Courage means being willing to try things again even when you’ve failed in the past. I decided that now was a good time to have a second attempt at the Easter Courage brew which was an almost complete failure last year (stocking slug pubs in the garden wasn’t really the result I was after).
I’ve tried the same Courage Best Bitter recipe from Graham Wheeler’s Brew Your Own British Real Ale book. Last time I scaled it to fit 1kg of my base malt; this time I worked to 10l water but there isn’t much in it. I also made a couple of ingredient substitutions based on what I had in: mild ale malt instead of pale malt as my base and East Kent Goldings rather than Styrians as a post-boil addition. I used the same methodology as my previous Inspector Banks brew, maintaining mash temperature using the oven (monitored with my Codlo), and only boiling for 60 minutes. It got chilled in a plastic jerry can overnight and yesterday evening I set the fermentation going with the second half of the packet of Mangrove Jack’s Newcastle Dark Ale yeast (again using a brew belt with my Codlo to keep the temperature at 20°C).
For once, I hit the target Original Gravity spot on, at 1.039, so no diluting down. I was also trying to write an essay while I mashed so I wasn’t keeping such a close eye on the temperature. If my samples of the unfermented wort are anything to go by, it should be delicious so I am strongly hoping that this year it goes to plan.
Speaking of the Inspector Banks, I’ve tried a sample of that and, given that is barely a week in the bottle, I am very impressed. The previous Mild Gravity brew (same recipe but longer fermentation) is okay but not as good so I think bottling early rather than late is the best strategy for my current set up. The inspector has done his work well!