Although this recipe uses a lager yeast it is fermented at 18°C, which is very warm for lager. A warm, fast ferment results in more flavour which is a hallmark of VB. All the hops used are for bittering, not flavour or aroma, all this results in a full flavoured, bitter lager.
MJ Classic Bitter
1kg Brew Booster
500g Sucrose (table sugar)
300g Crystal Grain malt
30g Pride of Ringwood Hops (10.2% AA) or Cluster hops ‐ 30 min boil
Safale S-04, MJ M54 Californian Lager or WY2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast
1. A day before, place 10‐15 litres of water in closed containers in a fridge and chill.
2. Steep Grain for 20‐30 mins with 1 litre of hot tap water (not boiling).
3. Strain liquid into a large saucepan. Rinse grain with another 1 Litre of hot tap water into the saucepan, and discard grain.
4. Add another 1 litres of water to the saucepan, and bring to the boil whilst stirring.
5. Add 30g Pride of Ringwood or Cluster hops.
6. After boiling for 30 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the hops.
7. Add the Classic Bitter and sugar, stir to dissolve.
8. Place the saucepan in a sink of cool water for 10‐15 minutes.
9. Pour the contents of the saucepan into the fermenter.
10. Top up to 23 litres with chilled and tap water to reach a starting temperature of 18‐20°C. Stir vigorously to aerate.
11. Add yeast and ferment as close as possible to 18°C.
Bottle or keg when gravity is consistent over two days.
Tips for temperature control:
-Use the chilled water to reach a satisfactory temperature and add yeast immediately.
-Maintain a cool even temperature in the fermenter.
-Place the fermenter in a tray and wrap it in a blanket with an end in a container of water.
-Placing the fermenter on a concrete slab can also help to keep the temperature constant.
–Use a Brewing Thermostat and a fridge for optimum brewing conditions all year round.
Equipment needed for mead making:
– 4 Litre Pot
– Medium Funnel
– 2 x 5L Demijohns
– Bored Bung
– Solid Bung
-To make oak spirit use a 4-5 Litre wide neck glass jar, use around 200-300g of oak blocks or chips and 1 litre of vodka/neutral spirit. Soak for at least 14 days but the flavour intensifies the longer you leave the oak soaking. When ready, strain the oak out by passing it through filter wool in a funnel.