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British-ish Ale

sm20081202-003Sunday was a brew day, despite the cold and rain that persisted throughout the entire afternoon. This is likely my last for the year, as we’ve got stuff planned for the next two weekends, and then its our annual trek to Atlanta to spend the holidays with our families. This round was 10 gallons of a British ale, although I’m not sure if it qualifies as a Bitter or maybe a darkish Pale. I kept the recipe really simple, with just 2-row, a pound of Special Roast, and a pound of Crystal 40L. The hops were Brewer’s Gold for Bittering and Fuggles for Flavor / Aroma, but since the ingredients are actually all American – Its kind of a British style ale made with American ingredients… hence “British-ish”.

The yeast, White Labs’ Burton Ale (WLP023) has a very unique and decidedly English character of pears and fruit that will hopefully pull it firmly over into a Bass or similar vein… The vial had expired back in early August, however after 48 hours of propogation on the stir plate (about half of that with filtered air providing fresh O2), the yeast seemed very healthy and ready to do its duty.

The brew day itself went very well. No stuck mashes, the wort that went into the kettle was probably some of the clearest I’ve ever managed, and the wort that made it into the fermenters was also relatively free of trub. The cooler groundwater temperatures allowed me to cool from a boil to pitching temperatures in just under 25 minutes. Start to finish took about 6 hours, my norm for a 10 gallon batch.

I am really looking forward to trying this one when it is ready.

Categories: Brew session
  1. December 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Looks tastey already if you ask me.

    Question for you, does the thermal insulation from the sleeping bag provide enough heat retention for you to do your primary fermentation in your basement?

  2. brewznet
    December 3, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    It seems to. This strain likes it between 68-73 degrees, and it is running around 62-63 in the basement. I pitched at around 65 degrees, and when I checked the temperature this morning it was at 68, and last night it was a little higher (around 70). Fermentation is winding down, so the sleeping bag held in enough of the heat generated by the yeast to kick it up into the proper range.

    For winter brewing of belgians, I typically employ a heating pad in addition to the sleeping bag (because I haven’t bought one of those wrap heaters yet…)

    A better alternative to the sleeping bag would be using one of the neoprene carboy bags that MoreBeer sells, but they are a bit pricey for me to invest in 3 or 4 of them…

  3. December 3, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Yeah, I’m just starting to hit the point where it is almost too cool to do primary fermentations in the basement, and I don’t like doing it upstairs that much because the beer has to be moved more often. I may try the ‘sleeping bag technique’. I’m actually going to try and brew tonight, we’ll see how that goes 😉

  4. December 4, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    I tried the sleeping bag method last night, I will let you know how much of a difference I think it made.

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