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ESB Brew

June 25, 2012

Now that I have the club’s grain mill, I figure I should at least get my ingredients together for next brew whenever that may come so I don’t have to go through the process of re-acquiring it.  This way, I can quickly grind the grains if someone asks for it and they should be good for at least a month, I figure.

I haven’t brewed an ESB for the last 3 batches, so it’s high time I get to it 🙂

It feels like my last ESBs have missed the mark with my tastes, so I’m going back to one that I remember being really good – the one I brewed to propagate yeast for my yeast test brew.  I scaled it up to 10 gallons for this (I want to get a good bang for my hours spent slaving in the summer heat), but otherwise I’m keeping it as close to the original as possible.

Reviewing the recipe, I see that I specify a decoction to get to mash out temp.  While I have done this in the past, I don’t recall doing it on the stove before (i.e., all the times I can recall using this method was out in the garage) while this beer was made in the house by design (too damn hot out).  I don’t expect it will make much of a difference either way, but I’ll have to decide which way to go by brew day.

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe

Brew Day (8/12/12)

Able to brew finally after several weeks being too busy to.  Luckily it was about the best brewing weather we’ve had for a long time (mid-70s) so it worked out pretty well.  I went ahead with the 10 gallon version and with the exception of only having ~6 g of gypsum, it went pretty well.  Seeing as how I’ve treated the water with CaCl with this brew before with essentially zero gypsum, I’m not too worried that it’ll be a big problem.

One thing I’m a bit worried about is my old yeast to repitch.  I made a quick 1-L starter this morning and have been shaking it occassionally throughout the day (my stir plate is OOC), but not seeing much activity.  If I pitch it and things don’t take off quickly enough, I’ll just buy a smack pack tomorrow.

Also, I did end up doing the decoction at mash out.  I figured it was a simple enough matter since I already had the pot out there.  I don’t expect it really affects the final result ’cause it’s just a thin decoction, but it can’t hurt.

Fermentation

The carboys were placed in the now-empty keezer set to 67 F.  Being summer, my closet is stuck in the mid- to upper-70s.  Since the keezer was available and the OG was a tad high (1.071) I thought it best to make sure it didn’t get too warm.

After taking a couple days to get going, the fermentation got pretty vigorous.  Enough to warrant setting up blowoff tubes.  The first day and a half or so, I assume growth was just happening, but by the end of the second day krausen had worked its way into the airlocks on both carboys.

I plan to keg one relatively early because I’m running out of the my reserves that I’m willing to drink.  I was lucky to nurse my Irish Red for quite a while, but it blew a day or two before my brew day for this.  The one I don’t keg early, I’ll just move to the closet to condition for another week or two.

Conditioning

Kegged the first 5 gallons after 1 week, carbonated and began drinking.

Kegged the second ~2 weeks after brewing along with 800 mL of gyle for carbonating.  Put ~20 psi CO2 on it to seat the lid and put it in the closet to carbonate and further condition.

Impressions

1st keg:  After a week or so of “green-ness”, it became highly drinkable with a nice hop-malt balance.  Caramel aroma, sweet, caramel, malt forward and middle.  Balancing and lingering bitterness in the finish (though the malt is still very much noticeable).  Slight alcohol warming.  Very clear, yet a little too pale.  All in all, it could use a little more dark malts for both color and flavor, but I’m pretty happy with it.

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From → Ale, All-Grain, Brews

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