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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > First shot at fomulating a recipe, looking for feedback.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:23 AM   #1
Spec
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Default First shot at fomulating a recipe, looking for feedback.

After doing a number of all grain recipes off the forums here () I decided it was time to try my hand at my own. I'm a little gun shy about taking a stab at this so I wanted to see if people seems like this will be ok.

Cock o' The North Best Bitter

I still haven't demystified mash/sparge steps in Beersmith so pretend that I'm doing that single step mash in then sparging up to 7.15 gallons (I boil off a lot.) But other than that am I missing anything in the formulation on this? I feel like I hit my target gravity, color and so on but I'm wondering now if the carapils + mash at 154 is going to end up making the beer too heavy.

Thanks everyone!

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Old 06-17-2009, 05:25 PM   #2
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Looks tasty!

You might be right about the carapils, though. I believe bitters should finish on the dry side, so perhaps you could eliminate it. Either way, I'm sure it will be good.

-Steve

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Old 06-17-2009, 09:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback Steve. Can you think of any reason why replacing it with an equal amount of biscuit or amber malt would be a bad idea?

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Old 06-18-2009, 01:36 AM   #4
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Will it be OK as is? Absolutely.
I would do things slightly differently, but I was weaned on such brews in England, and my tastes are probably a bit different than yours.
I'll tell you what I would do different and why, but don't take it as a criticism. There's no reason whatsoever that you should like brews the same way that I do.
First, the grain bill:
I would leave out the cara-pils. The Maris Otter and crystal, combined with the yeast and my suggestions for a different mash provide plenty of body, and I consider that extra head is a waste of space in the glass.
I would also leave out the chocolate. I have tried it to add some color, but I found it added too much flavor that I found it was atypical and overpowering.
According to Designing Great Beers (Ray Daniels) some use black malt or a small amount of dark crystal (120L) to add color. (I have never tried the black malt, and have not really liked the dark crystal, but it was less obtrusive than the chocolate.)
With 8 lbs Maris Otter, I like about 8 oz Crystal 60, but could increase it to 12 oz.
I occasionally use 8 - 12 oz turbinado (sugar in the raw) to lighten the body a bit. I only do this for beers to be consumed in the summer.
Next the mash.
When I learned to brew English beers, I learned to use a mash thickness of 1 qt per lb, and to mash at 150 - 152F. This always worked well for me.
When I joined this forum, I found that most people recommended a mash thickness of 1.25 qt per lb. I tried this thinner mash and it resulted in a very thin tasting beer. I tried increasing the mash temperature to 154 - 156, and it made virtually no difference, so I went back to the thicker mash and lower temperature (which according to Daniels is traditional for English bitters). If you want to try the thicker mash with Beersmith, you need to define a new mash profile..
Your hop additions are very similar to mine, and the 1968 (or WL002) are as good as you can get.
The only other thing I do different is the carbonation rate. I like to keep it below 1.5 volumes of CO2, and serve at ideally 57F, but that varies according to my cellar temperature.

That's a great recipe for your first attempt.

-a.

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Old 06-18-2009, 01:57 AM   #5
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Are you Gordon Clan?

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Old 06-18-2009, 11:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
Are you Gordon Clan?
Of course! I actually want to use this name for a Scotch ale but needed a placeholder to plug in to Beersmith when filling out the recipe.

ajf: Oh man that was exactly what I was looking for. I just got a copy of Designing Great Beers last week which is what prompted me to try doing a British style ale so I'm stoked on all the advise.

So are you saying that you found the mash thickness more of a factor than the mash temp? I was aiming to dough in with 1qt/lb but though I would mash hotter as the ESB I just brewed didn't come out exactly how I'd like. I might be overthinking it but I was hoping it would have a bit more weight to it. My efficiency was fine so I'm guessing my expectations for how it would turn out were unrealistic.

The carbonation is another thing I'm weirded out about too. I force carbed my last ESB the other day and with it at a lower volume it just struck me as tasting flat. I wasn't expecting a big foamy head or anything, and I like ales that aren't super fizzy but it tasted like it was too far to the other extreme. Oh well I'll worry about that when I get there. Maybe when I force carb it next time I'll let it sit for a few days rather than just overnight.

EDIT: Oh right the grain bill. After reading your reply again I'm thinking I'll just bump up the 60 to 12oz, omit the Carapils and chocolate and see how it goes. I put the dark malt in there for color and hopefully body but if it's going to impart some flavor too I may be better off without it.

Thanks again for all the advice. It's one thing to read everything out of a book but it's another to learn from others experience.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:54 AM   #7
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Thanks for the kind words.
D.G.B. gives a lot of good information on the style, and I wish I had got it when it was first published.
Yes, in the case of southern English style beers (I learned to drink good beers in Brighton), I do think the mash thickness has more effect on the wort characteristics than the mash temperature. I know many say that mash thickness has less effect than temperature, but I thicken the mash by 20 - 30% (over what Palmer suggests), compared to increasing the temperature by 3 - 6%.
If you want to mash warmer, then by all means do so. I've never deliberately gone above 155F in a mash, and in the range of 150 - 155, I have found that the temperature differences (with a typical special bitter recipe) are fairly subtle.
Carbonation is another personal preference thing. I like very low carbonation levels (about 1 volume CO2 for a draught), but you are brewing for yourself, and should chose what you like.
Again, I just stated in my original post what I would do. That doesn't mean that you should do the same. Hopefully, you will find the information useful, but it's just one other persons point of view.

Good luck,

-a.

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