Category Archives: Recipes

IPA – John Company

It was long overdue for me to have a go at an IPA. If you’ve been watching the soi disant craft beer scene at all, you’ll know that they are everywhere just at present. In the US especially they seem to have adopted IPA as their own and, in many cases pushed the style to the very limits of its characteristics. This very specifically isn’t an American IPA, its a much more traditional British one with moderate hoppiness while trying to maintain a balance with the malt.

Assuming that you know the background to where IPAs come from (and why they are so named), you may also recall that “The John Company” was the nickname of the East India Company, responsible for (depending on your perspective) either opening up trade to the East Indies during the 17th – 19th centuries, or for being an agent of colonial oppression during that period.

John Company IPA.

Brewdate: 27/5/2017, All grain, BIAB, 6L.
Target: OG 1.056 / IBU 45 / ABV 5   Actual: OG 1056 / ABV 5.5

  • 1.9Kg Pale malt (92%)
  • 75g Crystal malt 60L (3.7%)
  • 75g Wheat malt
  • 12g East Kent Goldings (4.5% AA) – 60 min
  • 6g Fuggles (5% AA) – 60 min
  • 4g East Kent Goldings  – 30 min
  • 13g East Kent Goldings  – 10 min
  • 11g Target (5% AA) dry hop, 10 days
  • 1tsp Irish Moss (10 mins)
  • 5.5g Safale S04 yeast
  1. 6.2L strike water heated to 67°C, mashed for 90 mins (NB temp dropped in the last 30 mins)
  2. Mash out at 82°C for 10 minutes
  3. 4L of first runnings
  4. Dunk sparged bag in 7L cold water for 5 minutes
  5. Combined to make a preboil volume of just over 11L
  6. 60 minute boil
  7. Pitched 7.6L, fermented at 21°C for 2 weeks
  8. Bottled 6L, 3 weeks room temp conditioning then refridgerated.

Tasting notes.
Clean taste with a good hop/malt balance but slightly hop-heavy. Slight fuzziness on the tongue and quite cloudy at both cold & room temps. Reduce IBUs next batch and watch the mash temp!

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Summer Ale – Stormwatch

This time I actually planned to do a light summer beer and found a couple of different recipes for Hopback Summer Lightning (mostly tweaked versions of the Graham Wheeler recipe). I took these and tinkered with them a little further, more out of bloody-mindedness than anything else in particular.

I’m still getting lousy efficiencies (not sure why I don’t seem to be able to get much over 50%) so if you’re doing better then your overall grain bill will be too high and can be lowered, but the ratios came out very nicely. It’s also a really simple recipe.

Stormwatch Summer Ale.

Brewdate: 11/5/2017, All grain, BIAB, 4.5L.
Target: OG 1.046 / IBU 45 / ABV 4.2   Actual: OG 1045 / ABV 3.8

  • 1.2Kg Pale Malt (100%)
  • 9g Challenger hops (60 min)
  • 3g EKG (15 min)
  • 2g EKG (0 min)
  • 1tsp Irish Moss
  • 3g Ale Yeast (Muntons Premium Gold)
  1. Mash grains in the bag for 90 minutes at 66°C
  2. Mash out at 82°C for 10 minutes.
  3. 60 minute boil with three hop additions.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 10 min.
  5. Remove the hop bags and cool in the sink  to about 20°C (about 20 mins)
  6. Check the OG, siphon into demijohn  and put in water bath at 20°C then pitch the yeast.
  7. Two weeks fermenting at 20°C then racked out into bottling bucket with priming sugar (26g sugar in 120ml water) , bottled and conditioned at room temp for 2 weeks.

Light Bitter – Go For It

First step into all-grain brewing and I’ve clearly got a few problems to sort out with efficiency as my OG fairly significantly failed to hit the mark.
That, of course, is why you do test batches at the 4.5 litre brew length so I don’t have an entire cupboard full to get through. As it turned out, what has emerged is something very light tasting and low alcohol – what some US brewers seem to be referring to as “lawnmower beer”.  I think I know what I did wrong (not enough bag squeezing and inconsistent mash temp) so I’ll give this one another go over the next couple of weeks. In the interim – it’s a running beer !!

Go For It Bitter.

Brewdate: 25/4/2017, All grain, BIAB, 4.5L.
Target: OG 1052 / IBU 36 / ABV 5.0 Actual: OG 1040 / ABV 3.1

  • 860g Pale Malt
  • 160g Crystal Malt
  • 60g Wheat Malt
  • 24g (12g + 6g + 6g) East Kent Goldings hops
  • 1tsp Irish Moss
  • 3g Ale Yeast (Muntons Premium Gold)
  1. Mash grains in the bag for 90 minutes at 67°C
  2. Mash out at 82°C for 10 minutes.
  3. 60 minute boil with hop additions at 60 (12g), 15 (6g + Irish Moss) and 0 (6g) minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 10 min.
  5. Remove the hop bags and cool in the sink  to about 20°C (about 20 mins)
  6. Check the OG, siphon into demijohn  and put in water bath at 20°C then pitch the yeast.
  7. Two weeks fermenting at 20°C then racked out into bottling bucket with priming sugar (26g sugar in 120ml water) , bottled and conditioned at room temp for 2 weeks.

Best Bitter – Albion

Albion Best

I thought it was time to have a go at brewing a fairly generic British ‘Best Bitter’ and, with one exception, it worked out pretty well. Still not quite as clear as I would have liked, but the biggest variation from my planning was that it had a mild, but still recognisable, hint of ginger.

Obviously when you make a strong ginger beer, you need to take extreme measures when it comes to cleaning out your FV and I’d not quite been rigorous enough. A scout around the blogs suggests that I’m not the first person to have fallen foul of this one, and that a long soak in bicarb solution or dilute bleach is the way forward…or a new FV!

Albion Best Bitter.

Brewdate: 7/3/2017, Extract with grains, 19L.
Target: OG 1040 / IBU 32 / ABV 4.5 Actual: OG 1042 / ABV 4.9

  • 2Kg Light DME (Muntons Maris Otter)
  • 300g Amber DME
  • 500g Crystal Malt (Youngs)
  • 97g (62 + 35g) Fuggles hops
  • 1tsp Irish Moss
  • 6g Ale Yeast (Muntons Premium Gold)
  1. Heat 10L of water to 70°C (takes about 30 mins), steep the crystal malt in a bag for 30 minutes then discard and top up to 11L.
  2. Bring back to the boil and stir in the malt extract.
  3. Bring back to the boil, stir in the bittering hops (62g)and boil for 45 min.
  4. Add the flavouring hops (35g) and the Irish Moss, boil for 15 min.
  5. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 10 min.
  6. Remove the hop bags and cool in the sink  to about 30°C (about 30 mins)
  7. Pour into FV and top up the water to 20L aerating well and then stirring vigorously to make sure they are well mixed. Check the OG (1042) and put in water bath to warm to 21°C then pitch the yeast.
  8. Two weeks fermenting at 21°C then racked out (OG 1004- wow!) so nominal ABV of 4.9%.Racked into bottling bucket with priming sugar (110g sugar in 480ml water) , bottled and conditioned at room temp for 2 weeks.

Hopped Ginger Beer – “Red Panda”

hopped-ginger-beerReading some of the posts in the homebrew forums, I realise how incredibly fortunate I am in having a huge amount of tolerance and support from my beloved for the strange smells and liquids which emerge periodically from the kitchen.  She loves ginger beer, although I often find it too sweet, so this is a home brew-hybrid – a ginger beer well hopped to provide some bitterness to offset the intrinsic sweetness.

Red Panda Hopped Ginger Beer.

Brewdate: 14/2/2017, Malt Extract with spices , 20L.
Target: OG 1035 / IBU 38 / ABV 4.9 Actual: OG 1034 / ABV

  • 980g ginger beer concentrate (Coopers)
  • 1kg granulated sugar
  • 60g Cascade hops (40g bittering + 20g flavouring)
  • 7g Ale yeast (Coopers)
  1. Heat 10L water to 50°C. Add half the extract and the sugar to teh fermenter, then pour in the water. Stir until dissolved.
  2. Bring another 10L of water  to the boil and stir in the other half of the extract.
  3. Bring back to the boil and add the first charge (40g) of bittering hops.
  4. Boil for 15 minutes.
  5. Add second charge of flavouring hops (20g)
  6. Boil for 15 minutes, then remove from heat.
  7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove hop parcels.
  8. Start the yeast starter
  9. Cool in water bath for 30 minutes.
  10. Add to the fermenter and mix well.
  11. Cool or warm as appropriate to 20-22°C then pitch yeast.
  12. Ferment at constant temperature for 6 days.

American Pale – “Huddled Masses”

american-paleI decided that to ‘celebrate’ the arrival in the White House of one Donald J Trump, I would brew a classic American Pale.

That was the plan, anyway, but circumstances and errors on my part meant that it ended up deviating from that into something rather different, but rather good in its own way.

The recipe started off as a ‘West Coast pale Ale’ recipe from byo.com but, as usual, was subject to some minor initial tweaking based on availability of ingredients.

Huddled Masses American Pale Ale.

Brewdate: 24/1/2017, Extract with grains, 19L.
Target: OG 1050 / IBU 40 / ABV 4.9 Actual: OG 1050 / IBU ?? / ABV 5.2

  • 3Kg Extra Light LME (Muntons Maris Otter)
  • 230g Crystal Malt (Youngs)
  • 142g (57 + 28 + 57) Cascade hops
  • 6g Ale Yeast (Muntons Premium Gold)
  1. Heat 11.4L of water to 70°C, steep the crystal malt for 30 minutes then remove the bag.
  2. Bring back to the boil and stir in the malt extract.
  3. Bring back to the boil and stir in the bittering hops (57g)
  4. Boil for 30 minutes then add the flavouring hops (28g)
  5. Boil for 15 minutes then take off the heat.
  6. Add the aroma hops (57g)
  7. Leave for 10 minutes then transfer to cold water bath to cool after removing hop bags. (Mistake #1: I left the hop bags in by accident and left it to cool for 7 hours while I went out. So rather than the 40 IBUs I was planning, I have a completely unguessable  extremely hoppy but rather nice overhopped Pale)
  8. Finally removed the hop bags, transferred to fermenter and topped up the water to 19L. Put in the water bath and when temperature rose to 21°C checked the OG (1050) and pitched the yeast.
  9. Two weeks fermenting at 21°C then racked out (OG 1010) so nominal ABV of 5.2%.(Mistake #2: Had a brain fart and racked into bottling bucket with priming sugar (110g sugar in 480ml water) but then left it to condition in the bottling bucket! So I ended up doing a forced carbonation under bottled C02 in a pressure barrel.)