Batch 001: Pale Ale

Pale Ale (Nøgne Ø all-grain beer kit)

Brew date: 2012-07-28
Bottled: 2012-08-03 (i.e. in primary for 6 days) 


Batch 001. Yay!Malts:
1.4 kg malt blend consisting of Maris Otter Pale Malt, Wheat Malt and Caramalt

Northern Brewer 9 g, 60 min (40 IBU)
Centennial 10 g, 15 min
Centennial 10 g, 5 min
Centennial 15 g, post-boil

Safale S-04, approximately 3 g.

Approximately 4 L water
60 min @ ~65ºC in pasta pot with insert
10 min @ ~65ºC in pasta pot without insert

Mashout: temperature raised to 77ºC
Wort recycled though grain
Sparging to obtain a boil size of 5 L

Boiling time:
60 min

1.064 (this was the OG after adding 0.5 L water to get the gravity down from 1.070. Theoretical OG: 1.056)


7.1% (Theoretical: 6.0%)

Brew date:
28. July 2012

Fermenting temperature:
21.5 – 22.5 ºC

03. Aug 2012, i.e. 6 days in the fermenter. Time between plops in the airlock was approximately 2 minutes at the time of bottling.

Final volume bottled
Eh… approximately 1.5 L… But at least it seems to be reasonably clear, I think The Head Brewer and the Assistant Breweress managed to avoid that any big lumps of the yeast cake got sucked into the siphon.

Tasting notes before bottling
Wow! To my big surprise it doesn’t seem infected at all! A surprisingly clean taste with citric notes, and of course a quite yeasty feel and a firm alcoholic sting. This might turn out to be quite nice in a couple of weeks!

3 days @ 24ºC – 25ºC after bottling, then stored at 21ºC – 22ºC (that’s as cold as my beer cellar gets this time of year).

Rating of final product:
If it was clean before bottling it’s not anymore. Lots of sweet butter notes ruin the citric crispness. Click here for my rating.

Notes about the gravity: 
Using a 4.5 L pasta pot with insert for the mashing was probably not a very good idea. It’s nice to have an easy way to get rid of the mash, but there was too much space between the bottom of the pot and up to the bottom of the insert, leading to too little water in direct contact with the grain, and I therefore decided to add more water to the already quite full pot. I also I had problems keeping the temperature right. Because of these problems I feared that I would end up with a too low gravity, so I removed the insert after 60 minutes and kept on mashing for another 10 minutes. The extra 10 minutes was probably the reason why the gravity actually ended up being too high: Gravity after lautering was supposed to be 1.045, I got 1.046 and was happy with that, until I remembered that the gravity measurement assumes a temperature of 20ºC. When the temperature of my sample was down to 25ºC the gravity was 1.054. Next time I’ll use the pasta pot without the insert, and simply put the pot into a preheated oven to keep the temperature at ~65ºC.

After boiling the Original Gravity was supposed to be 1.056, I got a whooping 1.070. I guess I had the heat turned up too high, in addition to the too high gravity after lautering. I tried to get the OG down by adding 0,5 L of water (straight from the tap! My excuse is my sick child, I just had to end the brewing process as soon as possible and didn’t have time to boil and cool the water. I guess the penalty will turn out to be an infected beer…), giving an new OG of 1.064. Still far too high, but it had to do. I didn’t have time to wait for the wort to clear up, so I ended up getting 2 L of the wort into the fermenter, the rest of the 2 L ended up in the sink. So, I don’t expect this to be a good beer, or even drinkable, but it was a good exercise!

Lessons learned:

  • Don’t use the insert in the pasta pot
  • Use a gravity VS temperature conversion table
  • Don’t boil the wort on too high heat, I experienced far too much evaporation and far too high OG.
  • Prepare a bottle of sterile water in the case of too high OG.
  • Making tiny batches leads to a very big trub loss relative to the liquid that ends in the fermenter. Also, the amount of goo in the fermentor that isn’t bottled is also relatively large compared to the beer that actually ends up in bottles. But I guess I’ll have to live with these facts until I get a bigger boiler and fermenter.
  • Do the boiling outdoors to keep wife happy.
  • Don’t get a sick kid on brew day.
  • Don’t bottle the beer after 6 days in order to avoid butter beer.
2L batch. Wow.

2L batch. Wow.

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