Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stepping into the Limelight

Experimental Dark Matter was a brew kit for all intents and purposes, I didn’t have to do a boil, add hops or think too much about ingredients, other that the smokiness I wanted to add. The fact that I got a dozen drinkable bottles of beer out of it was in some ways an added bonus, and the fact that the people who have drunk it haven’t thrown up or derided it as an abomination is also quite nice. The success then of EDM was therefore the spur to try my hand at brewing with dry malt extract; thus Limelight was born – thanks to Dave at the Woolpack Inn for the name. As a quick aside, I recommend you read Dave’s blog, it is very interesting to see beer from the industry side rather than that of just the consumer.
As I noted last week, the recipe for Limelight was inspired by an article on Irish Craft Brewer about small scale brewing. As a quick re-cap, for 4 litres of wort my final recipe consisted of:

500g wheat DME
15g coriander seed – crushed
10g lime peel
15g Saaz hop pellets
Wyeast 3944 Belgian Witbier yeast
Because I don’t have a decent sized brewpot, it is necessary for me to boil up about 2/3 of my water and put it in the carboy in advance. This is also necessary as a result of water loss from evaporation, meaning that my 2 litre boil ended up at about 1.2 litres after 60 minutes.
Once the water was boiling, I chucked in the malt extract and stirred thoroughly to ensure there were no lumps or scalding on the bottom of the pan. I also had to adjust the heat to maintain a rolling boil, at which point I added the first hop addition, 7.5g of the Saaz pellets, just after which I added the coriander and lime peel, making sure the boil was ticking over nicely.

The other hop additions came with 20 and 5 minutes of the boil remaining respectively, both about half of the remaining 7.5g of Saaz. Having turned off the boil, I strained the wort through a fine mesh sieve into the waiting, by now pretty cooled, boiled water – then brought the mixture down to a decent temperature for pitching.

With two carboys to fill, I did the recipe twice and ended up with two worts both with an OG of 1.040, or 10° Balling, which are both sat with big fluffy krausens while the Yeastie Boys get down and dirty on the sugars. The plan at the moment is to let them sit for 14 days before priming and bottling.

Pictures 2-4 were taken by my good friend, and superb photographer, Mark Stewart of Black Gecko Photography - he came round to watch me brew and enjoy a few bottles from the cellar. He also had the good grace not to die from drinking EDM.


  1. Fred is looking forward to sampling this magic brew...

  2. I was surprised to see the photos looking so... magazine like until I read on the last paragraph that they are actually pro shots.
    Looks interesting Al, Should be nice and conditioned by the time I get there.
    Still no sign of my big order of ingredients and the main thing being my boiler. Also waiting on a better bottle carboy, I wanted to rack the Dark BitterBock to a secondary for a bit and use the glass one to make 30 bottles of wine.

  3. Yes, the guy who did them was the photographer for our wedding, and a top bloke to boot. By the time you get here it should have been bottled a couple of weeks. Unfortunately the next recipe will still be in the carboys though.

  4. Hope it turns out well. We've had quite a lot of luck with citrusy wits, possibly because all the spice and peel can help to mask dodgy flavours.


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