Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

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Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby serum » Wed Jan 17, 2018 14:32

Work has got in the way of brewing lately but with things getting quiet for January I managed a brewday this week.

I wanted something similar to De Ranke XX Bitter which is a Belgian blond with tons of bitterness as the name suggests. I took some advice about the hops and yeast from an article about them and I know it's 100% Pilsner malt. Mine should be a bit stronger and I also went all malt with mine which may or may not be correct. I had 6kg so thought I might as well just throw it all in. Similar with the hops as I'm now a few IBU above the actual recipe. Being Belgian they probably had some white sugar but I think it'll be decent anyway and maybe add a bit of a French touch to it.

De Ranke apparently uses Safbrew T-58 which makes this the first time I've used dried yeast in a few years! From what I remember I've only done it on one other occasion since I went all grain 3 years ago. One thing I want to test out is whether my yeast starters have been causing oxidation in my beer because I've noticed it a little and it seems to be the main flaw. It's not completely ruining them but they'd be a lot better without it and have more of a fresh vibrant taste.

Recipe for 20L batch:

Mash:
6kg Dingemans Pilsner
Mash in at 40C
15 mins @ 58C
15 mins @ 62C
30 mins @ 66C
15 mins @ 70C
10 mins @ 78C

90 min boil
65g Brewers Gold @ 60 mins (62 IBU)
Protafloc @ 15 mins
50g Hallertau Mittelfrueh @ 5 mins (5 IBU)

Fermented with 2 sachets of T-58 at 18C ramping up to 21 after 3 days.

OG: 1.064
IBU: 67
Beersmith says the final FG should be 1.015 but I think it should be lower than that.

I made it yesterday afternoon and the airlock was already bubbling by the evening making this the fastest start I've had with dried yeast.

FV - Blond Biere de Garde
Bottled: Altbier, XX Bitter
Planned: Amber Saison, Spelt Saison
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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby Dennis King » Wed Jan 17, 2018 20:13

Good to see you brewing again.
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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby rats_eyes » Thu Jan 18, 2018 20:12

Back on the brew horse! Sounds good, hopefully there will be some of this left in April.

I've never thought about oxidation in starters working it's way through to the finished beer, but that sounds feasible to my non-scientific ears.
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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby Rolfster » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:35

Serum do you discard the spent wort from the starter before adding it to your fv?
Surely that's how to avoid the oxidation problem. I've only used liquid yeast a couple of times so I'm not really sure!
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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby serum » Sun Jan 21, 2018 00:57

Rolfster wrote:Serum do you discard the spent wort from the starter before adding it to your fv?
Surely that's how to avoid the oxidation problem. I've only used liquid yeast a couple of times so I'm not really sure!


No and I think that could be an issue but the timing always catches me out. I find it hard to accurately predict when I'll brew and lots of people said it's ok to just throw it all in. Crashing the yeast out takes a while with the ones I use. I can't always get the fridge space either.

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Bottled: Altbier, XX Bitter
Planned: Amber Saison, Spelt Saison
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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby serum » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:06

Bit of an update. It came good very quickly so I've put away quite a few already. Not as bitter as it should be and more sweet but it's nice. Tastes like a pretty solid blond. The cold weather has helped clear it nicely.

If I ever try again I'll make sure I don't overdo the OG and also my hop spider gunked up quite a bit with all the pellets so I might use bags or something and let them float around. Too many pellets always seems to result in clogged up pumps and taps on the braumeister.

T-58 does pack a lot of esters but it's calming down with time. I haven't had the whole messy taste some people talk about even if there's a fair amount of banana taste. Nor did it take several months to come good as some people report.

I kept temps on the lowest end of the scale for the first 3 days and only ramped it over 20C after 2 weeks but it still has a lot of character. I think quite rigid temp control and a high pitching rate is the key with this yeast. I'm happy so far. Hopefully oxidation won't creep in later and knacker it but I can't taste it yet!

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Bottled: Altbier, XX Bitter
Planned: Amber Saison, Spelt Saison
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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby RokDok » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:04

Hi Serum,

Sounds like a really nice brew with great attention to detail.

Best RD

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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby orlando » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:58

Rolfster wrote:Serum do you discard the spent wort from the starter before adding it to your fv?
Surely that's how to avoid the oxidation problem. I've only used liquid yeast a couple of times so I'm not really sure!


Oxidation is only an issue once the full brew length fermentation is over. Yeast like oxygen in the early stages, including starters.

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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby HTH1975 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 19:32

If you’re concerned about pitching the starter wort in your brew, just prepare the yeast 7 days before brewday, then crash cold at day 4-5 and siphon off the wort on brewday. You should have a good solid amount of yeast settled by that time.

On brewday, leave your yeast out of the fridge when you mash in. Then once you’re casting to FV, put about a litre of wort in with the yeast to get it started again. Once you’ve got your wort in the FV and aerated, pitch in the yeast. Job done.

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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby Rolfster » Mon Mar 05, 2018 09:04

orlando wrote:
Rolfster wrote:Serum do you discard the spent wort from the starter before adding it to your fv?
Surely that's how to avoid the oxidation problem. I've only used liquid yeast a couple of times so I'm not really sure!


Oxidation is only an issue once the full brew length fermentation is over. Yeast like oxygen in the early stages, including starters.


Hahaha good point! :oops:

There is a problem with esters if it's being fermented warm.... that must have been what I was thinking!
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Re: Back on the brewing wagon - XX Bitter(ish)

Postby serum » Tue Mar 06, 2018 22:55

Yeah I might be completely wide of the mark with that one. My yeast handling has really let me down before and this beer has come out a lot better but maybe due to other things I'm trying to do to limit oxidation or whatever crappy flavour I'm getting.

This one came out really good though. It's stronger than the original and a bit stronger and sweeter. I might try again some time and put less malt in to hit the right gravity. Hopefully that'll mean the FG will get slightly lower too. It could be more bitter too but the balance is probably thrown off by the extra strength.

I'm happy overall. The flavour the yeast gives off is similar to the real deal so with tweaks I could get closer.

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Bottled: Altbier, XX Bitter
Planned: Amber Saison, Spelt Saison
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