said...

IMO, the classic PNW hopping scheme is based on the old mid-90's trinity of Chinook, Centennial, and Cascades. All these new, fancy ones are unknown to me, but then I've not brewed since 1997.

The Hawkshead Pale (3.5%!) was perhaps the best beer I'd encountered in 5 days of Lancastrian/Cumbrian pub exploration last week, and I'll be damned if it wasn't simply hopped with Cascades.

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