Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spring brewing adventures

This blog post is technically two posts in one. The first bit covers what you could call my first brew for Mordue Brewery, 10 barrels (so a half batch) of the spring seasonal, Bunny Hop, which to date has only been brewed three times. A big step for me in getting to know the kit and although some minor anomalies occurred in the process the major disasters were averted.  Highlights included a super fast transfer to FV and the raw pleasure of getting into a mash tun still half full of grain to dig it out. Hardcore.

Bringing the wort to the boil after sparging was a tricky moment. Especially with a copper that’s as wild as an untamed beast with a reluctance to boil over. A steam fired trouble maker. In fact if it was a 20 barrel brew (and the thing was full), considering where I was standing, I may well be up there with Michael Jackson Beer Hunter in that brew pub up in the sky by now.
But at the end of the day it was all great fun. At the moment things are going splendidly, my only concerns are with my beer supplies. I have plenty of viciously bitter un-named IPA and delicious P45 Brown Ale left from my brews at Daleside brewery on my own kit but am still to face the challenge of getting the kit up and running in the kitchen at home.
I need to tackle the new water chemistry, temperature controls, the kitchen layout and concerns from the wife. But I have some answers lined up;
“yes, I will clean it up afterwards”

“yes, the house will smell like a brewery for a day”

“no, it has to stay there for a week till it’s fermented”

I've been there before. But it’s all well and good having a constant supply of beer at your disposal but for my first home project that won’t be part of the objective. Rob’s Beer Quest readers will remember Elizabeth. Or Elizabeth II in this case. Well next month I plan to empty her to bottles and re-fill her with another brew before she ends up sitting around picking up infections. The question is what to brew?   
Elizabeth poses in front of the kitchen door "smile for me darlin'!"
 I know what, I thought, I’ll go old school again and do a robust porter style beer.  I’ve always wanted to do one. Then I suddenly remember an old book my dad passed down to me years ago from the Durden Park Beer Club  from 1976. As many know the Durden Park beer circle is a group of enthusiastic home brewing types dedicated to replicating old beer styles.

You can tell it's ancient just by looking at it

Although I’ve never been one to follow brewing recipes, I find the idea of trying to replicate historic beers intriguing. The recipe I have chosen to carry out is the one for a 1750s original Porter, or Entire Butt as it was called back then. An almost identical recipe from the one in the book can be found here, and if you convert the weights of grains to percentage extract contributions the grist reads something like this;
1750s Porter.
Pale malt: 75.9%
Crystal malt: 9.3%
Black malt: 4.7%
Brown malt: 10.1%

(OG: 1090 to finish at 1010-1025)

Bittered with 70-80 IBUs worth of Fuggles hops and no mention of any late hops.

It’s gonna be a beast, and a four gallon batch should nearly over fill the mash tun, so I better watch out with that. The three hour mash stand time is something Im not sure on tho, it may be shortened. I almost forgot how lovely the kitchen (/garden/driveway/entire house) smells during home brewing, so will be looking forward getting stuck in.


Mark N said...

Look forward to that Durden Park brew. It was their recipe I used for my Simonds 1880 bitter. Not being a historic geek, I wasn't expecting much, but I have to confess it's a belter.

Ian Beer said...

Rob, in which pubs can we buy the Bunny Hop?

Rob said...

Well Ian it depends who orders it. So I will let you know.

Rob Derbyshire said...

Sounds great, where'd you get the barrel from?