A beer shared!

Finally I had a chance to swap beers with a friend who has just dipped his toes into the mystery of brewing. His first attempt, a recommendation of mine, ‘Woodfordes Nog’ extract beer.

Sitting down to a sausage and mash dinner; a perfect excuse to taste this dark beer. An exciting time for me; tasting another persons venture on an extract beer.  I noticed it had the same colour and flavour although a little weaker than mine. This is not a bad thing at all; just an observation. I presumed he had added a little more water than I had. This is a very good first brew that showed me the quality of the extract was good enough to deliver every time which is my experience from my endeavors.  I take my hat off to Pete for an excellent first brew and my thanks for sharing. I wait in anticipation for his next brew another from Woodfordes catalogue ‘Wherry ale’.

Excellent Brew day!

It is a wonderful feeling when everything you planned just comes together. That is what happened on Saturday 18th March. I made a Marstens / Youngs special clone but using a different yeast ‘Mangrove Jacks Liberty Ale’ I say two different types as I was again clearing out hops that neede to be used namely WGV which I usualy use for the Marstens but keeping the crsytal and pale malt of the Youngs recipe so a little bit of a hash but not much. All the timing was on schedule I even remembered to turn the Tea urn on 30 mins before sparging so the temperature was bang on 75 degrees right when I needed it. I started the process early at 7.35am and was packed away and fermenter resting with yeast pitched by 1pm. I filled the fermenter up to the 5 gallon mark just under 23 litres. Hydrometer reading of 1.042, Brix 11. A good day!

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Tasting hedgerow hops beer

Finally the day has come. This is the beer I made in February using hops collected and dried last September/October.IMG_1 I can happily say it pours well has a nice head and very lively. Not a lot of aroma and quite bitter. I remember upping the amount of bittering hops as I was not sure how good they were or how good I was at drying them so to be expected. Maybe next time I shall use 60g of bittering plus run the whole 90 min boil. Overall a nice pint I myself would prefer a more malty taste to it so lets try again with some changes to hop quantities and boil time as I suggested earlier. Thanks to Tiffany for the face bomb.

What the!

Another adventure into drinking beer. True to my belief that beers taste better with friends around to share the experience. I have been lucky that two of my friends have generously given me some new types to taste.

One from Belgium and the other two from Germany. To my delight all very tasty and with very different characteristics.01

Firstly the beer from Belgium Called Kasteel ABV11% – This for those who love Belgium beers has a wonderfully strong taste not surprising at 11% but not overwhelmingly when drunk full in the mouth chocolatey slightly sweet one of the quadruple type Trappist beers I would recommend this.00

The next two made me laugh purely due to the name of course in German Hell or Helle means bright or light. These two beers are very light and great thirst quenchers on a hot summers day. at 4.5% not quite the session beer but very gratefully enjoyed.

Hedgerow Hops beer!

The time has come to use the hops picked back in September / October last year. In order to have an idea of how the hops work I decided on using the Marsten’s clone recipe and just swap the hops. Because I am not sure how well I dried the hops I will add a little more than the original recipe instead of 58g mixed Goldings and Fuggles it will be 70g and for the last 10 mins 30g instead of 23g Fuggles. Like I said this is not an exact science I am just having some fun. My worry is the quality of the Hops might not be as good as what I used from the shop plus I will be adding straight from frozen. Continue reading

The comparison!

It’s January 2017 and it is whizzing past at a furious rate although it is more likely that I am just so busy I haven’t had time to stop and take note of the passage of time.

I took my last bottle of Marston’s clone bottled April 2016 and a real Marston’s Pedigree. Well they could not have been more different. I drunk the clone first then the Pedigree. All I could tell is the difference in flavour appeared to be a strangely honey like taste for the Pedigree. This could just have been because of my trying the clone first therefore affecting the taste of the second draft – who knows. Suffice it to say, most probably with some bias, I preferred my own beer which I would never have thought before the tasting. Maybe if  I reversed the tasting and had the Pedigree first my choice would be different? Nah! I don’t think I am that fickle!

What to do! What to do!

Christmas is coming, the goose will soon be cooked. But what are my plans! I promised myself one last brew to end the year and that would be a simple one the Marstens clone. I already have some Woodfordes nog bottled and ready in the garage and enough empty bottles thanks to my very good friends for helping me to empty them last Saturday.

Because of this festive period I will not get a lot of time to myself however, this is a time for family and friends, reflection on the year just gone and hopes for a better future. A time for thanksgiving – there is always someone worse off than yourself.

The exciting times will be in the new year. back in October Oliver and I picked some hops and froze them. Possibly in January we will have a go at making a beer with these. I have no idea how this will turn out as my drying technique at the time was a little cavalier.

So what shall I be doing over Christmas? If I have the time there are two things – making the Marsten’s clone and designing my next brew using our hops. But mainly spending time with my family and making the most of everything life throws at me.

Opening the OLI IPA on 9th October 2016.

With some trepidation being my first personally conceived pint.

Clarity was cloudy but I expected this as Oliver and I forgot the Irish Moss during the final 10 minutes of boil. Hey Ho one for the East Coast to praise! Nice head and very active maybe it needed longer for primary fermentation?
The smell lacked enough of the hoppy character that I was expecting. Disappointing but another learning factor. I did notice that a lot of the recipes were dry hopping with 100 plus grams and I only used 80 .
Tasting for me gave off a very clear caramel with a syrupy mouthfeel and sadly quite sweet another thing I noticed was a slight citrus after note with a slight dryness. So although drinkable not by a long way a proper IPA.

Interesting article on dry hopping, maybe I didn’t put too little in; so what went wrong!
Maybe it is the initial hops for boiling – If I increase this to take out some of the sweetness this makes sense to me. Until next time then.