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Archive for the ‘Linthwaite Light’ Category

Oh dear 😦 Phil and I cracked open the first 2 bottles of the 3 week old Linthwaite Light. It is not good. I find it hard to describe it, other than to say it had a very cheap beer taste and smell. There was a, perhaps yeasty, taste that hits you almost before its even in your mouth and then very little else after that. Phil politely finished his pint, but I ended up chucking mine down the sink. It doesn’t really have much of a green taste so Im not even that hopeful tat it will improve dramatically with age, but I shall leave it well alone now for probably another month and see if anything good comes of it. (My judgement probably wasn’t helped by having just finished a bottle of Phil’s Colne Valley which was really good, and having just returned from a trip to Brussels and all the fine beer that comes with that.)

[edited]

I forgot to mention that this was the brew that spent 6 weeks in the fermenter – I don’t know if this could be part of the problem with this brew.

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Yesterday I finally got round to bottling my second home brewed beer. It had been about 6 weeks since I first started it going, so hopefully it will come out ok.

I started off by knocking together a new set of labels:

Linthwaite Light Label

I wanted to make the label a little different on each brew, so while the basic label layout is the same, the logo (shown above) is slightly different. I printed out 6 sheets of 8 labels and during breaks in other preparation, I cut them neatly down to size.

I lifted the brewing bucket onto the work surface in the kitchen and tried to attach the sanitised tube to the tap. I found it hard to put on and came across another useful tip – pouring a little recently boiled water over just the end of the tubing loosened it up a lot, and it easily slipped over the tap then.

When bottling my first brew I found that adding the sugar to the bucket worked well rather than the faff of priming each bottle individually, so I decided to repeat it this time. The first brew has ended up being fairly fizzy – probably too fizzy for an ale, but given this latest brew is supposed to be fairly light, I’m hoping that a similar amount of fizz this time will make for a very nice relaxing summer drink. Therefore, I added 80 grams of brewing sugar to a sanitised jug and added just enough freshly boiled water to cover it, and stirred it until all the sugar had dissolved. Having covered the jug with cling film and made a few holes in it, I popped it in the microwave until it started to boil again, just to ensure it was sanitised. I then left this to cool and later slowly added it to the bucket, very gently stirred all the time.

And then, onto the laborious job of cleaning the bottles 😦 Even with the bottle tree, this is still a slow and boring job, but given I had cleaned and rinsed all the bottles when I first got them, I felt a soak in sanitising solution and a good rinse was sufficient for each bottle. Some time later, I had 45 clean bottles ready to fill. With the last few bottles, I also dropped 45 caps into the sanitising solution, and then rinsed them off ready for use.

I took a quick gravity reading before starting the bottling:

Light Final Gravity

I took this to be a reading of 1.010, which surprisingly had therefore dropped a little after I stirred up a little of the yeast a few days ago. However, after 6 weeks, I decided not to wait any longer to check it had finished. Hopefully this wont come back to get me later. At 1.010, this has now reached the upper limit of the target final gravity, so hopefully this won’t be as sweet as the IPA.

As before, I setup a nice conveyor belt, of filling, capping, and then labelling (applied with milk of course):

Light Bottling Process

I had originally decided to use about half proper thick-glassed bottles, and half the thinner lager bottles (after none of them exploded last time 🙂 ) but when I realised I had enough proper bottles to do them all, I decided to just do a test sample of 5 thin bottles again, to further assess them.

Finally, some considerable time later (it somehow took me over 3 hours from starting the labels to being completely finished) I finally had 45 Linthwaite Lights bottled, capped and labelled:

Bottled Linthwaite Light

For the more astute of you, yes – I did take this picture before I finished, hence there only being 37 bottles in the photo.

Given the missus and I needed to make room in the kitchen for the imminent arrival of our first dishwasher, it made sense to store all our beer in The Brewery, so with the addition of the Linthwaite Light it now looks like this:

The Brewery

Its slowly starting to look like a brewery. When I get time, I’ll be adding the wine and champers we have to the top shelf, and somewhere I’m sure there is some more commercial ale, but for now, I’m pretty happy with it.

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On Friday, I decided it was time for a quick check on the status of my second home brewed beer, before going away for the weekend. I dropped the hydrometer in and went to look for my camera to take a picture. Unfortunately, I had already packed it, and my phone doesn’t have a flash, so the pictures were not good:

Linthwaite Light fermentation

I took the reading as 1.012. I noted that the 1.012 line was just about the last thing visible before the bubbles covered the hydrometer. The target gravity, as stated in the instructions, is 1.010 or less. While checking the instructions just now for my blog, I note that it also suggests stirring the beer a little if it hasn’t quite reached target, to re-suspend some of the yeast. Given there were still bubbles noticeable on Friday (and still are today) so I can assume it is still just about fermenting, I will now sanitise the stirrer, and give it a go. My first brew finished a few points high, and it is noticeably sweet, so I’d love to get it down some more. I will also place the towel that I wrap around the bucket on the radiator for a short while in the hope of encouraging the yeast along.

Stirring the Linthwaite Light

Stirring completed, I will give the beer a few days before measuring it again.

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While I was on a roll, I decided to check on the beer too. It has been about 15 days since I started it going, so it should be coming along nicely.

Linthwaite Light still fermenting

There is clearly still activity which is pleasing given the gravity is currently at 1.016, with a target of 1.010 or less. I’m happy this is doing well at the moment, and I will be leaving it another couple of weeks before taking another reading.

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Having been concerned about pitching the yeast into the Linthwaite Light mixture at only 14 degrees C, I had meant to check on it after a day or so to check it had started fermenting ok. I kept forgetting, but finally got round to taking the lid off today and having a look.

Linthwaite Light fermenting

As the picture shows, there were clear signs of fermentation. The beer has been bubbling away, so I am very pleased.  I saw no reason to disturb it with a hydrometer reading, so I gently replaced the lid, re-covered the bucket with a towel and left it to do its stuff.

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Linthwaite Light Box

As soon as I got my previous brew bottled (the Munton’s IPA) I gave the fermentation bucket a quick clean to remove all the obvious dirt and then left it full of a sanitising solution all day, with the stirrer and the lid in it. (I rotated the lid a few times as only half of it would fit in the bucket at once.) I didn’t have much time in the evening, but I decided that there was still time to get the next brew going. I wanted to do it asap or else it could be another week before I got time again. I rinsed out the bucket as well as the stirrer and top and was ready to go.

I placed a can opener, jug, thermometer and hydrometer in the sink and covered them with warm sanitising solution. I also placed the two cans from the kit in the water to soften up the contents. After a few minutes I rinsed the jug and thermometer and half filled the jug with water from a boiled kettle and the cold tap, until I had water at about 20 degrees C. I added the sachet of yeast to the jug and gently stirred it with the thermometer. Initially some of the yeast stuck together in clumps but I ensured I broke these down, and then left the yeast on the side.

I rinsed the cans and the can opener, and opened the two tins, pouring the contents into the fermentation bucket. I then filled both tins with boiling water from the kettle and stirred both. Into one tin I also added the hop bag (like a large teabag) to impart the hops flavour and left this for 15 minutes. I removed the bag and poured both tins into the bucket again. I stirred the mixture in the bucket for about 5 minutes, until it was completely mixed. As with the last brew, it was easy to see when this was done as no extract remained on the stirrer. I then proceeded to fill the bucket with jugs of cold water from the cold tap up to the 4.5 litre level marked on the side. I deliberately poured this into the bucket very quickly and from a high, as well as filling the jug from the tap very quickly, in order to add as much air as possible.

Once the bucket was full, I measured the temperature of the contents, to ensure it was below 25 degrees C (as per the instructions). I found, due to the very cold temperature of my cold tap, the contents were actually at 14 degrees C. I was a little worried this might be too cold for the yeast, but decided to go ahead anyway. I pitched the yeast, which now had a small head on it, and stirred the bucket for another 5 minutes to ensure as much air was taken in as possible. I then took a hydrometer reading, for future reference. It was hard to see the exact level due to the head on the beer, but the hydrometer dropped to about the bottom of the red section – a reading of 1040.

Linthwaite Light Hydrometer Reading

Finally I gently rested the bucket lid on top of the bucket, and moved the very heavy bucket into the brewery and placed it on a large book, so that I would be able to attach a tube to the tap later on.

Linthwaite Light fermenting in the brewery

I wrapped a warmed towel around it and the job was done. However, I was still worried about the low temperature of the beer, so I whipped out the missus’s hair dryer and gave the bucket a quick blast of hot air all around the base under the towel. Hopefully this will have helped bring the temperature up a couple of degrees.

Unfortunately, due to having to get this brew going quickly, I didn’t have time to put an airlock in the fermentation bucket lid like I had intended so I will have to do without that feedback with this brew. Hopefully I will add it next time.

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