Kits & Bits Pale Ale - Citra & Amarillo & recycled yeast w

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pat86

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Hey guys, so yesterday I bottled a batch and decided at the last minute I would throw down a quick kits and bits so I could
  • re-use some of the yeast from my last AG batch
  • keep the circle of beer going and
  • use up some Mr Beer kit cans I picked up a while ago that are getting close to their best before date
Thought I would try and take a few pics in case this helps anyone who is doing kits + steeping speciality grains etc. to help show how easy it is to pimp a kit. Or re-use yeast.

Word of warning: I can't vouch for this recipe - it is just using up stuff I had and could very well end up tasting like piss :blink:. The idea was just to cover up the Mr Beer with lots of Citra and Amarillo. This was also quite laid back while having a few beers, so I am sure I messed up some stuff along the way!


You might be asking - why rinse the yeast? Well I didn't want to pitch onto the whole yeast cake and I also wanted to give my FV tap a proper clean since it is long overdue so I started by adding about 1.5L of cooled, boiled water to the FV and giving it a swirl. I left it to settle for about 20 mins while getting other stuff ready. This was the yeast cake from Wyeast 2565 Kolsch. I should mention it is pretty small compared to others, and also quite compact as I CC the last batch for 7 days at 1 degree.

gallery_31608_1177_377494.jpg


After waiting for about 20 mins, poured off about a pyrex jug full through the tap, aiming to leave as much of the bad trub (dead yeast, break & proteins, hops) in the FV as possible. It looked like this:

gallery_31608_1177_1184272.jpg


There is a close-up right here At this stage it is all mixed up and looks like coffee.

From here, my plan was to just let that settle and rinse once - giving me enough to pitch and also enough to keep in the fridge for one more batch in the future. If anyone is keen to do this with better explanation, there is heaps on AHB about yeast rinsing and splitting. I used DrSmurto's guide from here .

So at this point - I should probably put up the recipe I am planning to make. It is a pale ale but according to IanH's spreadsheet, a little heavy on the hops. Note that the Mr Beer cans are half the size of normal kit cans, e.g. Coopers, etc. I just popped them into Ian's spreadsheet myself, they should be the same as any normal low-hopped kit as they are now manufactured by Coopers.

Recipe:
22L Batch (ended up at 22.5L)
2x Mr Beer 850g Classic American Light Cans
1x Mr Beer 850g American Ale Can
500g LDME
100g Light Crystal
200g Dark Crystal
16g Amarillo - 30 mins
30g Amarillo - 10 mins
20g Citra - 10 mins
10g Amarillo - 0 mins
10g Citra - 0 mins
10g Amarillo - Dry
10g Citra - Dry

The computer told me I would have an O.G. of 1045 (I had 1044) a F.G. of 1011 (sounds OK with this yeast), IBU ~ 53 and ABV of about 4.8%

So back to it. While the yeast is doing its thing, I got out some crystal to start the steeping. For anyone who hasn't tried adding some steeped grains to your kit - you should totally give it a go. It is super easy and most of the site sponsors and awesome suppliers in the retail section will mill grains for free for you - I got these from Martin at National Home Brew a while ago.

*pic removed, too many

I boiled up a couple of kettles and added some cooled water - to get about 3L at 65C in a pot. I believe you can steep grains between 60C-70C quite safely - this is not like mashing in AG where each degree could make a difference to extraction, enzymes, etc. This is really just like making a tea which will make your beer taste more 'beer' like.

Once I had the water ready and grain weighed out, I chucked my bag in the pot and then poured the grains in. Give it a good stir, pop a lid on and maybe insulate it a little to try and keep the temp steady. I had a whole lot of dead space in the pot so I fired on the (electric) element to low for a few minutes in the middle to keep the temp between 60 - 65C for 30 minutes.

This is what it looked like:

med_gallery_31608_1177_1300821.jpg


During this steep, I did my first rinse with the yeast. Follow better instructions than mine if you plan to do this, as last night I was really just separating some trub off, not trying to do the best rinse in the world. In a sentence, the idea is to add water and time to separate the good yeast stuff from the trub and dead stuff.

This is what it looks like after about 30 minutes in the fridge - you should be able to see 3 layers.
med_gallery_31608_1177_1165224.jpg


Normally the top layer is wort/ water, the second layer is the yeast in suspension that we want to pitch and the bottom layer is more trub. TBH this was slow floccing so I think there was still plenty of yeast in the top and bottom layer. Also keep in mind this was only the top of the yeast cake water as we left quite a lot of the dud trub with hops, etc. behind in the FV.

I poured about 400ml or so into a mason jar and popped it into the fridge. That should be enough to pitch for this batch, and end up with enough to keep for another day in my pyrex jug.

After 30 minutes in the fridge, this is what they looked like:
med_gallery_31608_1177_1124926.jpg


I don't have a lot of yeast experience, but I have definitely seen some other strains which will settle a lot quicker and the difference is much more visible in a short period of time... When it came time to pitching, I just poured a little of the clear liquid off the top into the sink then pitched the middle creamy layer and left most of the bottom, compacted layer - about 100ml.

Post-pitch: What I didn't use
med_gallery_31608_1177_1419364.jpg



Back to the Wort!

So the steep has finished after 30 mins + or - a few (it doesn't really make a big difference). Time to boil some hops! But a few things first:
  1. Add my 500g of LDME
  2. Top up with boiling water (only so it is faster) to about 5 - 6 L total (IanH's spreadsheet tells me that this volume of wort with that amount of fermentables (LDME + Steeped grain liquor) should be in the good hop utilisation zone of about 1040 S.G.)
I was planning to do a 30 minute boil, but in reality it was more like 40 minutes because I forgot to set alarms and timers - again, I'm not too worried about that having a negative effect, perhaps a little more bitterness and a little less hop aroma.

So I do my first addition of hops using my hop bag. TBH it is better in most cases to just go direct without the hop sock but I had a fair amount in this brew and didn't want to have 3L-4L of trub at the end.

med_gallery_31608_1177_723870.jpg


My 2nd 10 minute addition was much more fun:
med_gallery_31608_1177_1622619.jpg


Good rolling boil and my hop sock:

med_gallery_31608_1177_1196450.jpg


If I didn't have food in my smaller pot, I would have used it. Bottling and making a brew = too much cleaning for me in one day though, so I had a spare 15L of space in this one... not ideal but also 0 risk of a boil over!

I had another Hop addition at 0 Minutes once I turned the stove off, but I must have been having a drinks break :p so no photo. It looked the same as the others really anyway.

Things got a bit messy right about now, adding in the Mr Beer cans (i hate handling liquid extract!) and also removing the hop sock. I give it a bit of a light squeeze to get a bit more of the hoppy goodness out.

From here, I made sure my FV had had a quick clean and sanitize sess, including the tap.

I just poured the wort into the FV after maybe 10-15 mins and we ended up with about 4L from the ~6L we had at the start of the boil. This would be the boil-off + the hops soaking up quite a lot of wort!


med_gallery_31608_1177_31553.jpg


From there, topped up to 22L with water and shabam - pitch. (I aerated a bit with mixing spoon, but mainly when adding in the water... This is less of a problem I believe when you pitch large amounts of yeast and this should be plenty).

I think I pitched at around 24C which is a bit warm, since Kolsch yeast likes cooler temps, but I didn't really have any planning behind this, otherwise I would have chilled some water so we could pitch at 15-18C (for a 14C-15C ferment). I also could have chilled the wort before pitching but tbh I was getting lazy at this point.

Trying out glad wrap instead of an airlock for this one - I'd post a picture but there are already plenty of good ones around. And I forgot to take one. Happy to grab one later if anyone would like though.

Hmmm. super long post - sorry about that but I know pictures and info has helped me in the past so hopefully this will help show someone that it's pretty easy to fix up a kit!
 

gsouth82

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Nice one Pat. Will be interested to know how it turns out.
I've got a batch fermenting as we speak with 3x American Classic Light tins, 500g of LDME and some cascade for flavour/aroma.
I went on the light side with the hops figuring the tins wouldnt have much maltiness or hopiness. You've used heaps of hops. I'd like to know how the balance is. You grain additions will definalty help.
 

pat86

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Yeah I'm interested as well to see how the Mr beer cans go. Just based off the product info, they seemed to be a bit lighter in bitterness than a regular kit, but I'm aiming for a pretty hoppy pale ale with a relatively low/ average alcohol level.

I'll be curious to see what the balance is like when drinking too - I was a tiny bit inspired by a couple of session IPAs I've tried lately, although I think that is just a catchy name for hoppy pale ale.

Also interested to see what the kolsch yeast does with lots of hops- any experience is welcome as I'd normally use bry 97 or Nottingham? Not sure if it is one that will mute the hops but we'll see. Its fermentong away nicely, will report back on how it tastes - it was definitely pretty bitter and also a bit peppery when I took the O.G. and tasted less 'green' than some other hop combos I've had
 

pat86

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cheers mate, there are a lot of awesome posts and guides on here but some of the old ones don't have the original pictures attached any more. A lot of this stuff is pretty straightforward once you see it or give it a try and I've always found pictures and videos pretty helpful, figured it might be the same for some other people who may be considering using some grain, hops or different yeast for their next batch!
 

pat86

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Hey guys, just dry-hopped this batch with about 12g Amarillo and 14g of Citra - a little more than originally planned. After 8 days fermenting at 14-15C SG was down to 1016 so it is getting close.

It actually tasted pretty awesome out of the tube - definitely bitter but nice and hoppy and no sign of any twang or weird flavours. Not sure how the balance will be as it could be too bitter, but in the last few pale ales I've made I didn't think they were coming out hoppy enough so we'll see.

As for the yeast, I have just had the mason jar sitting in the fridge compacting; here is what it looks like now:

med_gallery_31608_1177_1388832.jpg


I'm going to do one more rinse and then pop the usable yeast in a smaller jar
 

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