Wulf's Webden

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Janus’ Shades

I can’t brew beer in the summer; my current equipment set up allows me to heat but not cool a fermenting wort. However, my brewing layoff was longer than expected and, in the end, I only managed to get one batch completed (Three Gold Wings – not my best ever but settling down into a decent drinker). I’ve got a few months before it gets too warm again but I’ve tried to make an early start and my first batch – Janus’ Shades – is now in the fermentor.

It is based on the Batemans XXXB recipe in Graham Wheeler’s Brew Your Own British Real Ale. I’ve made it before, under the moniker Oxxxford Beer, but that was using spraymalt for the main fermentable while this one uses crushed pale malt in that role. I also found I was a bit short on crystal malt (so I’ve slightly increased the amount of black malt) and brewing sugar (brought up to quantity with some caster sugar). It won’t be an accurate clone of the original but should be a decent beer.

As is my practice, I scaled the recipe down to fit my equipment; this one has been adjusted around 1kg of pale malt as the core. I also reduced both the mash and boil times down to 60 minutes apiece (from 90 minutes – an hour’s saving between them). After cooling the wort in a plastic jerry can overnight, it had reached an original gravity of 1.042, slightly down from the original recipe. I’ve tried reduced length mashes and boils before so that is probably, at least in part, a function of the lower amount of crystal malt; normally I exceed the target.

I’ve now got it going with some Safale S04 yeast, which will probably be ready to bottle next weekend. The name, of course, draws on the fact that we’re into January (named after the Roman god, Janus) and also alluding to the fact that, with a bit more black malt, it should be a shade or two darker than would otherwise have been the case!

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