One thing we’ve been pretty lax on at Suburban Brewing is actually walking you through our brew days, but fear not, we’ve got you covered with our latest effort.
Normally we don’t get much brewing done over winter, but lately Paddy and I were itching to do our first batch of the spring weather (even if we’re a couple of weeks early) so we decided to get started. For this brew we went back to the first home brewing book Paddy ever bought, with a slightly modified version of the “spring beer” recipe fitting the bill perfectly.
The first thing that stood out was the hop bill called for “wai-ti” hops. I’ve never heard of this, online I found a variety called “wai-iti” and although I don’t recall seeing it at any of the home brew stores I frequent, I assume this is the same thing. Sometimes hops change names, and this could just be the old name for a variety we do have access to now (or not?), but either way we couldn’t find any, so we opted to sub it out for Citra. Alongside this was twice as much Galaxy, both early and late additions.
The recipe called for 4kg of pale malt and 500g of Munich. We also added a hint of wheat for head retention (50g light malted wheat), and as always I slipped in a little yeast nutrient to ensure a healthy fermentation. For our pale malt, we selected Gladfield American Pale Ale malt. The thought process with this Gladfield pale malt specifically is that it claims it will give us a pretty clean malt backbone, which we hope will let the hops shine through more so than something with a little more toasted flavour.
The original recipe called for a 70 min boil, but we actually intended to cut it down to 60 mins. We ended up closer to 75 mins total boil time as our temp dropped to 99C at one point so we needed to ramp it back up. We also opted to add our bittering addition of Galaxy with 45 mins remaining instead of at the start, as cooling in the robobrew can take a little while at the end. As we boiled for a little longer, this worked out closer to 50 mins remaining for the bittering addition.
The other thing we did differently was to wait on adding our remaining hop additions of Galaxy and Citra until the wort cooled to 80C. This is because we didn’t want to lose all those volatile oils that dissipate so quickly at higher temps. We don’t want to dry hop this time, so this lets us keep some of that amazing aroma. Honestly, the fruity/citrus scents coming off this brew during transfer were incredible.
We cooled to 25C in the robobrew before transferring, pouring from a height to maximise aeration, and letting the final few degrees drop off during transfer so we were at pitching temp. As (almost!) always, we forgot to whirlpool, so we may get some extra cloudiness and sediment in this brew. The recipe stated Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale yeast was the preferred strain, so we followed suit (never used this yeast before, will be interested to see how it goes) and pitched at around 20C.
We setup the fermenter (SS BrewTech brew bucket) with a blowoff instead of an airlock, and moved it into my lounge room for better fermentation temps (it’s still a bit too cold in the garage). This brew may need a few days longer to fully ferment since we’re still seeing pretty cold weather in Melbourne (and neither Paddy or I are particularly interested in taking gravity readings constantly). This one will go into the keg some time in the next fortnight, and hopefully we’ll have some hoppy spring beer to enjoy cold by the pint on a warmer day at the change of the seasons.
Suburban Brewing’s take on the Spring Beer recipe:
4kg Gladfield American Pale Ale malt
500g Light Munich Malt (German)
50g light Wheat Malt (German)
Heat 10 litres of water to 75C and set aside for sparge
Heat 22 litres of water to 72C, add grain and mash for 1 hour at 65C
Sparge with the original 10 litres and discard grain
30g Galaxy with 50 mins remaining
Half teaspoon yeast nutrient with 10 mins remaining
Half a whirlflock tablet (crushed) with 10 mins remaining
30g Galaxy when temp drops to 80C
30g Citra when temp drops to 80C
Cool to 25C, then transfer to fermenter
Pitch yeast at approx. 20C
Ferment until you get the same gravity on three consecutive days
Keg/bottle as normal
For more info and the original recipe, see the book “home brew beer” by Greg Hughes https://www.penguin.com.au/books/home-brew-beer-9781409331766