Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cobweb ale

I dusted the cobwebs off my brewing equipment yesterday. Literally. Too long a stint in the attic draped them with silken threads. Another golden ale was my plan yesterday, but this time with a little more body than the last one. To this end I added 10% dextrin malt to the grist, which will fill out the body but will not alter golden colour I desire. It looked like this:

3.9 kg Maris Otter
400 g Carapils

35g Northdown 60 mins
15g Cascade 20 mins
15g Centennial 10 mins
15g Centennial 0 mins

Mashed at 66 C

40 IBU

Saf o5

OG 1.040

I made modest additions of calcium sulphate and calcium chloride to boost the calcium in my liquor and add some fullness. I had to make some major adjustments to my tap water because a grist that pale will not tolerate 200 ppm alkalinity, which is what I found in my water. I used lactic acid to bring the pH down to around 5.5 which corresponds to alkalinity of around 25 ppm.

While brewing I sampled two ales from this quarter's CAMRA beer club delivery. Interestingly, in the literature with the delivery CAMRA almost apologised for the inclusion of a golden ale, noting that a great many of them are not up to standard. I have whinged about this for quite some time, having been plagued with entire deliveries from CAMRA of listless, thin and gassy golden ales. Crop Circle from the Hopback Brewery was the worrisome golden ale in this delivery, but it can't be dismissed as bland. In fact this ale packs quite a bit of flavour, with a harsh hop character. Lemons strike you on the nose and the addition of maize to this beer gives it a lighter body. Along with this I tried Potholer from Cheddar Ales. This is my kind of English ale. Full biscuit malt with lip smacking, well rounded hop bitterness, topped off with rich foam and a mouth watering copper hue.


Wurst-Internet troll, bully, CEO APRK said...

That should be a good one. Have you ever used CRS?? I'd like to know how it compares to lactic acid strength wise.

Thom said...

I used CRS for all my alkalinity issues up to now. Usually around 30-35 mls in 40 litres did the trick. I used 80% lactic acid for the first time yesterday. I was surprised that it took around 20 mls to bring 40 litres of water down to pH 5.5, where the tables suggest the alkalinity will be low enough for a pale grist.

It took a lot more acid than I thought it would. I added the acid after the salt additions and perhaps this buffered things somewhat. It wasn't as economical as I thought it might be but my water is very alkaline, coming in at around 200ppm.

Bailey said...

I've been impressed with the Cheddar Ales products I've had before. I also think their branding is brilliant -- all British Rail and nostalgia. One of their other beers is called Gorge Best. Groan.

Leigh said...

Have to agree with the above on Cheddar Ales. Wonderful brewery. I found the Crop Circle underwhelming - in fact, i'm sure John from John's Random Ramblings once referred to it as 'Crap Circle'. Which is a shame, given the quality of Summer Lightning and Entire Butt Stout.

Thom said...

The Crop Circle is certainly nothing to get excited about, but it did have some flavour, which is not something that can be said about a great many of the other golden ales that CAMRA have delivered to me.