Beer 5 - Two Hens Bitter

Homebrew 005 is has been a long time in the making - I've been on holiday, I've had the kitchen redecorated and I've been very busy with the house. I've finally made some time however for another brew. This one's a bit special though - it's my first partial mash!

It's a dark ale, made with light liquid malt extract (LME), and also bolstered with some dextrose and actual chocolate malt and caramel malt. This is my first beer to have a name also. I've named it 'Two Hens Bitter' as I've recently got my hands on two pet hens for the garden, one black, and one ginger - this suits the beer in a way, due to the colours that chocolate and caramel malt bring!

Learning my lessons from previous homebrews, I've changed things a little - This brew uses less of a 'suck it and see' approach - I've been getting to know Graham Wheeler's BeerEngine software, and once you can use it properly, you should have a good rough guide to how your beer should turn out. The other thing that's different is that I'm using a much less hops - about 50% less, I'd been overpowering my beer previously.

Two Hens should turn out about 4.3 to 4.4% It should be ruby towards dark in colour, and should be full-bodied but not overpowering. I've cunningly used Brambling Cross hops to add a blackcurrant undertone so hopefully it should be refreshingly fruity rather than just bitter.

  • 1 x 1.6kg can of John Bull light liquid malt extract ('LME').
  • 100g caramel malt (pre-milled)
  • 70g chocolate malt (pre-milled)
  • 200g Dextrose
  • 30g Brambling Cross hops for 1 hour (bittering hops).
  • 25g Brambling Cross hops for 10 mins at the end of the brew (aroma hops).
  • 3 x hop bag (two for the bittering and aroma hops and one for the malt).
  • 1 x sachet of Nottingham yeast (activated in warm water 10 mins before use).
As with most of my brews, this brews 12.5 litres of beer (half the fermenting bucket's capacity).