Dec 172011

Beer:  Hodge Podge goblin 7.1% 25IBU

Brew Date: 16/12/11

Brew Time: 5pm to 10.30pm.

A variation on Smith’s Dark (aka INDESTRUCTIBLE) brewed on 15/11/10.  The beer turned out to be a really good stout after a year of maturing, so we’ve decided to make a variation to use up some odds and ends as well as try out a malt we haven’t brewed with before – smoked malt.  Hopefully this should give the beer a bit of an extra edge.  Grain bill  is simplified to use up a hodge podge of grain we had knocking about – OG will be calculated after boil has cooled.  Some of the grain is pretty old as well – a couple of years in some cases, but we have finally used up almost everything so we can move onto buying and using brand new ingredients.

Smoked malt should add a classic character to this dark beer. Back in the days before electricity malt had to be roasted over wood fires and so the beers (all porters/ stouts) were naturally dark, smokey and roasty.

Visited Copper Kettle Home Brew shop ( before we started brew to buy some smoked malt and some Nottingham yeast.  Ended up also buying a bag of Maris Otter Pale malt, some S-04 yeast and  Styrian Bobek hops (no recipe, just because we could).  Will definitely be back before next brew as we have almost used up all random ingredients that were knocking about.  Highly recommended a visit!  Plus there is a garden center attached so you can buy plants and garden gnomes as well if you really want.

Aiming for 40l at 65% efficiency (Update: 46l at 65.3% efficiency!).  Had to hold off using brand new bag of Maris Otter (new is always better!) and instead managed  to finish off 1 year old bag of Maris Otter that was knocking about – hence we are guessing at about a 65% efficiency rather than the 75% we had for Smith’s Dark.

To be honest we did almost no maths in this recipe – we guesstimated and rounded for both grain bill and hops.  IBUs should be 25 or so, but we wont know till we check the OG tomorrow morning (UPDATE: OG is 1.066 and IBU 21.78).   Our motto is: If in doubt – guess and just make the damn beer.

Grain Bill – 40L 7.1%ABV @ 65% efficiency

  • 10kg Pale Malt
  • 2kg Smoked malt
  • 500g chocolate malt
  • 300g dark crystal malt
  • 190g crystal malt

Total grain bill: 12.9kg

Hops – 25IBU

  • 45g Target (11%)

Only the one hop, used in this brew for bittering mostly, be interesting to see how it works with the smoked malt.  Added straight after the hot break.   Used target in one of the two IPAs we brewed 2 weeks ago, smelled amazing and tasted good, so decided to use it again!  Pretty high Alpha Acid


We will be using Nottingham yeast for the first time that can be remembered.  Flipped through Matt’s current brewbook and can’t see it, so it would be at least 2 or 3 years ago.

Not too sure of buying repackaged yeast rather than individual foil packed yeast – possibility of moisture getting in maybe?  At least that is Matt’s worry, and he knows more about yeast than I.  We will report back when we see what happens.  (UPDATE:  We were so so wrong.  See photos further down page to see how lively the yeast was)


A nice simple single infusion mash aiming for an average 65 C for 1 hour.  Preheated tun with 1.7l of boiling water from kettle.  If we were smart we would bring the Tun into the house the day before the brew to ensure it is warm.  As it was, it was still full with the grain from the last brew two weeks ago.  After dumping the grain and cleaning the tun, we doughed in gradually using approx 1.5l strike water per kg of grain.  Used a guesstimated 20l overall, as we had left the measuring jug elsewhere and we needed to get the brew started so we could finish before midnight.

The initial grain temp was 6C.  We doughed in to 62 C so we then did some maths and  topped up with 3.2l of boiling water to get to near 65 C.  It ended up at 63.8 C, so our maths or our measuring was slightly suspect there.  Whatever.  We pressed on and left it mashing.

We planned on only mashing for 1 hour, but due to the length of time it took the sparge water to heat, it ended up being 1.5hrs with a final temperature of 61.5 C.

Note rubber dinghy oar as mash paddle.  The one brew day we couldn’t find the oar, we had to use two giant spoons and it just didn’t work.

The smell of the smoked malt as the water hit it was amazing as well.  Glade should make it into an air freshener!

Fly Sparge

Heated a guesstimated 40l sparge water to 81C.  We recirculated first 5l of runnings.  Since we now had jug we are now able to work with exact figures.  Gathered 50l total, was aiming for 48l – (40l + 20% boil reduction).

During sparging we realised that we may have used some lager malt instead of Pale malt.  Pretty sure we just used pale malt, but we now have no idea where the lager malt has gone.  All we have is a receipt for a 25kg bag and only one lager in the brewbook that was made with about 6kg of the malt. If anyone in the Wellingborough area has seen a sack of about 19kg lager malt on the loose, let us know!


We presumed our usual 20% reduction for boil.  Since it was  cold outside ~1.5 C,  it took 1.5hrs to achieve hot break instead of usual 30 min.  Also our boil reduction was far less than expected – about 10%.

Added hops at hot break then boiled for 1 hour.  Boil didn’t seem as vigorous as usual.

Left to cool over night in fermenter as we currently don’t have a heat exchanger.  Also of note is that  since there is a cider and 2 American Style IPAs currently in fermenters we currently are running out of fermentation vessels.

We forgot to measure final volume, so using the measured height and radius of the beer in the fermenters and some nice maths ((15^2) * pi * 36) + ((15.25^2) * pi * 28) you get a final volume of 45 904.1665 cm3.  Which is a nice 1 to 1 conversion to 45904ml or 45.9l.  This does mean that the  boil reduction was less than 10%!

Calculating IBUs is pretty easy – mass of hops in g (45) x alpha acids (11)  x utilisation (0.202) * 10/volume in l (45.9).  Utilisation is a nice lookup table of boil time (60 min) against OG (1.066) from Palmers book “How to Brew.”

IBU were worked out at 21.8 IBU.

If we had collected the expected 40l instead of 45.9, then we would have been bang on the 25 IBU target.  Guesstimation for the win!


After 12 hours to cool (probably only need 3 or 4), OG was a pretty good 1.066, so presuming we get to a FG of 1.010, we should have a beer at around 7.2%abv.

Fermenters were brought inside and 11.3g of Nottingham yeast added to each fermenter.

Update – 24hrs

Healthy 1″ Krausen from the Nottingham Yeast and a wonderful sweet coffee / tiramisu aroma.

Update – 48 hrs

Nottingham has officially disgraced it’s self all over the floor, an impressive krausen ~5″ particularly as we didn’t even aerate the wort at all before pitching. At this rate we’ll achieve our FG without much issue. Also looks like we’ll get a nice creamy head on the finished beer.



Transferred to kegs and kept to condition.



Efficiency was calculated at 65.3%, which was just 0.3% off the expected efficiency. Great considering the age of our Malt.

Working in an unheated stable at night with a temperature of around 1.5 C meant that everything involving heat took longer or shorted than expected – whichever made brewing more difficult at each stage.  Grain was too cold, hot break took far longer than usual  etc.  Also possibly the fact we were using butane for gas, which turns into a liquid at 0 C (thus negating its usefulness as a flammable gas), and the temperature we were working in was at 1.5 C meant the burn was not as good as it could be.  This is a problem thats been seen before when brewing in winter.

Other than that nothing went wrong except forgetting the measuring jug for half the brew and then forgetting to measure final volume of liquid.  We even remembered to put the hop strainer in.

James: “My flat mate has gone nuts for this beer – 14l went in just over 2 weeks.  Not as smoky as I was aiming for, and the smoke taste fades with maturation.  Perhaps some of the smoked malt should be replaced with peated malt next time.”

Matt: “Smooth and drinkable @ 9 weeks. The smoke certainly isn’t overpowering, could get away with a lot more. Great body and rich ruby colour. Unfortunately smoke apparently depreciates with age too so we may have to really load up a strong beer like this with lots of smoked malt to get the effect after long conditioning. Great head.”

 December 17, 2011  Posted by

  2 Responses to “Hodge Podge Goblin”

  1. Great read and I’ll be interested to find out how that smoky flavour stays the course over time. Regarding that KRAUSEN!!!! I’ve just had a similar explosion with a wheat beer but nothing close to as epic as that one!!! I’m new to your blog, just found it via the post for this beer on Jim’s.

  2. I forgot we made this smokey number – James it looks like time for another! 🙂

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