Category Archives: Cask

Cask/Session Pale Ale

caskipa1

I had some ingredients left over from previous batches that I wanted to use up and decided it was high time to pour something though the Beer Engine Caskegerator again.

With the ingredients I wanted to use up a Session IPA made the most sense. It’s arguably more of a session APA, but to me it’s closer to an IPA in terms of hopping, but we’ll just call it a Session Pale Ale. I was looking to make something along the lines of 21st Amendment’s Bitter American, but wanted to keep the serving method in mind, which meant that the body needed to be fairly light and the bitterness, although high, could not be aggressive.  I was originally going to late hop this, but to save a bit of time on brew day I ended up deciding to first wort hop and just hopburst the boil.

1.043 OG
Mashed at 156F
60 min boil
51 IBU according to Beersmith4.2% ABV5 finished gallons
78% 2 row
15% Marris Otter
2.5% Crystal 55
2.5% Crystal 120
2% Victory
1 oz CTZ 15.2% FWH
.5 oz CTZ 15.2% 30 mins
1 oz Cascade 5.6% 10 mins
1 oz Cascade 5.6% 5 mins
1 oz Centennial 11.5% 5 mins
1 oz Cascade 5.6% 0 mins
.5 oz CTZ 15.2% 0 mins

WLP001 – 1 Liter starter
Pitched at 63* and fermented at 65*. Raised 1 degree per day as fermentation slowed down to 69*.  Finished at 1.011 – perfect.
.5 oz Chinook Dry Hop 8 days
.5 oz Centennial Dry Hop 8 days
.5 oz Simcoe Dry Hop 8 days
.5 oz Chinook Dry Hop 4 days
.5 oz Centennial Dry Hop 4 days
.5 oz Simcoe Dry Hop 4 days

Added gelatin and 1 oz of corn sugar and let sit for 10 days before moving to the caskegerator set to 50*.
This was very balanced which made it extremely drinkable. The bitterness was there, but didn’t wear out your palate. There was a bit of malt flavor and some toastiness, but it was a bit behind the bitterness. The more I drank these the more I was able to pick up the hop flavor for some reason. The first few pints were good, and the last few were great (hint of catiness became apparent towards the end, but in a good way).

I’d say the CTZ is the most dominant hop flavor, I barely pick up cascade or centennial. It would have been interesting to do a 30 minute hot steep with all the 10 minute and under additions to see if they could then stand up to the FWH CTZ addition. The aroma had a bit of resin and citrus, wasn’t terribly dank or anything. If I were to brew this again I would probably drop the FWH and bitter with CTZ at 60 mins. The rest of the kettle hops would go into a hot steep post-boil. The grist was good as is.

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When the head settled there was about 1.5″ – a bit high, but I don’t think you can get less with this setup. The carbonation level was perfect with 1 oz (right between 1-1.5 volumes).

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Crickhollow Mild: A Recipe in Transformation

I became interested in brewing a Mild for several reasons. Historically it was a beer that was served in virtually every pub in London, but in the 20th century became nearly extinct. It’s typically a session beer, but has some real depth in it’s flavor (think toast, chocolate, burnt sugar, sometimes coffee). Mild is a very drinkable beer, you can have pint after pint and not become full or drunk, which makes it a great breakfast or lunch beer. It’s great for cooking as well.

One of the greatest advantages is that it’s a great starter beer – a beer that I’ll throw a single White Labs vial or Wyeast smack pack to grow up some yeast for other beers. The reason it’s so great as a starter beer is because the OG is low meaning a single vial or smack pack is sufficient (assuming it’s relatively fresh) to pitch. A lower OG obviously also results in a lower ABV which does not stress the yeast as much. It’s also a low IBU beer, which again makes the yeast more viable for repitching since it won’t have all the isomerized acids clinging to the cell walls. Lastly, Mild is a great beer to cask condition.

I first brewed Jamil’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles, but I used all UK ingredients where he has the domestic varieties listed for the most part.

Version 1.0:

84.3% Floor Malted MO

6% Simpson’s Medium Crystal

4.8% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal

3% Pale Chocolate

1.9% English Black Malt

Mash at 154F for 90 mins

1.037 OG, 1.012 FG

17 IBU (EKG)

WLP002

Pitched at 62F, let rise to 66F and finish at 68F

I thought this turned out to be a really delicious beer, but the black malt seemed to bring with it a peppery astringent flavor and the roast was a little over the top. This also tasted a little thin and finished dry. This was a really beautiful beer though, not quite black, with ruby highlights. I entered this in 3 competitions and it ended up with a 33, 24.5 and 29.5 – one judge picked up phenolics, but the rest didn’t comment on that. I’m not sure if there was a process issue or if there was just too much black malt.

Version 2.0
84.7% Floor Malted MO

5.8% Simpson’s Medium Crystal

5.8% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal

3.7% Pale Chocolate

Mash at 154F for 60 mins

1.036 OG, 1.012 FG

20 IBU (Styrian Goldings – wanted to use this up, would typically use EKG)

WLP002

Pitched at 62F, let rise to 66F and finish at 68F

In this version I dropped the black malt and increased the Pale Chocolate hoping to get rid of any astringency/peppery flavors. I also mashed for 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes. I used to always mash for 90 minutes, but I consistently experienced a thinness in the body so I have since reduced mash time to 60 minutes unless I really want to dry something out. I’m not sure if it was my imagination or not, but I think it’s made a difference. If nothing else it’s made my brew day shorter while only hurting efficiency by a small amount.

This version turned out quite well, it’s very toasty and the malt is about what I want. It tastes a little to clean though and is a bit one noted in flavor. This scored a 29.5 as well in the only competition I entered it in and got 2nd in the English Brown Ale category. Both judges agreed it needs a bit more body and needs to be a bit more malt forward. One judge recommended increasing bitterness, the other said to reduce.

Version 3.0

This has not been brewed yet, planning to brew it this weekend.

82.9% Floor Malted MO

5.7% Simpson’s Medium Crystal

2.8% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal

5.7% Pale Chocolate

2.8% English Black Malt

Mash at 155F for 60 mins

1.038 target OG / 1.013 target FG

17 IBU (EKG)

WLP002

Pitched at 62F, let rise to 66F and finish at 68F

In this version I’m trying to increase the body (mashing a degree higher) and make this a bit more malt forward. I’m going to bring the IBU back to about 17 like version 1.0. I’m reducing the Extra Dark Crystal and making it up with some Crisp Amber Malt which I think will bring some maltiness and complexity to the flavor profile (hopefully a hint of roast without any astringency, some subtle coffee flavor, and additional breadiness). I also like the fact that Fullers commissioned the maltsters in the UK to recreate Amber malt after reviewing historical brewing records for their commemorative beer 1845. Seems fitting to use it here since Mild is an older style. I’m still debating on whether or not to reduce the pale chocolate and maybe add some English Chocolate Malt, but I don’t want to tweak too many things at once.

 
My goal here is to get to a point where I’m happy with this recipe. I’ll enter it in some competitions, but ultimately want a beer that I’ll almost always have on hand around the house. I also want a good base recipe that I can wood age at some point and maybe smoke as well (smoked oaked mild). If you read this in the next day or two please give me some feedback on the recipe which I plan to brew in a couple days.

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Beer Engine Caskegerator – Butterbur’s Bitter

I really really love English beers through a handpump, but I wasn’t about to spend $400 on a beer engine until I had at least tried this out at home. I saw a BYO article about building a beer engine out of an RV hand pump and a pretty cool build on HBT so I decided to cannablize a wine-cooler that was collecting dust and build a beer engine/caskegerator (hand pump, swan neck, sparkler tip, cooling unit, corny kegs = Beer Engine Caskegerator).

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It’s cooled by the peltier cooling unit from the wine cooler, and an additional PC fan. My basement isn’t quite cool enough yet so I am supplementing the cooling with some frozen 2 liter jugs which allows the setup to hover around 52-53F.

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I had a swan neck fabricated by Zach at stainlessbrewing.com and added a compression fitting to 3/8″ MPT, I then jammed a sparkler tip on there and turned it to basically create new threads. After flushing the system a few times all the plastic chunks were purged out.

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The pump is a Valtera Rocket Hand Pump that I got on Amazon for $28 – took off the stock spout and used a keg dip tube and o ring fastened on by the plastic nut that was holding the stock spout on.

I brewed an ordinary bitter for the Beer Engine Caskegerator’s maiden voyage:

Butterbur’s Bitter

OG 1.037

FG 1.009

Mash at 151

60 Minute Boil

90% Floor Malted Marris Otter (Warminster)

5% English Dark Crystal (Simpson’s)

5% Corn Sugar

54g Styrian Goldings 4%AA 60 minutes

17g Styrian Goldings 4%AA 20 minutes

17g Styrian Goldings 4%AA 5 minutes

WLP002, pitched at 62F, let free rise to 66F, kegged at 1.010 and let fermentation finish out while carbonating the beer. Gelatin finings.

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Tastes perfect, bitterness is definitely there, but not in your face, has some hop flavor and a tiny bit of English yeast fruitiness, but finishes clean and dry with a hint of honey and breadiness that I think comes from the floor malted MO. Aroma is pretty much all malt/bread with a hint of sweetness/earthiness from the Styrian Goldings, the recipe might benefit from a late addition, but I wanted to brew a traditional ordinary bitter and I don’t think I’ll change a thing next time.

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