Archive for March, 2014

Tasting impressions #66: Rambler’s Amber Bitter

March 28, 2014 Comments off

Three days ago a test bottle was almost conditioned but had a strange metallic taste. Then The Beer Nut mentioned in his blog that there sometimes is a metallic tang associated with English hops. I’ve only ever found this with Progress, both times I’ve used it in greater quantity. The following day another bottle and the tang was gone. Odd, but then again I’ve found that as the beer conditions the flavours can be a bit volatile but will soon settle down as the beer approaches its peak condition.

This flat cap beer looks a stunner already:


Fruity and malty, balanced with firm bitterness, slips down nicely. The hops blend together very well in a harmonious gathering of joyous familiarity – surely no other beer style rivals Bitter (as long as the brewer is not too heavy-handed with crystal malts).

Categories: Tasting my brew

Brew #68: Mole Gap Mild

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Mashing high, adding some liquorice and smoked malt and using the new Mangrove Jack’s Newcastle Dark Ale dry yeast. Almost everything went in except the kitchen sink. Maltster had run out of pale ale so had to put the Burton Ale on the back-burner for a week or so. The running season has started at full force (3x 6.5km + hill training /week) so some lower gravity energy drink is needed in order to rehydrate and invigorate.

name Mole Gap Mild
“style” Mild
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 25
EBC dark
IBU to OG ratio 0.65
brewing date 27-Mar-14
yeast M03
OG 1038
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pilsner 2.500 63.3%
grain 2 Rauch 0.500 12.7%
grain 3 Oats, flaked 0.200 5.1%
grain 4 Treacle molasses 0.150 3.8%
grain 5 Crystal150 0.150 3.8%
grain 6 Amber 0.100 2.5%
grain 7 Wheat malt 0.100 2.5%
grain 8 Rye malt 0.100 2.5%
grain 9 Pontefract cakes 0.100 2.5%
grain 10 Dark extract 0.035 0.9%
grain 11 Chocolate malt 0.015 0.4%
total 3.950 100%
hops gram minutes ibu %ibu
Progress 8.25% 20 60 18 72%
East Kent Goldings 6.57% 15 25 7 28%
total 35 25 100%
mash schedule minutes °C
step 1 – mash in 5 55
step 2 105 74
Mangrove Jack’s dry yeast:
Newcastle Dark Ale M03
Categories: Brewing

Brew #67: Pacific Gem Single Hop Pale Ale

March 25, 2014 Comments off

The hops are from 2010 and I picked them up cheap, unfortunately they had no aroma at all and were very dry and without the usual sticky oiliness.

name Pacific Gem Single Hop
“style” Kiwi Pale Ale
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 45
EBC 11
IBU to OG ratio 0.88
brewing date 25-Mar-14
yeast British Ale M07
OG 1051
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 3.100 64.2%
grain 2 Pilsner 1.250 25.9%
grain 3 Wheat malt 0.180 3.7%
grain 4 Carared 0.150 3.1%
grain 5 Oats, flaked 0.100 2.1%
grain 6 Caramunich II 0.050 1.0%
total 4.830 100%
hops gram minutes ibu %ibu
NZ Pacific Gem 17% 18 60 30 67%
NZ Pacific Gem 17% 18 15 15 33%
NZ Pacific Gem 17% 15 0 0 0%
NZ Pacific Gem 17% 25 -10 0 0%
total 76 45 100%
mash schedule minutes °C
step 1 – mash in 5 55
step 2 – maltose rest 40 63
step 3 – dextrinisation rest 50 70
step 4 – mash out 15 77
Hop-stand for 25 minutes
1/4 tsp Gypsum in kettle


Categories: Brewing

Tasting impressions #57: Stout Porter Revisited

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Ex tempore tasting from the hidden stash. Stout porter brewed in early November.


Aroma is roasted malts and ground coffee. Carbonation has increased, as I move the glass I can see the bubbles just below the head rushing up. Mouth feel is malty and ever so soft, like cream, tingling on the tongue. Taste has no ash nor has it much recognisable bitterness from the hops, but instead a certain balance of ingredients. Last time I drank this, just before Christmas, I apparently detected some slight sourness. Can’t say that today.

I think this is a damned fine balanced porter, it has no sexy American hops to make it a black IPA, there is no Belgian yeast to give it that funkiness either and  its 7.7 per cent abv is well hidden in all that balanced soft drinkability. Sort of a beer that is labelled bland nowadays amongst the hipsterati.

I’ll get my coat now.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting impressions #63: Oatmeal Rye Bitter

March 18, 2014 Comments off

In real life this beer was brighter but still murkier than earlier bottled ones sadly all gone now. I am left with three mini-casks and this tasting is from the first of those.



Only went down to 1012° and 3.9 per cent abv. Aroma is caramel and spicy pumpernickel. Mouth feel is soft and the taste is sweetish malts and soft spice – the cloying spiciness which I earlier interpreted was due to rye has disappeared and has become quite dry. There is something new here though and I believe it has to be the rye, not entirely pleasant, I don’t mind having my rye in bread or Mämmi (Finnish malted and fermented rye porridge, enjoyed Easter time with double cream) but in a beer…not so sure.

Still, quite a balanced and easy-going beer, not that sessionable and I believe I might have a proper task to get some cask space for future brews. I might have to drip-feed the left-over rye into something more palatable…

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting impressions #65: Rambler’s Gold

March 16, 2014 Comments off

This golden ale was brought down to 1009° and 4.1 per cent abv in five days by Mangrove Jack M07 British Ale dry yeast. After 13 days in the fermentor and four days in the bottle the beer looked like this:


I saved the yeast for another brew, such a clean crisp well-behaving well-attenuating yeast that leaves a thin film of sediment in the bottle. The fermentor was left super clean and the krausen ring came off very easy:


I am considering changing my “house yeast” Nottingham to this one. Anyway, on to the beer itself. This is it after seven days of conditioning in the bottle:


Lime in the aroma. Clean and crisp and still soft mouth feel, malty backbone then citrusy hops. Refreshing, balanced and very sessionable. Good drinkability. Not that complex or challenging but ticks all the right boxes for me. Happy with the yeast and Citra in the end. Also, flaked oats have definitely become a staple ingredient – together with wheat malt – to be added to the mash, such softness to the mouth feel.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting impressions #34: Burton Ale – One Year Later

March 13, 2014 Comments off

An unexpected bottle was recently discovered having been misplaced and forgotten for more than a year. This beer was brewed on 5th December 2012, bottled on 17th December 2012 and reviewed on 16th January 2013 (recipe here, earlier review here) at 1012° and 6.2 per cent abv.

Brix value had dropped from 7 to 6.5, thus increasing the alcohol to 6.4 per cent abv. Upon opening the beer was a slow steady gusher and thus murky (Burton murky?):



Aroma is sweetish Christmas fruit cake, dried plums, raisins, not unlike Rochefort trappist, but without the Belgian yeast character. This could be due to the black treacle. A slight tingling in the mouth. Taste is dry and a bit thin, those dried dark fruits are still there but in the background. Slightly sour and vinegary. A mix of three parts Rochefort and one part Rodenbach. Very elegant.

I need to check out again the Burton ale chapter in Martyn Cornell’s book but I am wondering how close to sour Belgian beers English Burton ales were when they’d had some time to mature in the casks. Because this is like a Belgian beer without the yeast.

An unexpected treat, in one year the character of the beer has changed totally. I have a packet of Mangrove Jack’s new Burton ale dry yeast and will definitely brew another Burton ale with that yeast and hide the bottles to age and mature.

Categories: Tasting my brew