We’re becoming famous!

Well, not really. But a fellow beer enthusiast and blogger did write a post about us and our beer. The post is mostly in Finnish, but you can find the beer review in the end of the post also in English. Go read it! His blog is worth a look anyway, especially if you can read Finnish.

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E.S.B Tasting (Batch#7)

In line with the previous post, and despite having mentioned the taste a bit in the recipe post I’ll go over briefly the ESB Batch#7 tasting notes. Here it is:

ESB B#7

ESB B#7

Quick overview of the beer. It’s and Extra Special Bitter, roughly 5.2% ABV same as its previous incarnation. It used Fuggles, Willamette, Cascade and E. Kent Golding hops. Malt bill is quite simple, pale malts, cara pils and caramel malts. It used Wyeast #1084.

Just as last time I’ll separate the evaluation into sections. I’m probably gonna get some input from Anni on this since she likes the style more than I do and will probably provide a better explanation of it.

Color

The color came out clearer than last time, I bit less SRMs and much much cleaner than the previous. Here’s a side by side:

ESB B#1 and ESB B#7

ESB B#1 and ESB B#7

Granted there is a difference in lighting you can see both that the beer is cleaner and clearer. Overall we’re quite pleased with the color.

Carbonation

The carbonation level came out ok, but on this case it had practically no head. This is not very consistent though, other bottles have had better carbonation than this one in particular. Since it has no head, no need to speak about retention. The overall feeling of carbonation is good though, and it fits the style, so no complaints.

Aroma

In the previous post of our E.S.B Batch# 1 I wrote:

If you ask Anni, she likes the smell, if you ask me I think its a bit on the tangy (grapefruity) side. Hops are perceptible, but not the nice aroma I’ve come to love. There is a light yeasty smell that disappeared the later we stored the bottles and the more we cooled them. Overall good enough for a first try.

I pretty much feel the same this time. Except that there is no yeasty smell, the beer is much cleaner and crisper, but the general feeling, “grapefruitiness” is pretty much the same, hops are slightly more perceptible and there is a slight malty smell to it. Overall a good improvement.

Taste

It’s supposed to be an ESB and it tastes like one. I bit to much grapefruit if you ask me, but the taste is good. Slightly malty, distinctive diacetyl as expected in the style. Fresh and crisp, the taste varies depending on how long its left in cooling, longer is better.

Lessons learned

Even if the beer is good and fits the style, it doesn’t mean you’ll love the beer. But other people might. This is not my favourite, but I think its because I’m not that partial to this style of beer anymore. I think trying out the same recipe with a more traditional british yeast would be interesting. Similarly, it would be interesting to make a stout with the irish yeast to see how it behaves. I don’t think I’m very fond of how it tastes in ESB’s. Granted, everyone else has a better opinion of this beer than me.

E.S.B (Batch#7 Double batch)

This E.S.B is a remake of the of the first recipe we made. The original intention of this batch, was to make it for a wedding. We had given out some of our beer and ESB was the one that was liked the most. So, we decided to make a double batch. By this point we had two pots, the electric one we made and the normal pot+inductive stove one.

For all intents and purposes the process was the same, we just had one batch running in the bathroom, and another in the kitchen. The reason for this is the electricity breaker limit of 10A. Since the bathroom has a separate 16A breaker for the washing machine, this was the only option. I’ll go through the recipe as usual since it wasn’t exactly the same as our first beer and then I’ll elaborate a bit on the process differences.

Batch size

2 x 19L

Grain

  • 4.20 Kg Pale malt (Finnish Viking Malt 5 EBC)
  • 220 gr Carapils/Dextrine
  • 220 gr Caramel/Crystal 60L

Hops

  • 30 gr Fuggles (90 mins)
  • 20 gr Willamette (90 mins)
  • 15 gr Cascade (90 mins)
  • 14 gr Willamette (10 mins)
  • 28 gr East Kent Goldings (2 mins)

Dry hopping

  • None

Yeast

  • WYeast #1084

Mashing

Since we a pre-final version of our “automated” system (again, more on this later), we decided to try a step mash. Here are the steps:

  • 15 min at 52°C protein rest
  • 45 min at 67°C saccharification rest

Boiling

90 min, normal boil.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier (Not in original recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient (Not in original recipe)
  • 2 Litre yeast starter/ split in two, half for each batch

Fermenting

  • 2 weeks
  • Temperature 21-22°C (Higher than ideal, but worked fine)

Since it was easier to mash with our electric pot, both batches were mashed in the same pot, but boiled separately. In order to make both batches taste as much the same as possible they were blended together half and half on different fermenters. Pre-boiled, pre-cooled water was added to make both batches 19-20L. Measured gravities were as follows:

Batch#1: Pre-boil: 1.046

Batch#2: Pre-boil: 1.054

Only one batch measured: OG: 1.050, FG: 1.010

For some reason after fermentation one batch came out cloudier than the other, perhaps the difference in the boil had something to do with it as the electric pot boils better than the one on the inductive stove. Other than that, taste came out pretty much the same on both batches. Unfortunately, the wedding was cancelled and we still have some left. Considering this batch was brewed in June, the beers have lasted quite a bit.

Lessons learned

This batch was interesting due to the amount brewed and the differences in them. While the flavour of the beer was mostly the same on both batches some difference could be tasted. I attribute this to the different geometry of the fermenters, as I’ve read that this might affect fermentation. But who knows. It might have been a good idea to blend the batches post fermentation, and not just pre-fermentation. Either way the beer came out well. Not my favourite, but everyone else liked it, so that’s good enough for me 🙂

l8rs!

/R

E.S.B Tasting (Batch #1)

This post is a bit overdue…

We had our first beer for the first time 1 week after bottling, and at that point it tasted really funky and green… I feared the worst! but after another week and then a bit more it got to be pretty good… ladies and gentlemen, Batch #1 E.S.B:

Batch #1 E.S.B

So!, I’m not a professional taster or anything, so I’ll just give you my general impressions on the beer and hopefully that will be enough. The final ABV content was theoretically 5.2ish%, but everyone who’s tried it thinks it has more as it gets you a tinsy bit tipsy after only a pint.

I’ll divide the comments into sections to make it clearer.

Color

The color came out quite nicely I think. This redish/orange which is nice to the eye. If anything I’d say it’s a bit too darkish, but overall its a pleasing color. The beer is quite hazy, but this is expected because we didn’t have a wort chiller at the time and we didn’t use any irish moss. It doesn’t really affect the outlook though.

Carbonation

The carbonation level came out quite good, it keeps a nice fresh bubbling for the duration of the drink. The only think lacking was the head. It has a nice thin foamy head but disappears quite quickly. But I guess that also kinda goes with the beer style, so its no big deal.

Aroma

If you ask Anni, she likes the smell, if you ask me I think its a bit on the tangy (grapefruity) side. Hops are perceptible, but not the nice aroma I’ve come to love. There is a light yeasty smell that disappeared the later we stored the bottles and the more we cooled them. Overall good enough for a first try.

Taste

The taste is where this beer didn’t disappoint. Its really bitter but not overwhelming, the body is heavy and lightly sweet giving a satisfying (if a bit overly filling) feeling. The hop bitterness really comes across and while it has a slight taste of the trademark yeasty homemade beer taste the beer is pretty damn good!…. for a first try. 🙂

Lessons learned

So, if I had to say anything about this first all grain brewing experience and the end result I’d say I’m quite satisfied. This definitely surpassed by previous malt extract brewing and unlike extract brewing I learned a LOT during the process. Based on my limited knowledge and experience the things I’d do to improve this same recipe would be:

  • Not do a mash-out, or do it in a more controlled manner. I think that in attempting to do a mash-out we went a bit overboard with the temperature and we might have gotten some tannins in the wort.
  • Add irish mosh or something similar to reduce the chill haze and make the beer clearer
  • Include secondary fermentation with dry hopping as the original recipe said, to provide better aroma.
  • Perhaps include a yeast starter to the fermentation stage to make for an overall cleaner beer.
  • Try other carbonation sugars to see how they affect the end result.

But yeah, all in all I’d say this beer is a success. It might not be a beer you can drink more than 1 or 2 of, but its definitely enjoyable.

Cheers!