I've recently found myself with some extra time on my hands & naturally the thing to do is brew some more beer. I need a stock as I'm often finishing drinking a batch as it's coming into its prime. I'm also off to Manchester soon & will be dropping some beers off with friends, creating space under the stairs for more beer. It's often assumed that I must drink a metric boatload of beer every week, whereas I actually give much of my beer away - particularly if it's a really good one.
A recent tour of Jennings Brewery reminded me that the local water is incredibly soft with hardly any minerals at all in, so I bought some calcium & magnesium sulphate (gypsum & Epsom salts respectively) to alter the water chemistry to favour this beer.
My aim was to make a Belgian-style strong blonde ale.
Mash: 1 hour (water strike temp 70°C) 67°C at start & falling to 63°C at the end.
5 Kg pale malt
1 teaspoon magnesium sulphate
1 teaspoon calcium sulphate
Boil: 1 hour
30g Goldings hops 4.86% alpha acid) added 30 mins from the end.
60g Goldings hops added 15 mins from the end.
90g Goldings hops added 5 mins from the end.
The wort was cooled using my simple wort chiller. As it was being cooled I made a tea out of 25g of dried jasmine flowers & added this. 40g of Goldings hops were added as dry hops to the chilled wort.
I hydrated a packet of Safale M-33 which is an alcohol tolerant, low attenuating yeast. This should give a sweeter, fuller mouthfeel to the finished beer from residual sugars.
I collected 20 litres of cooled wort at 18°C with an Original Gravity of 1.068 & a Final Gravity of 1.024, which should give it 5.8% alcohol at bottling (after priming sugar is added this will be 6.0% in the finished beer) & 37 IBU.
The temperature rose from 18°C initially to 20°C after 48 hours, then fell to 16°C at 7 days. On the 7th day I removed the dry hops & moved the fermentation vessel to a cool place to help clear it where it reached 14°C for 2 days.
I came to bottle the beer & the gravity was 1.024, which was higher than I was expecting but looking at some homebrew forums there are plenty of people who think this beer is done rather than stuck. The taste is sweetish (no kidding - really!) with a good Goldings hop flavour, but still yeasty.
I warmed the beer to 20°C for another 48 hours, then chilled to around 3-5°C for another 48 hours before finding that the gravity hadn't budged a bit. A little less turbid, bit still very cloudy when bottled.
Verdict on bottling - a big bodied beer, with some alcohol warmth but yeasty-bready flavour due to amount of suspended yeast still present. Will need a while to clear this one.