Sunday, 7 August 2011

"London's Burning" Red Ale

With seemingly half the capital city's youth currently setting fire to cars and wheelie bins so that they can empty the shelves of the nearest Footlocker or Curry's, I didn't have to think hard to name my first attempt at a ruby red ale.

I'm using a base of pale malt, backed up by a good amound of Munich malt, some Carared malt, a little pale crystal malt for body, and a very small amount of both black and chocolate malts - hopefully this should give me a deep red-brown ale.

For hops I'm using Nelson Sauvin and Motueka, both for the first time.  And I'm using quite a lot of them - late in the boil for maximum aroma. And I should say at this point the the Nelson Sauvin hops smell absolutely divine.  I'm a fan of the smell of hops anyway, especially when you first break open a vacuum-pack, but Nelson Sauvin have the most gorgeous aroma of any hops I've used: there's hints of grapefruit, and obviously the white grape aroma from which it gets the "Sauvin" part of its name.

The yeast is Wyeast 1968 London ESB - which I have heard great things about.

Here's the grain bill:

2500g Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC)
1750g Munich Malt (20.0 EBC)
400g Carared (50.0 EBC)
250g Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (60.0 EBC)
30g Black (Patent) Malt (1300.0 EBC)
30g Chocolate Malt (1050.0 EBC)

Mashed at 66C in 13 litres for 90 minutes.  Sparged with 19 litres at between 75C and 80C.  The water was treated with 2 crushed Campden tablets, boiled with 14 grams of gypsum, then 1.5 grams of Epsom salts, all done the night before brew-day.

The boil schedule:

15g Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] (90 min) (First Wort Hop) 21.0 IBU
10g Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] (60 min) 11.9 IBU
10g Motueka [13.80 %] (30 min)  10.0 IBU
10g Motueka [13.80 %] (15 min)  6.5 IBU
1tsp Irish Moss (15 min) Misc 
30g Motueka [13.80 %] (7 min)  10.5 IBU
35g Nelson Sauvin [12.60 %] (60 min) (Post-boil Aroma Hop-Steep)
50g Motueka [13.80 %] (60 min) (Post-boil Aroma Hop-Steep)

My ultra-scientific hop-schedule labels here

I lost loads of wort to the 160g of hop matter in the bottom of the boil pot, but it did collect a lot of break material together, so what went into the fermenter should be fairly clear.  I ended up with almost 20 litres in the fermenter at 1.054, which is quite a bit higher than I expected - possibly my efficiency is higher than I think it is?  I ought to find out how to calculate it, really.  If you've got any hints how I can do that, leave me a note in the comments.

The colour appears a bit closer to amber than red.  I suppose there's a hint of redness.

Update: Bottling and first tasting

Fermentation finished at 1.016, giving me an abv of approximately 5%.  The colour is also closer to red that I originally thought, but the pictures here don't really do it justice.

Even though it's only been in the bottle a little over two weeks, the taste is fantastic.  There isn't a big hoppy nose, as I expected there might be, it's quite subtle.  The flavour is quite bitter, but not overpowering with a long hoppy aftertaste, and a medium body.  Delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment