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Flowers Original

This weekend I'll be brewing another one from the Graham Wheeler book: Flowers Original. It's a simple, low gravity bitter that should make an easy drinking alternative to the strong dark mild that I've currently got on tap.

On the Tuesday before the weekend I got my starter on the go. I'll be brewing again with the Brewlab Yorkshire strain so I put on a 1500ml starter with the intention of saving back 500ml for next time and pitching 1000ml into the brew.

I thought I'd be safe with a 1500ml starter in a 5000ml flask but this crazy yeast had other ideas:

I've decided that before I brew again I'll buy some Brupak Antifoam to use in these starters because I don't have a flask big enough to contain the huge krausen that it produces.

The krausen had settled back by Friday morning leaving a bit of a yeasty mess under the foil cap. I decanted off 500ml for next time and left the remainder in-place to chill ready for the weekend.

Brew day

I would normally brew on a Sunday morning but some bad weather looks like it's going to arrive over Saturday night so I brought forward brew day to Saturday. I brew inside but I clean up outside and have the door open all the time so it's generally better if it's not raining.

Here's the recipe.

Recipe Specifications
Date: 5 February 2022
Batch Size (fermenter): 24.00 L   
Estimated OG: 1.038 SG
Estimated Color: 24.5 EBC
Estimated IBU: 30 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 75.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Water profile: Ca:78 Mg:3 Na:9 SO4:122 Cl:50

Amt        Name                                       Type         %/IBU    
28.86 L    Tesco Ashbeck                              Water        -
4.80 g     Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash)            Water Agent  -        
1.40 g     Calcium Chloride (Mash)                    Water Agent  -        
3.123 kg   Crisp Maris Otter (7.9 EBC)                Grain        83.9 %   
0.276 kg   Crisp Medium Crystal (240.0 EBC)           Grain        7.4 %    
0.030 kg   Weyermann Carafa II  (1150.0 EBC)          Grain        0.8 %    
1.00 g     Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Sparge)          Water Agent  -        
0.30 g     Calcium Chloride (Sparge)                  Water Agent  -        
0.295 kg   Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil] (0.0 EBC)     Sugar        7.9 %    
25.00 g    Target [8.90 %] - Boil 60.0 min            Hop          26.6 IBUs
10.00 g    Archer [3.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min            Hop          1.5 IBUs 
10.00 g    Styrian Goldings [4.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min  Hop          1.7 IBUs 
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 7.0 mins)           Fining       -        
1.0 pkg    Brewlab Yorkshire (Brewlab #Yorkshire)     Yeast        -        

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 3.724 kg
Name       Description                       Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In    Add 23.86 L of water at 73.7 C    69.0 C        60 min        

The 10g addition of Archer hops at 10 minutes is mine. I decided that since I was using the darker Crystal 240 then it would help to balance out the flavours. As it turned out I had less of the Styrian Goldings left than I thought and had to substitute some Saaz. So at the end of the day my 10 minute additions turned into 10g Archer, 4g Styrian Goldings and 6g Saaz. I'm sure it'll be fine.

I've come to expect the Brewlab Yorkshire yeast to attenuate really strongly if I mash at the 'usual' 65-67C range so I'm doing what I did with the Dark Mild and mashing at 69C in an attempt to reign it in a bit.

The dextrose was added during the boil and should serve to lighten the body a bit making this nice and quaffable. In my system 75g of sugar equals 1 extra gravity point so I'm getting about 4 points from the 295g in this recipe.

It was a nice and simple brewday and I was all done with the yeast pitched before midday. The OG was spot on at 1.038 and the colour is a nice and pale copper.

I collected 25 litres into the fermenter, slightly more than predicted and was able to pitch the Brewlab yeast starter straight away at 20C where it will remain for the next 2 weeks.

Kegging day

After just over 2 weeks in the fermenter I decided it was time to keg this beer and take a final gravity sample.

The final gravity was 1.004 for an ABV of 4.5% and an attenuation of 89%. The ABV is about 0.5% higher than I was aiming for but still OK. This Brewlab Yorkshire yeast is a hugely strong attenuator, assisted in this case by the 8% dextrose addition to the boil. I've noticed that this yeast is not one to drop out quickly in the fermenter which means my FG samples always look a little cloudy but after being left to condition the beer ends up just as bright as any other that I make.

Despite the very low final gravities produced by this yeast I've found the finished beers to have a very full and creamy mouthfeel that defies common folklore that says a low FG makes for a 'thin' beer.

Anyway I got a keg and 4 bottles from the fermenter. The kegged beer was fined with leaf gelatin and had been purged during fermentation by the beer's own CO2 and is now sitting at around 12psi to carbonate and condition.

Tasting notes

Here's how it looks straight from the keg. The gelatin has cleared it up nicely and at 12psi the carbonation is about right for me.

The flavour of a beer bittered with Target (a rarity for me) is noticeably different to one bittered with Challenger or Fuggle. Personally I think this might be the best pairing yet with the smooth finish of the Yorkshire yeast but I feel it needs something more in the finish, maybe First Gold or even just another 20g or so Styrian Goldings or Fuggles at 5 minutes. I think I'll be back to this recipe in the future.