Second attampt at light pale ale. Need to get it more bitter, so hop profile will differ from v1. Also will add flaked barley and rice as adjuncts - experimenting with how these affect brew. Have had water analysis and will add DWB to Mash stage to see if it helps pH stay around the 5.2 mark.
Variation on Fuller London Porter recipe. Hop profile is different to original recipe (more hoppy). Will also add a bit of flaked maize to see what it does. Also experimenting with a mash step at 40°C prior to saccarification rest at 66°C as this is reputed to create a btter enzyme balance for the main rest stage.
Variation on Hop Back Summer Lightning recipe from the CAMRA's Brew Your Own British Ale book. Equipment used - Grainfather Connect, Fast Ferment Conical Fermenter, Plastic Barrel fitted with s30 CO2 injector. Main variation is in hops - adding Mandarina Bavaria as aroma hop and EKG for flame out rather than Golding. Also adding extra Mandarina Bavaria with Challenger as bittering hop.
Had issues with fermentation temperature. Using a heating element (aquarium style) in the fermenter, but temperatrure was a bit high at 24C, so the brew started frothing up and out of the airlock after about a day. I turned off the heating elemnt and removed it from the brew and resorted to a mini external heater (radiator style) to regulate ambient temperature. This resolved the frothing and the brew fermented as expected. Primary fermentation was a week. Removed trub from collection ball and added 250g malt extract for secondary fermentation (16th December). I kegged the brew on the 21st December as the family was travelling to London for Xmas. I filled a mini Keg (5 litre) and used a CO2 dispensing system to fill about 10 to 12 bottles with added carbonation drops. The rest of the brew was put into a 25 litre keg to condition further and extra CO2 injected to prevent oxidisation effects.
In the end the ABV was calculated to be about 4.2 to 4.3%, which is lower than rated (4.9%).
2nd brew - total contrast to first brew experience. Things went incredibly smoothly this time. Use of rice husks in mash and having an appropriate amount of grain for Grainfather meant the sparging was successful - no stuck mash. The resultant wort was more limpid and tasted very sweet and pleasant.
pH measured was initially still on the acidic side so added 7.5ml Calcium Sulphate which brought the pH up to 5.0 to 5.2.
Boil went well, started with 30 litres wort and ended with about 25 to 26 litres (100 min boil)
Taste was quite bitter as I had used a lot of hops for bittering, but still very rich and pleasant malty flavour.
I had issues with fermentation stage - using a conical fermentor from FastFerment for the first time.
There was no bubbling coming from the airlock - I thought the yeast had failed, but it was fine - looks like the lid of the Fastferment conical does not close securely enough. I hope to remedy this for next brew by use of teflon tape around the screw threads
Had a real issue with the sparge - my mash had become very stuck. Was due to small grain bill used which required extra water to top up to level of top filter plate. But this extra water may have contributed to the stuck mash scenario. The sparge process had to be done painstakingly by squeezing the water through the porridge-like grain using the paddle. Should have taken 30 minutes but took 3 to 4 hours. Painful lessons learnt in my first brew - if using a small grain bill with Grainfather, buy the micro piping as this will avoid heartache and save time and effort. The flavour of the resulting wort was very palatable - probably because I was using very pale malt, so not harsh bitterness or astringency from excessive roasting.
I will also try using rice husks in the mash in future as I have seen this may help with sparge drainage issues.
The rest of the brew process went smoothly, except I misjudged use of Calcium Sulphate and pH of wort was at 4.5, which is a bit low. I will use l
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