Monday 7 October 2013

Brewing Update

It's been a while since I've written about home brewing so here's a quick post to cover what I've been up to lately. Taking into account re-brews, I've now brewed 20 all grain beers since that first one back in May 2012. Looking back, it's been an absolute blast and I'd recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in beer and brewing. It really is the best way to learn about beer. The best bit of course has been the people I've met, from fellow home brewers to fantastic pro brewers and even some celebrities during a show pre-recorded national television (more on that nearer the time, but below is a photo as a teaser). I'm still not sure if any of them got to taste my beer so look forward to finding out when it airs.

Best. Day. Ever.
Since the Pomegranate pLambic Project, which is still covered by a lovely pellicle, the following brews have graced my mash tun:

  • New Zealand IPA
  • Simcoe Citra Big DIPA
  • Imperial Stout 2
  • Aussie Black IPA
  • American Red Ale

There was also the small matter of the commercial launch of Nelson Saison in Macclesfield, captured in pictures over at Phil Hardy's blog here. I'll forever be indebted to the good folks over at Weird Beard for that fantastic day and was pleased to hear the kegs and bottles sold out and even more pleased with the reception it got generally.

So last Saturday was a double brew day, which is the first time I've attempted such craziness. I've got a list as long as my arm of beers and styles I'd like to have a stab at and the two at the top of the list this time were a Black IPA and American Red Ale. If you were a BJCP purist, you'd point out that neither is really a recognised style, but I've never really paid much attention to that. Black IPA (Thornbridge Raven being my favourite) and American Red Ale (Brewdog 5am Saint) are 'styles' I love to drink and that's sufficient incentive for me.  The Black IPA is a tricky beast. You want the colour from the dark malts without the roastiness. There are several different ways to skin this particular cat and I went for an addition of Carafa III during sparge, opting for a batch sparge with a 10 minute steep before run off. The resultant wort was more deep mahogany than black and I think the mistake I made was adding too much liqour during the first mash step, which meant over half my wort was run off as pale before the dark stuff was run into that. Maybe I'll get away with calling it an India Brown Ale (thanks Emma!) or maybe it'll be dark enough to just get away with it.

The second brew of the day was an American Red Ale. This used a grain bill that Andrew Drinkwater took away from a talk Thornbridge's own Dominic Driscoll gave at Birmingham Beer Bash. I believe it's taken from their Colorado Red, a collaboration with Odell nonetheless. I translated Andrew's notes into a 5 gallon recipe, which you can see below, then decided to hop it with Simcoe followed by a Citra dry hop:

The wort ran off a lovely red colour. This really is a top grain bill, constructed by people who know what the hell they're doing!

Both beers are fermenting away nicely as I write. I pitched a fresh smack pack of Wyeast 1056 into the Black IPA and went with a sachet of The Malt Miller's West Coast Ale Yeast in the American Red Ale, which I think might be Danstar BRY-97 given the higher flocculation. It'll be interesting to compare the results of the two.


  1. The Nelson Saison was excellent mate, I ordered it recently in a box from Ales By Mail, 3 bottles of it shared the space with Bear Republic, Stone & Magic Rock beers ;)

    1. Thanks Baron. I'm really glad you enjoyed the Nelson and it was fun listening to your review!

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