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Old 01-13-2014, 05:04 PM   #1
DylanTO
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Default From the brewer - English PA Diacetyl Character

I just got an email reply from the head brewer at Shepherd Neame in the UK.
He gave me some great insight into the recipe and procedure for their Spitfire pale ale, which I had on cask recently. It was delicious, with a very nice diacetyl character. I'll post my email and the reply below. This is invaluable information on how to get that character in an english PA. Might be old news to some, but I was super stoked to hear it!

Here's the reply:

Hi Dylan

Thanks for your e-mail enquiry - it's great to hear you are a fan of our iconic Spitfire ale.

The key flavour contributors to this beer are the Shepherd Neame yeast, and Goldings + First Gold hops. You will be able to purchase the hops but the yeast is unique - I am not aware of 1275 Thames Valley Ale yeast but it sounds like a good starting point to use.

Well done for spotting the diacetyl character - this results from cropping the yeast after cooling to 4C as soon as fermentation has finished. We high gravity brew at 1048 OG and then dilute to sales gravity post fermentation.

Your current fermentation profile matches ours pretty closely - we collect at 18C, allow a free rise to 21C and then control at that temperature until target PG is achieved - this is 1008.5.

The grain bill is UK Pale Ale malt with UK crystal malt at 15% of the malt grist and some high maltose brewing sugar at 10% of the total extract.

Bittering hops are UK Admiral and we add the Goldings and First Gold 5 minutes before casting the copper.

Hope this helps and good luck with your brewing.

Richard

Richard Frost
Master Brewer & Production General Manager
Shepherd Neame

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Old 01-13-2014, 05:05 PM   #2
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Here's the orig email:

Hi there,

First let me say that I am a big fan of your beer.
I recently had Spitfire on cask in a Toronto pub, and was really blown away
by the flavour.

As the subject line says, I'm a Canadian homebrewer, and I would love to be
able to replicate the flavour I found in your Spitfire, in some small way, in
my home made bitter.

I have a copy of a book called "Clone Brews", which actually contains a
recipe for a Spitfire clone. Needless to say, I was excited to discover that
I already had a starting point for my recipe. However, I was hoping for a
little input on the fermentation of this ale.

1. The book says to use Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale. Would you say that
this is the closest yeast to your house strain, distributed by Wyeast or
White Labs?

2. It seemed to me (and my palate is admittedly at the rookie level) that
there was a diacetyl character to this ale. Do you have any advice on how to
properly achieve this at homebrew scale? My usual procedure would be to pitch
at ~19 degrees C, and ferment at this temperature for three or four days, at
which point I would allow the temp to ramp up to ~21 or 22 degrees C. At this
point I would let the beer sit on the yeast for at least another two weeks
before racking to a keg.
So, I guess my question is, should I follow this procedure or would you
recommend racking off of the yeast sooner to preserve some of the
fermentation by-products that might be appropriate for this ale?

Any help or advice you could offer on the grain bill and hop variety/schedule
would also be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your time,
Dylan

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Old 02-14-2014, 10:14 PM   #3
Falcon3
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That is just awesome, although not sure if I'm a fan of the post-fermentation dilution. I haven't heard of this as a traditional practice with pale ales.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew

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Old 02-15-2014, 02:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcon3 View Post
That is just awesome, although not sure if I'm a fan of the post-fermentation dilution. I haven't heard of this as a traditional practice with pale ales.
I think you will find there are a lot of breweries that do this. It increases production with a limited fermentation space, and also increases the yeast flavors.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
I think you will find there are a lot of breweries that do this. It increases production with a limited fermentation space, and also increases the yeast flavors.
True!
Here is the BN Brew Strong episode on the topic:

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/667
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:46 PM   #6
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Consider me a big Shepherd Neame (and Richard Frost) fan now despite never having tried their brews. That will change quickly if I can get my hands on some of their Spitfire (or other) offerings. I'm in South Central PA.

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