Other stuff

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.

Yes that’s right I do love a Mild. In these times of Hop Bomb IPA’s I still turn to the classics and Mild is one I still really enjoy. Quite a while ago now I brewed Mild Cow, which is what I called my version of Barclay Perkins Boddington’s Mild. It turned out to be a stunning recipe and one I really enjoyed.

So taking this as my starting point I decided to see if I could brew a variant of it but this time a paler version so with less malts. If you have ever had Timothy Taylor’s Golden Best, this is kind of what I had in mind. golden-mildAnyway the best laid plans and all that it didn’t quite turn out as Golden as I expected as you can see it is more of a copper colour, still lighter than the original but definitely not Golden! The recipe sheet still says Golden Mild but for the bottle I thought I would just go with ‘It’s Mild’ to avoid any questions….

The big difference versus the Mild Cow recipe was the change of hops, I had lots of Fuggles so used those up instead and I even added a flame out addition too. I think to keep it Golden I should have only had a touch of Crystal in or even left it out all together. The yeast was West Yorkshire Ale – WYeast1469, which is one of my favourites especially for a beer like this.

You can download the recipe here.

It’s been a few months since I brewed version 2 of this beer but because of the house move there’s a back log of beers to report on and a shortage of home brew to drink right now! You can see version 1 of this brew here, to see how it has evolved. Having seen the accolades Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker has picked up it was one I was keen to try and emulate, especially after trying it firstly in bottles then on a trip to Yorkshire on draft.

Red Cow Best Bitter v2I have to say both are good but the bottle version just seems better to me, with more of that bitter malt aftertaste than the cask version.

For version 2 I removed the Mild Ale Malt and added more crystal to the malt base. It is still not right but is better than version 1. I think the solution in version 3 is to use some Aromatic Malt as well as crystal to achieve that Malty bitter aftertaste and aroma. I think the hop schedule is good as it is for now.

The only other thing I may change with this yeast is fermenting it at its lowest temperature which is 18 degrees C. I normally ferment at 19 degrees C which leaves me with some yeasty esters which whilst not unpleasant can be very notable. Whilst only a degree it may make a small difference to improve the beer.

You can download version 2 of this recipe here.


It’s now been a while since I posted my review of the Homebrewtique product. Well it have now been brewed and drunk so here is part 2 of the review, the brew day itself.

I brewed it with my friend Jim who has never brewed all grain before to really see how easy it was from a beginners point of view. As I expected from tasting it, he is converted but also converted from the ease of the brew day. Brewing all grain can be daunting but Homebrewtique have made it simple and straightforward. Not only that the small scale of the kit and equipment you need means it doesn’t take up loads of space. Have a look at the Star Spangled recipe pack we brewed.

Here is my video review of the brew day which should give you a better insight of the kit and the process.

With Christmas coming it would be a great gift to give someone wanting to try home brewing for the first time or indeed to ask for yourself if you just brew kits or extract and want to have a go at all grain.


1 2071

If you bottle your home brew beers like me then you are always on the look out for bottles. But often they come with the dreaded labels still attached and the pain of having to remove them.

Fortunately there are a few breweries out there who perhaps realise that home brewers want to get the labels off easily so hats off to the ones I have found so far: Timothy Taylor’s, Caledonian and Bath Ales.

bottle-cleaningFor those other bottles I have discovered the use of Tesco Oxyclean that I found mentioned on a forum somewhere. It only works on bottles with labels rather than printed bottles. The beauty of it is you just have to soak the bottle for a couple of days and the glue breaks down meaning they only require a wipe down afterwards and a rinse out!

Tesco Oxyclean comes with a scoop and I have a 15 litre storage box so I dissolved 2 scoops into warm water (only to help it dissolve) and have happily removed the labels from 30 bottles with the same mix.

This is a brew I made a few months ago now but one I really enjoyed. I love First Gold Hops, having first really tasted them in the Badger Ales ‘First Call’. As I have been brewing a number of Single Hop recipes I thought I should make one using First Gold (I am also planning on growing this hop when I move house shortly). And I am glad I did. It turned out really well especially when combined with the simple malt base I put together and the WLP001 yeast, this recipe is all about the hops.

You can find the other Single Hop recipes here for: Cascade & East Kent Goldings.

First GoldThe one change I made to this recipe compared to the other Single Hop Pale Ales I made was to add a small amount of dry hops, just 1g per litre but it really lifted the finished beer. I think this is something I will do at the same hopping rate as I continue the Single Hop Series.

You can download the First Gold recipe here.


As I continue to develop my home brew blog I have recently launched my YouTube Channel. There are only 2 videos on there at the moment but I will be adding to this over the coming weeks and months.

The idea of the YouTube Channel is to enhance what is here in the blog, the videos will be posted here too but as so many people love video I thought it was about time I did something about it.

Moving forward the videos will be a mixture of what I’m brewing, How To Guides as well as reviews on products and ingredients.


Homebrewtique logoI was recently sent a complete kit to review from the team at Homebrewtique and I have to say I am very impressed with what arrived in the box. The concept is simple, it’s designed to make all grain brewing easy to get into but importantly make it open to anyone no matter what space they have available for brewing. The kits they supply are designed to create 5 litre batches of beer.

Everything in the box is very well thought through and well presented, Step-by-Step instructionscomplete with easy to follow instructions. If you are thinking about creating great craft beer at home but are wondering where to start this kit from Homebrewtique would be a great starting point.

Boiler & FermenterIn the kit there is a large pan for mashing the grain and boiling the wort to make the beer. There is also a thermometer, fermenting bucket, bottles, sanitiser and everything else you need to get started. Of course the star of the show is the ingredients themselves, the pack I chose was Star Spangled, an American Pale Ale at 5.3%.

Supplied ingredients & instructions

So to give the kit a true workout I have recruited a friend with no all grain brewing experience to see just how easy it is. We will be brewing the beer in a few weeks but in the meantime watch my video review here.

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

Seymour Citra GoldIf you frequent home brew forum jimsbeerkit then you will have probably heard about this well renowned ale all the way from Saint Louis, Missouri. Seymour has put together a great recipe in ‘Citra Gold’, all the reviews on Jimsbeerkit said everyone should brew it. I have to say my only reservation about that was the use of the Citra hop. Having drunk a bottle of Oakham’s Citra a couple of years ago it was a hop I just didn’t like.

I needn’t have worried because as the saying goes ‘less is more’, Seymour has cleverly harnessed the best of this hop but combined it with some Orange Peel late in the boil as well as porridge oats in the mash. Both have a very rounding and mellowing affect on the finished beer, the oats make it a bit hazy too. To make it smoother I only carbonated it to a low level, not really in keeping with an APA but this just made it all the smoother. This is a great tasting beer and one I can’t recommend highly enough for you to brew. Great anytime and goes well with a nice curry or a nice piece of meat off the BBQ.

Regrettably I only made a small 10 litre batch so you can probably guess it went rather more quickly than usual. So I have another, larger 20 litre batch in the fermenter right now ready to take to a camping event in August.

For the first brew I bought my ingredients from the Malt Miller as they had it as a recipe pack, but it doesn’t seem to be listed anymore – don’t let that put you off – brew it! Here is the recipe.


0 1079
After a couple of years enjoying a few pints of Rebellion Blonde whenever I visit Marlow I decided to look into this category of...