Extract Brew Number 1 Old Meg Strong Ale (Brupaks Barley Wine Craftsman Pack)

September 19, 2009

Well this was my first foray into extract brewing! I thought I’d ease myself in so I got this Brupak Craftsman Ingredient pack. For a mere £4 you got a bag of speciality grain, a pack of unidentified hops & a sheet of sparse instructions. Not too bad really. Of course, you had to buy two tins of Light LME in addition to this but what do you expect for £4? Made up to 13 Litres the finished product is supposed to be 7.5% ABV. Not really a Barley Wine in my opinion, more of a strong ale, but still quite hefty. So I took a trip to the Innhouse Brewery in Glasgow (my local HBS) & returned home with two tins of Amber LME. Yes, Amber LME. Doh! First mistake… I guess it’ll be more akin to a robust porter than a strong ale. Anyway, here is my slightly tweaked recipe.

Old Meg Strong Ale

3kg Amber LME
250g Homemade Belgian Candi Sugar
227g Unidentified grains (Probably Crystal Malt)

Hops
Unidentified Hops 60 mins 40g
Unidentified Hops 15 mins 20g
Goldings 5% AA 5 mins 14g

2 x Nottingham

Final Volume: 13 Litres
Original Gravity 1076
Final Gravity 1022
Alcohol: 7.3%
Attenuation: 71%

So the boil went well & was easy to do in the 15lite stock pot I scored off EBay. After cooling in the sink ice bath I tried to remove most of the hops using a slotted spoon. This quickly became tedious, so I just put everything in the fermentor, hops & all! I guess they’ll just sink to the bottom anyway & bed down in the trub, so why bother? I poured the wort back & forth several times between another brewing bucket to oxygenate it, rehydrated & pitched the yeast & the fermentation took off like a rocket about 12 hours later. After 7 days all activity had ceased so I dropped my sterilised hydrometer into the beer & got 1022. Hmmm. A little high, so I roused the yeast & waited another 7 days. And it still was 1022!! What is it with kits not making there ABV claims! Even with the additional Candi Sugar I used… harrumph… Or maybe it’s just my brewing technique? Probably. Anyway, the plan was to bottle this batch. I normally rack into another brewing bin which has a tap so I can use my bottling stick. Easy enough, but what about all those hops & seeds floating about in there? They block the racking tube & bottling stick don’t they? Ooops. Fortunately, I managed to knock up a hop-strainer which could fit onto the end of my PVC tubing. I constructed this from two metal Tesco tea strainers & some cable ties. It worked perfectly! So I ended up with 24 bottles. I’ll try & leave this for 8 weeks before sampling it…

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