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Little Owl

Before I could get brewing again, I realised that I needed to get a new plastic jerry can. I used to have one as part of my kit which was pressed into service at several stages – measuring the initial volume of water, holding the hot wort while it cools and acting as a second vessel during bottling operations. The old one was a bit stained and the lid was broken from being overtightened so I suspect I ditched it during our process of moving.

Fortunately, such vessels are often used as water containers for camping and so I was able to pick up a suitable one from the local branch of Go Outdoors on Saturday. That meant Saturday afternoon saw me getting a brew on, based on Graham Wheeler’s recipe for Cotleigh Barn Owl. As in all my brewing, I work to a smaller batch size than his recipes hence I have decided to call this one Little Owl.

I started with 10l of water and I mashed my grains (1310g pale malt, 75 crystal malt and 30g chocolate malt) for an hour at about 66°C. I didn’t have the suggested Northdown hops but substituted Magnum hops instead (12g) at the start of a 75 minute boil. Ten minutes before the end I dropped in some Irish Moss to help with clarity in the finished beer and then, after it came off the heat, a final hop addition in the form of 3g of Fuggles.

It sat in the jerry can from Saturday evening until this morning, when I got it fermenting (the brew pot now serving as a fermenting vessel) with 6g of the “Midland” yeast I got last week from Crossmyloof. The starting gravity is about 1.048, which is just a little higher than the target of 1.045. I’ve got a brewbelt wired up to a temperature controller which is set to prevent it dropping below 16.5°C but so far it has actually gone up a couple of degrees to about 20.5°C which suggests that the yeast cells are already making themselves busy. I’m not tracking this one with my Raspberry Pi set up as, not only am I not quite sure where I have put it (I’ve seen the box somewhere) but I also haven’t figured out how I’d hook it into the network (in the previous setup, I ran an ethernet cable straight to the router) but I’ll keep an eye out for when the temperature drops back a bit and begin testing a sample.

It’s early days yet but the wort tasted promising. If it goes to plan, my second brew of this run might be a repeat of the same recipe but using one of the other yeasts I bought but that will have to wait until my fermentor is ready to become a mash tun again!

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