So with the style and ingredients nailed I set about planning the recipe. With just half a kilo of Maris Otter in the cupboard, the only thing I needed to buy was some more base malt, ordered from The Malt Miller. Purely by accident I ended up with Pale Ale Malt, rather than another sack of Maris Otter, but on closer inspection it all worked out well as it had a slightly higher EBC. I set about compiling the recipe using BrewMate, a great free piece of brewing software that I have recently discovered and migrated to. It's through this I was able to fine tune the grain bill and hop amounts to get the desired colour and bittering.
|Pale Ale Malt||Grain||5.7||73.33 %||2.2 Kg|
|Maris Otter Malt||Grain||5.5||16.67 %||0.5 Kg|
|Crystal 120||Grain||120||6.67 %||0.2 Kg|
|Chocolate||Grain||950||1.67 %||50 g|
|Flaked Oats||Adjunct||3||1.67 %||50 g|
|Willamette||7.1%||20 g||Boil||60 mins|
|Willamette||7.1%||15 g||Boil||15 mins|
|Willamette||7.1%||5 g||Dry Hop||0 mins|
|Out with the old...|
|McGyver at work.|
With brewing done and the yeast pitched, I checked the gravity which was slightly out from what BrewMate had predicted - 1.044, instead of 1.060 - but this was fine as it still equates to around 4.5% ABV. I think I lost some efficiency in the mash due to using a slightly lower water volume, plus I don't think the narrow grain sacks I'm using are helping either as it's a pretty tight squeeze in there. I think next time I shall return to using 2.5 litres per Kg (rather than 2.4 litres) and will look to sewing a couple of new sacks with a bit more room to manoeuvre (well, the wife will be doing the work as I have zero experience with a sewing machine).
Anyway...the brew is currently bubbling away in the 10 litre FV and I shall be dropping a sack of Willamette in there in a few days time to impart some of that fantastic aroma! Fingers crossed it'll turn out how I envisioned.
Despite using only a tiny amount of Chocolate malt it really stood out in the young bottles. Whilst it wasn't unpleasant the beer didn't turn out how I had envisioned, so I was slightly disappointed, however Dom from Thornbridge attended the following brew club meetup and he rather liked it, stating that Chocolate malt was he favourite malt, which cheered me up no end. As the beer aged the flavours began to merge a little and what I ended up was half decent mild. So, not a bad brew after all.