D’n’Ale- A Summer APA

Hey there readers,

So, as promised in my last update, my next brew (also from extract) was another American Pale Ale (APA). The Spring APA was quite a successful experiment, but for this batch I wanted to amp up the hop content and really get both the hop bitterness and aroma that is characteristic of this style. In order to do this, I once again used Citra as the bittering hop, and my own home grown Cascade hops from last year’s harvest, but this time I amped up the quantity. I had come to the conclusion that my Cascade hops had lost a lot of their potency due to improper storage (they were not frozen originally, although vacuum packed), and thus decided to double the content of Cascade in the recipe, assuming a 50% loss in potency.  The majority of the fermentable sugars for this brew will come from 3kg of light dry spray malt, augmented with a little bit of crushed Crystal Malt, which I steeped in warm water for 30 mins prior to the boil. This “mini mash” is just another way to put a unique spin on the malt base of an extract brew and make it slightly more unique than just using malt extract alone.

The upped hop content worked out great, having tasted the APA a week ago I can safely say that the bitterness which I intended has come through. The hop aroma was also present, but still not quite to the quantity which I had hoped. For the next iteration of the brew, I think I will increase the amount of hops used for dry hopping. Furthermore, since I am dry hopping in a muslin bag to prevent too much of the hop pieces from making it to the final brew, I believe this may be limiting the amount of hop aroma imparted.

The label for this brew followed the structure of the Spring Pale Ale, but altered the colour scheme a bit, as well as the logo:

I’ve added a side label with a short description of the beer as well as instructions to pour it carefully, as most people are so used to filtered beer that they do not really know how to pour a live beer with a yeast sediment at the bottom.

Overall I am very pleased with this batch, and look forward to tasting how the flavour profile develops as I continue storing it for a little while. Next up- a Midsummer Ale!


Admiral’s Reserve, labeling and bottling update

Hi folks,

So last Friday I finally got round to bottling my latest batch of home brew, courtesy of an Admiral’s Reserve kit I got for my birthday back in November. The brew was in the fermentation vessel (FV) for just over two weeks. After the first week of fermentation I had suspected a stuck fermentation, and moved the FV to a warmer room, where the temperature of the wort increased from 18 degrees to 22 degrees Celsius. I believe that this really helped, as there was seemingly much more activity, and the fermentation was able to be completed. After just over two weeks in the FV the beer smelled absolutely amazing, and I am really looking forward to trying it once it finishes conditioning in the bottles. One of the things I noticed when bottling the batch is that research and preparation in this area really helped the process of bottling go extremely smoothly. For example, I had researched and bought the necessary gear to make my life easier- a secondary bottling vessel to which I can rack the beer from the fermenter, complete with a tap and a little bottler attachment, the right amount of bottles and caps, a bottle washer and drying rack, and of course one of my favourite pieces of equipment for homebrewing; the easy siphon. I have attached links to all of these products so that you can get them for yourself, trust me, they make life a lot easier, especially if working on your own!

In the above photo you can see me siphoning the beer into the secondary vessel/ bottling bucket. The easy siphon makes the job super simple, and no risk of contamination as long as it is sanitized properly. The final volume of bottled beer came out to 20L, exactly 40 bottles. One crucial point is to make sure you clean and sterilize all of your bottles to prevent infection and promote a healthy beer which will stay fresh for months! Here you can see my set-up for sterilizing and drying all of my bottles:

The label design was also an interesting process, as it was my first time doing any sort of graphic design. I designed my label on Adobe Illustrator, but also used Photoshop for colour correction and cropping/ resizing. This was the final design I settled on, and I am pretty proud of it:

After the label design and bottling processes were complete, all that was left was to print off the labels, which I did on a standard laserjet printer and regular paper, cut them out, and stick them on to the bottles using a little bit of milk and a clean brush (a tip I picked up from Greg Hughes’ wonderful book). The milk will make the labels easy to soak off when re-using the bottles, and it does not stink like glue does! Here is what the final bottles looked like with the labels attached:

Really happy with the results overall, and I truly cannot wait to try this beer in a couple of weeks. As always, thank you for reading, and happy brewing!