Oct 152016


That’s the new version of Broonhilda (Beavertown Black Betty clone) Black IPA bottled. It ended up at 8.3%, so almost 1% stronger than the original. Initial tasting is very promising: very fruity hops, good amount of roastiness, and fairly high bitterness that will mellow somewhat over the next few weeks. I bottled it in 330ml bottles due to its strength.

Update 23/10: This has now carbonated and on first tasting I am very happy indeed with this. It has already mellowed into a well balanced beer, with great hops and a nice roastiness, with enough body  and  a lasting head. I just had to follow the first bottle with a second…

 Posted by at 5:42 pm
Oct 142016

Last night I took a 750ml bottle of my Rasputin Raspberry Imperial Brown Ale, that I made on 2/8/15, along to the monthly Brewstore brew club meeting. The theme of the evening was ‘High ABV beers’- not a good portent for a productive Friday next day!

This is a rich, chocolately 7.5% brown ale that had 2Kg of garden raspberries added for a couple of weeks after primary fermentation. At 14 months of maturation it has mellowed really nicely and I love it.

Highly carbonated, but little foam to gush, and head disappeared almost immediately. Nose of raspberries, some roastiness, some marmite. Taste, similar but also chocolate, really nice! Looks completely flat, but actually explodes in the mouth – lovely mouthfeel. Amazing how well the fruit is lasting. Long finish of fruit, roasted malts, and a slight tartness. All really nicely integrated.

It went down really well, and it won the popular vote for the best high ABV beer of the night. 🙂

Imperial Raspberry Brown Ale

                 Imperial Raspberry Brown Ale


 Posted by at 6:50 pm
Oct 122016

A bit over 3 weeks ago (18th Sept) I brewed my second attempt at an approximation of one of my favourite beers; Beavertown’s Black Betty, a 7.2 roasty, hoppy, black IPA. My first attempt was made almost a year to the day ago, and I called it Broonhilda. It was good, but not as roasty, and at 6.7%, not as strong either. This time I wanted to see if I could get closer, so I tweaked the hops a bit to add some Columbus (which BB has), upped the strength, and added the black Carrafa III malt for the whole mash instead of a cold steep added at the end, to give more a more roasty flavour.

It has finished fermenting at about 1.012, giving it an ABV of about 8.2%. A bit high this time! I added 120g of dry hops yesterday, so it’s going to be another hop bomb! Bottling day on Saturday, in 330ml bottles given its strength.

Full recipe and logs here.


 Posted by at 6:35 pm
Oct 012016

Today I brewed a Scottish Ale for a change. It is part of a yeast trial run by Scottish Craft Brewers, where several of us make the beer with the provided identical ingredients, with only the yeast differing between them. You can see the recipe here, and my one uses Whitelabs Edinburgh Ale WLP 028 liquid yeast. With Munich, Crystal, Chocolate wheat and wheat malts, and a fairly low attenuating yeast, it should have good body and some sweetness, very low bitterness, and end up around 4.3%.

The brewday went well, with a pre-boil efficiency of 96% and brewhouse efficiency of 76%.

 Posted by at 6:35 pm
Sep 252016

Today was the Scottish Craft Brewers September meet at Elgin House on Easter Road. It was a great day, with a really good turnout, lots of great beers, and Davy’s great curries as usual. We had a really interesting talk from Gordon telling us about his trip to Germany as part of an Erasmus partnership between SCB and Karlstadt. In the afternoon we split up the beers people had brought for informal member judging and given how many good beers there were, I was surprised and happy to get first place for Hoppity Hip and second for my Belgian Tripel that I made back in January.

 Posted by at 6:07 pm
Sep 112016
1.072 OG
1.019 FG
22 IBU
36 SRM
7.0% ABV

Wow, I can’t believe it is over 3 1/2 years since I made this. I just cracked open one of the last 2 330ml bottles I have of this (most of it was kegged), and it is still delicious! A slight marmitiness as you might expect from the age (yeast autolysis?) but the sweetness, body, chocolate, coffee etc are all there. Carbonation good, nice tan head that is reasonably persistent. Time to make another batch I think 🙂

 Posted by at 10:53 pm
Jul 252016

Looking to do something different, and after really liking my rosehip Saison from last year, I decided to make a rhubarb Saison, with some raspberries added for good measure. Needless to say, this is influenced by the glut of rhubarb and raspberries in the garden at this time of year, and it has become a tradition to use the summer garden fruit in beer as much every year.

I went for a fairly simple grain bill of mainly Pilsner malt, with some wheat, Vienna, and CaraMunich malts. Hops were Fuggles and East Kent Golding, with some Huel Melon at the end. This was a new hop to me, but gives strawberry and melon aromas. It certainly smells that way from the packet.

I added 450g of fairly thinly sliced rhubarb to the last 20 mins of the boil, then another 450g of sliced blanched rhubarb in the primary fermentation in a bag. After fermentation had pretty much finished at 9 days, I added another 750g of sliced and blanched rhubarb and 500g of pasteurised (80C) freshly picked raspberries to the suspended bag.

Fruit for secondary

Rhubarb and raspberries being pasteurised

Fermentation was set to 26-27C to maximise the spicy fruitiness from the Mangrove Jack’s French Saison yeast.

At this stage the gravity has dropped to 1.001, so is very dry indeed, and 6.4%. The fruit will have some fermentable sugars to add to this. I’ll leave this for another 7-10 days before bottling.

 Posted by at 11:04 pm
Jul 242016

Announcing Quantum Cat- a deliciously citrussy American Pale Ale heavily hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe, with a touch of Citra and a good bitterness. Perfect for summer.

Quantum Cat APA

Tasting at the beginning of August: drinking very well, really tasty, and one of my best brews yet I dare say. Definitely one to make again.

I deliberately added less bottling sugar to this batch (1/4 heaped tsp) to avoid the over-lively bottles of some of my recent batches with a scant 1/2 tsp. So far it is fine, but at this early stage could do with a little more carbonation; however, it is about fresh real-ale levels, which is very nice indeed.

 Posted by at 10:40 pm
Jul 232016

A new batch of Hoppity Hip underway! This should be ready by the end of August, ready for entry to a number of competitions, including the Nationals. This time it is fermenting in my plastic fermenter as I plan to use my conical for a rhubarb and raspberry Saison in a few days when I have bottled Quantum Cat.

Update: This is now bottled, with 100g sugar batch priming. It’ll be ready to drink around the 20th Aug.

 Posted by at 11:00 pm
Jul 072016

This evening I transferred a batch of semi-sweet stout to a Corny keg and a few 2L plastic bottles, all for force carbonation. This was a batch I made on the 19th June from a Brewstore all-grain kit.  This was the prize I won for my Hoppity Hip at the Usher’s Homebrew comp on the 25th of May.

It has only fermented out to 1.017, resulting in a 3.8% beer instead of ~5%, but it tastes really nice, and not too sweet. With a bit of carbonation it is really tasty. The WLP04 British Ale yeast has completely dropped out, leaving a crystal clear beer.

The main excitement of the evening was when, having jammed the keg into the corner cupboard, I attached the tap hose and immediately got a jet of foamy stout all over my leg and the floor, as I’d forgotten to turn off the tap! What a mess 2 seconds of beer ejection can make!


My portable tap for a Corny keg, now pouring a 3.8% stout.

My portable tap for a Corny keg, now pouring a 3.8% stout.



Mmm, a lovely glass of off-dry, chocolatey Stout.

 Posted by at 10:11 pm