After deciding to do a low gravity year, fortune smiled upon me with the presentation of Maris Otter base malt. That, plus fresh London Ale yeast from the local microbrewery made the decision easy. I decided to give another crack at an ordinary bitter, and also try a dark mild. Both English styles, and also traditionally low gravity. Perfect!
I sent 2010 off with a bang on NYE by brewing an over-the-top Bigfoot clone, using nearly 20lbs of grain, so when I got these two batches together and realized that in total, the grain bills were under that, I decided that surely I could knock them both out in the same day — that makes sense, right?
I decided (after some persuasion) to borrow a boil kettle and mash tun from my friend Nate, which would allow for plenty of overlap in the batches, which was critical now that I can’t use my outdoor hoses, I’m relying on the outdoor temperature to cool my wort.
The first thing that I appreciated with these new batches of beer is the sheer ease in dealing with less water for strike/sparge, and how much lighter everything is to move around. I hit my temps right on, and the volume to boil was only what it needed to be, not like with the barleywine where I had to boil off nearly 5 gallons of wort.
Fermentation was also over with extremely quickly — my ordinary bitter (OG 1.036) finished fermentation in under a week, the mild is going a little more slowly, I may have pitched slightly more yeast into the bitter, or it was just more active.
This was also my first time using my new fermentation chambers, some Nalgene carboys I was gifted from a friend of a friend. The prices on these things are ridiculous from a homebrewing standpoint, but for free, they’re fantastic. They’re super lightweight, and have nice handles on the top for moving around. The mouth is also really wide, making it easy to clean. The only issue I’ve had is finding a #13.5 bung locally, but for this batch I was able to just keep the lids screwed on loosely, and everything was alright.
I’m looking forward to enjoying my first low-gravity pint soon, with many more to come. Next up will be another mild, but fermented with an English Ale/Brett C blend leftover from an Old Ale brewed in December.