Monday, 1 August 2011


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.

I boiled my brewing liquor for 30 minutes, to precipitate out calcium carbonate, along with 2 crushed Campden tablets and 15g of calcium sulphate (gypsym - yes, the stuff that makes plaster!).  Wheeler's recommendation for gypsum is 10g per 23 - 25 litres of water.  I was treating 35 litres, so 15g for me.  Once the boil had finished I added just over a gram of magnesium sulphate (Epsom Salts).  That's the science stuff out of the way - now the recipe:

4800g Pale Malt
200g Carapils
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.

The yeast was 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.


  1. Tried this myself, and was very satisfied with the result. I know being knocked out isn't really why we homebrew, but it is a pleasant side effect.

    Nice blog, and good use of pictures.

  2. Hi Tom,

    Cheers for that, and I'm glad your version of the recipe was to your satisfaction. Your comment reminds me that we're well past Christmas now, and this post is overdue an update as to how happy my Brother was with his beer (hint: very!).

  3. Hi Matt!
    I'm eager to make exact copy of that recipe and in almost the same BIAB setup (33 L pot from french ebay :)). Still though, don't fully get that last hops addictions:
    15g Styrian Goldings [4.17%] - 60 min steep, post boil
    15g Fuggles [4.9%] - 60 minute steep, post boil

    May I ask you, what exactly should I do? Steep them all the time of mashing or just add them in 60 mins ( boiling start), or just drop them in flameout for some time (for how long)?

    Cheers and thanks in advance for making that clear for me :)

    1. Hi there.

      What I mean by "60 minute steep, post boil" is that I throw the hops in at flame-out, and leave them to steep in the hot wort for 60 minutes before cooling.

      I think the advised best practice for this, and what I'll be doing once I get a immersion chiller for my brewing set-up (it's my next purchase, I think) is to throw the hops in at flameout and immediately cool the wort to just below 80C as quickly as possible. Then stop the cooling and leave the wort for the required time, before cooling again to pitching temperature.

      At least, that is what I have read. Experience will teach me if that's a good thing to do, but either way I'm always happy to be corrected by a more experienced brewer.

      Best of luck with your brew!

  4. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the answer. After posting my question, I went on fierce web hunt about FWH. I realize, that you've done the same before :)Oh man, that's really crazy:) A lot of people are saying that FWH = 10-20 min hopping ( in terms of IBU), BUT it gives more smooth bitterness at the end.
    What I'm going to do, is to use no-chill method - which is even more craziest - it gives more than 10% extra IBU, if you don't change your hopping schedule. Dang, well let the experiment begin :)!
    Cheers mate!

  5. Matt - how did the brew turn out in the end? I've just tried Orfy's extract version of this recipe (third post down here - and its currently bubbling away.

    Keep up the good blogging work.

    1. Hi Winstons - Thanks for the encouragement, and best of luck for your brew - I hope it turns out as pleasing as mine was.

      My finished beer was really nice actually, and very drinkable, but not a great deal like Hobgoblin if I'm honest. I think that that was inevitable given my yeast selection, and the impreciseness of small-scale brewing.

      The body was just right - smooth without being too full. The bitterness was subtle, which was what was called for, with the flavour showing off the malts really well.

      This is one recipe that I'll definitely return to, at some point, and maybe with some tighter control on fermentation temperature (in my new fermentation fridge - there's blog post I need to write), I'll be even happier with the results.