House AK - Recipe Development

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bonecitybrewco

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Hey all,

Working on a house AK recipe. I brewed the first batch last week, it's done fermenting, has a small dry hop in it right now. Looking for some feedback/thoughts/suggestions. I already know that I am looking for a consistent source of First Gold hops or better yet some rhizomes in the new world. Either way, here we go.

House AK
=========

Recipe Basis:
Efficiency: 80%
Mash Time: 75 mins @ 154
OG: 1.043
FG: 1.009
SRM: 8.9
Yeast: Danstar/Lallemand London ESB Dry Yeast
Fermentation Schedule:
2 days @ 68F
2 days @ 70F (diacetyl rest)
2 days @ 60F (dry hop)

BJCP Category: 11B (Best Bitter)
=========

63.4% Pale Ale Malt or Maris Otter Malt
12.7% Victory Malt
6.3% Flaked Corn
7% Invert # 1 (Added prior to boil)
10.6% Invert # 2 (Added prior to boil)
26.7 IBU Centennial @ 60 mins
5.5 IBU East Kent Goldings @ 15 mins
Dry hop with small (0.5 oz for 5 gallon batch) amount East Kent Golding for 2 days

Again, my first instinct is to replace EKG with First Gold hops, especially on the dry hop side. The other question is Pale Ale malt vs Maris Otter. This batch I did with Pale Ale, the next I will do with MO. I may do a batch with a blend of the two to see what I prefer. The fermentation schedule may seem a bit aggressive, however, this yeast plowed through this wort and there were no off flavours before I cooled to 60F to dry hop. Thoughts here? Different yeast alternative? To be expected?

I know there are several English style brewers on this forum who can help. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Also, need to come up with a name.
 

cyberbackpacker

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A few thoughts--

Why the victory malt?
As to Pale vs Maris Otter, I'll throw another option-- Golden Promise. That is what Timothy Taylor's use, and I think it is a great and flavorful malt, plays well with hops in low gravity beers, and I do not get as much sweetness out of it either. That said, I also do a nice MO and GP mix. If using Pale, I'd maybe use it at 10-20% of the grist (personally replacing the victory). A little 6-row pale around 7-9% is quite nice in my opinion.

For hops- I love EKG, so I don't think that is ever a bad option. First Gold is excellent too, Fuggles, Savinjksi Goldings, Bramling Cross, Challenger-- but again I think you cannot go wrong with EKG.

For dry hopping, I like to put mine in with primings, so they sit for about six-nine days before consumption. That is just my technique and works nicely for my tastes.

Yeast-- ooh boy. I personally believe that yes, you can definitely come up with a more interesting, flavorful yeast that throws off classic English Character-- and just as importantly for the AK style, one that gives you a moreish quality to the beer. My go to is WY1469. I have been top cropping the same culture for ~3 years-- it's a super simple process. Let beer reach Krausen (in my experience about 8-12 hours post pitch) then skim the thin green gunk off the top of the krausen. Let go another ~6 hours. Crop the yeast (the krausen). Store the yeast. The Krausen will completely reform within another 4-8 hours. My fermentations are normally at final gravity within about 34-40 hours post pitch.

To reuse the yeast in the future, rouse (if necessary) with a starter for the next batch.

Oh, and the culture of 1469 I am using was also originally frozen... the smack pack got pushed to the back of my kitchen fridge and froze completely solid, and I don't know for how long. I then moved it to my beer fridge which is kept at 44F and let it thaw. Pitched it to a starter about six months later and I have been using it since!

All that said, some other yeast to try are Imperial A09 Pub, WLP006, or WLP025. Many also tout the Fuller's strain (WLP002). I'm in the midst of trialing 12 yeasts to determine if I will be adding any yeasts to my arsenal to use instead of 1469 at times or replace 1469 altogether. The aforementioned few yeasts are one's I have seen some good results with so far.

Just my $0.02

Enjoy the journey!

:mug:
 

Northern_Brewer

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I’m another who would never turn down EKG, but First Gold is also good. It’s also known as Primadonna when sold as a plant/rhizome, for complicated reasons. Being a dwarf is certainly convenient for home growing.

Not sure I’d bother with the maize, I’d either replace with wheat or drop altogether.

I’d agree you want a harder-working yeast, wouldn’t argue with 1469 but you might want to try WLP041 or if you can find it, perhaps in a bargain bin after its summer Vault release, WLP038 Manchester.
 
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bonecitybrewco

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A few thoughts--

Why the victory malt?
As to Pale vs Maris Otter, I'll throw another option-- Golden Promise. That is what Timothy Taylor's use, and I think it is a great and flavorful malt, plays well with hops in low gravity beers, and I do not get as much sweetness out of it either. That said, I also do a nice MO and GP mix. If using Pale, I'd maybe use it at 10-20% of the grist (personally replacing the victory). A little 6-row pale around 7-9% is quite nice in my opinion.

For hops- I love EKG, so I don't think that is ever a bad option. First Gold is excellent too, Fuggles, Savinjksi Goldings, Bramling Cross, Challenger-- but again I think you cannot go wrong with EKG.

For dry hopping, I like to put mine in with primings, so they sit for about six-nine days before consumption. That is just my technique and works nicely for my tastes.

Yeast-- ooh boy. I personally believe that yes, you can definitely come up with a more interesting, flavorful yeast that throws off classic English Character-- and just as importantly for the AK style, one that gives you a moreish quality to the beer. My go to is WY1469. I have been top cropping the same culture for ~3 years-- it's a super simple process. Let beer reach Krausen (in my experience about 8-12 hours post pitch) then skim the thin green gunk off the top of the krausen. Let go another ~6 hours. Crop the yeast (the krausen). Store the yeast. The Krausen will completely reform within another 4-8 hours. My fermentations are normally at final gravity within about 34-40 hours post pitch.

To reuse the yeast in the future, rouse (if necessary) with a starter for the next batch.

Oh, and the culture of 1469 I am using was also originally frozen... the smack pack got pushed to the back of my kitchen fridge and froze completely solid, and I don't know for how long. I then moved it to my beer fridge which is kept at 44F and let it thaw. Pitched it to a starter about six months later and I have been using it since!

All that said, some other yeast to try are Imperial A09 Pub, WLP006, or WLP025. Many also tout the Fuller's strain (WLP002). I'm in the midst of trialing 12 yeasts to determine if I will be adding any yeasts to my arsenal to use instead of 1469 at times or replace 1469 altogether. The aforementioned few yeasts are one's I have seen some good results with so far.

Just my $0.02

Enjoy the journey!

:mug:
Haha lots to unpack here!

First off, thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate the feedback and questions!!

The victory malt is to help bring through the biscuit flavour a little more than just a pale ale or Maris otter.

The Pale Ale malt I am using because it is malted here in Canada and is very, very similar to Golden Promise in both flavour and colour contribution. I will try with a mix of MO and add some 6 row in for some grainy-ness as well.

Thanks for the dry hopping suggestion. In this batch the 2 days was nowhere near enough and so ill try your method next.

As for yeast, thank you, thank you, thank you. I sincerely appreciate the advice. I hit 65% attenuation on this batch and mashed high with 14% sugar. I was hoping for better attenuation but after reading the extensive thread here on the dry London ESB I wasn’t surprised, just disappointed. I’ll order a pack of 1469 and A09 and build up a couple large cultures to store.

Again, thanks for the help. I’ll post pics after the holidays. This batch turned out good flavour wise but I think all the minor tweaks will certainly help.
 
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bonecitybrewco

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I’m another who would never turn down EKG, but First Gold is also good. It’s also known as Primadonna when sold as a plant/rhizome, for complicated reasons. Being a dwarf is certainly convenient for home growing.

Not sure I’d bother with the maize, I’d either replace with wheat or drop altogether.

I’d agree you want a harder-working yeast, wouldn’t argue with 1469 but you might want to try WLP041 or if you can find it, perhaps in a bargain bin after its summer Vault release, WLP038 Manchester.
Thank you. I’ll see if I can find 041 or 038. I doubt it, but I’ll certainly try.

Thanks for the advice on Primadonna. I already grow so it’s a matter of just adding another pole.

Can you expand on the advice to remove the maize? I understand it was a consequence of the malt tax but thought it must contribute something other than gravity? What are your thoughts on reasoning behind that?

Thanks again!!!
 

Northern_Brewer

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WLP041 is one of the core White Lab strains so is fairly easy to find, whereas 038 is a super-rare one that only seems to emerge in the mass Vault releases but initial reviews seem quite promising.

The reasons for using adjuncts is complex and isn't (mostly) about price -part of it was wanting to dilute the nitrogen content of low-tech malt to reduce protein haze, maize helps finings to work, and some brewers think it "opens out" the flavour a bit. And it helps the head for some people. But having had the 1980s version of Fuller's ESB made with adjuncts and the modern all-grain version, I'd take the all-grain version. Historically maize was a bit more of a southern thing, in northern England and Scotland they tended to just add more sugar (although it wasn't a consistent thing, and you'd get eg some Scottish brewers having a big thing for grits). I wonder if that's something to do with northern yeasts being more likely to be a little phenolic, as maize has lots of phenol precursors.

65% attenuation is not low by historic standards, I wouldn't worry about it if you're explicitly going for a historical-style beer.

As for the name, Bone City Best or Bone City AK would be traditional....
 

ba-brewer

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Not sure if you can order from whitelabs yeastman to get delivery in Canada, but they have a few vaults strains still available. WLP515 and WLP030 show as available which boost the biscuit aroma of maris otter.

I see wlp026 available too, it did not seem to enhance the biscuit aroma but still an interesting yeast.
 

Northern_Brewer

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A predecessor of English bitter, from the days when barley was tasty enough to not need crystal, they're typically Chevallier or Plumage Archer with maybe 10% invert and often a bit of maize. Were in the mid-1.040s before WWI, but WWI knocked them down to 1.030 and they mostly died out by WWII although McMullen still make theirs.
 

Robert65

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@Northern_Brewer, of course, gives the relevant answer at a snapshot in time. AK was at one time the brewer's log designation (not a term one would see on the consumer's end, necessarily) of what roughly answers to today's Best Bitter. The arcane system of brewers designations of X ales and K ales has been teased apart by Ron Pattinson as successfully as anyone, though even he is still a little baffled it seems. Like everything else his blog covers, it can be a fun lost weekend of reading. AK seems to be one of the most contentious points in deciphering the old designations.
 

kevin58

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The A is "ale". The K is for "keeping" meaning it was conditioned before serving.
 

Robert65

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The A is "ale". The K is for "keeping" meaning it was conditioned before serving.
Yes, K ales (K-KKKK) were stock beers, in contrast with X ales (X-XXXX,) sold mild (unaged.) But the AK designation outlived these categories, and doesn't seem to have been applied consistently thereafter. As far as I can tell.
 
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bonecitybrewco

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Thanks everyone for all the responses so far.

So, this batch turned out....interesting.

Tasting went well but the following was noted:

Excellent body and mouthfeel however the low attenuation led to a higher FG that I didn't enjoy. I will certainly be looking at a different yeast going forward, as mentioned above. I will also be going for a higher IBU. The balance just wasn't quite there. Slight increase needed to achieve balance. The malt flavour is good, but probably too much victory as mentioned above. Splitting between Maris Otter and Pale ale while reducing the Victory should give what I'm after. Not quite enough caramel flavour to be recognizable yet. Probably from using more # 1 invert than #2. Aroma is mostly malt, with some fruity yeast esters poking through. Slightly higher dry hop should help achieve where we want to be.

Therefore:

I will be eliminating the corn, reducing the victory malt and mixing Maris Otter with Pale Ale malt. I will also be changing from using #1 and #2 inverts to just using #2. Will also increase the dry hop amount. All of these changes are calculated and based on tasting. Hoping for good results this time around. Keep process identical (mash @ 154 etc)

UPDATED 1.2 Recipe Follows
=====================

40% Pale Ale Malt
40% Maris Otter Malt
7% Victory Malt
13% Invert # 2 (Added prior to boil)
30 IBU Centennial @ 60 mins
5 IBU East Kent Goldings @ 10 mins
Dry hop with small (1 oz for 5 gallon batch) amount East Kent Golding for 2 days
 
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bonecitybrewco

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Batch 1.2 of this is getting mashed in tomorrow. Will post OG results at the end of the day.
 

kmarkstevens

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Missed this thread before. I've done a dozen or two AK brews. All from Shut Up Barclays. I think you need to add 6-row for some grainy goodness. If you ditch the flaked maize, you need to back off the hops 10-20%. Here's my summary based on a bunch of Shut Up recipes and my experience:

1595052418336.png
 
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