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Saturday, May 23, 2015

ESB Brew Time!

I've never done an ESB (Extra Special/Strong Bitter) before, but people keep telling me I need to.

Well, I was going to brew a Kolsch today. But then I got to the brew shop and they didn't have the yeast I wanted. They had alternatives and I was considering it, but I've also wanted to do an ESB for a while. So here we go.

Grist:
7lbs Maris Otter
.5lbs of C75, C120 and Biscuit Malt

Hops:
1.5oz EKG @ 60 (28 IBU)
.5oz EKG @ 10 (3.4 IBU)
1oz Fuggle @ 10 (6 IBU)

Yeast:
Wyeast 1968 London ESB




The first runnings look nice, but a tad dark. Meh. Normal enough, let's see the second.



That should lighten it up a tad. Excellent. Second runnings never ran below 1.015. I got a little worried with how much lighter it wound up, but in the end nothing to worry about.

So in Beersmith my pre-boil gravity was estimated to be 1.041. Nailed it. According to refrac and hydrometer, hit exactly 1.041 pre-boil. First time I've ever hit dead on like that, usually off +/- 2-3 points. No big deal, but still a good feeling. And then the gravity into the bucket: 1.048. Exactly as predicted by Beersmith, 80% brewhouse efficiency.

I'm going to ferment this bad boy at 65F for 3 days, allow to rise to 70F over the next 3 days to finish up. I'll decide if it needs to sit higher for a diacetyl rest or not at that point. Apparently wyeast recommends it? But at those temps, I'd need to use a heater to get it up any higher so hopefully those temps get the job done just fine. I can heat if need be (heating pad + STC-1000) but would rather not.

According to homebrewtalk, really shouldn't be necessary. Hope they're right!




Oh my. That is pretty.

I tossed in whirlfloc with the 10min hop additions, and I'm going to gelatin this beer as well. This yeast strain is known for dropping out really nicely, but why not help clear things up faster?

Now for the hardest part: Waiting.