Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

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wolfenrook
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Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:30 am

So, I brewed again yesterday. As usual it was a looong brew day, albeit a bit shorter than my last one (I didn't even try to vorlauf, and only measured the OG rather than testing all the way through the brew). A lot of the delay though was once again due to outside influences (eg. the need to eat, wait for the bag to drain etc... :lol: ). A recirculation pump would possibly help to reduce the length of the brew day, maybe, but the rest is just down to things like waiting for the water to heat up, waiting for the bag to drain etc etc. I weighed the grain out before putting the water in the boiler to heat to strike, however this was because it was lunch time and I'm not allowed to set up before lunch. :wink: When spring/summer returns I'll probably give brewing outside a go so I don't have to work around the normal functioning of the household. I'll need some form of gazebo or something though to keep the leaves from the trees in our miniature woodland (aka. the bag garden) from falling in... :lol: I'd be able to start a bit earlier if my family didn't think of lunch time as around 2pm too..... #-o

I skipped the anti-foam this time around too. It didn't effect the trub production that I could see in the slightest. However a krausen had begun for form within about an hour of pitching the yeast! :shock: I used Mangrove Jacks M36 Liberty Bell yeast, rehydrated at 32 degrees C, it was foaming even before I pitched it.... :o

I constructed the recipe according to the "British Golden Ale" style in Beersmith 2, along with BIABacus. I was aiming for 18 litres into FV. Whole hops this time around, to see if I could sort out my trub blockage problem.

Anyway, the recipe:-

Malt

3.5k Crisp Maris Otter
100g Crips Crystal (150 EBC)

Mashed for 75 minutes at 67 degrees (medium body BIAB, 25 litres of water made up of 22 litres reverse osmosis filtered water, 3 litres of treated tap water), mash out at 76 degrees for 10 minutes (raising over 7, stirring the whole time until it hit 76), then sparged at 78 degrees C with 3 litres of treated tap water. I didn't bother checking SG etc as felt more like just winging it and taking it easy. :wink:

Hops

90 minute boil.

8.6g Magnum @ 90 minutes (bittering)
11.8g Endeavour @ 20 minutes before end
13.1g Endeavour @ 10 minutes before end (along with 1/4 Protafloc tablet)
9.3g Endeavour @ "flame out" (electric boiler, so no actual flame... :=P )

It was a new experience for me using whole hops, kind of felt like making soup. :lol: When it came time to transfer though it paid off big time! No bazooka blockage at all, just free flowing wort into the FV. Next time around though I am going to put the first few litres back into the FV, in order to give the hops time to form a filter bed on the bazooka filter, as still have more trub in my FV than I really wanted. I really didn't need the anti foam either, I stirred whilst bringing to the boil, and again when foam was forming, so just no chance of a foam over at all. I had about 28 litres going into the boil (managed to get way more liquid out of the grain than I usually do), about 23 litres post boil. One day I'll get around to making an ullage stick... :lol:

The OG was somewhat of a surprise, as well as how much I got into the FV. 21 litres into the FV of 1.050 wort! Probably going to lose a couple of litres though to the trub if it doesn't compact down more. It's still more than I expected though, and .005 higher gravity than target.

On the bright side, a LOT of trub left behind in the boiler:-
trub.jpg
Trub and hops
The wort was a nice golden colour (full disclosure, I lit it from above for the pic...):-
IMG_20180117_233232.jpg
Wort
I don't suppose anybody else has tried Endeavour hops yet? I can't find much from people who have used them so far. I wanted to keep the hop bill fairly clean to give me the best chance of tasting them (pretty much why I bittered with Magnum), once I know what they taste like I can probably have a better idea what they'll combine nicely with.

The wort had the taste typical of every wort I've produced with AG so far to be honest. A sort of strong artificial sweetener/perfume flavour with a hint of horlicks (that'll be the malt then... lol), a bit bitter and just a tiny hint of the actual hop flavour. It doesn't matter what I brew, it always tastes like that to me. The first trial jar for the "is it finished" test range is the first time I can get an idea of what the actual beer will taste like... :lol: This is why I don't usually taste the wort as to me it just tastes nasty. Is this just me, or does it taste like that to some of you folks too?

By this point, hopefully some of you will have twigged to the naming.... :wink:
Last edited by wolfenrook on Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:21 pm

I forgot to mention before, I sparged this one differently. I usually do a good rinse, then dunk sparge for a bit. This time around I skipped the dunk, and still got excellent efficiency. :wink:

As usual, I made a vid showing blow off tube activity. This one is was TRULY insane! Most active I've EVER had! It's actually slowed right down now. Seriously fast yeast.

https://youtu.be/yN70qHb8Ixo

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by Dennis King » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:39 pm

How long are your brew days taking. There are a few things that can help speeding it up like if heating water by electric use a timer to turn on the boiler so the water is ready for when you need it.

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:44 pm

Sadly I already know what the delays are to my brew day bud. My brew space happens to be the food preparation area of the kitchen as that's where our industrial sized extractor hood is. So my day can't usually start until after 3pm (my family have an odd idea about what constitutes lunch time....), with regular interruptions (it's what happens been a dad it seems. lol). I could easily get my day down if I could start in the morning and weigh my grain whilst I heat the water to strike temp. Oh and my wife not getting in the way whilst I'm trying to do it would help a lot too... The timer idea is sadly not doable, as it would mean blocking the kitchen off for far too long.

Once the warmer weather returns I want to give brewing in the back yard a go. Problem there is our bag is basically a micro wood, complete with various birds and squirrels who like to throw stuff out of the trees....

The other thing slowing down brew days is just things like having to wait whilst the BIAB bag drains, the time it takes my ACE to reach strike temp, the time it takes to reach a rolling boil, and the like. I'd rather just take it easy and have a longer brew day though to be honest than try to force it to go faster.

Once I take into consideration when I actually set the ACE mash tun/boiler up though, my brew day was about 7 hours. Starting at about 3pm means a late finish though. I just find that I get impatient so end up weighing my grain into a bucket before the boiler is even set up as I can do that without blocking the kitchen. I also turn my RO system on in the morning as it takes quite a while to produce the quantity of RO water I use, and I found running it when I'm not about to check on it regularly tends to end in a flooded kitchen floor... lol

I could cut out the sparge to save some time, but I'd still need to top up the boiler after lifting and draining the bag. I'd rather top it up with sparge runnings than just water.

Most of the time I'm just sat around waiting though to be honest, whilst the water heats to sparge, in between stirring the mash, whilst waiting for the bag to drain, for most of the boil (I tend to stand over it whilst bringing it to a boil, stirring regularly to stop scorching). So I just do other stuff at the same time. One day, I'll try that one where you have a beer whilst brewing. :D lol

Oh and just remembered, turns out I didn't transfer nearly as much trub as I thought I had. There's about 1/2cm of it in the FV now, with 1/2cm of yeast on top of it. Plenty of clearance to my FV tap. :D

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by IPA » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:48 am

mashed for 750 minutes
One hell of a long mash :lol: :) :lol:
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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by orlando » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:42 am

Sounds like you would benefit from a One Pot system.
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Fermenting: Blitzkrieg Hop
Conditioning: St. Petersburg (RIS)
Drinking: India (real IPA), Kernel Bogey (Reprise), Autumn Almanac
Up Next: Peaches (Peach IPA), Party Like A Russian (RIS), Black Night
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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:40 pm

IPA wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:48 am
mashed for 750 minutes
One hell of a long mash :lol: :) :lol:
Oops. :oops: In my defence I have a tremor that's been getting worst as I get older. :lol: I'll see if I can fix that. lol

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:42 pm

orlando wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:42 am
Sounds like you would benefit from a One Pot system.
You're not wrong! My wife actually suggested we save up for one the other day. Then I told her how much the cheapest ones cost.... I think I'm now looking at just fitting a recirculation pump. :lol:

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by orlando » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:17 pm

A GrainFather is reasonably cheap and if you're a bit handy there are quite a few who have made their own.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Blitzkrieg Hop
Conditioning: St. Petersburg (RIS)
Drinking: India (real IPA), Kernel Bogey (Reprise), Autumn Almanac
Up Next: Peaches (Peach IPA), Party Like A Russian (RIS), Black Night
Planning: Autumn drinking beer.

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by Manngold » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:37 pm

I would strongly recommend a Grainfather. My last brew day (had a shorter mash and boil) came in at 3.5 hours including a clean up.

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:17 pm

The Grainfather is a long way out of my price range I'm afraid. The price of my ACE mash tun boiler was pushing it a bit... lol

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by Manngold » Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:38 pm

wolfenrook wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:17 pm
The Grainfather is a long way out of my price range I'm afraid. The price of my ACE mash tun boiler was pushing it a bit... lol
That is fair enough. I got a deal on mine, so it only cost me about £450 in the end, I also sold on my old equipment to part fund it.

In the end I guess as long as you are happy with your brew day then that is the important thing. I have a very young family, plus work is demanding, so time is the key factor, and although I like brewing, I prefer the drinking with friends and family.

Happy brewing.

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:34 pm

Thanks bud. Yeah, I probably enjoy brewing more than drinking it to be honest. lol I spend a fair bit of time just working on recipes to try even.

My wife a few days back said to me when I was on about fitting a recirculation pump to my ACE "You should just save up and get a system", I told her that the cheaper ones start at about £460, to which her answer was "nope". lol End of the day, I'm producing nice beer with the kit I have, so it's not an easy thing to justify. Where it's far easier to justify the cost of setting up a fermentation fridge next (she's rather fond of pilsners and German beers...) so I can get some temperature control going, which should actually improve the beer I can make. I have toyed with the idea of mashing in a coolbox tun to be honest though. BIAB may seem simpler, but with the need to lift the bag, drain it etc, it does seem to add time on.

I've also been looking at canvas gazebos so I can set up a small brewing shelter outside, which would then allow me to start much earlier in the day, without having to work around normal kitchen activity. No good in cold weather, but better than nothing.

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:06 pm

Well, after testing the SG over 3 days (first one was done on the 19th, as I just had a hunch... Second was done today), it looks like the Detectives has finished at an FG of 1.014 with an apparent attenuation of 71%. I'd hazard that the warmer mash is behind this (I mainly mashed at 67 degrees, but caught it trying to sneak up to 68 a couple of times before I figured that I needed to set the stat at 66 degrees in order to keep it at 67 due to the elements still giving off heat after going off).

We had a crafty taste from the trial jar sample though, and it's a very promising beer. VERY malty flavour, mild bitterness with just a hint of citrus in there (as others have said though, a more lemon/lime citrus rather than grapefruit, so it's more subtle), the hops are quite subtle for sure. Tiny bit sweet, but this combines nicely with the malty flavour. A distinctly British flavour profile I'd say, which should really come in to it's own after conditioning and carbonating for a few weeks. Body is a bit thicker than when I mash low for sure, I probably could have gotten more body using caramel malt rather than crystal as I had to be careful with the crystal not to make the beer too dark a colour. Colour is a nice golden colour still. There may well be hints of diacetyl in there, but to be honest with how malty it is it's hard to say. I plan to rack it off the yeast though in order to try to keep the flavour as close to what it is now as possible, rather than giving it a nice long diacetyl rest like I usually do.

As to the Endeavour hops, I like them. It wasn't the biggest hop bill going, so it would be stupid to say you couldn't get a much hoppier beer with them. However the lovely subtle flavour from them in this suggests they would lend themselves well to a nice mild perhaps. I'd also be cautious using them with stronger flavoured hops, as I suspect they'd just end up been masked. I'd certainly use them again (I kinda have too, as I have nearly 66g of them left... lol), I'll probably try them in a mild next.

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Re: Detectives Ale - A bit of a mystery (AG #5)

Post by wolfenrook » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:45 pm

Just drew another trial jar sample off this (it's currently sat in second FV where I racked it to on the 21st), to check the SG and see how the flavour is doing.

SG has dropped one more point, down to 1.013, giving me 4.9% ABV and an apparent attenuation of 73.1%. Not bad given the rather small malt bill...

Colour and appearance is a lovely, bright, mid gold shade. No haze visible at all. I took 2 pics, 1 without additional lighting that looks darker, 1 better lit that shows the true shade better.

No extra light
Detectives1.jpg
Extra light
Detectives2.jpg
Taste, well it tastes as good as it looks (sorry that I sound so big headed here! lol)! A really lovely flavour, notes of biscuit and caramel, a subtle hint of lime/citrus and nice mild bitterness. The mouth feel, well it reminds me of some commercial meads, maybe slightly thinner though. So very very smooth and easy to drink. I seriously am hating the thought of bottle priming this, it'd be much nicer from a pressure barrel, but mine is full of rubbishy kit beer (Bad Cat... lol) from last year. :roll: Between the colour, flavour, and mouth feel, it's like the beer version of honey... :lol:

So, yeah, I WILL be using these hops (Endeavour) again, regularly in fact. They make a really lovely ale. Same with the MJ M36 Liberty Bell yeast.

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