Today I brewed my annual Elderflower ale, now that the flowers have started to come out. I aim for a pretty simple sessionable golden ale, not too hoppy so the elderflowers come through, and am aiming for about 4.5%. Nice for a few on a summers day in the garden!
Last year I just used Centennial for bittering and Cascade for all the flavour and aroma, but this year went for a more British ale. I used the same malt bill (3.5 kg pale plus some wheat and a little caramalt and crystal) but used Pacific Gem for bittering (no centennial left), and a mixture of Cascade, Fuggles, East Kent Goldings and Amarillo. I added 3 heads of de-stalked freshly picked elderflowers at the 75C whirlpool stage for 15 mins, before pumping the wort through the cooler into the fermenter. I can’t say I could really smell or taste any elderflower in the wort, but I’ll be adding more at the secondary stage after fermentation, and that is where I’d expect to get more flavour from them.
Once again I was amazed at the efficiency I can get with the Grainfather: 97% pre-boil efficiency (only 0.001 off 100%!), and about 82% brewhouse efficiency. One thing I do wonder about is how the efficiency calculators allow (if they do at all) for the volume change of the wort between boiling and 20C, which is about 1.5L out of 28L pre-boil.