“It is, quite simply, a wonderful beer. It is exceedingly pale (21-22 units colour), with just a hint of colour in its cheeks from the dash of crystal malt. It has a massive orange fruit aroma from the challengers, balanced by biscuity malt.
“Juicy malt and tart hops vie for attention in the mouth while the finish is tart and hoppy but well balanced by creamy malt. The bitterness rating is a substantial 36-38. The tangy fruit lingers on the back of the tongue until it develops a hint of orange liqueur.”
Roger Protz – CAMRA
My take on the Bluebird is not strictly 100% as when the time came I did not have the right weight of Challenger hops. I substituted a small amount for Northern Brewer in the bittering stage and left the aroma hops as they should be.
I used two new pieces of equipment on this brew much to its benefit. I built a new hop filter which worked out amazingly well. Whereas I previously had to drain my boiler very slowly to not pull through any debris, I was able to use my 12V pump on full tilt to drain the boiler in a matter of moments. I also built a small copper return manifold to help with a whirlpooling effect on the cooling and recirculating stage. Four return pipes at 15mm was probably too much though as the feed pipe was only 5/16 inch and so the wort trickled out of each return. Mental note to make use of some chemical engineering to get my pipe diameters and flow rates correct.
The recipe was as follows:
- 3281g Marris Otter Pale Malt
- 170g Crystal Malt
- 100g Torrified Wheat
- Batch 1 – mashed for 90 minutes in 20L of 70C water – forgot to let it cool a bit for the intended 67C mash
- Recirculated for 30 minutes
- Collected 15L of pre-boil wort
- Batch 2 – spaarged with 15L of 67C water
- Recirculated for 30 minutes
- Collected 14L of pre-boil wort
- Added 26g Challenger hops to boiler
- Added 13g Northern Brewer hops to boiler
- Added the first batch of wort to boiler and left for about 45 minutes with no heat
- Took 15 minutes to heat to boil and then boiled for 90 minutes
- Added 20g Challenger hops at 15 minutes to go
- Placed chiller in the boiling wort with 15 minutes to go to sanitise it
- Added 1/3 teaspoon of Protofloc at 10 minutes to go
- Cooled for 10 minutes before turning on recirculation pump
- Left for 30 minutes
- Turned off chiller as wort had hit ambient temperature
- Started drain off to fermenter
- Collected 20L
- Topped up to 23L
- Pitched S-05 yeast
- Tucked up in water bath in shed
Total time 5 hours
I had added 29L to the boiler and collected 20L. My extra wastage to evaporation is down to an under estimate of the evaporation rate on the new Foker burner. It is extremely powerful!
I ran the amount and gravity into the dilution calculator and it said I needed 5.5L to hit the original gravity of 1.036 but I added just slightly over 3L and the gravity reading of the final 23L adjusted for temperature was 1.042. I guess I managed to get more out of my mash than originally estimated, probably down to beating it with a paint mixing paddle on the end of my electric drill.
I collected the liquid and squeezed the hops in the boiler to give me 1L of further liquid. This settled out into about 550ml of cold break material and the remainder possibly good fermentables. This was all discarded but will be useful in calculating wastage and efficieny in future brews.
This will be transferred to the secondary ferment after 7 days and left for a further 7 days. The temperature it is saying on the fermenter is 18-20C.
All in all a great brew day, the new hop filter worked its magic and will be used for ever more, how did I ever do without it?