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Monday, 7 April 2014

BIAB #5 - CitrAmarillo

I know I keep banging on about it with every pending #brewday, but I really wanted to go for something simple for my next beer, but this time I've actually managed it...well I've come close! Having recently attended a meet-the-brewer event at Red Willow Bar with the Kernel Brewery's Evin O'Riordain, he revealed that for every one of their pale ales they use nothing but good old Maris Otter. Furthermore, as part of the night's line-up we sampled Kernel's Citra, which is an absolutely supreme beer. Without realising it at the time, fate had decided what I was brewing next - a pale ale with a Maris Otter base malt and ample amounts of Citra!

A single malt, single hop brew? Nah! Of course I couldn't just leave it at that, so whilst filling my basket at the Malt Miller, I also threw in a vac-pack of Amarillo, to be used for bittering along with the Citra, as well as to bulk out the late hop additions.

Then, whilst I was building the recipe in Brew Mate, I realised I still had a small batch of Willamette left in the pantry and figured it would be a shame to let it go to waste. Shane at Cheshire Brewhouse had told me that Willamette is a great hop to bring out the flavours of other hops, but the plan was to dry hop this with a smidgen of Citra, whether or not this will have the same affect on the aroma, only time will tell.

With the brewday on, it was time to put some of my newly upgraded kit to the test. I had recently purchased a foil-lined camping mat to carve up and use as insulation for my FV. With the foil leftovers I decided to insulate my stockpot too, seeing as I'd been struggling with getting up to a boil. During the hour long mash the temperature only dropped a single degree, so it was obviously  worked a treat. As for the boil, that took a mere 30 minutes, a big improvement on the two hours it had taken on previous brewdays.

With the chiller in the wort doing it's thing, I set about making a yeast starter. I'd never made a starter before, instead previously opting to pitch dry as directed by the US-05 instructions. However, Thornbridge Dom had discussed the process at a recent Macc Homebrew meetup, so with his expert knowledge instilled in me, I grabbed a small scoop of wort (at 27°C) and pitched half a packet of US-05. 30 minutes later the yeast had been worked it's magic and I pitched the resultant jug of happy organisms into the cooled wort. The gravity was a little short of what I was expecting, but at 1.044 it was still on track to be around 4.5%. 

Now I get to use the my new piece of kit - the temperature controller! After what seemed like an eternity of non-brewage, I eventually got this bad boy built, mostly taking the lead from pdntc’s helpful guide. It was time to put this thing through its paces. I set the temp to 20°C and kept a beady eye on it. However, due to a combination of the new insulation and the yeast starter headstart, the wort didn’t drop from around the 21 degree mark for the first couple of days. Once it did kick in, it worked a treat, keeping the FV within half of a degree of it's setting. If you haven't already got one, I would seriously look into getting one built!

When it came to bottling I followed some useful tips passed on by Shane at Cheshire Brewhouse. A couple of days before it was ready to be bottled, I switched off the heating, allowing it to cool down (it did only drop around 4°C mind), and thus dropping out any crud that may have still been suspended in the beer. Then a couple of hours before dispensing, I whacked the heat back on to bring the brew back up to the 20 degree mark, so that the residual yeast was ready when it was introduced to the half teaspoon of priming sugar I had dropped into each bottle. This looks to have worked a treat as the PET bottles are firming up nicely just a couple of days after bottling. So not long to wait before I get to sample it!

Fermentables...
 Name Type EBC Percentage  Amount
Maris Otter MaltGrain7.996.77 %3 Kg
Flaked OatsAdjunct23.23 %100 g

Hops...
 Name AA% Amount Use Time
Amarillo8.6%15 gBoil60 mins
Citra11.1%10 gBoil60 mins
Amarillo8.6%10 gBoil5 mins
Citra11.1%15 gBoil5 mins
Citra11.1%5 gDry Hop0 mins
Willamette7.1%18 gDry Hop0 mins

Misc...
 Name Amount Use Time
Irish Moss0.5 gBoil10 mins