Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Small Batch Brewing – Redhook ESB Clone

This was brewed over three years ago and still tastes great.

I wish I’d known five years ago what I know today. (Should’a could’a would’a!) If I could have looked into my crystal ball, I would have been brewing one to three gallon batches of brew from the get-go.

No 5 and 6 gallon debacles. Brewing large amounts of beer can be overwhelming – attempting to boil 6 gallons of wort in your kitchen, lugging huge amounts of hot liquid, bottling a couple cases worth of beer and then what if the beer is mediocre? Do you REALLY want to drink 2 cases of “just okay” beer or try to pawn it off on your friends and co-workers? And we won’t even discuss the money involved. Now don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love to brew. It is so fascinating watching it ferment. I do enjoy the whole process and it is quite satisfying to pop open that bottle and pour a beer that you brewed yourself.

My brewing has evolved to smaller batches. I started making 3 gallon, 2.5 gallon and even 1 gallon batches. You still have several hours of brew time but it's easier and much more relaxing. I find I enjoy the beer even more when there is a limited quantity.

Aside from a few disasters most of my beers have been quite drinkable and some I’ve fallen in love with. And then some have surprised me...

Hard to believe this home brew is over 3 years old!
I was digging around my crawl space and I came upon a beer that I brewed June 2009. Kind of old to be sitting around and to top it off, it was a rather low alcohol beer which is best drunk in a timely manner. It was a clone recipe of Redhook ESB that was published in Brew Your Own magazine 150 Classic Clone Recipes. I chilled the bottle and popped it open. Wow, still carbonated. I poured it into a small tasting glass and was greeted with a beautiful head. And what really surprised me was it tasted great! Three years later!

Here is my 3 gallon recipe that was adapted from the original 5 gallon extract version, using grains and hops that I was able to get in town. Be sure to put your own spin on this. I am no beer expert and I am sharing to the best of my ability! I am also assuming this is not your first batch of beer. Important how-to brewing details have been left out. If you’ve never brewed before watch some videos on YouTube or get a good book. Another great alternative for aspiring brewers are Northern Brewer’s 1 gallon starter kits. It comes with a DVD and a recipe kit. Who knew?!

Redhook ESB Clone 3 gallon extract recipe
Kettle Volume: 3.87 gallons
Boil Duration: 1.5 hours
Final Volume: 3 gallons
OG: 1.053 FG: 1.013
Alcohol: 5.24%
Bitterness: 29.97
Color 5.24 SRM

1.05 lbs dry light extract
2.25 lbs amber liquid extract
.6 lbs pale ale malt
.675 lbs German CaraMunich II malt
.25 lbs 2-row Carapils malt
23.5 grams Willamette - 60 min. boil
8.5 grams Tettnanger - 15 min. boil
8.5 grams Willamette - 15 min. boil
.6 tsp Irish moss - 15 min. boil
25.52 grams Tettnanger - steeped after boil
25.52 gram Willamette - steeped after boil
Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale yeast

Brew the normal extract brew route, cool wort, transfer to sanitized fermenter, top off to 3 gallons if needed, check gravity, aerate, and pitch yeast. I left my batch in primary for 10 days and racked to secondary for 5 days and then bottled. My original gravity was 1.060 and finishing gravity was 1.022 with a ABV of 4.9%. Not as high as the original recipe but that’'s okay.

Two years ago...
Post from June 2010 for a Bavarian Wheat Beer.
One year ago...
My Big Kitchen Fails

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