I don’t really have enough time left in Japan to brew, ferment, condition, and drink five gallons of homebrew- or do i? With that thought weighing heavily on my mind I pulled out the brew kettle one last time and put together an ESB that I’ve been looking forward to for some time. You see, I’ve heard my UK friends wax poetic, online beer geeks write words of affection, and random strangers exclaim that Timothy Taylor’s Landlord is one of the best bitters out there.
I love a good bitter. They tend to be very easy to drink, generally you don’t need a Webster’s size vocabulary to explain why you enjoy it, and they don’t tend to wear down your tastebuds after just one pint. I can buy in to that.
I picked up a copy of Camra’s Brew Your Own British Real Ale book a while back and was very happy to see a recipe for the Landlord. Sadly, when I sat down to really give it a good once over I couldn’t shake the feeling that their recipe just wasn’t going to cut it. No, I’ve never had the beer and no, I’m not a brewmaster- but it just looked, well, boring. I know that a second ago I said bitter’s are easy drinking and not palate killers but I had already made up my mind that it wasn’t going to work out. I pulled out another of my brew books and looked up a nice looking ESB recipe. Combining the two I came up with what looked on paper like a refreshing, low alcohol, easy swigging, ESB.
- 1/2 lb US Crystal 10 malt
- .25 lb Special Roast malt
- .06 lb Pale Chocolate malt
- 5 lb Light DME
- 1 oz UK Golding hops
- 1.5 oz Slovenian Styrian Goldings hops
- 1 vial White Labs WLP002 – English Ale yeast
A pretty straight forward brew day, really. Steep the grains in a gallon of water, add one and a half gallons of water to bring volume up to 2.5 gallons. 90 minute boil with all but half an ounce of the Styrian Goldings being added for the entire duration. The rest of the Styrians are added 10 minutes from the end. The only thing I really did different this time was to split the DME into two different additions. I had some problems with my hops getting covered up in a couple brews I’ve done and decided to try this new method and hopefully increase their utilization. The first three pounds of
DME went in right at the beginning of the boil, same time as the first hop addition. The remaining two pounds bided its time until about 10 minutes from the end when in it went. All went well and I was able to get the wort down to a nice pitching temperature in about 45 minutes. I missed the OG, though. Hoped for a 1.044 and ended up with a 1.037. I’m pretty certain I just added too much water to the carboy, though. Rookie mistake as I should have taken a couple readings as I was filling. That’s life.
When I racked it to the secondary a week later to get it off the trub (something I rarely do, but thought a good idea this time) my hydrometer read 1.012, which is actually two points lower than my target. Helps things out a bit. The sample tasted nice, but, obviously, real young yet. Nice hop profile and some malts. I’m looking for the hops to reign themselves in a little over the next couple of weeks, though. It’s sitting at 3.3% abv., which will make for a definite session beer- perfect since I need to go through five gallons in such a short time. Can’t wait to carb and keg this ESB early next week. I need a taste!
That’s it for my days of Ji-Homebrewing. I’ve put the kettle and my primary fermenter in to hibernation and won’t be put to work again until I get settled in Philadelphia. A bit sad- but the future (going all grain) looks bright.
On a side note: My Kinda Cider is a great brewday companion. The more it ages the better it gets. I can’t get enough.