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

Tasting Impressions #76: Keyworth Early Pale Ale

September 30, 2014 Comments off

Final tasting of not quite single hop Keyworth Early Pale Ale, at 4.3 per cent abv.


Has a better head than #75. Aroma is minty. Perhaps there is some citrus in the taste, or I might be imagining it. Beer is quite cool so let’s wait a bit. Yes, there could be lemon actually, but Keyworth Early hop seems very generic, very clean, not overly anything really. I like it. Makes a very clean and refreshing beer, good for golden ales in the summer, say. Perhaps some red berries like in NZ Kohatu. Raspberry.

For next spring and summer if the supply is there I’ll get a few packets in to replace some other English hops, obviously the hop is experimental as I understand it so might not be possible.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Tasting Impressions #75: Pale Ale 1050°

September 30, 2014 Comments off

Final tasting of pale ale 1050°, at 4.7 per cent abv.


Earlier bottles of this were quite bright, now there seems to be some (chill?) haze. Citrus aroma has developed and is zingy and refreshing. Good body and quite malty but still dry. Generic citrus sans grapefruit now showing in the flavour too. Technically faultless but would have needed double the amount of Cascade and Columbus in the end in order to really shine without entering APA territory. Good solid effort nevertheless.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Brew #77: Arse over Tit Barley Wine

September 26, 2014 Comments off

Double-mashing first time with #74 DIPA was such a piece of piss so time to push the envelope big time – a barley wine as strong as I can make it without any sugar. A very simple brew, some bottles to be aged and matured for at least two years (50th birthday). Less carbonated than usual, I am using about 0.5L instead of the usual 1.5L of sweet wort (speisen).

Mashed the full cycle with half the grist: mash in at 55°C, 2x20mins at 66°C, 30mins at 66°C, 10mins at 66°C and 10mins at 66°C, totalling 90 minutes. Rinsed until I had the usual 26L again, emptied malt pipe, replaced the grist, shut down and reprogrammed the system, then started mashing again: mash in at 66°C, 2x20mins at 66°C, 30mins at 66°C, 20mins at 66°C and finally 15mins at 77°C.

Boiled for 90 minutes and bung all the hops in at the beginning. Mash efficiency was quite low at 73 per cent, 1088° at the beginning of the boil. Didn’t reach 1100° but wanted to brew all malt beer without any sugar despite the beer having a greater chance not ending up digestible.

name Arse over Tit
“style” Barley Wine
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 64
EBC 25
IBU to OG ratio 0.68
brewing date 26-Sep-14
yeast 2xBurton Union M79
OG 1094
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pale Ale 9.400 92.2%
grain 2 Amber 0.400 3.9%
grain 3 Crystal150 0.400 3.9%
total 10.200 100%
hops gram minutes ibu %ibu
WGV 7.02% 50 90 25 39%
First Gold 6.44% 50 90 23 36%
Target 10.2% 10 90 7 11%
Admiral 13.89% 10 90 9 14%
total 120 64 100%
double mash
mash schedule minutes °C
step 1 – mash in 5 55
step 2 90 66
change of malt
step 3 90 66
step 4 – mash out 15 77
Categories: Brewing

Tasting Impressions #75 and #76: Early Test Bottles

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Why not? This is why I bottled into small 0.33L swing-tops. Recipes here and here, only the hops differ.

First one finished at 1014° and 4.7 per cent abv. Gentle carbonation already after five days.


Still has that fruity S04 yeast whiff as expected. Minty, herbal. Taste has some malty toffee, good body to the beer. Hopping is quite generic, Columbus and Cascade don’t really show, not at least yet, perhaps in week or two.  Nowt wrong with this but not super exciting either.

But now the reason for this early tasting: Keyworth Early hops. Finished at 1015° ie quite high and 4.3 per cent abv. I first thought 1052° but my refractometer readings were way off so probably much closer to 1048° – close enough for cooking.


Not that much different aroma to the previous one, perhaps less S04 and more aniseed. Very close to Northdown for all practical purposes, at this stage. Definitely no citrus, grapefruit, in fact, lacking all traces of New World. Sweaty socks. A thick woollen sock, the dampness of sweat dried, a heady aroma I associate to my school days in the 70’s when in those days shoes were taken off in the class room and there was this boy with the most fragrant woollen socks. Haven’t thought about that in forty years, but that’s the taste in this beer which might be due to Keyworth Early. Not entirely unpleasant, which is very worrying actually. Very interesting to see how this beer develops in the next few weeks.

So at this stage Keyworth Early is as English in character as you can get. It’s good to have some bitter in the pipeline at last – the King of beer styles.

Categories: Tasting my brew

Comfort Food: Cottage Pie

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Two things need to be done right in order to have a good if not great cottage pie, first being keeping the mince sauce in the low oven long enough, say 150°C for 90 minutes or until very tender and soft, all the flavours having been amalgamated. The second is then topping it all with buttery mash. A nice twist is to blanch small cubes of root vegetables (parsnips, swedes, carrots work well) and adding those between the mince and the mash.

For a kilo of beef mince:

– 2 onions

– garlic

– thyme, pepper, bay leaves

– tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce (generously), little flour, a pint of water, beef stock cube


Soften the onions in butter, add the garlic and mince. When brown and getting caramelised, add pepper, thyme, Worcestershire sauce. Keep cooking a bit, then add tomato paste, little bit of flour, the stock cube and water. Mix well, add bay leaves and put into the oven.



Meanwhile, prepare the mash using milk and loads of butter. Add salt to taste and perhaps some grated horseradish. Make it fairly thick.

When the mince sauce is ready and also has quite a solid consistency, pick out the bay leaves and spread the mash on top. Practise some fancy fork work for decoration and place some small knobs of butter on top to melt in the oven where the pie goes back until golden on top. The more mash on top  the less seepage through it.



This dish goes very well with beer, by the way. Could even splash some beer in the mince.

Categories: Cooking