Category Archives: Recipes

Any recipes we want to share post meetings are stored under this tag

How to brew a Mild

We were lucky enough to have Paddy and Matt from the brewery with us in this month’s meeting and being back in the boardroom almost meant we lost someone in the bar. In the end it was all good though and we enjoyed some great discussions about the beers brought, enzyme use and parti-gyle brewing.

Before we got to the beers though Paddy and Matt were kind enough to spend some time talking about the history and brewing techniques and recipes you need to make a ‘bostin’ mild. I’ve captured what I can recall here so feel free to use these tips and points to make your own ahead of our Mild May meeting based on CAMRA’s Mild month! (That’s a mouthful that sentence)

First the history, and this is where the excellent ‘Designing great beers’ by Ray Daniels shows its value. The chapter looking at Brown ales and Milds gives a real historical view of their origins but the take away for me is that time was the choice in a pub was between a bitter and a mild, two beers at opposite ends of a spectrum. The bitter end is obviously just that, bitter, and the mild end focused on the malty side of the street. A Mild is a beer designed to showcase everything malt has to offer without the sharp tang of the hops taking up too much space.

The low strength many people associate with a Mild appears to be a newer phenomenon maybe based on ‘value engineering’ of recipes by the brewers as their popularity dwindled and they had to maintain the margins. Paddy created some notes around the recipe and process build – including the strength and I’ll share and explain those here. So first what would you aim for in terms of gravity, colour and bitterness.

The gravity, colour and BU of a Mild

So here we have the specification from two breweries Mitchell & Butler and Highgate. You can see the gravity here would give you a beer of about 4.0%. The interesting aspect of this is the PG. This is the gravity that the beer was filled into cask meaning the beer was quite actively fermenting still when it was packaged and so it really was extremely cask conditioned. The bitterness of around 24 is on a par with a modern commercial lager, enough to balance the sweetness but not overwhelm it. The colour here is quite dark – as I’d expect a mild – but the range can be from a chestnut up to black, so a lot of scope there.

Mash ingredients for a Mild

What about the mash? This is a showcase for malt flavours and you can see here where they come from. The values relate to the mash tun at the brewery but the ratio would remain and then scaled down to your own mash tun size to yield 1035 or so. So a solid base of pale ale malt and then around 4% Crystal. This would probably be a medium colour crystal and then about half that amount of Black malt to get the colour up to where you like. Paddy’s tip was to aim low on the colour as you can always add more with liquid caramel (as per the recipes here) to increase it, but you can’t take it away. The 10% torrified barley and 6% malted wheat give you the body and thick head retention and then sugar as well. This is on top of priming sugar added into the cask. On top of the remaining gravity when filled that priming sugar would have made sure it was a real strong fermentation in the cask. I’ve no idea how it cleared. Note at the bottom Calcium Chloride. This should be added as opposed to gypsum to the mash liquor to emphasise the maltiness.

Additional info on a mild

And finally the process details. You can see a slight difference in the mash temperatures between the two breweries here but it didn’t have much difference on the FG. The boil at Highgate you see is aiming for a massive loss of volume, over 8%, and at M&B it’s still high so a long boil is important, I wonder if that helps with the caramel and Maillard flavour development in the beers? Not mentioned in the notes are the hops. These were discussed but used only for their bittering properties the type of hop used is less important. Traditionally they would be English hops so for authenticity Fuggles perhaps, but they’ll not be adding too much to the finished product. We did discuss the likelihood that in the US an American twist on this beer would definitely be hop loaded – so not traditional but something that could be interesting.

Fermentation was pitched at a normal 17-19C and left to rise naturally up to 23-24C as the yeast got going. The relatively low OG should mean this would probably be done in 3-4 days – less if you move to cask with all those point of gravity left. So this is a quick beer to turnaround and it was often gone so fast in the midlands that it would expected to be drunk young. This means you’ve plenty of time to get yours done before the Meeting on the 25th May when Paddy will judge your efforts and interpretation.

Alan’s Raspberry Saison recipe

Alan’s Raspberry & Lemon Saison

BrewerAlan MolloyStyleFruited Saison

Beer details

This beer was brought into the March 2022 meeting and was an instant hit. Fresh, fruity, zesty and bright it was a real summer drink that sings out with the raspberry flavour perfectly balanced against the Saison base.

OG1.034FG1.002
ABV4.0%IBU28
ColourRaspberry pinkBrew size40L

Mash ingredients

IngredientsWeight
Extra Pale Ale5.4kg

Boil additions

IngredientsWeightTime
Target Hops 10.5% AA25gStart of boil
Protafloc tablet1 tab50min
Lemon zest60g55min
Celeia 4.1%AA48gFlame out for 20min

Yeast

Type2 x Wyeast 3711 (French Saison)

Fermenter

IngredientWeightTime
Frozen and crushed raspberries4.0kg5 days
Mash:
On my set-up I required 11L at 78C to give a starting mash temp of 65.2C & ending at 62.4C, after 90mins I sparged with 35L @ 80C.This gave me 35L @ 1.036, which I diluted with 3L treated brew water to reduce OG to 1.032. 

Boil:
38L in the boil for 60mins with Target hops. Protafloc added 10mins before end of boil. Lemon zest added 5mins before end of boil. (TIP: peel the rind of the lemon & chop it up in a food processor, much easier). Celeia added @ switch off & left to cool to 80C stirring twice. Took 20mins. 

Fermenter:
Run wort through plate chiller to reduce temp to 30C & collected 32L @ 1.034.Agitation with a sterilised paddle. Pitched yeast direct from “Smack Pack” into wort @ 28C. (TIP: Spray outside of pack with steriliser before opening). This yeast ferments better at higher temp – 28 to 32C.After 5 days reached 1.002 & dropped temp to 8C overnight. 24hours later I added 4,000g of crushed raspberries in a fine muslin hop bag into the fermenter. The wort was now @ 14C. left them to soak for 5 days. 

Bottling:
31L bottled in 330ml & 500ml bottles. The final gravity was 1.003 giving ABV of 4.1%.I prime each bottle with normal white sugar, 330ml=<1/8tsp, 500ml=1/8tsp.
Mashing in

Lockdown brew day

Lockdown brew day

It’s been 3 months and… wait a minute do I sound like Sinead O’Connor here? Anyway it’s been a while since the last WE Homebrew meeting back in February and it could be some time still until the next meeting. I hope, like me, you’ve been brewing and drinking a fair bit more in this time.

It’s a bank holiday Monday and I thought I’d write down how I generally brew and what kit I have. No other reason than just to share and maybe elicit some advice on a glaring mistake I may be making and be completely unaware of.

I’ve got to warn you though – I’ve just finished the day and this is quite a long – and some might say – boring post. TL;DR? I had a big cock up at the end and spilt wort all over the shed.

First and foremost what am I going to make? This was a challenge set by Ben Jones to try a style I’ve not done before – a Weizenbock. I’ve had some success making a Bock before so in terms of recipe I just amended that and swapped out half the Pils malt for wheat malt then changed the yeast to try and get some big banana flavours. The recipe I’m following is as below.

Beer details – Challenge Accepted Weizenbock

OG 1055 FG 1013
ABV 5.6% IBU 12
Colour 20 EBC Brew size 20L

Mash ingredients

Ingredients Weight
Wheat Malt 2.5kg
Pilsen Malt 1.4kg
Munich malt 1.5kg
Special W (Weyermann) 0.1kg
Crystal malt 60L 0.18kg
Aromatic malt 0.28kg

Boil additions

Ingredients Weight Time
Hallertauer Hersbrucker 2.4%AA 51g 60min

Yeast

Type Lallemand Munich wheat beer yeast

If that’s what I’m going to make, how do I normally go about it? Firstly is preparation the day or so before. In this case I’m using a pack of dry yeast so no need to make a starter, from the fridge full of old collected yeast samples, but I do need to collect some water.

I use Old Windsor tap water – which as you’re probably well aware from the state of your kettle and shower head is remarkably hard. The water report for Windsor – here – shows the hardness around 300ppm and, more importantly for mashing, the Alkalinity at 240ppm. To ensure I get the pH around 5.4 once the grain has been mashed in I need to add some acid. I add about 12ml of 10% Phosphoric acid to 27L of tap water in an old plastic fermenter. I do this the day before in the hope that the water sitting and warming up in the house might lose some of the Chlorine added at the water works, but I’ve no idea if it does or not.

That’s the water quality – what about amount? This is where the first bit of kit is introduced. The electric mash tun / kettle. I do brew-in-a-bag (BIAB) so for water volume, in theory, you should just work backwards for how much wort you want to end up with, take off the losses of liquid you can’t get out of the mash tun, the trub you don’t want to transfer, the lost water as you boil off and the water absorbed by your grain husks. Then bung all that in at the beginning. However the mash tun is my capacity constraint. It holds 27L, but 3L of that is below the tap and is the cold break I generally leave behind. Then of course your grain takes up volume as well. 6kg of milled malted barley takes up 12L of volume dry. It obviously absorbs water so doesn’t need that much space in the mash tun, but I’ve more than once been close to overflowing when I mash in the grain to the water.

To remedy this I don’t add all the water into the mash. I dunk sparge the bag later with 5L of hot water – show you this later – and also add water back after the boil. So when working out the amount of grain I need I calculate the extract to hit my target OG before boiling. I then measure and dilute down the wort back to this gravity post-boil.

As you can see from the photo I’ve added some rudimentary insulation from an old camping foam Karrimat / exercise mat. As I brew outside in the shed this is necessary in the winter and helpful in the summer. It means I can heat the water to strike temperature then turn off the heating and avoid scorching the bottom of the mash tun and burning the bag or grain.

For this particular beer I’m using a low mash temperature 64℃ so I get the maximum conversion, with the thought that this won’t thin it out too much due to the gums in the Wheat malt. BeerSmith – the indispensable brewing app that I create all my recipes on – calculates your strike temperature and water requirement for each recipe. In this case it recommends 69℃ so I heat the water up and then mash in the grains.

One thing I didn’t mention is milling the grains. This I normally do using a drill attached to a hand mill while the water heats up to strike temperature.

Something to note with this recipe – Malted wheat mashes in really easily. There were no dough balls and the mash mixed in quickly and easily. As you can see BeerSmith got the strike temperature more or less right and the phosphoric acid did its trick with the pH.

I would imagine measuring pH at 65℃ is contentious. Measuring it at 20℃ or 25℃ would be normal lab procedure as pH changes depending on temperature. My meter isn’t so sophisticated that it compensates for temperature either. My thinking is that the optimum pH has been determined by looking at the kinetics of the amylase enzymes, this is generally accepted to be somewhere between 5.2 and 5.5. I don’t know the method used to determine this, and so have taken it to mean that the enzyme works best in this range regardless of temperature. I’m more than happy to be put right on this.

I generally mash for about an hour giving it a stir every now and again, when I get round to it, and checking the temperature’s not dropping too much. Today after half an hour it had dropped to 60℃ so I turned on the heat for a couple of minutes.

After the mash is complete I increase the temperature up to somewhere around 70-75℃.Then I use a Jerry-rigged pulley system, to a hook in the roof beam, to take the BIAB out of the mash tun and leave it to drip back into what is now a kettle heating up to 100℃ for the boil. At this stage I’m also checking on the efficiency as there’s still a small chance I can do something if it’s cocked up. I take a sample, to cool and measure the gravity, and determine the volume with a steel ruler to gauge the depth. In this case the gravity was 1066 and the volume was 20cm or 19L – ignoring thermal expansion of the liquid for now.  As you can see from the temperature photo the mash tun is very full. This is after me adding 22L of water and 5.6kg of grain. If I added no more water into the mix, after losses and boiling, I think I’d be fermenting about 13L of wort. To combat this I do a 5L dunk sparge, more to add volume than actually extract more sugars from the grist.

To do this I heat up 5 L of the acidified water to around 70℃ and dangerously swing the hot bag of mashings across into a big bucket. There I drop it in, add and mix the hot water and hoist it back over the kettle. One thing of note here is that boiling the acidified water causes it to become cloudy as the calcium comes out of solution.

This gives me another 5L of wort at 1038 that I can add back to the kettle so I finish with 24L of 1060 wort. This is great – I’m aiming for 1055 into the FV – so post boil it will allow me to add back quite a bit of volume.

By now the wort is boiling in the kettle and a little bit of hot break has always bubbled over and spilt on the floor. If I’m lucky it’s not scalded the dog.

For this brew I’m using fine German noble hops in the form of Hallertau Hersbrucker, but to be honest it’s really low BU, and there’s not supposed to be any hop flavour or aroma, so I’m beginning to wonder why I’m adding 50g of these when I could have added about 10g of Magnum? Too late now, the pack is open, and they’re tipped into the hop spider and plonked into the boiling wort to do their – in this case limited – magic.

Generally I’ll be boiling for an hour and, as it’s a hot day, it’s quite a vigorous boil. Brewing in winter has its own hurdles and I find it’s very difficult to maintain a rolling boil. This is why I first made the insulation which did help quite a bit but wasn’t perfect.

In terms of kettle additions this is very simple. No more hops to add, and as it’s a wheat beer it’s supposed to be cloudy, so I won’t be adding half a protofloc tablet to help it clear. I have, however, taken to adding a little yeast nutrient at the end of the boil. I don’t know if this is necessary but it hasn’t done any harm so far.

As the boil finishes, and I’ve added half a teaspoon of the Wyeast Beer nutrient blend, it’s time to cool. I pull out the hop spider and let the hops drip wort to the kettle (more as somewhere to put them as opposed to trying to eek out every last drop). I remove the insulation, sticky with boiled over wort from earlier. Often I have to peel it off the outside of the vessel. Then take a volume reading with the steel ruler – 22.5cm or 21.5L. The wort is hot so taking into account a 4% expansion of the liquid this means there is 20.7L of 1068 wort. I want 1055 so need to dilute with 5L of water to hit my target and leave me with a nice 26L of wort to ferment. Before that I’ve got to cool it and for that I use a length of coiled copper pipe. This is attached to the garden hose and immersed in the hot wort to run cold water through. Cooling takes no time in winter when the groundwater is at 11℃ but now it’s getting warmer the groundwater is 17.5℃ it may take a little while longer. I use temperature strips on the outside of the kettle to know when it’s lower than my fermentation temperature then I transfer it into the FV.

In terms of fermentation I had been reading up and found a lot of advice that in order to get a good banana flavour from the yeast you should aim on the high side of the recommended temperature. However I also found out that Lallemand makes two Munich yeast types: Munich and Munich Classic. The Classic version – not the one I have – is the more expressive one in terms of fruity esters and so I’ve made a bit of a balls up. Not to worry, hopefully this will still be a nice beer, just not what I had in mind. I’m still going to ferment at the top of the range to squeeze out what I can from the yeast so in this case that will be 22℃. This means I’ll cool the wort to below this before transferring across.

Transferring into the FV is very low tech for me. Just run the wort out of the kettle tap into a 5L sanitised measuring jug then tip into the vessel. I think this has two advantages; I don’t need to arrange everything so the kettle is higher, or involve a pump, to run through tubing and I don’t have to use tubing at all! I’m never convinced they’re clean. You can scour the inside of a jug – you can only flush through tubing or soak. It also allows me to add the dried yeast to the jug and splash the wort onto it. I’m not one for rehydrating the yeast beforehand – happy to chuck it into the mix and let it wake up when it does.

Well just as I thought it was all going so perfectly disaster struck. I poured the first jug of wort into the FV and it came straight out of the bottom. The Tilt (I’ll explain later) had jammed the valve open and so I was stuck like Hans Brinker with my thumb in the valve shouting for help. Got it sorted and cleaned up eventually and ended up with 21L pitched and fermenting at 22℃ and a couple of litres of sticky wort on the floor.

I have a love of gadgets and technology and this hobby allows me to indulge in both and get drunk too. As you see from the picture I have a Grainfather fermenter which both heats and cools. To cool I have a small Glycol tank stuck in my Keezer which the FV calls for and circulates through a jacket to control the fermenting beer’s temperature. I also make the FV wear an old down jacket (A Northface one I once had stolen off me by a tramp in Vienna) to insulate it from both heat and cold.

I mentioned previously the Tilt. This is an amazing piece of kit if you haven’t seen it before. It’s a wireless hydrometer that allows you to watch and plot your fermentation as it goes. For this beer you can watch this beer go by clicking on this link here.

So that’s it, that’s my set up and generally how I make my beer. I’d be interested on your thoughts and comments – any improvements or blindingly obvious steps or ideas I’m missing. Feel free to comment here on the website or head over to the Facebook group and let me know what you think there.

Cheers

Ian

January Golden ale recipe

JANUARY GOLDEN ALE

Brewer

WEHomebrew

Style

Golden Ale

Beer details

OG 1.0365 FG 1.008
ABV 3.8% IBU 30
Colour 9 EBC Brew size As per brewer’s set up

Mash ingredients

Ingredients %
Pale Ale 85
Wheat malt (Or torrefied) 10
Cara medium 5

Boil additions

Ingredients Weight Time
Bittering hops To 30 IBU 90min
Citrus hops (Citra or Amarillo) 6 g/l 1 min

Yeast

Type Nottingham

Dry hopping

Ingredients Weight Time
Citrus hops (Citra or Amarillo) 2.5 g/l As per normal dry hopping schedule

To be brewed for comparison at the January 2020 WEHomebrew meeting. Looking to understand the differences that the individual set up and process can have on the sensory aspects of the same beer.

This recipe has been kindly supplied by Paddy at Eton & Windsor Brewery and is reminiscent of one of their favourite beers – Knight of the Garter. Paddy’s comments on the brew are below:

1. Golden Ale – OG 36.5, ABV 3.8%

2. Usual Liquor treatment for a Bitter (let people do their own thing as this is a point of debate/learning)

3. Malt Grist:

· 85% Pale Ale malt

· 5% Cara medium

· 10% Wheat (torrified or malted etc)

4. Bitter using standard bittering hop to achieve 30 IBU for a 90 mins (minimum 6%) boil. About 0.3 gms/L for a 13% alpha-acid hop

5. Late Hop using Citrus hops – Amarillo or Citra – 6 gms/L. Added at 1 min before flame out.

6. Nott Ale yeast Ferment at up to 22.5C (usually start about 19C and let it rise to top heat. 0.4 gms yeast/L

7. Dry Hop with same Citrus hops 2.5 gms/L

Very simple and people shouldn’t be tempted to make theirs “more interesting” – this is about comparing yours to a standard and learning what is different about your process that you then need to flex in normal brewing.

Should be an interesting tasting session. If anyone needs help with hop supply then Paddy has offered assistance.

Milled malt barley

SMaSH recipe for Hops experiment

Hop experiment SMaSH

November 2019 WEHomebrew experiment intended to allow the club to taste and compare beers that differ only in the type of hops used (And technique as well)

Brewer

WEHomebrewers

Style

Maris Otter SMaSH

Beer details

OG 1045 FG 1010
ABV 4.55% IBU 30
Colour 10 EBC Brew size Kit dependent

Mash ingredients

Ingredients Weight
Maris Otter Malt 100%

Boil additions

Ingredients Weight Time
Chosen hop X grams 60min
Chosen hop X grams 30min
Chosen hop X grams 15min

Yeast

Type Nottingham

Recommended 1 hour mash at 67C

Hops choice is completely up to you!

Will make three additions into the boil all of the same amount of the hop to hit a total BU of 30. Can use the Brewer’s friend calculator here to work out how much to add at each time point.

Pitch with Nottingham yeast and ferment between 18-20C if you can control the temperature.

Trevor Francis Tracksuit

Trevor Francis Tracksuit

Brewer

Ben Jones & Ian Scott

Style

Irish Stout

Beer details

OG 1042 FG 1006
ABV 4.7% IBU 45
Colour 70.5 EBC Brew size 40L

Mash ingredients

Ingredients Weight
Maris Otter 5.00kg
Flaked Barley 3.00kg
Roasted Barley 0.70kg

Boil additions

Ingredients Weight Time
Challenger hops 85.0g 60min

Yeast

Type Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

Brewed for Peckhamfest to be served on a nitro keg as part of the brewery’s homebrew competition.

Also a test run to see if recipes can be uploaded direct from Google docs.