Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ain't Dead Yet

Hard to believe its been two months since I've posted anything. The short and simple reason for the lapse has to do with a new job, being around lots and lots of beer every day, and sorta feeling burned out after seven years or so of constant home brewing. For a while there I thought I'd just delete the ole' blog and start something completely new, say, like taking up snowboarding or long distance running. Haha. Seriously though, home brewing is a lot of fun and with hard work, you can make better beer than the big boys, but don't take it too seriously.

Anyways, as my carboys have largely sat abandoned since November, I figured I'd brew something quick and easy. I was originally going to go with a super simple, malty English bitter, but I have a ton of 2012 hops taking up freezer space and I really need to use them up. Therefore, I'm keeping the English malt base and going with a blend of random odds and ends. This blend is mostly Galaxy, Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe. Water is all RO, built up to around 150ppm sulfate and 30ppm chloride. Yeast is some very fresh MJ44 slurry.

Lastly, as a little treat for myself, I opened up one of my last bottles of Gale's Old Prize Ale, date unknown. I was a little worried the beer was going to be a dumper when the cork completely disintegrated as I tried to remove it, but on trying the beer, all was good. Like really freaking good. Unlike the other Old Prize Ales I've sampled, most of which had a meaty-oxidized-yeasty flavor, this one was in top shape, exuding flavors of sherry, balsamic-cherries, and lots of prune and raisin. Like a unsoured version of Rodenbach Grand Cru. I just hope my other bottles taste as good. I'm current trying to culture Brett from the bottle dregs.
Hoppy Bitter : American Pale Ale         

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.75
Anticipated OG: 1.045
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 9
Anticipated IBU: 40
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

90.3% - 7.00 lbs. Pale Malt, Maris Otter
6.5%  - 0.50 lbs. Dark Crystal
3.2%  - 0.25 lbs. Amber Malt

0.50 oz. Columbus @ 60 min for 13 IBU
1.00 oz. Hop Blend @ 20 min for 16 IBU
1.00 oz. Hop Blend @ 10 min for 11 IBU
3.00 oz. Hop Blend @ flameout

Yeast: MJ44 American Ale
Mash 154F for 60 min
Brewed on 9 February


  1. Welcome back! Great to see the blog return.

  2. Glad to see you aren't dead. :)

  3. I hope that you don't delete the blog, even if you give it up. It's such a great source of information!

  4. I'd like to echo what the others have already said, it's good to have you back!

  5. Oh, thank heavens you're still alive and posting, Will.

    Question: A fellow brewer mentioned Mangrove Jack's dry yeast to me the other day, and I see you've tried it on occasion... Would you say you've had decent results? Would you recommend? It's been a while since I've used dry yeast, though I used to carry some in the fridge for back-up...

    --Session Dee

    1. Haha - Thanks!

      As for the MJ44, I've had good results with this yeast so far and it is one of the only dry yeasts that I'll use when not in a pinch. I like it because it ferments out cleanly (about the same as 1056/Chico... maybe a touch maltier) but is a great top cropper and best of all, flocculates very well. And no diacetyl or fruity esters at standard temps. Overall, it is remarkably similar to wy1332.

      That said, the one issue that I do have with this yeast is that it can take a long time (48-72hrs) for the first signs of fermentation to appear when it is used in dry form. I will actually make a small yeast starter with the dried yeast before I pitch and the yeast take right off. Whatever the origin of this yeast is, I would love to be able to get it in liquid form. I have not tried the other MJ dried yeasts...

    2. Thanks for the tip, Will. There's a new LHBS near me that carries Mangrove Jack's, and I'm sure I'll pick up a few and make a small starter when I use them.

      Oh, and belated thanks: my English-style pale ales came out pretty good this past fall and early winter. I made a few small adjustments to my process (many picked up here), including simplifying my grain bill in most of my brews, with terrific results. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for helping to make the world just a little bit better!


  6. It's great to see a new post. Just another voice asking that you not delete the blog even if you stop posting. I'm a new brewer with a love of English beer and your blog is a great resource.
    -Another Cam

  7. I'm glad to see you posting again Will. I've always looked forward to your blog updates as it's only one of a couple centered on English-styled beers that are worth following. I hope you find inspiration enough to continue. And congratulations on the new job!

  8. I am pretty sure he's dead now. At least on the Internet.

  9. What was the ratio on the hop blend?


Leave a comment. No spam please.