Archive for October, 2014

Bottling of Brew #77: Barley Wine

October 27, 2014 Comments off


I bottled #77 today having kept it 31 days in the fermentor. Second and last time I used Mangrove Jack’s Burton Union M79 dry yeast. First brew with this yeast the abv hiked to 6.4 per cent from 5.5 per cent in the bottles resulting in dangerous gushers, beer being Duvel-like dry and thin (but packing a punch so not a total disaster). This time the beer dropped from 1094° to a mere 1040° (~7 per cent abv) and that was it. I roused it with a sanitised spoon with gay abandon. Panicking I even pitched Nottingham into it. No joy.

I carbonated the 20 litre batch with slightly less than 1/2 litre of gyle (speisen) which shouldn’t give me more than 1.5 volumes CO2. This beer is mostly for keeping, to be aged and matured, and I don’t want any explosions in case Burton Union decides to wake up again in the bottles.

As usual, I saved the last pint from the fermentor to be sampled. Colour is mahogany and only murky in this sample, otherwise it went into the bottles pin bright. Aroma is sweet and malty. Taste is sweet and the alcohol burn tingles the throat (I have twice checked the gravity with the hydrometer and the figures confirmed what I got with my refractometer. I even checked it just now again, numbers seem solid). There is also a hop bite and the mouth feel is reassuringly full, as expected. Quite promising really, this could still be a good beer.

First proper bottles to be opened at Christmas. Hopefully the beer will gently condition by then. But barley wine it ain’t.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Chicken and Mushroom Leek Pie

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Basically just one of my favourite dishes, chicken in tarragon cream sauce but with a puff pastry lid. Would have preferred shortcrust pastry as it’s stodgier.

Sweat some onions, leek and garlic in butter, avoid colour in the leek. Add pieces of chicken breast and after a while some button mushrooms. Bit of pepper, bit of thyme, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Then some flour and after a while a chicken stockpot and enough water (a splash of white wine or blonde beer) to make a sauce. Keep cooking to reduce a bit. Add cream, nutmeg, a bay leaf or two and tarragon, keep cooking gently to reduce the sauce and thicken it. Should end up with something like this:


Pour it all into a casserole dish after picking out the bay leaves, like thus:


Cover with pastry, make a couple of holes for steam to escape and egg wash it:


Put it into an oven for 30 minutes or so until golden brown, 200°C:


Enjoy the crappy photo!


Categories: Cooking

Brew #78: Green Wild Hop Ale

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Non-dried and wild hops, AA% unknown, aroma was very “English” during the boil. Very simple grist base in order to showcase the hops. Gravity sample tasted of menthol and was not that bitter.

name Green Wild Hop Ale
“style” Pale Ale
brewlength 24 litres
brewing date 16-Oct-14
yeast British Ale M07
OG 1052
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 4.750 90.5%
grain 2 Wheat malt 0.250 4.8%
grain 3 Flaked oats 0.250 4.8%
total 5.250 100%
hops gram minutes ibu
Wild green hop 120 60 ?
Wild green hop 110 15 ?
total 230 ?
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
Categories: Brewing

Tasting Impressions #74: DIPA

October 6, 2014 Comments off

The last bottle of my DIPA at 8 per cent abv has dropped bright and has a beautiful coppery mahogany colour.


Aroma is fruity in a plummy way and resiny. Taste is more resin, quite piney and the bitterness has toned down and mellowed but still managing to have a good amount of bite. Mouth feel is solid.

Some other tasting impressions on the beer here, here and here. I have to say I cant find anything tropical or citrussy and next time I’ll brew a DIPA I’ll try to find some hops to balance the resiny pine with grapefruit. I will also dry-hop more aggressively. Now that should make it about perfect. Overall, a very balanced DIPA and some lessons for for future learned. I might actually get used to brewing higher gravity beers – same amount of beer, double the buzz…you do the math.

Categories: Tasting my brew