Having inflicted a dreadful Hefe on people, I felt the need of a little redemption on the brewing front this weekend. Therefore, I looked out for a spot of inspiration, which came in the form of John Wright's infectiously enthusiastic book 'Booze'. John Wright (@johnmushroom) is the chap who goes around foraging the hedgerows and coasts of Dorset with Hugh Fearnley-Whathisface on the 'River Cottage' series. However, it wasn't until recently that I saw him making his own home brewed beer on telly.
Having given some of his infusions a go - and them working out pretty well, (beware odd coloured bottles of liquid for Christmas prezzies , folks...). I decided to give his 'Ordinary Bitter' a go, but tweak it for the BIAB method I use. I also wanted to use some hops that were on they're way out, so swapped out the Pacific Gem for a more UK-centric dose of Challenger. Just to see if I couldn't get a dose of 'freshness' in there 3g of Cascade pellets went into the cube whilst the wort cooled overnight.
However, the malt bill was identical, and that is what drew me to the recipe. Maris Otter spine, but the additions of wheat, crystal, and chocolate add, in turn, mouth feel, residual sweetness and a roasty hint and colour. This strikes me as a good balance - the hop schedule is suggesting quite high bitterness, which I didn't get out of the unfermented wort, but we will see. If so, I'll need these malts to counteract them. All fermented using WLP002, the ESB strain, so I am expecting malt/sweet, from that yeast so I am hoping that this doesn't kill the hops altogether. In the FV it looks brown, substantially 'traditionally' and British, and there is a lot to be said for that - as boring as it might sound!
I also paid a LOT more attention to temperature this time, adding cold and hot water to get the inital infusion just right at 66C, and then monitoring every 15mins to check on the temperature.I am a bit more confident that I did not overshoot the temperatures this time, so I am hoping for a decent attenuation (and ABV) this time around!