Sunday 21 August 2011

Ten Things I'd like To Do Before I Die

I'm not planning on dying any time soon, I should add, but I'm coming to the time of life when I should hopefully have the time (if not the money) to at least try and save up for some of these. I've been a husband and father (by choice, I might add) since I was twenty so am anxious to do what some of my friends did in their twenties before I'm too old to do them.

I'm blogging about it here but they aren't all beer related so I apologise for that. They're not listed in any particular order.

  1. Buy a holiday home in Normandy: I love it there and will certainly be going back at the next available opportunity. Hopefully a place like this would pay for itself in 10 years or so as I would let it out during the peak times. Obviously there would be a barn or cellar type place in which to brew. 
  2. Attend the Boxing Day test in an Ashes series. I know that, unless I want to get divorced, I will never achieve this. My wife hates cricket and would never agree either to accompany me or allow me to spend so much family budget away from her. 
  3. Motorhome across the USA. This is actually a more concrete plan for when we retire. For me this would obviously involve visits to as many craft breweries as I could fit in during the trip which we plan will take 12 months. 
  4. Build a shiny new brewery. Another one that is fairly achievable, this will allow me to do much temperature controlled mashing. I'm currently working out whether or not to go for propane or electricity. Whatever happens, it's not going to happen overnight. 
  5. Drive through France and Spain on a culinary tour in a camper van. 
  6. See a Test match at Lords. I've only been twice, once was in 1987, the year my mother died when the local publican, my father and I went to see the Saturday of the England v Pakistan test. It rained all day and not a ball was bowled. Later that year, they got tickets to the Saturday of the Oval test but I couldn't get the time off work. The only other time I went to Lords was to see what must have been a centenary test match where I saw Malcolm Marshall bowling to Sunny Gavaskar. 
  7. Visit every racecourse in the UK and Ireland. I love a bit of horse racing but admit that ticking them all off is a bit nerdy. 
  8. Brew one beer that is so awesome a commercial brewery picks it up and runs with it. 
  9. Get to more county cricket matches at St Lawrence. I've not been since 2009 and it really is something I must address.
  10. Avoid cancer and dementia long enough to see my children achieve their dreams. My eldest has embarked on a successful career in insurance and the pleasure it gives me is immeasurable. Yet, medically, cancer and dementia are our biggest challenges and, as we live longer, only become more prevalent. I'm not convinced I have either the courage or fortitude to live through either. I just hope the younger two manage to achieve their dreams whilst I'm still old and well enough to see it. 

Wednesday 17 August 2011

What To Do With 58 Budweiser bottles?

Budweiser bottles, bless them, they've had a sad life; mass produced and then force fed tasteless over carbonated beer. What better thing to do, then, than re use them. I filled mine with and Imperial Stout made with all English hops but with T-58 yeast.

I'll be honest, I'm really pleased with the results; velvety smooth with a moderate (for RIS) level of alcohol. I bastardised a recipe on BeerSmith to reflect the ingredients I had in stock. Carafa I for Black Malt may have enhanced the overall smoothness. I also added 450g of Dark Muscovado sugar and I used the T-58 yeast because I'd not bothered to make a starter for my Irish Ale yeast. 

You may be wondering how 58 Budweiser bottles came to be in my house in the first place. The answer lies in the fact that I am a parent of teenage sons and Tesco's happened to have them on special offer. Alex was 18 the month before last and everyone seemed to turn up with a case of these. Clearing up after the party I thought to myself that a 300mm bottle would, in fact, be an ideal receptacle for a 7% beer. And then there was the irony of the previous contents. 


Brewlength 19L
IBU (EST) 51
EBC (EST) 97
OG 1075
FG 1020
ABV 7%

Grain Bill
Pale Malt 5450g
Crystal Malt 450g
Roasted Barley 450g
Carafa I 350g
Chocolate Malt 230g

Boil Ingredients
450g Dark Muscovado Sugar
40g Northdown (7.20%AA) FWH
43g EKG (5%AA) @ 30 mins
14g Fuggles (5.22%AA) @ 5 mins
1 x protofloc

Yeast  - T-58

Water treatment
55ml CRS, 
8g table salt added to boiler
14g Calcium chloride added to boiler