Mostly Maris

Ref 2021-12 Mostly Maris Brewer Pain & Patience
Style Pale Ale Type Beer, all-grain
Started Thu 16th Dec 21 OG 1.056 Status Archived, 5.5% ABV
Packaged Tue 28th Dec 21 FG 1.014 Fermenter Fermzilla 5 PSI
Handle 2021-12 Mostly Maris
Brewer Pain & Patience
Style Pale Ale
Type Beer, all-grain
Fermenter Fermzilla
Status Archived, 5.5% ABV ABV
Started Thu 16th Dec 21 OG 1.056
Packaged Tue 28th Dec 21 FG 1.014

I wanted to make a SMASH but didn’t have enough Maris Otter, so I padded it out with other odds and sods, throwing in multiple types of hops while I was at it. So not at all a SMASH then. Maybe next time. Tracking in Brewfather.

Milestones & Tasks

Jan 07 -918dFirst taste
Dec 28 -928dKegged 19 litres
Dec 23 -933dStarted cold-crashing
Dec 20 -936dDry-hopped with 60g Chinook
Dec 16 -940dStarted primary fermentation
Jan 202207Fri

This has been conditioning for 10 days now and I’m interested to see how it’s getting along. Unfortunately my three taps are tied up with the last of Sarka, Farmyard Runt, and Yeti, so I’m taking this opportunity to modify the flow rate of my stainless party tap. The last time I used this tool she was just a bit lively, so I’m fitting a 10″ length of my finest 3/16 beer line in order to restrict the amount of foam produced. This worked well and I only got a little head (fnarr-fnarr) which may have been down to line temperature as much as anything else. I’ll leave it connected for now until one of the taps frees up.

Oh, and the brew? Interesting. There’s quite a lot of bittering going on, some major haze, but not as much hops on the nose as I’d like, and early any in the taste. It’s more like a traditional bitter, amplified and made cloudy than a pale ale. No complaints though. Patience reckons it’s another “sweet & sour” number, and whacks of something that’s about to turn but hasn’t got there yet. Like I said, interesting.

10 days
Dec 202128Tue

I put away a full 19 litre keg just now, with some left over in the fermenter but not enough to significantly fill a spare 5 litre keg. Got about 1 litre in there nevertheless, which I’ll drink later after checking gravity.

Taste is quite hoppy with no funk (I’m sampling the dregs at 13℃) and it comes in at 5.5% ABV. Can’t wait to see what this tastes like after another week in the chiller, if it’ll last that long. Pressurised to 12 PSI at 4℃ and awaiting conditioning.

5 days
Dec 202123Thu

Been three days since I dry-hopped this one, time to see if we can clear things up a bit. Interestingly enough the SG has gone up to 1.006 from 1.004 according to Tilt, but I’m not concerned by the ‘loss’ in ABV as measured via this method. Pressure right now reads 14 PSI on the spunding valve so I’ll be curious to see what it drops to – guessing around 5 PSI over 5 days. Inkbird now set for 1℃, fridge humming contentedly.

Later …

It took almost exactly 24 hours to drop the temperature from 18.8℃ to 1.0℃, during which time we also went from 14 to 6 PSI. Good to know.

3 days
Dec 202120Mon

This brew went ballistic right after simultaneously pitching an iffy starter and a packet of dry yeast just four days ago, and appears to have been holding stable for almost 24 hours, though the colour is still quite light and has a terrific haze. Think that may have something to do with me forgetting to add the Protafloc – oops!

Mostly Maris, 4 days into Primary

No matter. I dry-hopped today because I’m confident that it’s going no further in the three days that those hops will be in there, not counting the time I’ll spend cold-crashing. I’m not sure if time spent at 1℃ will count towards the dry-hop time; hoppy beer should be drunk fresh (which makes me think that it does count somehow) but then again if it were that critical we’d be adding hop oils right before drinking, since the cold-crash is at or below regular fridge temperature.

One thing I did differently this time around was to add the hops via the top, removal of which wan necessary anyway since I’d not yet fitted the floating dip tube. The collection jar seems well and truly full of trub and spent yeast, but I didn’t remove it to dump that lot out since I couldn’t be sure I’d closed the butterfly valve fully – didn’t ‘click’ into place horizontally as before so I wasn’t about the remove the jar and start leaking beer everywhere.

In therms of pressure we’ve been at 5 PSI right since the start of fermentation, and I released this quite slowly in order to minimise stress on my Tilt digital hydrometer. I’ve not had a pressure-related ingress into the devise yet (touch wood) but it must be a factor. Once the hops were in I increased pressure very gradually to 10 PSI from the bottle, so that I own’t have to faff about with the bag once we start cold-crashing. Hopefully 10 PSI will be enough …

4 days
Dec 202116Thu

Not much to add today other than the brew notes. This one went pretty darn close to the numbers in terms of gravity and also volumes, so I’m happy to have breached the 80% marks for mash and brewhouse efficiency.

I think they call the A Fair Suck of the Sausage!

Pressure Leak

There was only one hiccup: when I filled the Fermzilla with sanitiser while boiling wort, I thought I may as well apply some pressure in order to see if everything’s screwed together properly. Pressure did start dropping, indicating a loss of almost 1 PSI every couple of minutes according to the spunding valve. To determine if the leak was from the top (not serious) or from the bottom (potentially messy) I added some more sanitiser so that the collection jar and cone were fully covered, then reapplied pressure with the FV standing over a plastic bowl.

At 20 PSI I got half an egg-cup in around 10 minutes, and it turned out to be due to a partially deformed o-ring between the cone and the Butterly valve, with some irregularity in the roundness of that part also. That bit worried me as I swapped out the o-ring for my only spare but subsequent pressure testing validated the fix. Thinking back on it, I do recall that there was a suspicious dribble of sanitiser on previous tests under pressure, and I thought it could be from the butterfly valve itself, which I’d disassembled and checked without change. Could be that the o-ring was on its way out for some time, and the last cleaning strip-down sealed its fate. Either way, a replacement part is on the way.

Starter Supplement

The only other thing worth noting is my dissatisfaction with starter number 2, which I supplemented by pitching my other sachet of CML Ale yeast on top of the starter. Hope that works out all right.

Continue reading
1 day
Dec 202115Wed

Problem Mash

I prepared the usual starter yesterday in preparation of tomorrow‘s brew day, but it didn‘t work out. Not sure what went wrong, the only thing I can think of is that the Crossmyloof Ale yeast (which I‘d previously only used dry) was either out of date (label says June 2022, so 7 months away) or that I did something very wrong.

Brewfather‘s recipe called for 800 ml water with 79g DME, which was duly boiled up (along with a nib of Lipohop and some yeast nutrient) and shoved onto the stir plate overnight. By next morning there was a small amount of foam despite the stirrer, which was a good sign, but when it came to switching off time by mid afternoon (just under 24 hours on the plate, 24 hours to go) there was no foam at all, and over the next couple of stationary hours it started to separate, just like a dead yeast thing. I‘m not using this.

Having evicted and bottled Allotment Riot from the fridge, I poured away the starter and am making another one, identical recipe. This time I‘m going to leave it on the stir plate for just a couple of hours until the yeast is dissolved and the wort aerated, then allow it to ferment at room temperature overnight and throughout the brew day. I think this may be the best approach since I‘ve heard that Crossmyloof can get going very quickly, so if I‘ve got another dud at pitching time tomorrow then I‘ll chuck in the 1.5 packets of US-05 I‘ve also got hanging around.

The Next Day

Fermentation appears to be well underway now, with a good head of foam atop the starter, though not yet what you’d call High Krausen. On agitating the starter I knocked the foam back considerably, and after the second stir it looks almost dead, with a darker layer of liquid starting to separate out on top. It has started to ferment again, but I’m going to say that CML (Crossmyloof) Ale yeast is sensitive to stirring / shaking, and only needs minimal time on the stir plate.

#wisdom: don’t over-stir or shake CML Ale yeast!