Home brewing antics can now be found at my other blog; http://gettinggrist.blogspot.com/

Friday, 14 January 2011

Pump It Up

As there's little to be getting on with up the plot right now, I guess it's time my attention returned to brewing beer. We're 14 days into the new year and I've yet to get my mashing paddle wet.

I've got several beers lined up to brew, a Mild, and Old Ale, and a proper IPA to name but three. But, needless to say, a brewday for me wouldn't be a brewday without a problem, and I have one. My pump's broken :(

I'm guessing the cold weather was to blame as part of the body fractured and the spindle has sheared completely. Okay, maybe the fault doesn't lie with the cold weather. It lies with me, as it was I who pushed the button to start the pump without considering there may be some ice trapped.

Anyhow, I think I've correctly identified the parts that have failed and have ordered the necessary replacements. They should be with me sometime next week, but I'd like time to put the pump back together and thoroughly test it prior to brewing, so I'll probably dig out the old equipment again and use gravity and brute strength to get me through the first brewday of the year.

The first brew? A historic ale from the Simonds Brewery. Others know far more than me about this sort of thing, but I do know they were based in Reading (the current site of the Oracle shopping centre). I understand the brewery started up sometime in the 1700's and the beer I'll be brewing was their bitter from 1880, deciphered from their old brewing logs.

So what goes in a beer from a hundred and thirty years ago? Pale and Amber malts, plus Fuggles and Goldings hops. I'm told they mashed the grains for 3 hours, as apposed to the 60 or 90 minutes I tend to do with my beers, and I 've used amber malt in two previous beers and didn't like either, so it will certainly be intersting to see how this one comes along.

I'll do a seperate post on the brewday, which is likely to be Thursday next week.


  1. Three hour mashes were common and I think it was to do with the malt quality being more inconsistent. Do it these days an your wort should be highly fermentable. I myself am looking forward to my first brew of the year. Still havn't decided what to brew.

  2. Will the wort be more fermentable because the temperature will drop over the three hours? As such, do you think I should just mash as normal? I'm not sure I'm after a thin beer. The OG I'm after is 1062, so I'd like a bit of body.