Brew Day: Dog Days ESB

Beautiful day to brew!

It has been a while since I last posted a recipe. This is simply because I try not to brew much over the summer – its too hot to stand over a boiling pot of water, and lacking proper temperature control, results are not always as good as I would hope. Indeed, my attempt at a Blonde had an overly estery finish (tasting notes coming soon), largely due to the heatwave that decided to break out hours after the brewday was complete! So my normal approach is to brew a bunch of beer in the early summer, and hope against hope that it lasts the summer.

As you would expect, the archived beer never lasts the summer. So its time for a brew day – and today I’m brewing a beer that is fit for both cooling down on a warm summers eve, and is fit for those early fall days. Crisp, refreshing and modestly bodied, with a bracing but not overpowering bitterness, an extra special bitter is just the beer for the dog days of summer.


I’m also taking this opportunity to try two new things – well, one new thing plus bringing back a thing I used to do religiously. The new thing is going to be an attempt at first wort hopping – based on Denneys notes, I have moved all my bittering additions to FWH addition (you add the hopes to the brew kettle before your collect the sparge – that way the hops soak in the wort prior to boiling). This is supposed to give a smoother bitterness.

Mash outs are a classical part of brewing, but something that many batch-spargers have done away with. My mash efficiencies are consistently low (65%-ish), so I’m going to try adding adding the first sparge water (5L) at boiling (update: this upped my efficiency to 72%, bu I under-collected the sparge water by ~3L, so this could have been better). This may improve the liquefaction of the mash, thus improving efficiency.

Recipe and notes below the fold…

First Wort Hopping (FWH):

First wort hopping is actually an old brewing process – hops were traditionally added to the brew kettle before the mash was sparged. This leads to the hops soaking in the hot wort, and being present throughout the heat-up part. Exactly what this does is somewhat controversial – with people arguing it improves the character of the bitterness, to improving/increasing hop flavour & aroma, through to increasing or even decreasing bitterness. Denney has provided the only real analysis, both chemical & test-panel, of FWH. He found that about 10% more alpha acids (IBUs) were extracted from the hops, but some (not all!) of the taste panel perceived that bitterness to be less and/or more smooth. Lots of brewers swear by FWH, so I’m going to give it a go!

The Recipe

Note: A small amount of Columbus hops was added to increase the IBUs, as the Goldings had a lower-than-expected alpha-acid content (4.5% instead of 5%).
Dog Days ESB
Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
Type: All Grain Date: 13-08-25
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 l Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Boil Size: 25.49 l Est Mash Efficiency 75.6 %
Boil Time: 60 min


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4.52 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 90.9 %
0.34 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 2 6.8 %
0.11 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 3 2.3 %
43.75 g Goldings, East Kent [4.50%] – First Wort 60 min Hop 4 27 IBUs
2.00 g Columbus [14%] – First Wort 60 min Hop 5 3.8 IBUs
7.09 g Fuggles [4.00 %] – Boil 20.0 min Hop 6 2.1 IBUs
7.09 g Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] – Boil 20.0 min Hop 7 2.4 IBUs
10.26 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 8
7.09 g Fuggles [4.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 9 0.0 IBUs
7.09 g Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg London ESB Ale Yeast 11
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.056 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.056 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.017 SG Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.1 %
Est Color: 11.2 SRM Bitterness: 35.3 IBUs
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 4.98 kg
Sparge Water: 17.49 l Grain Temperature: 21.2 C
Sparge Temperature: 75.6 C Tun Temperature: 20.0 C
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.20

Mash Steps

Name Description Step Temp. Step Time
Mash In Add 13.23 l of water at 75.9 C 67.8 C 60 min

Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (4.62l, 12.87l) of 100C, 75.6 C water

Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time). Used 100C water for first sparge step, to mimic a mash-out.
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 7.2 C Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage Storage Temperature: 18.3 C
-Hit 68.5C; slightly high
-Stirred until cooled (~1 min)
-Conversion complete in ~40 minSparge:
-New method (pseudo-mashout):
-Batch sparge 1: Added 5L @ 100C -> est. temp of 75.8C/168.5F
-Batch sparge 2: ~12L @ normal temp (75.6C)
-Pre-boil gravity was 1.044 (est. 1.046)

-%AA of goldings was low; added 2g of Collumbus (14%, FWH) to hit 35IBU
-OG ended up being 1.062, volume to fermenter was 19L. Diluted to 21L to hit OG of 1.056

Output from Beersmith

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