The first thing I noticed, when I opened my homebrew notebook to begin planning my latest batch, was that my last brew day was in July!
Anyway, for my first brew of the 2014 I decided to revisit the recipe I have for Whitbread Mackeson Stout. The main reason being that I had some issues with the temperature during fermentation last time. Which I believe caused some off flavours.
New Home Brew Equipment
In that time I’ve added to my home brew kit with a new grain mill. Given that whole grains last longer in captivity than their pre-crushed brethren I thought it would be an investment. Plus the idea of milling my own grain seemed cool.
Getting to use the mill for the first time was rather fun. Although this brew was only an extract brew, so the amount of grains being crushed was not too great. I imagine on a larger all-grain batch that a sore arm may be on the cards.
I was a bit worried about getting the consistency of the crushed grains right. The idea with crushing the malt is to make sure that the kernel of the barley is open, allowing the brewer to expose the starch and enzymes.
The Ideal Grain Crush
As far as the crush goes, I’ve read that if the grain is too large after the crush the kernels will not give off a good yield. Similarly if the grain ends up like flour, the yield may be higher but may give off harsh flavors. It’s a milling mind-field.
After some trial and error during the milling, I had to adjust the grinder a couple of times until I was fairly happy with the way it looked – basing it on pre-crushed malt I’ve purchased in the past.
The Whitbread Mackeson Clone Recipe
Dark Malt Extract – 1.8kg
- Chocolate Malt – 250 grams
- Soft Dark Brown Sugar – 900 grams
- Brewer’s caramel – 30ml
- Fuggles Hops (AA: 5.44%) – 45 grams
- Phoenix Hops (AA: 13.3%) – 30 grams
- Yeast – Safale S-04
Boil time: 45 minutes (with 5 minute rest at the end)
OG: 1.044 (wort temp was 22.0C)
The Brew Day
All in all the brew day went without any hitches, which left me nervous at the time as I felt as though I must have missed something out!
But it wasn’t the case. In a nutshell (or grain kernel – chortle chortle…) I added the Chocolate Malt, Hops and Malt extract to 15 litres of water and let it boil for 45 minutes.
After cooling it down (and straining the hops, etc), adding the sugar, brewers caramel and 5 extra litres of water I added the yeast and that was that. Quite an easy, non-complicated recipe.
The beer is currently under the stairs fermenting away nicely. The temperature as I type this is sitting nicely at 18.5oC…
Next up, in two weekends time, I plan to start another beer. Perhaps all-grain now that I have a sparge arm.
Either way, it will most likely be an IPA or some-such. After all, the days are getting longer and soon it’ll be time to sit in the garden – basking in the sun and drinking cold light beer… well, in theory. As it’s Scotland it’ll most likely be stout weather all year round!
Oh, and to finish this post off… here’s what I hate the most about brewing beer: