With apologies to the good people at the Wychwood brewery, I've had a go at a clone of their lovely Hobgoblin ale. It's for my brother for Christmas, as he rates Hobgoblin very highly indeed - I hope I've done it justice.
I found a receipe on the Jim's Beer Kit forum, attributed to Orfy, and used that, as it came with a good reputation for matching Wychwood's brew. I heartily recommend the forum at Jim's Beer Kit for picking up recipes and brewing advice.
Following a whole batch of firsts in my last brew, the Kölsch, there's another first this time - adding salts for water treatment. I've essentially followed the technique in Graham Wheeler's Brew Your Own British Real Ale - a really helpful book, which I recommend for the beginner.
4800g Pale Malt
150g Chocolate Malt
140g Crystal Malt (100 EBC)
110g Crystal Malt (60 EBC)
(I ran out of 60 EBC Crystal, so topped it up to 250g with some 100 EBC - it won't make a massive difference though)
15g Styrian Goldings [4.17%] - 60 min boil
15g Fuggles [4.9%] - 60 minute boil
15g Styrian Goldings [4.17%] - 30 min boil
15g Fuggles [4.9%] - 30 minute boil
1 tsp Irish Moss - 10 minute boil
15g Styrian Goldings [4.17%] - 60 min steep, post boil
15g Fuggles [4.9%] - 60 minute steep, post boil
The grains were mashed in 14 litres of my treated water at 66C for 90 minutes, then sparged with the remaining 21 litres at between 75C and 80C.
You can see my super-high-tech BIAB technique in operation here - with the bag suspended off the back of a chair to drain after mashing, and then in a fermentation bucket with a tap for sparging.
I lost just less than 5 litres of water to the grains, so my boil length was 30.4 litres - which for future reference is the absolute maximum I can get away with in my 33 litre brew pot - it had to be watched like a hawk for boil-overs. After the 60 minute boil I was left with 25.7 litres of wort, which was chilled by putting my brew pot in the bath with cold water. It got down to just below room temperature in an hour.
I ended up with 23.5 litres going into the fermenter, at a gravity of 1.052 - slightly higher than I was expecting. But if that makes a stronger beer (I'll have to see how much the yeast attenuates) I don't think my brother will be complaining too much.
Wyeast 1318 London Ale III which is my major departure from Orfy's original recipe. It's in the fermenter now, and I'll post updates as they happen.
Happy Christmas Bruv!
Update: Bottling and first tasting
Fermentation finished with an Specific Gravity of 1.013, meaning an approximate abv of 5.1%. I didn't rack to a secondary fermenter, instead leaving the beer in primary fermentation for 21 days. Fermentation seemed to stall at 1.019, so I carefully roused the yeast with a sterilised mash paddle (an invaluable tool!).
As well as filling a bunch of bottles, I've used a couple of five litre mini casks for this beer, for the ease of Christmas-gifting. Much simpler (and lighter) to give my brother a five litre mini-cask than ten 500ml glass bottles. I'll have to see how well they hold pressure, and how well they dispense, but for only £5 each, they seem a bargain. And reusable too. I got mine here: Leyland Homebrew - EasyKeg
I had a cheeky sample of the beer during bottling, and very tasty it is too. Lovely and smooth, not too hoppy, with a complex malty aftertaste - exactly what I was aiming for. I'll do some taste and colour comparisons with the beer's Daddy - Wychwood's Hobgoblin - once it's ready. I would expect to leave it in the cellar for five to six weeks for conditioning.