Mini-Mash Brew Number 1: Nederdale Gold

November 26, 2009

The time has come to explore the wacky world of mini-mashing!  And a surprisingly easy & rewarding experience it was too.  So, how did it all begin…

The plan was to make a nice session bitter for My Dad’s Christmas present using the Challenger & Whitbread Golding hops he grew for me.  Of his hop plants the Challenger was the most productive so I dreamed up this recipe using an estimated %AA typical for the variety.  I estimated on the low side thinking the reduced daylight hours in Teeside wouldn’t be perfect for hop oil production.  The grain bill included crystal & amber malt for sweet, biscuity flavours & torrefied wheat for head retention.  I opted for Windsor yeast as it’s supposed to leave lost of fruity esters & a relatively high gravity for a bit of body.

Nederdale Gold ESB

  • 100g Torrefied Wheat
  • 155g Pale Crystal Malt
  • 78g Amber Malt
  • 1kg Marris Otter
  • 1kg light DME

Hops / Boil / Weight / IBU

  • Challenger 6% AA                       60’            14g           17
  • Challenger 6% AA                       30’            5g             4
  • WGV 4%AA                                 30’            7g             4
  • Challenger 6% AA                       20’            6g             4
  • Challenger 6% AA                       10’            17g            7

1 x Windsor yeast

So with the day off work I commenced the usual equipment sterilisation & then thought about how I was going to do this.  There are various mini-mash how to’s available on the internet. My method has been culled from those & tailored for what pots & pans I have in the kitchen.  So I’m going to use a 6 litre cast iron casserole, large muslin cloth & oven to conduct the mash.

Mini-Mash Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 60°C and put the cast iron pan in to heat up.
  2. Once hot, line the pan with the muslin & tip in the grain.
  3. Add strike water at a ratio of 1:2.9 Kg per Litre (worked out to be 4 litres at 74°).
  4. Stir the “porridge” & cover with the lid.  Mash in the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Heat up 4 litres of sparge water to 73°C.
  6. Remove muslin to large roasting rack.  Decant wort to boiling pan.
  7. Put muslin back in the iron pan & add the sparge water.
  8. Leave for 15 minutes.  Remove muslin & squeeze a bit.
  9. Add wort to boiler & add the DME.
  10. Top up to 13 litres & check gravity.  Bring to boil & add hops!

Sounds easy!  Unfortunately there were a few hiccups along the way.  Upon adding the strike water the mash temp was bang on 67 °C.  Huzzah, thought I, and swiftly put the pan in the oven.  After 15 mins I checked the temperature & it was at 70°C!  Fearing an overly dextrinous wort , poor attenuation or even enzyme denaturation I added some cold water to bring it down.  I added a bit, stirred & it plummeted to 61°C.  It seems I’d not stirred the porridge enough & was measuring the temperature of a hot spot.  The pan was basically at its limit so I put it back on the stove & heated it gently to bring it back up to temperature.  After that the mash temperature was stable & all progressed as planned.  The mash pH was 5.3 which is pretty much ideal I think.  Upon adding DME to the boiler  & topping up with water I took a sample, chilled it & checked the gravity. 1.044!  I had mashed, with about 21 gravity points coming from the grain.

Now for the hops.  However, upon taking them out the freezer however I noticed that several bags of Challengers didn’t look to good.  They were dark brown, some had mould on them & they smelled musty.  It seems my Dad didn’t do a particularly good job of drying them out before storage, so several bags had to go in the bin.  The EGV’s were fine though but still leaving me with not enough hops to do the job.  The only other hops left in the freezer were Glacier, the quality of which I was a bit unsure of.  However, they smelt fine upon opening them so they were used for the 10 and 20 minute additions.  Who knows what this Frankenstein’s monster of a beer will taste like!

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3 Responses to “Mini-Mash Brew Number 1: Nederdale Gold”

  1. pdtnc Says:

    Hope its a good one, I think its easier mashing in a coolbox or Insulated bucket 🙂 Less scary!! 😀


    • I definitely agree! Draining a hot, heavy bag of grains & wort is certainly a bit hairy! I just fancied mashing with what equipment I had to hand. I’ll be constructing myself a mash tun in the New Year I think. Your 15 litre design looks ideal. If you have an hints & tips please pass them on! I fancy doing smaller, varied brews y’see as I’m the only beer drinker in the household.

  2. pdtnc Says:

    No hints or tips, but I’m all for the small brews, i too am the only beer drinker in the house. My other half will taste what I make but she doesn’t drink it.


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