Archive for November, 2014

Tasting Impressions #79: Rambler’s Ruin Bitter

November 23, 2014 Comments off

This 1054° ESB got as high as 5.4 per cent abv.


Aroma is malty and fruity. mouth feel is reassuringly full. Nice tingling hop presence, Herkules seems very clean as a bittering hop and Cascade aroma addition is spot on – providing that lift in the end but still barely keeping the beer “English”. It’s on the brink, just keeping away from the colonies.

This beer totally redeems my faith in brewing a cracking beer after the disasters of late.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting Impressions #77: Arse over Tit

November 18, 2014 Comments off

So at barely 7 per cent abv not a barley wine. Which in itself is not that important to me, the beer goes off-site for safekeeping until my 50th birthday anyway. I had a glass at bottling and the sample showed promise but also indicated a long time ahead for it to mature. What interests me mostly at the moment is the level of carbonation. Let’s crack one open, shall we?


A small hiss on the opening, no head but when I move the glass in a circular motion there is some lacing and I can clearly see microscopic bubbles rising up to the surface. So very gentle carbonation. Beer is not far from being bright, some murkiness still exists and the colour is reddish russet mahogany.

Aroma is sweet boozy malt. Some dried Christmas fruits like prunes and raisins. Taste is sweet, almost sickly, like bittered dried sugar-coated cherries. Bittering is quite harsh, coarse, and gets in a way of potential fortified wine character. The alcohol is evident in the taste too and together with the hops need to mellow out. Feels heavy too, none of that Belgian drinkability.

The carbonation level is absolutely bang on. Interesting that the bubbles seem to start their upward journey about half an inch below the surface, not from the bottom. And although they are very small they are very dense and almost nitro-like.

All this beer now needs is a quiet and dark place of constant cellar temperature – and time to lose those rough edges.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting impressions #78: Green Wild Hop Ale

November 10, 2014 Comments off

This one finished at 1013° and 5.1 per cent abv.


Aroma is sweetish grass with red berries similar to Kohatu and Jade hops so might be due to the yeast. Not much bitterness up front, I’d estimate 18 IBUs or thereabouts, that would make the AA% around 1.2 or less. So very smooth, slightly sweet and lacking the hop bite as expected. I’ve brewed a generic beer. Technically sound but lacking character. It’s OK if one likes beers bland. No disturbing vegetal or cabbage flavours.

Not worth the effort trying to nurture these unknown and old Finnish country hop varieties, easier just to buy Hallertau and the like and get more flavour and aroma out of the low alphas.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Brew #79: Rambler’s Ruin Bitter

November 2, 2014 Comments off

Continuing my Rambler’s theme, this time with a bit higher gravity brown beer. Using some Cascade at the end for that flavour lift. AKA Rambler’s Ringworm Bitter.

name Rambler’s Ruin Bitter
“style” ESB
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 51
EBC 24
IBU to OG ratio 0.94
brewing date 2-Nov-14
yeast British Ale M07
OG 1054
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 5.100 92.4%
grain 2 Carared 0.100 1.8%
grain 3 Crystal150 0.100 1.8%
grain 4 Flaked oats 0.100 1.8%
grain 5 Wheat malt 0.100 1.8%
grain 6 Black malt 0.020 0.4%
total 5.520 100%
hops gram minutes ibu %ibu
Herkules 15% 15 60 21 41%
Keyworth Early 7.9% 28 30 16 31%
Keyworth Early 7.9% 28 15 10 20%
Cascade 7.6% 28 5 4 8%
total 99 51 100%
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
Categories: Brewing