This beer was made out of a fun series of events. I found some time to brew, but had no prior plan or inspiration, so I went looking for some. I checked my ingredients, yeasts, surfed the forums a bit and came up with nothing. I went outside and looked around, as I always enjoy going to nature with questions and hoping for interesting answers, and there it was. A cloudy, cool, misty day with a slight drizzle. The trees had no leaves and that look of deep Fall - BAM, it hit me like a ton of bricks, this is just like a Fall day in the English countryside...and I was off. Of course it would have to be an ESB, naturally.
I’ve never brewed an ESB, nor have I had one since visiting England many years ago, and even then I wouldnt have known what I was drinking, so flying bling I surfed around and came across a simple recipe that seemed to make sense, and lined up with ingredients on hand. Then I tuned up the English Folk muic station on Pandora and put myself in the countryside pub seen for the next 6 hours. It was, in a word, awesome. Top 5 brew day, I was all smiles.
One of the biggest draws to the hobby is the community and the history. When you combine the two you begin telling a story about how Homo Erectus found his and her way from Mesopotamia to all reaches of the world. Beer is ties into nearly every facet of culture and tradition. It is a part of who we were, who we are and who we will be. An ever changing landscape driven by our pallets’. Brings a whole new meaning to, “put your money where your mouth iis,” now doesnt it. I love it! Before I jump on a soap box and go crazy diving into more philosophical mumbo and jumbo, let’s brew something!
And it begins.
2-row - 11 lbs (maybe not totally English - 85%)
Victory - 1 lbs (7%)
C40 - .5 lbs (4%)
Special B - .5 lbs (4%)
EKG targeting 30 IBU at initial 60 charge.
EKG 1 oz at 5 min
Water - London Profile using 4tsp gypsum and 2tsp baking soda
Mash - 152/60
OG - 1052
FG - 1015
ABV - 6.5%
BUGU - .95
SRM - 14
Edinborough Yeast from slurry.
12/6/14 - Brew Day - straight forward and glorious. Just good way old fashioned fun.
Lag less than 4 hours. PItched 70. After 2 week 68 degree primary I put her in the basement at 61 degrees.
1/1/15 - racked to keg, carbed. It was not as complex a beer as I enjoy drinking so I re-racked it to the bourbon barrel.
Looking back, I had a Fullers not long after this tasting note just to see if I was close and I feel it is in the ballpark. The style guide talks about complex malt bills, but I didnt find it very complex, actually it seemed very straight forward, but highly quaffable. Nonetheless, the base beer is solidly within the “style” of ESB.
1/6/15 - now she is getting nice. Bourbon is coming through, but the wood is subtle if anything.
1/17/15 - racked from barrel to keg. Cold conditioning at 12 psi targeting 2.5L. I anticipate losing a little in the bottling process and some will get bottled.
1/17/15 - racked from barrel - recorded fg at kegging - 1015
1/20/15 - tasting notes
This brew is delish! Best when served cold and im gonna say top 10 beers for me! Couldnt be happier!
A - appearance - amber to pure copper slight off white foam on the head that is thin but does not dissipate (this beer needs another month to perfection).
S - earthy - esters are medium low, vanilla...my nose it terrible so I need a xecond opinion into perpetuity.
T - I got this! Alcohol is restrained but slight in that you feel a very mellow warming, very very mellow (bourbon character), perfect. Malt is slightly forward, hops are balanced on bitter, but the woody character of the EKG is present and pairs beautifully with the oak. The drying charcter of the wood seems to come through here on this well attenuated brew, accenting the poiont that the tannins in the wood "dry" the beer...but there is a balance to be played here as the sweetness of the bourbon also comes through. All in all I think a barrel like this, and as young as it is basically balances itself, just focus on the base brew. Clean fermentation with esters low. The wood and bourbon balance balance beautifully and i could not be happier, with the result there.
M - medium to medium low. Carb is still coming in. Another 2 weeks on gas and it will be perfect, another month of conditioning and this beer will be all-time.
O - Out of the park. Maybe a few days less in the oak, but thats a small detail., I can drink the hell out of this beer. Its an excellent style for this kind of barrel and it really shines even at such a young age. I wouldn't change a thing if an easy drinking, slightly malt forward, English style ale is what you are looking for. Prior to the barrel it was a little young, so I think it just needed time as the complexity of the brew was on the low side for me, but I had a Fullers and I think the style is a little on the low side. If Im doing an ESB Im doing it this way. If I dont have a barrel then bourbon or rum soaked oak has to be in the mix.
Next time: Rum soaked oak
2/15/15 - bottled.