11 September 2015

Maris Otter Golden Ale

My second brew on the Grainfather was an attempt to create a simple, easy drinking golden ale and at the same time learn something about basic malt flavours.  It used nothing but pilsner malt and was late hopped with Motueka. Mainly because that's what we had lying about.

It was perfectly drinkable, but nothing to write home about. But obviously you can write about any old crap in a blog, so here we are.

Nevertheless, there is strong domestic demand for easy drinking, malty, lightly-hopped beer so I have continued to experiment, adding more variety in the malt and changing the hops.  The most recent iterations have been quite successful.  Generally, I still usually prefer hoppier brews, these golden ales have been an enjoyable vehicle for showcasing malt flavour. They've also been favourites among those of my friends who are less enamoured of darker or very hoppy beers than I am.

At Beervana, as mentioned in my last post, Renaissance Brewing had two England vs New Zealand Special Bitters, brewed to identical recipes but one with New Zealand ingredients and the other with English ingredients. As one would expect, the two beers were very similar, but the version brewed with English ingredients (to my mind) had superior maltiness and mouthfeel. According to the chap manning the Renaissance stand, this difference was largely down to the use of Maris Otter as a base malt.

To test this myself, I decided to brew a version of my golden ale to the same recipe as I've used previously, but using Maris Otter instead of Gladfield Ale malt.

Here's the recipe:

4.5kg Maris Otter
300g Vienna
100g Gladfield Gladiator
10g Gladfield Dark Chocolate
10g Gladfield Roasted

14g Pacific Jade as a first wort addition
5g Pacifica at 10 minutes
5g Riwaka at 10 minutes
5g Pacifica at flameout
5g Riwaka at flameout

1 pkt Mangrove Jack's Burton Union

1 tsp of Irish Moss
1 tsp of calcium sulphate
1 tbs of 5.2 Stabilizer

The calcium sulphate was mixed into the malt before mash in, and the 5.2 Stabilizer just after mash in. The Irish Moss was added with the 10 minute hop addition.

Single infusion mash at 68 degrees Celsius (154F) for 60 minutes. Mash out at 75C (167F), and boil for 90 minutes.

The target original gravity is 1.057, which I hit pretty well bang on on brew day, which was the Saturday before last. 

I ended up brewing this recipe twice that day, as the husband of a colleague of my mother* wanted to try brewing.  He didn't like very hoppy or dark beers and I couldn't be bothered coming up with another recipe. 

Both brews went well. I used my new twirly thing to aerate the wort after cooling, which I've only recently started doing. The yeast appeared to get started quite quickly which was good to see.

Airlock activity seems to have stopped, so I'll look to add gelatin and cold crash this weekend (assuming that it has actually stopped fermenting).

Incidentally, this was also the first brew I did using the Grainfather upgrade kit, with improved connections and filters.  Quite a big improvement. 

*You might say that he was just somebody that I brews to know.  But probably only if you'd had your sense of humour surgically removed and replaced with a poorly coded dad-joke generator. 

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