Liger Extra Special Bastard

Liger is my big fat orange tabby.  He’s also kind of a bastard.

ESBs are one of my favorite beers, so I wanted to make Liger’s appearance in the Le Meow series of cat beers as an extra special bitter.  I’d tried this once before, but a few things went wrong, and it didn’t come out orange so I scrapped the name.  The beer came out not very good, and also not very orange, so oh well.

Attempt two.

Recipe:

  • 1lb USA 2 row
  • 1lb UK Maris Otter
  • 3oz UK Crystal 60
  • .35oz Kent Goldings at 60
  • .15 Kent Goldings at 0
  • 1/3pkt Windsor

Mashed in 2.75qt water at 160, dropped to 149, held for an hour.  Mashed out to 170, sparged with 2.75qt water at 170.  This time I collected the right amount of wort.  Boiled for an hour, hops on schedule.  Crash chilled to 62.  Pitched rehydrated Windsor, shake aerated.  Gravity on this one came in wayyyyy low at 1.035.  Not certain why.  Guess this will be a session ESB.  It might technically be a mild, but Liger isn’t mild, so the name is staying.

Part of why I want to keep this blog is to have notes so I can look back later and figure out where I’m most successful and standardize those procedures.  I also have plenty of handwritten notes.  I’m realizing that the biggest keys to my efficiency are stirring when mashing, and where I’m getting my grains milled.  Not all mills are created equal.

The color looks right, everything smells good.  I set it up in the evap skirt, mumble a few threats to the Windsor and wait.

Based on my experiences and reading many, many stories of Windsor hate online, my prevailing theory on this yeast is that, like many English yeasts, it is very flocculent.  I believe that this yeast has a tendency to floc out before it’s done, so that the yeast is sitting very low, only exposed to a little bit of the wort, and doesn’t hit final gravity.  This leads to a sweet, fruity, undeveloped beer, and when bottled leaves a lot of sugar behind for the newly agitated yeast (or any bugs that got in) to ferment and over carb the beer.

With this in mind, I give this beer a gentle rock every few days to rouse the yeast and hope that gets it to FG. I also remove the evap skirt once primary seems to have finished to let the temp rise a bit.

I’d made a label on the first try for this beer that I absolutely love and can’t wait to slap on some bottles.

Bottling update 2/24/17:

As has been the case with every time I’ve used Windsor, this beer seemed to stall out around 65%.  I don’t want to get it too warm because I already find this beer too estery and fruity for my palate, but I do want it to finish.  I spent a few days trying to keep it around 71, and rocking it to rouse the yeast occaisionally.  It finally seemed to drop fully clear and finish around the 26 days since brewing.  It finished at 1.019, which is three points higher than expected.  I’m once again not sure if this is just because this yeast always finishes low, or if it stalled and I’ll end up with another explosion.

This puts it at about 3.9%??  So it’s a session ESB I guess.  The brew is very hazy and thick, so it isn’t quite the color I want, but I’m optimistic that it’ll finish a decent orange

Tasting, early March

This beer is okay, and came out much more of a mild than an ESB.  Its got a lot of fruity english esters, and overall tastes like a fruit roll-up.  I think if someone said, hey, try this mild I made, I would like it.  But it isn’t what I was trying to make, for the second time.

 

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