Breweries

Rebellion BlondeAfter a couple of years enjoying a few pints of Rebellion Blonde whenever I visit Marlow I decided to look into this category of ale in more detail. As is usual the style is there for you to interpret how you like it, but it is a bit like a Pale Mild in some respects.

I started out with the most suitable yeast I had at the time which was WLP 028. This is a great and balanced yeast that doesn’t mute the hops but still highlights some of the malt too. Next was the hops and malt and to be honest the Rebellion Blonde was my basis to put the recipe together. The malts were about getting the final ale very pale so it was a 50/50 blend of Lager Malt and Golden Promise supported by some Torrified Wheat giving the beer a final ABV of 3.8%. The hops, well I just went for all First Gold but keeping the IBU’s under 30 IBU and not over doing the aroma hops.

The end result was really impressive even if it was one of my own beers. But as a first time brew on a made Red Cow Blonde 2up recipe other drinkers commented on how good it was too. So on that basis I brewed it again straight away and that almost never happens. I brewed it alongside one of my recipes I was refining and it blew it out of the park so the other recipe is now ditched!

On a nice warm Summer’s day or evening a nice pint of Blonde is perfect and refreshing especially if you serve it a bit cooler than you would an ale.

I hope you enjoy the recipe which you can download here.

With the brewing and fermenting over, about 4 weeks after the initial brew day we got to sample the finished beer. And wow, what a great hop forward brew Star Spangled Pale Ale is. We really enjoyed it and if there is one thing that lets down brewing in small batches, it is the small batches themselves as 12 bottles don’t last long!

p1020392This one didn’t hang around very long at all and Jim and I certainly enjoyed the fruits of our labours.

The finished beer had a lovely copper colour as you can see, poured easily and created a nice a head on the beer.

Highly recommended, if you want to try all grain brewing or if you want to get a scaled up version of this recipe Homebrewtique can supply it.

Craft BrewI came across this recently published book with some new and refreshingly different recipes. Although some are widely available online, there are 50 recipes in total. Priced at about £15 on Amazon including delivery it is also well priced.

The book covers everything in terms of home brewing so it makes a good choice if you are just starting out as it explains all the basics of brewing your own beer, but be warned unlike a lot of other books there is no extract version of the recipes, they are all All Grain.

Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat Beer – Hightail Ale

For more experienced brewers there are lots of recipes to use or adapt as you see fit. The only annoying thing about the recipes is that very few actually have an IBU reference which is kind of important if you want to recreate the original or something like it. In fact I can only recall seeing two recipes where the narrative with the brewer has contained guidance on the IBU.

The recipes are categorised both according to type for example ‘Pale Ale, IPA & Lager’ but the breweries are also indexed according to country, so if there’s a brewery you really like it’s easy to find them and their recipes. Recipes are included from Breweries including: BrewDog, The Kernel Brewery,  Mountain Goat and Marble Brewery amongst many others.

The Kernel
The Kernel Brewery – Export India Porter

From the 50 recipes I have spotted a few I would like to brew, I think I am going to start off with ‘Kipling from Thornbridge Brewery’. It’s a simple grain and hop bill and being heavy on the Nelson Sauvin it will help me use some of my favourite hop!

Buy it on Amazon

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It was earlier this year when I experienced a day brewing with Hillside Brewery that I discovered Untappd. Some of my fellow brewers on the day were already avid users of the app and keenly introduced me to it.

It is safe to say that I am now a regular and find it a great tool to share my beer experiences with anyone who cares to follow me. It also allows me to discover new beers based on those I rate.

It’s a simple app that allows you to take a pic of the beer you are drinking, tag the location, rate it and comment on it before sharing with your Untappd followers.

App

If you would like to follow me on Untappd via iPhone or Android my user name is: thehomebreweruk

AG Hillside Legend IPAThe Hillside Brewery is set in the Forest of Dean, as the name suggests on a hillside looking back towards Gloucester. On this cold but sunny clear day it was a great place to be.

In February this year I was invited to take part in their brewing experience day along with 8 other guys all keen to see and understand how the pros do it, some with home brewing experience and others without but all there ready to get their hands dirty. The idea of the brewing experience day is to brew one of Hillsides core beers. Today it was ‘Legend of Hillside’ their English IPA, named such to separate it from those mega hoppy, mega strong IPA’s that proliferate today.

As part of the day there was also a tasting session guided by Matt, one of the Hillside Brewing team.

The Brewery

We spent most of the day in the brewery itself going through the process of making the beer. Head Brewer, Will expertly explained each step of the process that Hillside uses to make their beer. The brewery has a 5 BBL capacity from which they brew about 3 times per week. On entering the brewery the HLT was already primed and waiting to pre warm the Mash Tun. At this point we stood well back as a hose of hot ‘Burtonised’ water was waved around prior to going into the Mash Tun.

The Mash – part 1

Once warmed we were then onto ‘Doughing In’ and adding the grains, assembled in large sacks, next to the Mash Tun. Most of the guys there had a go at adding some of the grains. The grain bill for this beer is quite simple consisting of Maris Otter together with Munich and Wheat Malts. Once the mash was on and at the target temperature of 68 degrees we left the brewery and headed inside for breakfast and a chance to hear more about Hillside Brewery’s story so far.

Hillside’s Story

The brewery was acquired by the current owners, in 2013 and they have turned it from a hobby brewery to a very professional one, that in 2015 alone won over 16 awards for its beers. Being set on a farm they are blessed with space and construction is currently underway for more cask storage space, a new bottling and conditioning room as well as a new bar, café and events space. By July this year it will not only be a bigger brewery but a tourist and leisure destination in its own right.

The Mash – part 2

Now back to the brew with the mash complete, the sparge arm was engaged to draw the wort from the Mash Tun. Interestingly Will always aims a good distance over gravity for the wort aiming to then liquor back both pre and post boil. At all points the wort gravity is checked with the Refractometer, each measurement is done 3 times and an average used.

The Boil

As the wort is added to the Brew Kettle First Wort Hops are added to deliver a smoother and more rounded hop bitterness to the finished beer, this addition uses Pilgrim Hops. The breweries location is very close to the Hop Farms of Herefordshire so in most cases they even know the farmer who grows their hops. As an added bonus they are able to work with them on piloting new varieties in their infancy. Brewing ‘Legend of Hillside’ today also requires late additions of Northdown, Goldings and Challenger Hops. The boil time is just an hour with the additions coming at 15 and 5 minutes from the end. You can get my version of this recipe here.

Beer Tasting

With the boil underway we headed to the veranda and its stunning views to enjoy the guided beer tasting with Matt, this also included eating some raw grains and hops to understand the flavours more in the finished beer. The beers we tried were: Legend of Hillside, Pinnacle, Legless Cow and Over the Hill, the latter being a Dark Mild and interestingly their second best seller after Legless Cow! The tasting was followed by a stunning home-made curry, Hillside also offer a Curry Experience day!.

Fermentation

At the end of the curry it was time to make the final hop additions and engage the plate chiller ready to take the wort to the new fermentation room and fermenter ready for its arrival. Once in there the SO4 yeast was added and it is left for 5-7 days to ferment. Hillside vary fermentation time depending on the beer being brewed.

Conditioning

Bottled & ready to sell
Bottled & ready to sell

At Hillside time is given to the beers for the flavor to develop. Once primary fermentation is complete the beer is chilled for 2 days to settle out any remaining yeast or hop pellets. After which it is then racked to casks for a further 7 days and then either primed and fined for distribution in casks or is primed and bottled. It will then spend at least another 7 to 10 days in cold conditioning before being released for sale.

The Legend of Hillside Recipe – download my version here

After enjoying seeing the ‘Legend of Hillside English IPA’ being brewed and enjoying a drink of it afterwards I thought I would put together my own version of it if you fancy trying it.

You can of course buy the breweries beers too here.

Yesterday Brew Dog kindly and unexpectedly published all of their recipes for every beer they have ever brewed and yes that includes Punk IPA, both the original and current recipes. In the article on their site that you can read here, it’s about their way of giving something back to the home brewers as home brewing is where Brew Dog started life.

Here’s a video of why they’ve done it and what’s included. Download ALL the recipes here.

 

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Since I met with the team at Corinium Ales (Read my ‘Meet the Brewer’ interview with them here) they have launched a new beer to their range, one that uses entirely British Hops so I was keen to get a taste! The beer is called Bodicacia, following on with their Roman theme. It was launched just before Christmas so I picked a couple of bottles up from them at the local farmers market, at the same time I also got two bottles of one of their limited edition brews, Glostavius a hoppy IPA. See the full Corinium Ales range here.

Corinium Ales – Bodicacia

Corinium Ales Bodicacia
Corinium Ales Bodicacia
  • See – Pale Straw
  • Smell – Mellow fruits
  • Taste – Subtle spices, giving way to a sweet maltiness
  • Bitterness – 7/10
  • Sweetness – 5/10

 

 

Corinium Ales – Glosatvius

Corinium Ales Glostavius
Corinium Ales Glostavius
  • See – Deep Amber
  • Smell – Grapefruit and lemons
  • Taste – Sharp happens with tangy citrus fruits
  • Bitterness – 8/10
  • Sweetness – 2/10

This is a much delayed ‘Part 2’ of my Honest Brew ‘Taster’ box review. See part 1 here. I received the box in December and having only just recovered from Christmas I thought it was time to publish it! The last four in the box were Four Pure Pils, Buxton Wild Boar IPA, Howling Hops Running Beer and Wild Beer Wild Goose Chase. I have tasted Four Pure Pils before and I do really like it especially when drunk very cold, it’s a really smooth drink. I have never had a Wild Beer before and Wild Goose Chase was really not to my taste, it’s a Farmhouse Ale so is closer to Cider than Ale in my opinion with plenty of sour taste to be had. The Buxton Wild Boar IPA is great, very hoppy and if you like a West Coast IPA you will like this and Howling Hops was again hoppy and West Coast like but dark in colour with a bit of malt, just how I like it.

The great thing is these beers were all in the ‘Taster’ box of 6 beers available for just £9 rather than the usual £18. Claim your discount by clicking here or entering the code ‘homebrew’ at the checkout on the Honest Brew site.

See the tasting notes for each beer below:

Four Pure Pils

Four Pure Pils
Four Pure Pils
  • See – Pale Straw
  • Smell – Subtle spiciness with a hint of fruit
  • Taste – Mellow hoppiness with a lingering spicy hop note
  • Sweetness – 7/10
  • Bitterness – 4/10

 

 

 

 

Buxton Wild Boar IPA

Buxton Wild Boar IPA
Buxton Wild Boar IPA
  • See – Very pale straw – there’s a theme with very pale ales at the moment
  • Smell – Typical citrus hit of an APA
  • Taste – Tropical fruits with a lingering bitterness
  • Sweetness – 5/10
  • Bitterness – 7/10

 

 

Howling Hops Running Beer

Howling Hops Running Beer
Howling Hops Running Beer
  • See – Deep, dark Copper
  • Smell – Tropical Fruits
  • Taste – New world hoppy Bitterness and tropical fruit
  • Sweetness – 3/10
  • Bitterness – 7/10

 

 

Wild Beer Wild Goose Chase 

Wild Beer - Wild Goose Chase
Wild Beer – Wild Goose Chase
  •  See – Pale Straw
  • Smell – Tangy Fruits
  • Taste – Very dry and sour fruit, very cider like
  • Sweetness – 3/10
  • Bitterness – 4/10

 

 

 

If you want to see what some of the other Beer Clubs have to offer check out my Beer Club Comparison Chart here.

 

 

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During the first week of November I was lucky enough to be invited to interview Colin & Lucy, the team behind Corinium Ales, Cirencester to find out a bit more about their beers and what inspired them to start the brewery. I was also fortunate to be there on a brew day. On entering the garage in their garden I was greeted by Colin clutching his hydrometer!

Corinium Ales - Colin & Lucy
Corinium Ales – Colin & Lucy

1. When did you start the brewery and why?

As a number of home brewers are considering turning their hobby into a job I thought this would be a good place to start our conversation. Corinium Ales was inspired by redundancy and a trip to the USA a few years ago where they discovered a love of hoppy IPA’s whilst touring California and realized that such beers where difficult to find at home. At this point Lucy took a Snake River Brewing pint glass from the cupboard and said it was probably whilst drinking that very pint she proclaimed to Colin they would set up the brewery when they returned home.

2. How easy was it to get started?

‘Well after a lot of hard work….it was pretty straightforward as it turned out. Neither of us had much home brewing or professional brewing experience for that matter’, so Lucy undertook the 4 day Brewlabs course to get an insight into what is needed to be a professional brewer. Following that a couple of local brewers were kind enough to show Lucy & Colin the ropes in their own breweries after which they purchased a half BBL sized kit and converted their garage into the brewery.

3. What’s changed since you set up the brewery in terms of the business?

‘Well the kit has been upgraded to 1 BBL and the brewery is about to move to new premises in Cirencester that will, with a little re-jigging allow us to brew at capacity and allow the customers more access to the brewery and build on the excellent word of mouth that prevails locally about their beers’. The move has also been driven by their success in continually selling out of their stocks of beer and the fact the brewery and all it entails has almost taken over their house and garden as they have expanded.

4. You have won a number of local business and brewing awards can you tell me about those?

‘Since starting we have won no close to 12 ‘Best in Festival’ CAMRA Awards and two in the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards which is pretty good going in our first 3 years. Most recently we won ‘Best Farmers Market Stallholder’ for our regular stall at the Cirencester Farmers Market’.

Whilst awards aren’t everything Lucy and Colin believe they have really helped their brewery in gaining awareness locally but not only that it has given them the confidence that people do really like their beers!

Corinium Ales - Ale Caesar III a hoppy IPA & my favourite
Corinium Ales – Ale Caesar III a hoppy IPA & my favourite

5. Tell me about the range of beers you have and where the range is heading.

‘Corinium Ales is built around our three classic beer styles that we launched the brewery with’. They are:

  • Corinium Gold I (4.2%) An easy drinking, traditional golden ale with a mellow blend of malts and hops to give a subtle sweetness and a soft bitter finish…quaffable!
  • Centurion Stout II (4.7%) A light bodied malty stout with toasty chocolate undertones that leaves a long well rounded aftertaste…yum!
  • Ale Caesar (5%) A stimulating and well-hopped India Pale Ale with tropical fruit aromas balanced with a pleasing bitter finish…awesome! All three are very good and very drinkable, but in picking a favourite for me it has to be ‘Ale Caesar’.

‘To keep things interesting, and new for both Colin in brewing and their customers there are regular special brews and some exclusives too. One such exclusive is Beerus Brittanicus brewed using water from the local Chedworth Roman Villa and only available to buy exclusively from the National Trust shop there and the Cirencester and Stroud Farmers Market. Moving forward there are plans for new special beers and one about to launch that celebrates the local heritage and 3 varieties of British Hops’.

See the full range of beers from Corinium Ales

6. There are a number of local breweries both old and new, can you tell me which ones you most admire.

Lucy chose her words carefully as she respects them all and the local brewing community is very friendly too. But she picks out Stroud Brewery and Gloucester Brewery as the two that stand out the most.

7. And what about a favourite beer or beers (not your own)

Besides that fateful APA back in California Colin offers up Buxton Brewery’s Axe Edge and Lucy goes for the ever loved Timothy Taylor Landlord.

Corinium Ales Brewery
Corinium Ales Brewery

8. In terms of the brewery what’s the best bit of kit you invested in?

‘Lucy says for her it isn’t kit as such but the Corinium Ales branding and packaging. At the time we thought it was expensive, but thanks to ‘Smudge’ it has been money well spent as the bottles and the brand is very recognizable and stands out in the crowd’.

For Colin and the brewery the answer was easy, ‘Two big plate chillers and getting 200 litres of wort down to fermentation temperature in about 30 minutes. When brewing in the garage on the odd day it’s warm in the summer temperature reduction used to be a pain’.

9. What about some tips for the home brewer who wants to make better beer, what would you suggest?

Colin doesn’t hesitate in his response, ‘Temperature control! It’s the number one from chilling the wort quickly and pitching the yeast to keeping the fermentation temperature even and within range for the yeast’. Colin’s other tip was to ‘experiment as much as possible, swapping the yeast in a beer you’ve made before or just playing with the recipes to keep it interesting. As home brewers you don’t have customers to keep happy only yourselves so go for it!’

 

For more details visit: www.coriniumales.co.uk

Well this is about as close as it gets to match the great beer itself. This is version 6 of my attempts at a TT Landlord Clone and as one of my favourites I haven’t let up in my quest for perfection of emulation. You can see in the picture my version named ‘Number 1 Pale Ale’, alongside Timothy Taylor’s Landlord (Bottled version). Find my recipe here.

The two side by side. Number 1 Pale Ale and Timothy Taylor's Landlord
The two side by side. Number 1 Pale Ale and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord

Colour wise they are almost exactly the same, taste wise it is pretty much spot-on. Looking at my tasting notes I have still noted some minor changes for version 7, they are: To increase Bitterness by about 2 from 34 IBU to 36 IBU and add a touch more hops to my Hop Tea. I use the hop tea method as I don’t have a hop back and I think that is how the brewery do it with the real thing. The hop tea is also why there is a slight haze to the beer too.

If you want to brew yourself a classic clone brew of TT Landlord then give this recipe a try and compare it yourself. Let me know what you think, you will not be disappointed.

 

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After a couple of years enjoying a few pints of Rebellion Blonde whenever I visit Marlow I decided to look into this category of...