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Monday, 10 May 2010

Competition Update And Other Stuff!

My competition brew has been in secondary fermentation for over a week and I moved it into an environment where it can condition now - probably for up to a month.

I was interested to find out what it was tasting like at this stage though. I was especially keen to try a sample that had been bottled in similar bottles to the competition beers so I could get an idea of the aroma, taste and carbonation from them.

I had bottled some of the beers in some 330ml glass bottles for this reason and on cracking one open there is a fantastic hop aroma, the taste is hoppy with a sweet maltiness and finished off by a bite of bitterness and happily the carbonation is spot on for my tastes. The only disappointment at this stage was the lack of head formation from the bottle, but I know that will improve given time.

The decision to use some chocolate malt to provide additional colour and flavour on top of the crystal malt was a good one and allowed me to use less crystal malt than in previous brews.

So overall I an very happy with the latest incarnation of my Farwelter'd Ale. Hopefully conditioning will only improve it further!

Just over a week ago I had another brew day and decided to try the Graham Wheeler recipe for a beer in the style of Old Speckled Hen. I'd made it before as an extract brew and really wanted to revisit it now I've got more experience and have moved onto full mash brewing. I was especially keen to try the packet of Windsor yeast I had been saving. I thought the extra flavour and sweetness from the yeast would work well with the recipe.

The brew day went very well and the yeast got to work extremely quickly and kept going at a rapid pace for several days and reaching a respectable final gravity (for a medium attenuating yeast) of 1.015. The resulting beer smells and tastes fantastic but is very cloudy. I've heard that this yeast can take a while to settle out and leave the beer bright so I'm considering using auxiliary finings to help out in the keg.

For now though I've racked it off into a secondary fermentor in a slightly cooler environment and added a handful of East Kent Goldings as dry hops. I'll leave it dry hopping until the weekend now and I'll look to keg it up and make room for the next brew day.

Happy Days!

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