I was on a roll the weekend of 28/29 July. I got home from work on Friday and brewed this, then brewed Punky Monkey #2 the following morning. Making up for lost time!
This year’s rhubarb and raspberry saison has a bit more of each fruit in it, and is slightly stronger at 6.7%, and I love it. Dry and slightly tart with distinct flavours of each fruit along with a banana-fruity Saison character.
A late post again, as the stocks are already going down fast! Punky Monkey was a big success so I made another batch soon after, bottled on 12/8/17. Crisp, hoppy, grapefruity, it is drinking perfectly right now.
Well, it’s been a while since I posted, so here is my belated post of my 2017 version of my annual Eldercat elderflower IPA. This year’s has Chinook instead of Amarillo hops, so is Columbus for bittering, and Cascade, Chinook and East Kent Goldings as late hops, and in the dry hopping. I’m very happy with the way it’s turned out. This time I remembered to put the dry hops and elderflowers in a hop bag in the fermenter, so I avoided the problem I had last year of lots of debris getting bottled and causing loads of foam to form in the bottles when opened- which had some spectacular results, especially when the beer was not chilled…
It seems like ages since I made beer last year, but finally it’s made and bottled. Looking for something different from Hoppity Hip (which is almost finished), this is an American Pale Ale /IPA (take your pick, it’s could be either), with an abundance of Columbus, Citra, Cascade, Ahtanum, Chinook, and Simcoe hops. At 6% and fairly light in colour, it tasted great on bottling, not unlike Brewdog Born to Die. Which is good, as I love that beer!
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…
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I made this from a recipe for Fuller’s London Pride in Dave Line’s book ‘Brewing beers like those you buy’, for the ‘Ordinary Bitter’ category of the January Scottish Craft Brewers competition. That, and I wanted to make a good lowish ABV bitter to have on tap. It came out at 4.2% and I kegged most of it.
I squeezed it in just before leaving to go on holiday to California for Christmas, and left it fermenting till I got back in early January. It was probably a bit young for the comp, at only about 3 weeks in the bottle, and it did not score highly, though at a subsequent tasting a few weeks later one of the judges thought it was pretty good.
Come June 2016, it is still pouring nicely, and I really like it. I’d happily make it again.
August 2016: all gone! Need to brew again to refill the keg…