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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Monday - Brew Day

Monday arrived and I got busy and started to brew my latest batch. Added 2730 grams of light dried malt extract to 10 litres of water at 40C and poured into the boiler. Topped the boiler up with a further 8 litres of water and switched on. After 20 minutes the wort came to the boil and only just stopped short of the top of the boiler. I added 26 grams of Progress hops and 26 grams of Willamete hops (in lieu of Whitbread Golding hops. The wort boiled away for 80 minutes when I added a further 17 grams of Willamete hopes and 3 grams of Irish moss. After a further 10 minutes the boiler was switched off. The wort was allowed to cool and the trub to settle to the bottom of the boiler. After sterilising the fermenting vessel I poured in 6 litres of cold mineral water. I then ran off the wort from the boiler through a muslin bag stretched over a fine metal mesh strainer to catch any stray hop seeds or other debris that found its way through the hops filter. I then topped up to 23 litres with cold mineral water and placed the fermenting vessel into my fermenting cupboard. I took a gravity reading and was a bit concerned that the reading was 1.032 instead of the expected 1.040. However, I think this may be due to the fact that the wort had not mixed properly with the cold water that was at the bottom of the fermenting vessel. If the final gravity comes out at 1.040 then the brew will only be about 3%. A really, really good session beer but not of sufficient strength. I am hoping that the original gravity was wrong. I shall take another one today. By using cold bottles of mineral water I was able to pitch the yeast straight away. I was, again, a little concerned because the wort did seem a little cold. However, the yeast I used Safale US-05 will work within a temperature range of 15-24C. So my concerns were a bit unfounded. I will just have to make sure that the cupboard stays at a steady 22C for best results.

The brew is bubbling away nicely and should prove to be another good 'un.

Pete is back from his travels in New Zealand and he has been in touch. Looks like a pub stroll tomorrow. Yes I have missed that and am looking forward to it very much.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Curry Night At Weatherspoons

Thursday and curry night at the Staple Hill Oak. Went with Geoff, Tony and Alaniss for our weekly curry. Started with a Chesil 4.1% which was very good. On then to the object of the visit and the curry. I opted for a Lamb Chatanindu even though I had had a not very nice experience a few weeks ago. There was a definite improvement but it still had a few pieces of gristle in it, However, it was very tasty and I did enjoy it. After our curry we had a Rising Pheonix 4.5% very nice. Next was a Black Squirrel 3.9%. A decent enough dark beer but I wouldn't want to drink it all night.Ended with a Otter Head 5.6% a little strong but tasty. Again I would not want to drink that all night either!

The 3 Old Gits will be back soon from New Zealand with a suitcase full of photographs no doubt. I may splash a few on this and other pages. Watch this space.It also means that Pete will be free to resume the Wednesday pub stroll. Looking forward to that.

Monday will be brew day. I have received my order of ingredients so am good to go. I am nearly at the end of my stock of hops so perhaps I may get a bit more adventurous in future months.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

To Boil or not to Boil

I have been thinking about future brews and have decided to revert to a method I used when I was brewing beer from kits. This involved the use of bottled water to top up and also cool the hot wort. This method would add a further £2 to each brew. However, it would mean that I would save on electricity costs by not having to boil some 20 litres of tap water. I could also put the bottled water into the fridge before use. Hopefully this would help to cool the hot wort faster. This would reduce the risk of infection before the wort is cool enough to add the yeast. Also as an added bonus it would help to aereate the wort before the yeast goes in. For yeast to work properly and get going quickly it needs lots of oxygen. There is to be another brew day next Monday so I will try it then. I am feeling quite smug at the moment. I hope my smugness does not come unstuck next Monday! Oh well we will no doubt see.

Monday - New Brew Day

The transition from a Friday brew day to a Monday brew day proved to be successful. Well almost. The actual brewing went without any problems. However, I did forget to put in the Irish moss 10 minutes before the end of the boil. This should not prove to be much of a problem. The brew itself should be ruby coloured which hopefully should mean that any protein haze will not be noticeable.

I boiled about 20 litres of water on Sunday to provide about 15 litres of cold water for the Monday brew. On Monday I dissolved 2 kgs of light dried malt extract in 10 litres of water at 40C and added to the boiler. This was then topped up with 8 litres of water at 40C. To this mix I added 245 grams of crystal malt and 25 grams of black malt secured in a filter bag and suspended in the boiler so that it did not come into contact with the heating element. This was then brought to the boil when I added 22 grams of Target hops. The wort was then allowed to continuing boiling for 45 minutes when I added 310 grams of caster sugar. At least it should have been 310 grams but I spilled a few grams on the brewery floor. Anyway I then left this mixture to boil for a further 45 minutes making a total of 90 minutes boiling. I then switched the boiler off and allowed to cool to about 80C when I added 4 grams of Styrian Golding hops. A further hour then passed. After sterilising the fermenting vessel I ran off about 5 litres of the previously boiled and cooled water into the vessel and then ran off the wort from the boiler and topped up to 23 litres with about 10 litres of the cold water that was boiled the day before. At this point I realised that I had forgotten the Irish moss but decided that it probably didn't matter for this particular brew. The wort was then left for a few more hours to wait for the temperature of the wort to fall to below 30C. At about 26C I placed the fermenting vessel in the cupboard and added the re-hydrated yeast sealed the vessel and left overnight.

On Tuesday afternoon I checked the cupboard and saw that the new brew was bubbling away very nicely and chalked up another successful brew. Is this smug or what?

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Latest Brew Into The Pressure Barrel

The final gravity was the same as yesterday: 1.010 so I decided to get the fermented wort into the barrel. After sterilising the barrel and the necessary length of tube I put 77 grams of caster sugar into the barrel. It was then a simple matter of running the wort off into the barrel, sealing the lid and placing into the fermenting cupboard. The barrel will remain there for 3 to 4 days and then into the garage to condition.

Fridays are no longer new brew days. That distinction has been transferred to Mondays. So this Monday will be a brew day providing that I have go all the necessary ingredients. So watch this space for more news.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Checking the Latest Brew

I checked the gravity of my latest brew. It came out at 1.010. I will take another reading tomorrow. If it is the same or close I will barrel it. This brew will need to be dry hopped. So I will use up the few grams or so of golding hops I still have lying around. Dry hopping is the practice of putting some hops into the barrel after fermentation has been completed. This will give help my brew have a better aroma. As we all know smell and taste are intertwined. I will then place it in the fermenting cupboard for 3 days or so. Then It will go into the garage for 3 months or so.

Next brew day will next Friday 28 Nov 10 which would have been my 40th wedding anniverery if the old cow had not treated me so badly and bedded a string of babbling idiots some 28 years ago. Stupid bitch!

Thursday and Curry Night

 Another successful curry night at the Staple Hill Oak. Arrived with Geff and Michelle and met Duncan, Mary and John  and ordered a Lumford 3.9%. I was looking forward to this beer. However, as it was being poured it didn't look too good and it had bits of yeast floating in it. The taste wasn't quite right either so we settled for a Red Kite 4.3% a dark red beer. I don't mind dark beers but prefer the more paler versions. Curry was next on the agenda so I ordered a Chicken Tikka Masala. I ate this without incident though Michelle ate my poppadoms! We had a Strawberry Line 5% with our curry. This really does have a hint of strawberries. Very delicious indeed. Perhaps I could find a recipe for this beer and have a go at brewing it myself. Should be ready for late spring early summer. Just right.

Today should have been another brew day but owing to the fact that I still haven't got around to ordering a new fermenting vessel I have had to put it off

Wednesday - Non Beer Day

Pete is still in New Zealand (I'm not envious at all, no really I'm not, well maybe just a little bit. Swine that he is). So no pub stroll today. Not much else to write about. Look out for tomorrows blog.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Friday - Brew Day

Being a Friday it was yet again time to create a new brew although I am still a little limited by the remaining hops I have vowed to use up. I have settled for another low ABV pale ale. Using Golding and Styrian Goliding hops together with dried light malt extract. I started with about 23 litres of water at 40C into which I mixed 2684 grams of dried malt extract. I brought this to the boil and added 45 grams of Golding hops. 75 minutes later I added 15 grams of Styrian Golding hops and 3 grams of Irish moss. After a total of 90 minutes of boiling this mixture I turned the boiler off and left for a further 90 minutes for the wort to cool and for the dregs to settle on the bottom. I then added about 5 litres of previously boiled cold water to the fermenting vessel and poured off the wort into this. When the boiler was empty I topped up the FV to 23 litres with the remaining cold water. This was then left in the cold so the temperature could drop to below 30C. When the wort was at about 28C I added rehydrated yeast and stirred in and placed in the fermenting cupboard. A slight hiccup. Even though I had left the lid off the boiler I still had a slight over boil. This was because I put 23 litres of water in the boiler instead of the usual 17 litres. My boiler has a 50 litre capacity but anything over 20 litres will produce a boil over. Next brew day I will try 18 litres and see if that cures the problem.

This morning I checked and lo and behold the brew was bubbling away very nicely. Always a good sign I find.

I have heard from the three old gits in New Zealand CLICK HERE to read about their adventures.

Thursday At Weatherspoons

Another Thursday and another curry night at the Staple Hill Oak. Real Ale and Cider Festival still going. Strolled in with Geoff and Tony met Duncan, Mary and John inside and joined by Alannis later. Started with a Signal Box 4.1%. and a brown ale. I don't think that I have had a brown ale from the cask before. I used to drink Watney's brown by the pint from a bottle and mixed Mann's brown ale and a bitter for a brown ale split when I was oh so much younger. Really enjoyed this offering. We ordered our curry and I had Tandoori Vegetable Kebabs Sweet potato, chickpeas, peas and chana lentils are mixed with tandoori masala and shaped into kebabs, crumbed with parsley and deep fried, with tarka daal This dish originates from central India. Red and chana lentils are cooked with tomato and coriander, then flavoured with garlic and cumin. Different from the usual curry but very delicious. The salad was refreshing with the dips but I think they left off my naan bread. I didn't complain because I had already eaten about 3/4 of it before I realised. Anyway onto another pint this time Hairway to Steaven 5%. This ale has a very distinctive taste that I liked. However, always willing to try a beer I haven't tasted before I finished with a Titanic, New York Wheat Porter 4.2%. Another very enjoyable beer that did not disappoint.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Barrelling of the New Brew

After sterilising a pressure barrel and a plastic tube I added 75 grams of light dried spray malt. Then off to the brewing shed and there transferred the fermented wort to the barrel. Final gravity was 1.006 and this should give an ABV of about 3.3% although a few more point will be picked up in the barrel. 3.5% or 3.6% ABV when I come to drink it in about 2-3 months.

No pub strolling today as Pete is still away. I have still not heard from the three old gits. I have also been speculating on why. Click Here to take part in a fun filled survey.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Curry Night @ Weatherspoons

Went with Geoff and Alannis to the Staple Hill Oak last night just the three of us. The real ale and cider festival is still on. Started with a pint of ST AUSTELL COXSWAIN’S SPECIAL 4.0% ABV St Austell Brewery, Cornwall. Est. 1851 This occasionally brewed, mid-coloured and robust ale has a solid keel of Maris Otter malt and is fitted out with a sweet and toasty, lightly roasted grain flavour, before the powerful hop flavours take command to deliver the decisive action on the taste buds. Hops used: Admiral, First Gold, Goldings Beer style: best bitter. Then onto the curry ordered the Lamb Chettinadu This dish originates from the Chettinad region of India. Pieces of diced lamb are cooked with traditional Chettinad spices, in a tomato & coconut sauce, with fennel, cinnamon and black pepper. There was a slight problem with this curry. The lamb was extremely grisly and the sauce was very sloppy. Not really pleasant at all. Needless to say I won't be having that particular curry anytime soon. I had the same curry in the same place about 2 weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Perhaps I should have complained to the manager, I usually would. But that may have jeopardised our stay as Alannis is underaged and children have to leave by 9 pm. Anyway back to the beer. I had a WOODFORDE’S ONCE BITTERN 4.1% ABV Woodforde’s Brewery, Norfolk. Est. 1980 This copper-coloured ale has a distinctive aroma of rich spice and citrus fruits, along with a palate which blends sweet malt, fruit and warm spice flavours, before developing into a pleasing, dry finish. They had some different beers to try but they were either too strong like Wychwood King Goblin 6.0% ABV or not to my fancy like Greene King Bretwalda 4.1%. I may gird my loins and a pint next week. We still had to leave a little bit earlier than we would have liked but in retrospect it was good. Not too much to drink. It's not all about getting drunk. It is about enjoyment and taste.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Wednesday Non Beer Day and Three Old Gits in New Zealand

So because my pub strolling buddy is in New Zealand and no other volunteer, of the blond female kind has come forward, today will sadly, be a non beer day. However, I have just tried a very small sample of the Timothy Taylor Best Bitter (the one that caused all the trouble on Saturday night last). I am very happy to report that it has settled down and is indeed very drinkable.

Also no word from New Zealand. It is a far and exotic land and three old git innocents on the loose could get up to and attract all kinds of trouble. So anything could have happened . It could well be that they have indeed been captured by old git slave traders. That is slave traders that deal in old gits and not slave traders that are old gits. Though I suppose They could be both old git slave traders and slave traders in old gits. So if they have been abducted who would they be sold to. Manual work would probably be out of the question what with Jim's back, Richard's knees and Pete's laid backness not much actual work would get done. They would have to be employed in a more intellectual capacity. Jim could design kitchens and interior decoration. Richard could invent things that are really useful like a self watering flower pot. And Pete could organise roofing and scaffolding contractors.

My guess is that all three of them together would drive any would be slave owner to complete and utter distraction. They would then happily pay the said three gits to run away. But of course that all takes time. So until someone in the UK actually hears from them the slavery excuse seems to be the only logical explanation for the lack of communication to date even after applying the principles of Occum's Razor.  Keep watching this space and the posting on the Three Old Gits Loose In New Zealand blog.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Three Old Gits Loose in New Zealand

Follow the adventures of 3 old gits as they travel across New Zealand.

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