Today we brewed a big batch of "Temple of Love", our 3.8% bitter, hoppy, juicy session pale ale which has, through simple customer demand, become one of the very, very few members of our core range of beer. So far, so good then.
The problem we have with Temple is that we always make too much of it! The malt we use, Muntons Propino, somehow always conspires to contain more sugars than we expect with the result we have to "liquor back" our brew in the copper. This sounds complicated, but in essence it means that the resulting wort (unfermented beer) is too high in sugar which means, once fermented, it will be too strong for the beer specifications (temple is 3.8%, HMRC customs allow a brewer 0.5% ABV each way on the declared alcoholic strength if they test it) and so we need to add water to bring it down to the desired sugar concentration.
This is done by adding water from the mains and/or hot liquor tank whilst the wort is still at almost boiling point (so the added water is sterilised) until the required amount (which is worked out with our Beersmith software) has been added, reducing the sugar concentration to the required level; in this case, 1035.5° is the specification. Today, after adding 175 litres of liquor (what brewers call brewing water, plain "water" is used for washing the floor), we ended up with 1035.7° which is near as damn it! This should, after fermentation, give us 3.8% ABV which is exactly what it should be, yeast permitting!
The only minor issue with liquoring back is that the total volume of wort increases and, with a big brew, this can mean we're pushing the limits of our fermentation vessel capacity! Today was one of the largest additions we've done and, as you can see, we're not far off the top.... and that's without the yeast head which has yet to form!
|It's a bit full....|