Tuesday 11 December 2012

Golden Pints

So it is that time of year again. Golden pints is a concept dreamt up by Mark Dredge and Andy Mogg and it is a good time to reflect on what's been good about beer, pubs and the like throughout the year.

Best UK Draught Beer - Tap East Coffee in The Morning (well I would say that, I helped brew the first batch)

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer - Kernel Table Beer

Best Overseas Draught Beer - Not tried enough of it to comment 

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer - Epic Beer Coffee and Fig Stout

Best Overall Beer - Epic Beer Coffee and Fig Stout

Best Pumpclip or Label - Beavertown  - America Fuck Yeah

Best UK Brewery Kernel

Best Overseas Brewery  Mikkeller

Pub/Bar of the Year Port Street Beer House

Beer Festival of the Year - Kent Green Hop Beers @ Canterbury Food Fest

Supermarket of the Year - Waitrose

Independent Retailer of the Year - Bottle Shop

Online Retailer of the Year - Beermerchants

Best Beer Book or Magazine - Let me tell you about beer

Best Beer Blog or Website - Reluctant Scooper

Best Beer Twitterer - Simon H Johnson

Best Online Brewery Presence - Brewdog

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year Hoegaarden and Chicken Madras

In 2013 I’d most like to... Get Pig and Porter off the ground 

Open category – you decide the topic - Best brewpub - Can't split Tap East or The Foundry, Canterbury 

Saturday 8 December 2012

Test Brew Evaluations

I've been brewing brewing like a bit of a madman of late. Partly due to getting enough beer in stock for Christmas and partly due to a number of test brews I'm doing for a new venture that those of you who follow me on Twitter will be aware of. 

It's fair to say that the coffee stout and the Dark Mayhem have too much coffee/star anise in them so I'll re brew them over Christmas with about a quarter of the additional flavours. The star anise flavour in the Dark Mayhem seems to have intensified over time, perhaps as what little hop flavour has dissipated, giving it a medicinal quality and making it barely drinkable. 

The coffee stout had too much coffee flavour in it from day one and, although some of the drinkers at East Kent Amateur Brewers gave it the thumbs up, it is clearly too bonkers for mainstream appeal so I'm going to re-brew this with about 40% of the coffee.

On the other hand the toasted coconut porter has been a definite success and may well make it into production, even if only as a special. 

Sunday 4 November 2012

AG71 - Toasted Coconut Porter

Pretty much what is says on the tin

This one's all about coffee/chocolate and toasted coconut. I've shied away from roasted malts as I don't want them to detract from the coconut. 

As I write this blog, the beer is currently in secondary with the coconut in a stocking. I'll probably bottle it on Tuesday. 

The beer is a standard brown porter, using S04 yeast and Fuggles at all stages of the brew. Then, after the initial krausen had died down I grated a coconut, dry fried it in a frying pan and popped into a sterilised stocking. 

Sunday 21 October 2012

AG #70 Coffee Stout Mark Two

60g of Pearle for bittering with Calcium Chloride and table salt. 
Having not told you about the home brew coffee stout mark one. I suppose it is a bit rude of me to go straight to number two (oo-er missus) but I'd better bring you up to speed, dear reader. 

You'll know that I was involved in the initial brewing of Tap East's Coffee In The Morning Stout so I thought I'd have a go at trying to make something similar myself. My first attempt at the Coffee Stout essentially lacked enough of a coffee hit. That was partly my fault because I used cheap coffee in a cold steep in secondary fermentation. 

The cold steep and secondary fermentation bit is ok but the cheap coffee bit is not.So later today I shall be going down to my local coffee store to talk to someone who knows a bit more than I do about coffee. 

HLT Temp at 75.6c ready for sparging
So, I'm trying a couple of new things with this brew. The first is a much stronger grist base. I'm going for a 7%-ish beer (mark one was 5.4% and, while it had enough body it just needed a deeper alcohol base and more of a coffee kick). 

This one contains 6kg of pale malt and some of the usual suspects, torrefied wheat, crystal malt, choc, roasted barley and black malt. I've also added 200g of flaked oats for a bit of body. 

In a departure from my usual mashing schedule I've gone for a lower mash temp to try and extract some more fermentable sugars. I normally mash for an hour at 70c but this time I mashed for 75 mins at 66c. 

The plan is to steep whole coffee beans in the secondary in the manner of dry hopping. It's not a new idea, I was stealing it from Kelly Ryan but it's a bit of guess work trying to work out how many to use. I'm going to start off with 250g and go from there. 

Grain Bill
6.3kg Pale Malt
300g Chocolate Malt
200g Crystal Malt
200g Flaked Oats
200g Torrefied Wheat
100g Roasted Barley
100g Black Malt

Boil Ingredients

60gm Pearle 8%AA FWH
500g Dark Muscovado Sugar
30g Bramling Cross 6%AA - last 15 minutes

As per Homebrew Forum stout profile

SO4 - 18g

Expected OG 1072
Actual OG 1076
IBU 56

Saturday 20 October 2012

Beer Porn - Rye PA

I must do this one again  - can't remember which hops were I used but it was about 7.5% rye with the rest of it spit between maris otter and lager malt. Yeast was US-05.

AG #69 Dark Mayhem

So, I've not blogged for three months. I've got so many things to say; some I can tell you about, others you'll just have to wait and see. 

One of the things I can talk about is my Star Anise Stout, Dark Mayhem. Aside from the star anise and the T-58 yeast used to ferment it, the recipe is pretty straight forward with the bulk of the grist made up of pale malt but with brown, crystal, melanoidin, flaked barley, flaked oats as well as roasted barley, crystal and chocolate malts 

I've been using motueka hops for bittering as I came across a large (cheap) stash of them but the main flavour will come from 4 flowers of star anise popped in the boil 15 minutes from the end Anyway, here are some pictures 

75g of Motueka hops for bittering
A gentle trickle of black lovliness from the mash tun
oops - perhaps I only needed one sachet of yeast

Sunday 15 July 2012

Ashburnham Pale Ale # AG61

I wouldn't normally blog too much about this brown beer with twigs but it was the first time I used my HLT, boiler and pump together. 

The beer itself was 40 litres of 4%-ish pale ale which I'm brewing especially for a party I've been invited to in  September. 

Because I was doing a double batch, I prepared the liquor in my 60 litre boiler pumping 25L into the HLT to mash in with, a further 11L for the mash out before sparging with 32L (split into 25 and 7 litres).

When I can afford another 12v 5A power supply (I've bought two from fleabay, one didn't work and the replacement blew up after two brews) I'll use my converted tyre inflator to drive the flojet pump, but until then, to paraphrase Wood Allen, I'm strictly a hand operator.

A few pics
Boiler on the left, HLT on the right, temp controller in the middle

Sparge Arm in Action
G56 Flojet pump with pressure
 spray "hand crank"

Some rather brown first runnings - twigs got added later

First Wort Twigs