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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Lazy Brew Day

Due to being busy with work and family commitments I've found it difficult to fit in any brew days for a few months now - since mid-September in fact.

I managed to fit in an emergency brew day a few weeks ago to stock up for Christmas, brewing an old favourite that I knew would be ready for drinking in a short space of time.

Today is my first day of the Christmas holidays and felt it time to put another brew on ready for the New Year. Again I didn't want to do anything adventurous and wanted something tried and tested that would get me ready for more experimental stuff after Christmas.

I decided to go for a Full Mash "kit". The last time I did one of these it was the Brupaks London Bitter kit which turned out wonderfully as it was my first attempt at a full mash beer. All the ingredients were measured out and packaged in a kit with some instructions. The only down side was that the instructions were rather generic and it wasn't made clear as to what the hop schedule should be.

My local micro brewery pub is Fulstow Brewery's Gas Lamp pub so I was interested to find that they sold kits of their beers at the local home brew shop. All of these kits are based on the breweries commercial beers, be it regular beers like Fulstow Common (my favourite) or one-off special beers like Wafty Crank.

The kits themselves are very well put together. They contain all the ingredients required (Grain and hops), the yeast, yeast nutrient, and a sachet of protofloc. It also comes with a set of very detailed instructions which would be particularly useful for an inexperienced brewer.

Everything is individually packaged and clearly labelled. The hops are separated into bittering and aroma and the instructions explain very clearly what should be done and when. The hops come in hop bags in case the brewer doesn't have a hop filter and can be dropped in inside the bag or emptied out into the boiler to do their thing as nature intended.

The kits themselves are very reasonably priced - especially considering the quality of the kit and the contents provided. It is based on a brew house efficiency of about 80% which I don't have a problem achieving but it might be a consideration for anyone new to AG brewing.

At the end of the brew day I've ended up with 23 ltrs of wort at an OG of 1.038. So here's some pictures of the days events.

Preparing the brewing liquor - 31ml of CRS to reduce the residual alkalinity to around 50ppm CaCO3

2tsp Gypsum & 3/4 tsp Calcium Chloride

My brewery.... Tidy isn't it :p

Mashing in

Mash set at 65oC (as per instructions guv'). Mash is for 60mins today.

Sparge run off

The hop shot!

Mmmmm malty smooth

Nearly there

....and rest.

An alien life form?

Spot on 1.038 - Huzzah!

Break material dropping clear.
All in all a successful and enjoyable day of brewing without the normal messing with scales and weighing.

Happy days!

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