will be listed here as and when they appear.

For all sales enquiries please email Dave, or Boggart Brewery Distributions take our beer...

See what people say about our beer on Ratebeer here...

Where to find Steel City beers

The following (very) discerning establishments serve our beers on a regular basis although, as we only brew once a month, it won't always be on!

Rutland Arms, 86 Brown Street, Sheffield, S1 2BS.  0114 272 9003.  Probably your best bet to find our beer... and some top food, too!

Wellington, 1 Henry Street, Sheffield S3 7EQ.  0114 249 2295.  (Almost) every beer goes through the pumps here.

Old Oak, 176 Main Street, Horsley Woodhouse, Derbyshire, DE7 6AW.  01332 881299.  In the rear RuRAD bar, weekends only, a great range.

Thorn Tree, 161 Church St, Waingroves, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 9TE, 01773 513351.  Chris is doing a great job with this pub and has some top beers on!

Shakespeare, 146 Gibraltar Street, Sheffield, S3 8UB.  Back from the dead with an enthusiastic guest beer policy and cosy atmosphere.

Plough, 23 Fish Street, Worcester, WR1 2NH. 01905 21381.  Cracking "proper" pub with local beer and cider... plus our stuff sometimes!

Star, 7 Albert Street, Folly Hall, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 3PJ.  Sam and co run a great pub and we recommend you go there now!

Anchor, 308 Bradford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6ET.  0121 622 4516.  Brought to you by Church End... and Gerry, of course.

Treacle Tap, 43 Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 6JL.  01625 615938

All ales will be crafted by us in the Steel City of Sheffield (formerly at the Brew Company but now at Little Ale Cart) from recipes we've created ourselves.  We promise not to rebadge anything - ever - and to list every dry-hop and/or variation we do under the "mother" beer.  We plan to brew only "one-off" beers and, at this stage, don't intend to repeat any of them although we don't rule out re-brewing any beers which come out particularly well; we will probably, however, tweak the recipe slightly to make version 2.0 even better...  We also have a very special commemoration beer planned, but we're not saying what for until it happens... !

Each pumpclip will be consistently "branded" (see me shudder as I utter that word) with our nifty hatched steel plate background plus each brew will get a "worksplate" which describes the brew's vital statistics namely gyle (brew) number, alcohol percentage, theoretical colour units (expressed as EBC) and theoretical bitterness (expressed as IBU); see the example below from our first brew "Hop Manifesto".  We use Beersmith 1.4 for recipe calculation and the Tinseth method of IBU determination although, as any brewer will tell you, the theoretical IBU and actual IBU isn't always the same... that's one reason we err on the side of caution and put much more hops in than most other brewers just to make sure we hit our target! (although Target itself is one hop we'll never use - tongue stripping caustic bitterness isn't part of our manifesto).

 

We will be producing a "brewsheet" for each beer packed with the beer's essential details including tasting notes, the hops used and other nuggets of gen.  This information is designed to help landlords describe the beer to customers and also for drinkers to find out what's in our beers!  Just look for the "Brew sheet" symbol next to a clip and click on it for the relevant sheet in PDF format.

 

May : Dunno yet... June : Dunno yet...
July : Dunno yet... August : Dunno yet...

Planned for the future : An Altbier, a hoppy Wheat beer, another Black IPA plus loads more pale and hoppy stuff!

 

Brew 49 : In the Nightside Eclipse, June 2013

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : Colour : 47.5 EBC; Black!

Style : Black IPA

 

This Saturday sees Shazz again standing in for Gazza for the latest in the Black Metal series – In The Nightside Eclipse is named after the classic Emperor album, and whether you like the term or not is a Black IPA.

Mash profile is Maris Otter and Wheat as usual, supplemented by Carafa Spezial for colour and a few pounds of sugar for strength without body. Hops include Columbus at first wort and Magnum at boil for well over 100IBU, followed by the new holy trinity of Galaxy, Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin for flavour. More Mosaic and Galaxy will go in the fermenter, and yet more Mosaic in the cask.

The minikit will be used for a stronger, Mosaic single hop, Black IPA entitled ‘I Am The Black Wizard’ after a track from In The Nightside Eclipse. Expect 7%ish and around 200IBU (or more if we decide to bring out the Botanix goodies!)

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 22 " - Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin!

  • " Un-named " - Charity/Tribute beer for the sad passing of Simon Johnson for a festival to be held in his honour in August.

From the Mini-kit...

  • " I Am The Black Wizard " -

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 48 : Angel of Death,  May 2013

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 4.9% Colour : 5 EBC - Pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 21 " - dry hopped with the "awesome" combination of Mosaic + Galaxy

From the Mini-kit...

  • " The Antichrist " - 7.5%, 159.6IBU – single hop Mosaic IPA

         

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 47 : Walpurgis Nacht, 07/04/2013

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 4.6% Colour : 57.6 EBC - Golden

Style : Dunklehopfenweiss

 

Early April saw Steel City host a collaboration - the first in fact for the brand new Hopcraft brewery! Pixie Spring Tom will be joining Dave from Steel City, while Gazza 'Two Hats' Prescott was representing both Steel City and Hopcraft!

The beer itself is a Dunkelhopfenweizenbier, named Walpurgis Nacht after both the Pagan (and latterly Satanist!) celebration at the end of April, and the album by German metallers Stormwitch. A traditional 50/50 blend of Pale Maris Otter and Wheat Malt with half a sack of Carafa Spezial for colour was be followed by 108.2 IBU of Columbus (first wort) and Warrior (boil) for bitterness and a shedload of Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin for flavour (ok so that last bit isn't very traditional…), and fermented with German WB06 Weissbier yeast. Finally the beer was dry hopped with Galaxy in the fermenter and again in the cask.

Meanwhile, the minikit used first runnings to produce what we believe to be the first ever Kaiserlichdunkelhopfenweizenbier (easy for us to say! As if you hadn't guessed, this translates as Imperial Dark Hoppy Wheat Beer!). No name as yet, but it will be named for the celebration party for the Shakespeare's (our biggest customer!) well-deserved Sheffield Pub of the Year award.

Walpurgis Nacht will be appearing in all the usual suspects, plus Birrasana in Spain. The Shakespeare will have the usual variants on the brew, including A Slight Case of Overhopping 20 and Mein Luftkissenfahrzeug Ist Voller Aalen (dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin). Finally, a very special variant, Metal Fatigue, celebrates the demise of Thatcher (though sadly not Thatcherism), and can be found in the Shakespeare, Reading Beer Festival, Glastonwick Beer Festival and the Rutland. Ding dong the witch is dead!

Early tastings of Metal Fatigue from the fermenter and in the Shakespeare suggest a very complex beer, with the tropical gooseberry/mango/citrus tastes of the Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin working very well with the banana character of the WB06 yeast, while the bitterness subdues the sweetness of the yeast, all backed up with a slight hint of the dark malt.

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 20 " - Overhopped in our customary style in the cask.

  • " Metal Fatigue " - A version to celebrate the passing of Thatcher - as black as her heart!

  • " Mein Luftkissenfahrzeug Ist Voller Aalen " - Yet another variant for the Shakey!

From the Mini-kit...

  • " as yet unnamed " - A stronger, more mental beer - a Doppeldunkelhopfenweiss or Kaiserlichdunkelhopfenweizenbier if you will!

 

           

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 46 : Alestorm, 09/03/2013

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 4.6% Colour : 8.5 EBC - Golden

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

Bet you thought we'd given up, didn't you?  Think again...!

After a brief hiatus due to Gazza being a little preoccupied with his new Hopcraft venture and Dave swanning around the Middle East and Subcontinent, Steel City are back in the brick shed!

The latest beer was brewed by Dave and Shazz (as Gazza was still putting the finishing touches to Hopcraft), and is named ‘Alestorm’ after the Celtic metal band.  Alestorm is a return to pale n’ hoppy, having a 4.5%ish base of Pale Maris Otter and a bit of wheat malt, and a hop grist consisting of Columbus at First Wort, Warrior at boil (a total of 128IBU), and Galaxy and Riwaka after flame-off for a massive tropical fruit flavour.

Alestorm is dry-hopped with Galaxy in the fermenter, and yet more Galaxy in the cask. A variant for Doncaster beer festival, featuring kiwi fruit in the cask, is named Aureol and so fits in with both the festival theme, and organiser Lee’s attempt to get as many female-brewed beers as possible (though Shazz did have a bit of help!).

Aureol and Alestorm should also make it to the Birrasana beer festival in the Catalan town of Blanes which opens 27-28th April and is a great weekend out with around 60 brewers (mainly Catalan but not all) serving their beers to the public; highly recommended as a weekend away!

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 19 " - Overhopped in our customary style in the cask.

  • " Aureol " - A version of the brew for Doncaster Beer Festival, primed with fresh Kiwi fruits!  Named after a mental piece of railway hardware.

From the Mini-kit...

  • " unnamed " - Just Galaxy hops and pale malt, as yet without a name or home! 

 

         

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 45 : Corrosion of Conformity, 19/01/2013

Forged in Collaboration with David Hemstock at Raw Brewing, Staveley

ABV : 6.?% Colour :  EBC = ?

Style : Rum & Raisin Red IPA

 

 

Corrosion of Conformity brewday, our fifth collaboration with Raw, went well in sub-zero Staveley… the mash tun was full to capacity with pale maris otter, a sack each of wheat malt and melanodin, and just a kilo of carafe for a touch more colour. 10kg of dark muscovado went in the underback.

We then added Palisade as first wort hop, followed by summit at boil. In a departure from our usual method, we added 30 and 15 minute hop charges, a mix of summit, palisade, bramling cross and sorachi. The flame-off charge was a further 4kg of the same hops.

Rusty in colour, with a colossal 197IBU of bitterness and fruity hops offset by the rummy muscovado and the secret ingredient to be added to the fermenter. Cascade pellets also going in the fermenter for good measure! It may be brown, but it certainly ain’t twiggy!

 

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 44 : Cluster Bomb, 08/12/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 4.7% Colour : 5.3 EBC - Pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

We're back to "pale & hoppy"!

After a run of darker brews we decided that there's no time like the bleak midwinter to brew the palest beer we can, so here you go!  Crafted with only Maris Otter extra-pale malt and a touch of Wheat Malt along with the smooth-as-silk Warrior hops for bittering, a blend of hops for flavour and Cluster for aroma and dry-hopping.

It's not a single-hop beer but we don’t believe in those… so, here’s our latest extra pale brew which showcases the out of fashion and largely ignored Cluster Hop. This venerable cone is one of the original US hops which developed from native hops crossing with the imports the settlers planted; at one point Cluster was, apparently, 96% of hops grown in the US but now the original “C” hop is fading fast.

With such a venerable pedigree we wanted to give it a proper airing so drinkers can appreciate it’s distinctive “catty” character and pungent flavour, so here it is in all it’s old-skool glory; enjoy!

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 18 " - Overhopped in our customary style in the cask.

  • " Nuclear Bomb " - A version of the brew for a railtour in the new year.

  • " Chuff the Tragic Wagon " - First in our new series of "Dead Kettles" specials which replaces the previous "Bez" series... same thing, new name!  (Non dry-hopped in case you'd forgotten)

 

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Empress of Yorkshire "  - Hopped with the unique British test hop " CF102 " - a fruity development of native UK hops.

        

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 43 : Responsibly, 04/11/2012

Forged in Collaboration with David Hemstock at Raw Brewing, Staveley

ABV : 7.4% ? Colour :  EBC = 60? Black!

Style : Hoppy Porter / Stout / something

 

Two brews in a weekend?  Oh yes... well, we did miss out last month!

Gazza and Dave braved the sub-Arctic morning to visit our most frequent collaborator, Dave at Raw, to create something which would have the BJCP quoting blasphemy and rattling the pitchforks; yes, it's yet another beer we've made up a style for!

"Imperial Pacific Porter" is the rather grand title we've bestowed upon our latest collaboration brew; it's name pokes fun at the government's stupid new law that insinuates beer over 7.5% is the spawn of Satan and will cause the very fabric of time to implode should you drink it whilst a brew of 7.3%, like this one, is responsible drinking.... makes perfect sense, right?

And what of the beer?  Well, it's a right complex mash of Pale, Chocolate, Wheat, Carared and Carafa Spezial No.3 malts plus 15kg of luscious Dark Muscovado sugar.  Add to this a big hop charge of Magnum, Galaxy and Pacific Gem and the result should be fairly spectacular; the wort was certainly tasting that way coming out of the paraflow!

Having tasted it in the wild we can confirm that we're rather pleased with the results; it's one of the most complex and downright tasty beers we've been involved with thus far and we urge you all to drink responsibly!

 

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 42 : Schrödinger's Cat is Alive/Dead, 03/11/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 3.8% Colour :  EBC = 66.6 Black

Style : Half Black IPA / Hoppy Mild?

 

Ah yes, Erwin Schrödinger's famous take on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics.  His experiment never actually took place (otherwise, as two men who definitely prefer Cats to rancid flea-taxis, we'd never name a beer after such a thing) but basically says that, during the experiment which involves poison, a Geiger counter, a cat and a steel box, the cat may be in a state of both being alive and dead simultaneously.  The story goes that Schrödinger was, by creating a totally absurd scenario, pointing out the limitations of the theory in question!

So, what's this got to do with beer?  Not much - actually, it might have done if Dave's idea had come about, maybe next time - but the beer itself is tenuously related to the experiment; is it a Black Half-IPA?  Is it a hopped-up Mild (don't laugh, Americans think you can do this...) or, just maybe, is it both things simultaneously?

In simple terms it's a Black IPA of low ABV with a big hop charge of Magnum for bittering and then the dream-team of Citra, Sorachi Ace an Galaxy for aroma and flavour, then more hops (Columbus and Summer) added into the FV and finally extra Galaxy in the cask to give a massive hop hit and prove, once and for all, that low-ABV beers CAN have flavour!  (And to Mr Protz that Black IPA exists...)

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 17 " - An over-hopped Black Half-IPA?  Oh yes...

  • " Kettle on Wheels " - Sick of kettle beers at the Wellington?  Here's the cure...  This is a non dry-hopped version of the brew, a "Bez" if you will.

  • " Jester " - Dry-hopped with a new hop variety.

 

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Dark Galaxy "  - A Strong Black IPA made with the luscious Australian Galaxy hops.  There is also an " Export " version just for - obviously - export to Italy without the dry hopping.

      

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 41 : Barbed Wire Kisses, 08/09/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 5.4% Colour :  EBC = 17.4, Twiggy

Style : Best Bitter (sort of)

 

After a summer break doing other stuff we're back in the brick shed to concoct yet another bizzare brew, this time our first take on that old chestnut called Bitter!  Rest assured, however, that no crystal malt will be used in the brewing of this beer, the superb Weyermann Cara range will be providing colour and body, although (almost) only English hops were used and two of the best available at that in the form of fruity, bitter Admiral and citrussy, almost-American-but-not-quite First Gold.

We're aiming for an amber/brown beer with a hefty bitterness (well, it is called bitter!!) and plenty of English hop character layered over the top - but absolutely, definitely, certainly no Fuggles or Goldings, you can be bloody sure of that!

This should be an interesting hybrid brew and we're looking forwards to see how it comes out and what people think of it, after all we're not exactly famous for our bitters so maybe we're setting ourselves up for a fall here?  Maybe... but you've got to speculate to accumulate as some Capitalist bastard once said.

The name is from the rare B-Sides album by seminal 80's post-Punk feedback fetishists Jesus and Mary Chain.  But you knew that.

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 16 " - You know the script by now, surely.  If not, the name kind of hints at what's going on.

  • " Rhino Stag " - Dry-hopped with Chinook rather than First Gold.

 

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Best foot forwards, fellow Casketeers "  - A 6.8% ESB made with all English hops!  Yes, you read that right...

 

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 40 : The Boss, 16/08/2012

Forged at the Wheatsheaf, Llantrisant, in collaboration with Tom of Pixie Spring.

ABV : 4.4% Colour : 10 EBC = Golden

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

Two collabs in a week; get in!

Whilst working (with the "proper job") down in South Wales, Gazza visited the new Pixie Spring brewery in the cellar of the Wheatsheaf in Llantrisant and was struck by the sociability and enthusiasm of Tom, the owner and brewer, so much so that a collaboration was soon arranged!

We aimed for a BIG beer, one which will make a statement like "MENTAL HOP BASTARDS MADE ME!" and I think, after an exhausting evening (with an 02:30 finish for Gazza and later for Tom) powered by beer and pints of energy drink, we succeeded! 

Low-colour Maris Otter was enhanced by a touch of Weyermann Melanoidin before being blitzed with hops; read 'em and weep!  Simcoe, Citra, Amarillo, Magnum and Summit all went into the copper (in hefty doses) and will be followed by Galaxy in the CT then Citra in the cask...

Well, The Boss is... The Boss!  It's massively bitter yet smooth from the Magnum, has a decent malty body to support the hops which, well let's just say they are MENTAL!  Wave after wave of fruity, citrussy, juicy and tropical hops pound your tastebuds and the nose just keeps giving with aromas ranging from mango to pineapple, lime zest and tropical fruit punch and all things in-between!

This is only a 9 cask edition so make sure you catch up with The Boss at one of it's rare live shows, if you like hops Tom and I are pretty certain you won't be disappointed with this one.

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 39 : Gypsy Porter, 11/08/2012

Forged at Pivovar Kocour, Varnsdorf, Czech Republic in collaboration with Max Bahnson and Hanz of Žlý Časy.

ABV : 7.2% Colour : ? EBC = Black

Style : Baltic Porter - kind of!!

 

More to come on this - but basically Gazza was invited to go and brew at Kocour, one of the most up-and-coming and progressive brewers in the Czech Republic, after meeting with Max in Žlý Časy a few months back where, between them, the idea of brewing a Baltic Porter with a "Steel City" twist was created!  Kind of like "A Brit and an Argentine walk into a Czech pub"...

With a kilo of Citra stowed in the hold luggage, Gazza flew out to Praha, consumed way too much beer in too short a time on the Friday and, therefore, didn't feel at his best at first although drinking Kocour's 12° světlý ležák straight from the lagering tank soon put that right!  With the enthusiastic help of the Kocour staff we created, with double-decoction mashing, a 19-20° Balling (so around 1080°) porter with Bohemian Pils malt, Weyermann Carared, Munich No.1 and Carafa Special No.1 then shed-loads of Saaz!  The Citra went into the whirlpool to add their fruity loveliness to the aroma and flavour before lager yeast was pitched into the open fermenter....

A truly epic weekend, then, and one I hope to repeat again!  It was particularly pleasing to be with such great blokes and to brew on a 60-year old pure copper brewkit which was once used by the Czech Brewing Research Institute when they operated in the Braník brewery.... a piece of history and a thing of great beauty, too; as Max commented "Stainless Steel has no soul..."  This brewkit had soul aplenty and I couldn't help touching it at every opportunity!

So, here's to an epic collab along, hopefully, the lines of Marina's The Grim North and I'll hopefully be back over there to taste the fruits of my labours soon...

Some photos soon, see Max's writeup here...

Gypsy Porter has won the "People's vote" at the Pilsen micro-brewer festival Slunce v Skle!!!

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 38 : New Dawn Fades, 21/07/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 4.8% Colour : 5.3 EBC = Pale Gold

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

Normal service has resumed on the good ship Steel City with our first "pale'n'hoppy" in a good while!

With a mash of just Low-colour Maris Otter and Wheat malt and Hops including US Magnum, Calypso and Citra, this promises to be a hugely tropical brew with juicy hop flavours all over the place, all underpinned by the oily bitterness of the American Magnum.

Initial tasting from the fermenter revealed a massively fruity, juicy and "totally tropical" (can we say that?  we just did...) character somewhat akin to mango juice cut with bitter grapefruit and a hint of melons; just the kind of thing we want to drink and a fitting use of some of our final Citra!

This has the potential to be one of our hoppiest brews in a while so, if you're in the market for a pale beer with masses of fruity hops, look no further.  The name, in case you're ignorant of quality music, is yet another Joy Division track and here Northern post-punk melancholy meets upbeat fruity hops in a strange interpolation of mood; sombre yet hard nosed, the North in a glass!

The Minikit was used to make a simple strong pale ale with 100% Citra hops; you can't improve much on that except for, maybe a bit of Simcoe!

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 15 " - You know the script by now, surely.  If not, the name kind of hints at what's going on.

  • " Red Rose Relegation Celebration " - Special (dry-hopped differently) for York BF.

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Citra8 "  - After last month's everything we hate in one beer, this is all we love - just pale malt and CItra!

   

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 37 : Hopfenstraße, 07/07/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 4.5% Colour : 5.2 EBC = Cloudy Gold

Style : Hoppy Bavarian Weißbier

 

In keeping with Bavarian tradition (although not intentionally, we only found this out after we'd brewed!) we used 50% malted wheat and 50% barley malt - although we used low-colour Maris Otter instead of the traditional pilsner malt (albeit it has the same EBC colour rating) - but then went and messed it up by adding over 5kg of Columbus and Chinook hops! Returning to tradition we pitched WB-06 German weißbier yeast so things should be interesting...

This brew will be unfined in the Hefeweiß tradition as all the quality wheat beers from Bavaria are unfiltered and full of the flavoursome yeast which gives them so much of their character - try a kristall and see how much flavour the yeast gives!  We may take out a proportion of the proteins, but the big dose of Wheat beer yeast will go straight from the fermenter to the cask and then, with no finings, into your glass!

We fermented the brew out fairly dry so there is none of the customary sweetness associated with wheat beers and, just to make sure, it was dry-hopped with 30g of grapefruity Chinooks to give it an extra hop punch!  Gazza is almost ashamed to admit that it tastes bloody good, although he did add "for a bloody wheat beer, mind"... 

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 14 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops... yes, in a wheat beer!!!

  • " Flamme des Kapitalismus " - Our anti-Olympic beer, only 2 firkins done, one will be at the Shakey they other at Newton Abbot beer festival!

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Brew'm 101 "  - Everything we hate in one beer; ginger, Fuggles, Goldings, twigs (well, hop bines, but twigs nevertheless), saison yeast, wheat, weißbier yeast and smoked malt!

      

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 36 : Bolshevik Solution, 19/05/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 2.7% Colour : 21.0 EBC = Garnet red

Style : Red half-IPA / Mild / unclassifiable!

 

The "return leg" of our Arbor Ales collaboration turned out to be quite a different beast than DCLXVI!  Whilst that was a massively bitter and hoppy 6.6% Black IPA, this brew should come in sub-3% although, if anything, is even more mental than our Bristol brew!

A mix of Fawcetts / Muntons low-colour Maris Otter plus whole sacks of Weyermann Carared and Melanoidin were mashed slightly warmer than usual to give the body needed at such a low ABV and, for the first time in our brewing careers, NO hops were added to the copper; we simply brought it to the boil, added the protofloc tablets, gave it ten minutes then switched off the gas! 

We then cooled the wort to 85°c before adding a huge amount of aroma hops; Citra, Simcoe, Galaxy and the new kid on the block Calypso were piled into the copper, infused, then the wort was run through them into the FV where we pitched the US-05 yeast... and yes, it tasted well bizarre when we did the gravity test!

So, there you have the story of a beer which respects no style, a sub-3% (maybe, yeast depending!) garnet red brew with no bitterness but a massive aroma hop addition... plus another 2kg of Columbus and Summer pellets are to be added to the FV and, finally, 30g of Citra per cask for the final top-dressing of juicy hops.

We can't wait to try it... so massive thanks to Jon of Arbor for being such a great bloke and understanding why we sterilise everything twice (at least)!  Here's to our next collab which will occur when Arbor's new 12 BBL plant is installed and might even be a souped-up version of DCLXVI!  You have been warned....

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 13 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops...

  • " All at Sea 2" - a blatant rebadge of this month's Bez for the Mare di Birra cruise.

  • " Parasite God " - Yet another overhopped variant for the Shakespeare's festival.

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Code Red IPA "  - All Calypso hops in a strong-ish red ale...

   

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 35 : Draconian Times, 14/04/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 5.2% Colour : 5.0 EBC = Very Pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

With the brewing team back together it was time for yet another foray into "pale'n'hoppy" territory... well, we only brew once a month and it was a long time since the last pale one Dave brewed!

This brew is the first for a while to use Safale US-05 yeast (we usually brew with K-97) to see how the hop character comes out with this very popular yeast, one we like quite a lot.  It's also the first brew for a while to eschew our usual Herkules bittering hops in preference for the hop-which-smells-most-like-Amsterdam, the pungent Columbus, in alliance with some true A-list beasties such as Galaxy, Citra, Simcoe and Motueka.

Coming in at over 100 IBU's this is a brew for hopheads, make no mistake about that, but it's also destined to be a thing of great complexity with the combination of hops used; look out for it and let us know what you think!

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 12 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops...

  • " Earache 25th Anniversary beer" - Bottled only for Earache Record's anniversary!!!

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Rufus' Honey IPA "  - Strong pale ale with added honey in the boil and only Columbus hops... should be an interesting combination!

   

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 34 : Vane Tempest, 10/03/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 4.8% Colour : 5.7 EBC = Very Pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

With Dave away in India, it was time for another guest brewer!  This time sees the welcome return of Dean from Newton Abbot (@devondonkey) who has brewed commercially at several breweries down in Devon, makes some adventurous and excellent homebrew and, most importantly, loves hops!

With literally hundreds of Kilos of hops to play with after our massive deliveries recently we were spoilt for hops to use but, this being a low-colour Maris Otter and wheat malt only brew, decided to pile in the fruity ones with the dreamteam of Citra, Galaxy and Simcoe being used for flavour and aroma plus a hefty dose of Herkules for bittering and our last Super Alpha pellets in the FV... oh yes, and our very last (for the foreseeable future, sadly) Sorachi Ace!

We only lightly fined this brew (in style with the new realisation that beer doesn't have to be crystal clear to be good, quite the opposite in most countries in fact) which keeps in more of the flavours and, we feel, is the way cask ale should be heading; hazy not cloudy, full of hops and packed with vitamins and other goodies.

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 11 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops...

  • " Master Cutler " - Dry-hopped with Galaxy for Doncaster Beer Festival with, at last, a proper engine on the clip!

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Olymp-Ian " - A hoppy barley wine with Motueka, Bramling Cross and a few other bits!  For Kent scooper Iain Harrison's 10,000th scoop.

   

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 33 : DCLXVI, 03/03/2012

Forged at Arbor Ales, Bristol, in collaboration with Jon and Paul of Arbor Ales.

ABV : 6.6% Colour : 66 EBC = Black

Style : Mental Black IPA / unclassifiable!

 

An invitation from Jon to go down to Bristol and brew a rather special collaboration couldn't be refused, especially with the promise of lots of hops and some IKE (isomerised CO2 kettle extract....!)

We had originally planned to brew a 666IBU Black IPA (hence the name) but, after a careful working out of the recipe over breakfast whilst the mash was mashing, we decided upon two full cans of IKE for bittering, a 666 second boil to provide a hot break, then almost 10 kilos of lovely Simcoe, Citra and Sorachi hops at flame-off for aroma!

We think this will turn out to be the bitterest beer ever made in the UK by quite some margin and, despite the fearsome IBU levels of over 700 (!), it should be very drinkable with the bitterness coming from CO2 extraction and a good blast of Weyermann carafa spezial to balance things out.

Well, it's almost too drinkable!  The huge smooth bitterness combines well with the toasty Carafa and the final massive hop charge has given this extreme brew a character way too complex to describe in mere words!  It's been getting great reviews from (almost) everyone who has tried it, so that's a resounding success then!!!

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

 

Brew 32 : Queen Anne's Revenge, 05/02/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 5.7% Colour : 70.6 EBC = Black

Style : Jamaican Stout

 

 

Yet again it’s time for something different so we’ve brewed one of the rarer styles of beer, a Jamaican Stout.

These are big bruisers laced with lovely Muscovado sugar which imparts a rummy, molasses backtaste to the brew. Plenty of roast and chocolate malt provide flavour and it’s hopped with the (only good?) English hop, Bramling Cross, for flavour and aroma with a helping hand in the bittering from Herkules.

Filling the copper to it's absolute capacity (and yes, it frothed over as usual) we managed to boil up 240 gallons of luscious dark and strong stout which came in, thanks to the beautifully sticky and molasses-laden sugar (we can now see why it's often called "runny" sugar!), at 1056 OG, giving the joint strongest "big kit" beer we've done thus far!

Why “Queen Anne’s Revenge”? Well, she was the flagship of Caribbean pirate Blackbeard… and it's also Gazza's way of sneaking a Flogging Molly song into the beer list!

All together now... aaaaaaaarh!!!

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 10 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops... although you'd not really notice in this monster of a stout!

  • " Černý Bez 5 " - A non dry-hopped version of the main brew.

  • " Shakti Clag " - The stout laced with lovely coffee bean extract!  Champion Stout/Porter at Doncaster Beer Festival, April 2012

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Emperor Imperial Stout " - an Imperial Stout with lots and lots of Bramling Cross hops!

 

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

Brew 31 : Xiberia, 21/01/2012

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 4.8% Colour : 5.6 EBC = Pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

Our latest brew is just the thing for a cold winter's day; pale malt and loads of bitter, fruity hops; having secured supplies of luscious Citra and Galaxy and so it seemed a shame not to break into them straight away!

A mash of Weyermann Premium Pilsner, Muntons Wheat and Low-Colour Maris Otter malts gave the fermentables (we do care about such things, despite what some people might say, evidenced by us using the best variety of UK malting barley and top-quality German malt) atop which we laid Crystal and Citra first-wort, Herkules for bittering, then big doses of Citra and Galaxy for aroma and flavour at flame-off.  We'll be dry-hopping in the FV with Super Alpha and in-cask with a 50/50 mix of Citra and Galaxy... oh yes!

So, to everyone who is sick to death of brown spicy "beer" laced with Crystal Malt, we say "Bollocks to that - get some hops inside you!"

Because, after all, hops are for life not just for Summer...

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 9 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops...

  • " Bez Suchého Chmele Třináct " - A non dry-hopped version of the main brew.

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " No Milk Today! " - an idiot-strength IPA with Super Alpha, Stella and Galaxy hops!

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

Brew 30 : Dark Funeral, 11/12/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 5.3% Colour : 61EBC = Black

Style : Black IPA ?

 

Determined to eradicate the opinion of some that all we can brew is pale and hoppy beers, here's yet another black one... and this one is VERY black!

This brew, however, begs a question... can a 5.3% beer be a Black IPA?  We reckon so as it's made with the essential ingredient, Weyermann Carafa Spezial No.1, plus the bittering level is enough for all but the most IBU-addicted hop monster!  We've piled in the sweet, fruity hops with Sorachi Ace, Citra and Motueka all giving their all but, in the end, it's down to you what you think this beer is... although we don't go much with style guidelines and simply brew what we feel like brewing!

The brewlength was slightly shorter this time to allow for the extra fermentables and so there are a few less casks than normal in circulation; look out for it at the usual places and we don't think you'll be disappointed!

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 8 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops...

  • " Černý Bez 4 " - A non dry-hopped version of the main brew.

 From the Mini-kit...

  • " Black Hops " - an Imperial Black IPA with 100% Sorachi hops!

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

Brew 29 : Full Marx, 28/11/2011

Forged at The Bull, Highgate, London, in collaboration with Steve and Dan of London Brewing

ABV : 4.3% Colour : 6 EBC = Pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

Gazza visited this new brewpub in leafy Highgate not long after they had started brewing their own beers back in Autumn 2011 and immediately hit it off with Dan, the owner, and Steve, head brewer, after they let slip they'd been the team behing the "Sloaney Pony" which had ordered our beers!  So, ever one to piss about on someone else's brewkit, Gazza soon blagged a brewday...

With a base of low-colour Fawcett Maris Otter and Herkules, Green Bullet and Columbus hops, this is a pale and pungently hoppy brew with all the hemp notes you'd expect from CTZ although the house yeast, Mauri, leaves in a little sweetness to keep it all in balance.

It's only fair to say that I was fantastically looked after on brewday and I'd recommend everyone to visit the Bull for the beers and superb food on offer there, also there was a slight problem with the beer which Steve managed to sort out... but everything was OK in the end!

Why "Full Marx" then?  Well, one of Gazza's heroes, Karl Marx, is buried in nearby Highgate cemetery (and in a case of Capitalism gone mad you are supposed to pay to see his grave!!!) so the name basically wrote itself. 

Watch out for a future follow-up brew with an even better name... !

 

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 28 : The Grim North BIPA, 12/11/2011

Forged at Fortiverd, Barcelona, Catalunya in collaboration with Cervesas Marina of Blanes

ABV : 7% Colour : 60? EBC = Black

Style : Black IPA

 

This was the return leg of our Collaboration with Pep and Kevin from Cervesas Marina of Blanes, Catalunya, and for this brew Gazza travelled to Barcelona to cook up what must be the first Black IPA to be brewed in Iberia!

With the hops and yeast delayed in transit, Gazza helped out by packing 2.5kg of Galaxy, 600g of Super Alpha and a pack of K-97 yeast in his suitcase (along with a suitable amount of bottled beer to keep us entertained during brewing) so the planned brew could go ahead...

Fortiverd is based on an industrial estate to the North of Barcelona and brews on a lovely plant installed by Ca l'Arenys of Barcelona, the sort of plant where everything works and makes me wish we had one just like it... it's the kind of brewery that wouldn't be out of place in a brewpub and looks (as well as operates) beautifully making the brewday less of hard work and more enjoyment with plenty of time to drink beer and discuss beer with visiting brewers!

Belgian pale ale and Cara50 malt, Weyermann Carared and Carafa spezial 3 plus a dash of rolled oats gave the big malt backbone for the brew and with Galaxy at first wort, Super Alpha for bittering and yet more lusciously fruity Galaxy for flavour and aroma this is going to be one monster of a beer and I can't wait to try it!

 

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 27 : DILLIGAF, 12/11/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 5.2% Colour : 5.6 EBC = Pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

Two brews on the same day... in different countries!

With Gazza away brewing with Cervesa Marina in Catalunya, Dave took time out from studies to brew his third beer with Dan, another pale'n'hoppy brew using, for the first time in months, Fawcett's LCMO along with a whole load of Southern Hemisphere hops, namely Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy and Stella.

The result is a strong Mid/Trans Atlantic Pale Ale with masses of citrussy, fruity hop character and a good bitter finish; we are, if you've not realised by now, both big advocates of bitter beer (there simply aren't enough made in the world, never mind the UK, and even US high-alpha beers tend to have masses of rancid Crystal malt to "balance" things) and, allied to a huge dose of luscious aroma hops and simple malt bill - although Maris Otter gives a lovely flavour in it's own right - this is more of the same, just a little bit different!

Our preferred yeast, Safale K97 (Kölsch) was used, giving a clean profile with no esters or other flavours to get in the way of the hops.

 

 

Variants on the brew

 

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 7 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops...

  • " Bez Suchého Chmele Dvanáct " - ...And wish we'd put some of them in this one!

 

     From the Mini-kit...

  • " Top of the Hops " - Our Jimmy Saville tribute beer... Now then, hop pickers... A single-hopped IPA with lovely Galaxy.

 

 

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 26 : Trees Come Down, 22/10/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 5.2% Colour : 7 EBC = Golden

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

With Dave away and no other possibility of fitting a brew into our hectic "other lives", Gazza took the plunge and volunteered to do his first ever solo brew...

With a stash of new hops to play with, he kept the grist simple with Muntons low-colour Maris Otter and Wheat Malt plus a dash of Caramalt for body, and then piled in the Herkules for bittering plus Stella for flavour/aroma and three kilos of pineapply, fruity Galaxy at flame-off for a huge fruity hop punch.

Despite a clogged copper filter taking three times longer to run-off than expected, the brewday was a complete success (Hah! That's what I thought...) and, the following morning, FV2 was a mass of heaving brown protein as the US05 did it's work on the sweet wort beneath.

We thought it was about time we named a beer after a track from a joint favourite band, Fields of the Nephilim, and so we dedicate this brew to Goth and Industrial Metal lovers everywhere and hope the brew is suitably Autumnal... the name, that is, not the beer, which most definitely doesn't have any toffee/caramel/leafy tastes usually associated with specials from Autumn and is only very slightly darker than our "usual" style of beer!

We're racking it on Sunday 30th so look out for it in November... it should be very new-wave and in your face!

Announcement : We have had big yeast issues with this brew as it has continued to ferment excessively in the cask (adding an extra 0.7%...) with the result that quite a few casks have blown.  We think we know why, but it's still gutting to see so much lovely beer wasted...

 

Variants on the brew

  • " Achilles " - Dry-hopped with Stella.

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 6 " - Yet again we get carried away with the dry-hops...

 

 

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

 

Brew 25 : Escafeld, 24/09/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart in collaboration with David from Raw of Staveley

ABV : 5.2% Colour : 16.6 EBC = Orange / Red

Style : American Red Ale

 

Brew 25 sees the return leg of our collaboration with David of Raw Brewing, Staveley, and this time he has come to the little brick shed to see how we roll with the Heath Robinson contraptions contained therein!

Using pale malt along with Vienna and a whole sack of Weyermann Melanoidin for colour, we have brewed a complex orangey-red brew with plenty of hop character as you'd expect from three of the more enthusiastic users of the sticky green bracts!  US Warrior and German Herkules were used for bittering before bucketloads of Citra, Nelson Sauvin and Sorachi Ace were added for flavour and aroma resulting in the deepest hopbed I've seen since Mental Hop Bastard down at Brodies!

Dry-hopped in the fermenter and cask with deliciously pungent Nelson Sauvin hops, this should be a hugely hoppy yet succulently malty brew and should, in an event that's rare for us, have some semblance of balance to the flavour, although the hops will win out in the end!

The brewday went so well - even with Gazza dropping (as is now customary) something into the just-filled mashtun, this time the mash hopper stand - that we may even do another brew!  Plenty of ideas are flying around so you never know...

 

Variants on the brew

  • " Westby Rant " - A special for Nottingham beer festival, the right colour but wrong hops for Mr Westby!!!

  • " It's Better oop North " - Another special, this one for Oxford.

  • " Červený Bez Dva " - If we do this it'll be the beer just as it comes out of the FV with no dry-hops!

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 5 " - The usual performance with way too many hops added in the cask!

    From the Mini-kit...

     

  • " Red Eye IPA " - Red in colour with plenty of hops at flame-off, a total Citra and Sorachi overkill - but just what we like!

     

     

 

Our Verdict -

Escafeld - The Melanoidin malt gave it a reddy/amber colour and

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

Brew 24 : Darkthrone Sorachi Porter, 20/08/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart in collaboration with David from Raw of Staveley

ABV : 4.5% Colour : 57.7 EBC = Almost Black

Style : Porter (kind of)

 

People are always telling us that our dark beers don't get the recognition they deserve as we're always banging on about our "pale'n'hoppy" beers and forget to big up the stouts and porters...  well, let's start with this one!

Our latest brew, our 18th at Little Ale Cart, uses our beloved hops of Japanese origin - the bizarre Sorachi Ace - in alliance with lots of Maris Otter pale malt, Caramalt for body and Chocolate malt for flavour plus some Galena and Herkules for bittering, to create a right old mouthful of contrasting yet enticing flavours; bitter chocolate, cocoa, roasted grain, pineapple, coconut... you name it, it's probably in there somewhere!  With 40g of extra Sorachi Ace hops in each cask to bump up the aroma and flavour this should be a brew well worth seeking out and will prove that Porter doesn't have to be a sweet, caramelly mess but can instead be complex, hoppy and interesting!

The variants come thick and fast this month with coconut, honey, almond and "biscotti" (coffee, almond and vanilla) all appearing; these have been made with natural flavours and/or extracts and should be interesting even if not to your taste!  We are particularly looking forwards to the biscotti one which smelt absolutely gorgeous in the cask... so come along to the Sheffield Tap from Wednesday 21st to Saturday 24th September when we will be taking over the pumps for the weekend!

 

Variants on the brew

  • " Alco Clag Coconut Porter " - With 500g of toasted coconut flakes added to the cask.

  • " Biscotti Porter " - This should be interesting!  Madagascan Vanilla extract, American Almond extract and self-steeped coffee liquor from hand-crushed beans!

  • " Honey Porter " - With a whole jar of honey added to the cask.

  • " Černý Bez 3 " - The brew without any dry-hops in the cask, just to prove how much better it is with them in there!

  • " Knackerneck Almond Porter " (kegged) - One of our 20 litre kegs with American almond extract added to the beer.

    From the Mini-kit...

     

  • " Commissar Swejkowski's Imperial Porter " - a strong and very flavoursome Sorachi porter from the mini-kit!

 

   

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

Brew 23 : Sheffield Hop Infusion Team, 06/08/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart

ABV : 5.7% Colour : 8.7 EBC = Golden

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

Having travelled around the country emptying everyone else’s hop stash, we decided it was about time to clear out our own! Basically, our desire to experiment with as many different hops as possible, combined with our infrequent brewing, left us with too many open bags - so rather than let them deteriorate this was our ‘let’s throw in absolutely everything and see what we get’! With Gazza away in London drinking in overpriced trendy beer bars, Sheffield Tap barsteward Dan continued his training with Dave (maybe "training" is a touch optimistic, but apparently he will be doing some brewing for the Tap’s forthcoming brewery, so hopefully our influence will rub off!).  

We started off by emptying our sack of Columbus as the First Wort Hop and followed this up with two charges of Galena, all of which combined to give a respectable 120IBU of smooth bitterness. At flame-off we then lobbed in (in a very carefully calculated and technical manner, obviously) over 3 kilos of a mix of Simcoe, Chinook, Pacific Jade, Citra and Nelson Sauvin and, for good measure, we dry-hopped the casks with Citra. All this was overlaid on our strongest ‘big kit’ brew wort yet (low colour Maris Otter and wheat malt), coming in at 5.7%.

 

Variants on the brew

  • " Bez 11 " - Without any dry hops, but you know that by now.

  • " Fudge's Legacy" - Festival Special for Tamworth Beer Festival dry-hopped with Simcoe in memory of Chris Fudge, one year on.

  • " Melissa’s Milestone " - Another festival "mod", this one for our friends at York, dry-hopped with Amarillo.

  • " A Slight Case of Overhopping 4 " - Extra dry-hopped variant for the Sheffield Tap

 

  

Our Verdict -

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

Brew 22 : Raw Steel, 23/07/2011

Collaboration with David of Raw Brewing, Staveley, Derbyshire.

Forged at Raw Brewing, Staveley

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 6.2% Colour : Amber

Style : IPA

Another week, another collaboration... life does seem to be one long round of them at the moment!  If this sounds like we're not enjoying it you've got the wrong impression because we most certainly are, but it does seem as if suddenly, for some inexplicable reason, the whole world wants us to come brew on their plant and use all their hops!

Dave gets the blame (or was that credit?) for this one so expect, as per the usual script with us, something pale and very hoppy with - maybe - a whole load of Apollo, Herkules, Pacific Gem and Nelson Sauvin... business as usual, then, and we look forwards to using all David's hops for him!

The brewday went stunningly well and we're quite pleased with the resulting wort!  It will be a touch darker than our usual beers yet still packed with hops and should be well worth seeking out... there will only be 19 or 20 9's so you'll need to be quick...

See what Ratebeer folks think about it here...

 

Our Verdict - This was a big departure from our "normal" style of beer but equally as good!  Plenty of maltiness and a long bitter finish were the obvious characters although a fruity hoppiness gradually took over and all flavours combined well in the finish to give a rich, hoppy beer which was deceptively strong and moreish.  (8/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 21 : Blanes Half IPA, 16/07/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart, Sheffield

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 3.2% Colour : 9.9 EBC = Golden

Style : Half IPA

 

And now, as they say on dated unfunny "comedy" programmes, for something completely different...

From Gazza's chance meeting with Kevin and Pep from Cervesa Marina of Blanes in the superb 2D2DSpuma bar/shop/Catalan beer showcase in Barcelona came the first ever collaboration between cuckoo brewers in the UK and Catalunya and this beer is the result of the "home leg" (for us, obviously) of that collaboration!

A half IPA is a rare and unusual beast being, as the name suggests, a weak version of the hopped-up IPA style.  Taking Brewdog's last decent beer (How to Disappear Completely) as our starting point and Grassroots' stunning Den Lil IPA as further refinement of the idea, the four of us - Gazza, Dave, Kevin and Pep - have created what we think will be an absolute monster of a brew with the biggest hop hit we have used thus far - by quite a margin - allied to a low gravity mash albeit with plenty of flavoursome malt to (hopefully) add some body to carry the huge lupulous assault.

First-wort hopped with our beloved Columbus, kettle hopped with smooth and bitter Warrior, then flavour and aroma hopped with the "dream team" of Columbus, Simcoe, Citra and Sorachi Ace this promises to be an extreme brew of potentially awesome proportions!  It may work, it may not, but we're pretty sure that we have brewed up something that will be remembered - for the right or wrong reasons - for many years to come!

On the upside, we feel that we might have cracked the clarity issues which have dogged our last few beers... time will tell on this one!

If we have proved one thing with this brew it's that you don't need strength to have flavour... in this case, it's quite the opposite!

 

Variants on the brew

  • " Bez 10 " - As usual, a single cask without the dry hops...

  • " Mighty Hop " - A special for the Rutland Arms dry-hopped with our beloved Sorachi Ace hops!

  • " Palin Hoppy " - Another special for the Rutland Arms just because we love playing around with dry-hopping to see what happens!

  • " A Slight case of Overhopping 3 " - Extra dry-hopped variant for the Sheffield Tap

 

From the Mini-kit...

  • " Sorachi IPA " - 100% Sorachi Ace hops in an amber 7%-ish brew... expect honeyed malt, coconut, pineapple, oranges... all manner of flavours!

    

Our Verdict -

Blanes was, in essence, fucking mental!!!  Pretty damn pale in colour but definitely not in character would be a good description and, if anything, this is the first of our beers of which I can honestly say "It's hoppy enought for me!".  The aroma was huge and mouth-watering with herbal, hemp-like Columbus meshed with fruit and sweet perfume from the other hops, an almost faultless nose.  For 3.2% the body was big, obviously the Caramalt did it's work well, although the bitterness was simply amazing and came in with huge force; "It's so bitter it gives me goosebumps" said one barmaid in the Plough!  Despite being massively bitter it was surprisingly smooth and progressive, yet there was no getting away from the fact that this was one seriously bitter beer!  Once the tongue got used to the bitterness the hops began to poke through with a swirling flavour mix of mango, tropical fruits, coconut, pineapple, hop oils, leafiness, ganja and all manner of other hop and not-so hop related flavours and aromas; this is what you call complexity, people!!!  The finish was surprisingly balanced with a big vaguely toffeeish maltiness, massive bitterness and huge hop character... wow, was that really 3.2%? I asked myself after the first (of many!) pints and felt a very big sense of pride that Dave, myself, Pep and Kevin had created this hop monster of which I am extremely proud.  (9.5/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

Brew 20 : Mental Hop Bastard, 02/07/2011

Collaboration with Brodies of Leyton, East London.

Forged at Brodies, Leyton, East London

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 6% Colour : Golden

Style : Mid-Atlantic pale ale

Ever-eager to spread our wings, cuckoos that we are, this time we were off down to London on what seems to have become an annual brewing excursion, this time way out east to Leyton and the adventurous and well-respected Brodie's brewery.

Jamie has developed a reputation for having a go at just about anything in his tiny brewery and a huge range of beers - just about everything from 1.9% summer ale through mild, stout, bitter, pale ale to 22% barley wine - have been produced there.  With Dave unavailable Gazza took the opportunity to get sweaty (it was bloody hot that weekend, 25°c plus!) and, atop a mash of Warminster pale ale malt, he, James and Jon rammed kilo after kilo of gorgeously fruity Motueka and citrussy Super Alpha into the copper until it could virtually take no more and required a spade to stuff the hops down...and that's without the 5kg of Southern Cross pellets tipped into the FV the following week...

This should be a beer to remember and we have very high hopes for it; look out for "Mental Hop Bastard" in a few weeks and here's hoping it tastes as lovely as it smelt coming out of the copper... which contained the thickest hop bed I've ever seen!

Laaaaaarvely, as they say dahn there... (but as Gazza's Grandad was from Bethnal Green he is allowed to say it!)

See what Ratebeer folks think about it here...

 

Our Verdict - Bloody lovely, actually!!!  The nose was a great mix of lemony hop, oily, resinous hop oils and leafy South Pacific lupulins leading into a flavour with, initially, plenty of maltiness but the oily, juicy hops soon took over with citrus, leafy hedgerows, grass, some subdued bitterness and a balanced finish with malt and plenty of green, juicy hoppiness.  It wasn't bitter enough for me (as James said there wasn't space for another very bitter beer on the bar at the time!) but was still a cracking drink and stood out on the bar at Craft Beer Company... and that's not easy to do!  (8.5 / 10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 19 : Ersatz Kölsch, 18/06/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart, Sheffield

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 4.7% Colour : 6.8 EBC = Golden

Style : Bizarre hybrid of Kölsch and our usual style!

 

 

Bored of us brewing the same beers all the time? Well, although we're not entirely bored of brewing pale hoppy beers we do like to piss around a bit and so, in a spirit of European togetherness, we've decided to brew our take on the Kölsch beer style from Köln in Western Germany.

Kölsch is a funny beast; it's the only beer style to be protected by European law and one of the only ones to have a voluntary agreement signed by (almost) all the brewers in the city - and it can only be made in the city apart from a few exceptions granted years ago, hence ours being called "Replacement Kölsch"...

We acquired some authentic Weyermann Pilsner and Vienna malt as well as a stash of "proper" German Spalt hops to give our brew at least a semblance of authenticity, but then we went and ruined it by adding American Crystal hops at flame-off (as well as more Spalt)... Kölsch is generally only hopped once, at the start of the boil, so by first-wort, 60, 30, 5 and flame-off hopping we kind of gave that one a bit of a kicking straight off!  We plead, however, that Crystal hops are vaguely allowed on account of them being part Hersbrucker (and part Cascade too, admittedly)...

So, brace yourselves for one messed-up brew; a Kölsch done in the Sheffield Style albeit with a whole load of the original parts included.  Should be interesting if nothing else...

 

Variants on the brew

  • " The Workers drink with their Bosses " - Bizzarrely-named variant, dry-hopped with Crystal hops, named after the remarks of Karl Marx on why revolution would never happen in Köln...

  • " Morgenstern " -  Single firkin variant with shed-loads of Sorachi! Will it work? Probably not.  Do we care?  Do we bollocks... 

 

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Szwejkowski Crystal Imperial Kölsch" - 100% US Crystal hops in a 7% + brew; enough hops to make the stirring paddle stand up by itself! 

  

           

Our Verdict -

EK was a revelation to quite a few people who thought all we could do was pale hoppy beer and stout!  By using traditional ingredients with a slight twist we managed to brew something which tasted surprisingly like a proper Kölsch (albeit with the flavour ramped up a bit!) but ended like an American pale ale!  The aroma was a beautiful mixture of tangerine and citrus from the Crystal hops and maltiness from the Weyermann lager malt with some lemony, leafy Spalt coming through well.  On the tongue was a creamy maltiness with some vanilla and yeastiness, a soft, mellow bitterness, then a big orangey, lemony and grassy hop flavour which, I think, worked very well with the lager malt and resulted in a soft, subtle yet distinctly Steel City brew!  We've shown with this beer that subtleness can be done, although we'll never do boring...!  (8.5/10)

Workers Was very similar to the main brew albeit with more tangeriney hop zestiness in the finish which, despite making it taste less like a proper Kölsch, added a lot of interest and I preferred this variant to the others.  (9/10)

Morgernstern was a bit of a let-down as the Sorachi didn't really come through enough but, still, it was an interesting experiment!  (8/10)

Szwejkowski Crystal Imperial Kölsch was a right mad bruiser of a beer!  Owing to the high temperatures and lack of temperature control on our "mini-kit", this beer fermented way too far and left us with a very alcoholic and estery brew which, nevertheless, was full of interesting flavours such as pineapple, orange zest, peardrops and even those penny rhubarb and custard chews!!! (honestly, it did...).  Maybe too estery and certainly not a Kölsch, but bloody fascinating all the same.  (7/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

 

Brew 18 : Riot in Paradise, 21/05/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart, Sheffield

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 4.7% Colour : 5.6 EBC = Quite pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

 

With Dave away, Gazza roped in as guest brewer old-skool beer scooper, long-time mate and dedicated hophead Dean from Devon and this beer is the result of a long hot day's brewing in the little brick shed!

With no yeast available, and the decision having been taken to experiment with dried yeast anyhow, we borrowed yet another pack of Safale US-05 from our original collaborator Pete Roberts at the Brew Company (cheers, Pete... you'll get them back one day!) to ferment the wort made from Munton's low-colour Maris Otter and a whole stack of hops which should give this brew a right old mix of flavours; peach from Simcoe, mango from Citra, coconut and pineapple from Sorachi, gooseberry from Nelson Sauvin, hefty bitterness and citrus from Galena and lean zestiness from Green Bullet are all in there somewhere!

Over 3kg of hops went in at flame-off so this should be one hop-monster of a brew and weighs in at 108 IBUs, plenty to balance out the malt in a 4.6% pale ale!  Just for a change, we also added a dash of Caramalt which Dean had brought along to give a touch of body (but very little colour) to the brew; we don't want to be typecast as only brewing extremely pale beers, do we?  No, so this one is merely very pale in colour...!

 

Variants on the brew

  • "The Rapture" - this variant - dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace - will happen, unlike the Rapture which was prophesized for brewday and didn't! 

  • "No Doss!" - A special mod of the main brew for John Bratley's 60th Birthday, double-dry hopped with the double-A side of Citra and Simcoe; only 2 casks exist!

 

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Spanner in the Works" - 100% Simcoe in this 8% or so IIPA... over 120 IBU.  So named due to Gazza dropping the brewery's (only) spanner into a just-filled mashtun!  And yes, we did get it out, after much fishing around...

 

            

Our Verdict -

RiP was a real hop monster, no doubt!  The aroma was pure delight with all manner of tropical fruits jostling for attention, "like tropical fruit punch" I was told and think that's a pretty good description!  A big, big bitterness was immediately obvious over the malt but then the hops came racing in like bullets from a machine gun; peach, mango, gooseberry, coconut, pineapple and kiwi all brawled for supremacy along with an assertive bitter flavour, oily hop juice and even a hint of malt poking it's head over the parapet.  The finish was pure bitterness and a veritable tropical fruit basket of oily, zesty hops and may well be my favourite aroma of any beer we have made thus far, simply gorgeous!  (9.5/10)

The Rapture divided opinion right down the middle, the middle being those who like Sorachi Ace hops and those who don't!  I personally love them and thought this brew showcased all that's great about them - mainly pineapple, coconut and orange zest - but know some people who hated it purely for these same reasons!  That's one reason I love Sorachi, it's something you either love or hate and as such has a shitload of character and flavour.  After all, if everyone liked our beers we'd be doing something wrong and brewing Greede Kerching IPA, so we take these "Your beer is crap" comments as positive!!!  (9/10)

No Doss was, if possible, even more of a hop monster than RiP!  It was double-dry hopped with Citra and Simcoe which led to an absolutely massive aroma and taste of sweet, peachy, tropical hoppiness and something I consider to be what beer should smell like!  Fucking gorgeous... (9.5/10)

Spanner should be on at our Sheffield Tap event in September!

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to : Cask & Welly, Sheffield (TR); Dragon, Worcester (RIP); Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (TR); Thorn Tree, Waingroves (RIP); Hunters Arms, Kilburn (RIP); Boggart ((RIP); Fynefest (RIP); Rutland Arms, Sheffield (RIP, TR, ND); Mallinsons (RIP, TR); Anchor, Birmingham (RIP); Blue Monkey (RIP); Dragon, Worcester (RIP); Wenlock, London (ND);

 

Brew 17 : Weapons of Mouth Destruction, 16/04/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart, Sheffield

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 4.5% Colour : 5.3 EBC = Rather pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

Well, they are the way we use 'em!

Our latest brew utilises a new hop for us, Galena as the first-wort charge, which Gazza was impressed with at Otley the other week and thought we should try out, plus lots of lovely Green Bullet for bittering then flavour and aroma additions of Nelson Sauvin, Citra and Pacific Jade... what a mixture!  It clocks in at a mere 84 IBU but that's not an issue given the varieties we used at the start of the boil which should mean a huge hop flavour!  And, anyway, 84 isn't exactly a low IBU level...!

Over a kilo of hops per barrel went in so there should be plenty of hop flavour and aroma, plus we're going to use our new hop-steeping bags in the FV with Crystal (hops not malt!) and more Pacific Jade, and in addition the casks will be dry-hopped with something which we've not yet decided!

The main deviation from the norm, however, was in the use of dried yeast owing to a shortage of the Ale Cart house strain and so many thanks to Pete at Brewco for stepping in at very short notice and donating a pack of S05 for us to pitch in!  We've used S05 once before, at Pete's during our second-ever brew, and think it's probably the best dried yeast around so we feel pretty confident something good should come out of FV2 next weekend! S05 gives a neutral character with a hint of Burton sulphur to the beer - not something we normally go for - so it will be interesting to see how things pan out!

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • "All at Sea" - A special version (Simcoe dry-hopped) of the beer for the "Ocean of beer" cruise to celebrate the 10th birthday of the superb beer temple that is Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fa' in Rome!

  • "Aston Clowne" - this variant, dry-hopped with US Crystal hops, is named after two villages on the way into Sheffield from the M1. 

  • "Bez 8" - Bez is the normal non-dry-hopped thing we do... but you know that by now I hope.

 

 

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Sweating Bullets" - Green Bullet and nothing else, over 500g of hops in a single 9 and almost 9%... oh yes!!  Barley wine or IIPA?  You decide...

 

     

 

Our Verdict -

WMD wasn't our finest beer, not by a fair margin, mainly due to it being our first real play with dried yeast!  We fermented it way too warm (24c) and so the SO5 gave the beer a slightly cardboardy taste which was fairly noticeable even over the big hop charge, plus - and some casks were worse than others - some sulphur on the aroma and taste which did drag the score down somewhat.  All that notwithstanding, beneath these undesirable flavours lurked a decent beer trying to get out, with a rasping bitterness, fruity, lean and gooseberryish hop flavour and good interplay between malt and zesty hops... it's just a shame those other flavours tended to overshadow this.  (5/10)

Aston Clowne was very similar to WMD and, as the Crystal hops used to dry-hop aren't particularly pungent, this allowed the undesirable flavours through maybe even more... not our finest moment! (4.5/10)

Bez was, somehow, almost free of sulphur allowing the crisp hoppiness through making for a pleasantly fruity, hop-led brew... just how it should have been!  (7/10)

All at Sea had the juicy, fruity Simcoes peeping through above the yeastiness and, I think, was the best of all the variants from this brew owing it's success to the brash, robust flavours of the superlative Simcoe hop!  Good stuff, and how it should have tasted... (7/10)

Sweating Bullets was more a barley wine than IPA if truth be told with too much alcohol and a spirity, hot flavour.  The hops came in with a peardroppiness which surprised me in addition to some gooseberry and raw bitterness, but the alcohol kind of spoilt it in the end... shame, it had a lot of potential.  (6/10)

We have some issues with clarity on this brew and a slight sulphury nose... apologies if this is the case, but the beer tastes fine! It's not our best but I've had a lot worse...

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to :

 

Brew 16 : Oxymoron Black IPA, 28/03/2011

Collaboration with Otley of Pontypridd, South Wales

Forged at Otley, Pontypridd, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 5.5% Colour : Nearly black

Style : Black IPA

In yet another trendy "Collaboration" brew with mates of ours who are daft enough to let us go rummaging around their hop store, Gazza visited old friends from University (well, he did hand his entire grant over the bar in the Otley Arms...) the Otley family of South Wales where, after a lot of rubbing hops, making hop tea, slurping said tea and generally pissing around, Matt Otley and Gazza formulated what they reckon will be an absolute belter of a Black IPA!

I know, the world needs another Black IPA like the proverbial hole in the head, but after the success of Shadowplay and the realisation that fruity hops work so much better than citrussy ones, Gazza reckoned that just one more wouldn't hurt...

I'm really, really excited about this brew and think it should be very special indeed... think about it; Sorachi Ace, Columbus, Citra, Chinook and super-sub Galena coming together in huge amounts to produce a jet-black beast loaded with Weyermann Carafa Spezial 2 should, adding in the two brewers' skills and enthusiasm for the job, result in something very exciting indeed!

See what Ratebeer folks think about it here...

Our Verdict - Wow, that was a hop-fest!  A big smooth chocolate and roasted grain flavour carried the big hop charge perfectly and, although I think we underhopped at the bittering stage slightly, the aroma and dry hopping shone through like a beacon!  The mix of Columbus, Citra, Sorachi and Chinook in the cask gave a gloriously complex and oily hop aroma and flavour which I'm very pleased with indeed and the interplay with the malt was delightful; it must be, I drank 4 pints the other evening!  (8.5/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Brew 15 : Decadent and Desperate, 27/03/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart, Sheffield

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 5% Colour : 5.5 EBC = Rather pale

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

With the previous week's brewing cancelled and Gazza away on a birthday scooping trip in Warsaw, Dave (and guest brewer Danny) stepped up to create a strong pale ale absolutely stuffed full of three of his favourite hops; Citra, Columbus and Chinook.  The name, in case you've not realised, is from another of our Musical heroes this time Industrial Goth-metal top geezer Mortiis from Norway...

This won't be a beer for those who think British beer needs to be brown, toffeeish, vaguely dry and with the merest suggestion of dusty old hops; no, this will be a very pale, very bitter (120+ IBU) and ludicrously hoppy monster which might even top the awesomeness of CTZ, our last brew, in the hop stakes! (CTZ was reportedly described as "almost undrinkable" by, presumably, someone who likes brown beer!) .

Well, Gazza racked it on Sunday and it tasted very impressive indeed from the fermenter and drop-test... this should be yet another hop monster of a brew from us, but would you expect anything different? 

There was also a brew done on the "mini-kit" of Citra IPA which should come in at around 5.8% or so and we did the customary Bez variant with no dry hops too as Richard at the Cask & Welly thinks they are our best beers (we don't agree but when there's a pin left in the FV we may as well do one!)

 

Variants on the brew

  • "Beards and Guts Society" - A Chinook dry-hopped version of the main brew which is named after that institution which does so much for Regional brewers, Fuggle growers and Crystal maltsters everywhere... CAMRA, in case you were wondering... 

  • "No Future" - A blatant rebadge of this brew's Bez to "celebrate" the extra bank holiday we get this month...!

  • "A Slight Case of Overhopping 2" - Festival Special for Doncaster with absolutely shed-loads of Citra and Chinook crammed into the single cask!  Will we win again?  Nah... but it'll taste nice!

  • "2 Desperate" - A pin especially double dry-hopped with Simcoe for the Rutland Arms!

 

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Citra IPA" - The next in our ongoing series of single hop IPA's from our mini-kit, this time we used only Citra; 140+ IBU of Mangoey cat's piss (in a nice way)!

         Beards and Guts society QR codes !!!

 

Our Verdict -

D&D was a touch sweet (as you'd expect from a beer mashed in a few degrees hotter than we usually do) but the booming tropical fruit flavours the Citra gives - mango and passionfruit for two examples - and solid bitterness was a good balance and, although I'd have preferred it a bit dryer to showcase the hops better, it was still a bloody good drink and went down amazingly well for a 5% beer!  (8/10)

BAGS was, in some respects, a little bit better than D&D as the grapefruity Chinooks lent their tangy dryness to proceedings and left the finish more citrussy (think grapefruit zest) than the Citra dry-hop had although the main flavour of gloriously mangoey, fruity Citra was evident... lovely stuff.  (8.5/10)

Overhopping 2 was, as would be expected in a beer with over 100g of dry hops in the cask, a lesson in hop extremes!  The sweet, fruity Citra and zesty Chinook melded well giving a massively hoppy nose and taste with a sweetish, bitter and hoppy finish... very nice indeed, but we didn't win owt this year! (9/10)

2 Desperate had an absolutely massive nose of mangoey, fruity Simcoes, so much so that it may just be the nicest thing I've smelt this year!  Plenty of Simcoe fruitiness in the taste, malt and a soft yet hefty bitterness and a gorgeously succulent tropical fruit yet still bitter finish with the aroma lingering long into the evening!  Deee-lish... (9/10)

No Future was similar to D&D albeit without the (some might say) excessive tropical fruit on the nose and foretaste.  It still had oodles of delicious fruity mangoey hops all over it like a rash but, as is usual for our "Bez" brews, didn't quite hit the spot without the extra dry-hops to give it that final top dressing.  (8/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to : Reading BF (BAGS, D&D); Strathmore Arms; Dragon, Worcester (D&D); Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (BAGS); Thorn Tree, Waingroves (D&D); Hunter's Arms, Kilburn (D&D); Doncaster BF (OH); Cask & Welly, Sheffield (NF, BAGS);

Brew 14 : CTZ Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale, 26/02/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart, Sheffield

The brewday photos are here...

ABV : 4% Colour : 4.8 EBC = Very pale indeed!

Style : Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale

 

For this brew we've gone back to basics and created a very pale brew with over 7kg of hops used in the brew which, owing in part to Columbus reaching the dizzying heights of 17.9% alpha acid, clocks in at over 100 IBU yet barely troubles the ABV scale with only 4% giving a massive "bitterness ratio"!

This is what our "Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale" designation is all about (well, maybe this has an excessive IBU count, but we like bitter beers!); keeping it simple with low-colour Maris Otter malt and a touch of wheat malt then oodles of lovely fresh hops; we even mash-hopped this one just to get extra hop goodness into it!

So, CTZ promises to be yet another rip-roaring hop monster in the vein of our previous pale ales, maybe even more so... and it's coming to a bar near(ish) you soon!  Stick your nose in a glass and inhale deeply... this beer has an aroma to blow your socks off and Weirdy Beardy Crystal malt-loving Morris dancers should stay well away!!!

 

Variants on the brew

  • "Crystal Malt : Just Say No" - A Citra dry-hopped version of CTZ which should show how well (or badly!) these two extreme hops work together... the name is a piss-take of CAMRA and their support for old-fashioned brewers who insist that pale ale needs Crystal malt to be acceptable! 

 

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Columbus IPA" - The next in our ongoing series of single hop IPA's from our mini-kit, this time we used only Columbus; 130+ IBU of lupuliciousness!

   

    

Our Verdict -

CTZ is, and I say this as someone who loves hops more than most things, very extreme!  Seven hop additions were used in this brew: Mash, first-wort, bitterness, flavour, aroma, fermenter and dry-hop, giving a pungency which is something to behold!  Columbus are a superb hop and one which I feel show just how close a relation the hopbine is to the cannabis plant with a pungency reminiscent of walking along an Amsterdam alleyway... in a nice way!  As is to be expected from a brew with 110 IBU's in only 4% the bitterness was immense yet, thanks to CTZ's inherent smoothness, was layered and gentle not tongue stripping in the UK hop way!  Layering was part of the flavour with wave after wave of oily, pungent hoppiness and the finish was simply something to savour again and again with a massive hoppy, zesty pungency (pungency is a word I use a lot with regards to CTZ!) and an aftertaste which lasted for hours... and it really did!  My favourite bit, saying all this, though, was the aroma which just made me smile like an idiot and want to tell the world just how much I love this amazing hop!  (9.5/10)

Crystal Malt : Just say No! was, despite being a cracking beer with hints of fruity Citra poking their nose above the relentless tide of herby, oily Columbus, somehow just not up to the pinnacle of hop mayhem of CTZ... don't get us wrong, it was a top brew, full of bitterness and hops, but somehow the CTZ just shaded it by being more full-on and in your face!  This kind of suggests that Citra are a more delicate beast than we'd thought although there isn't a lot that can stand up to Columbus!  As for the beer, it was bitter, oily, zesty and with the same suggestion of hash and almost an oregano backtaste but the Citra just couldn't climb above the Columbus and was swamped somewhat which was a shame but, still, it tasted pretty damn good!  (9/10)

Columbus IPA was everything we expected of it! Strong malt and a prickle of alcohol were the background to a massive hoppiness with oily, fruity, skunky Columbus steamrollering everything in it's path... which is just what we wanted!! The hops grew oilier and even more bitter as the glass drained and the finish was a lesson in what Columbus is capable of... oily, juicy resinous hops, Amsterdam skunk, a huge bitterness yet still the malt and alcohol poked through... gloriously over the top and absolutely fantastic!  (9/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to : Cask & Welly, Sheffield (CM); Dragon, Worcester (CTZ); Anchor, Digbeth (CTZ); Boggart Distribution (x3 of each); Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (CM); Hunters, Kilburn (CTZ); Rutland Arms, Sheffield (CTZ,CM); Star, Huddersfield (CTZ,CM); Wenlock, London (CTZ,CM), White Horse, London (CTZ); CAMRA AGM (CTZ, CM);

Brew 13 : Saint Brendan New Zealand Pale Ale, 08/01/2011

Forged at Little Ale Cart, Sheffield

The brewday photos are here...

St Brendan

 

New Zealand hops are all the rage at present and so, after acquiring the lupulistic trio of Green Bullet, Pacific Jade and Nelson Sauvin, it is time for the first Steel City brew hopped exclusively with New Zealand hops!

Green Bullet are "Old Skool" hops, having been around since the 1980's, but their deliciously hedgerow-esque and leafy character left a strong imprint on my brain from the first taste of West Coast Green Bullet back in the early 1990's and now we are in the position of being able to create something - hopefully - along the same lines as that classic pale ale!  Pacific Jade are a new hop with very interesting characteristics, think lemons and black pepper whilst imparting a mellow bitterness, and surely everyone knows about the bizarre gooseberry, stewed rhubarb, tropical fruit and New World Sauvignon Blanc flavours of Nelson Sauvin by now?  Surely everyone does...?

Well, these three hops were the ones used to create a beast of a pale ale which is 4.5% and 89 IBU's using only Fawcett's low-colour Maris Otter and a dash of wheat malt.  It's a tribute to the man who did more than most to introduce New Zealand (and many more!) hops into the UK beer scene and so, hopefully, this brew will live up to the legend that is Brendan Dobbin!

This is the first beer we've brewed with these hops so we're not quite sure how it's all going to hang together but we are hoping that our experience with US hops will set us right and it'll turn out delicious... well, it'll be hoppy that's for sure!

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • "South Pacific" - A version of Saint Brendan dry-hopped with Green Bullet. 

  • "Bez Suchého Chmele Sedm" - Our 7th non dry hopped limited edition brew. 

  • "Quad Kiwi" - A pin of Bez with the addition of a whole load of sliced Kiwi Fruit... will it work?  We hope so!

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Ha Ha!" - A strong pale ale from the "mini-kit" hopped with oodles of luscious Nelson Sauvins... and only Nelsons!

South Pacific Bez 7 Quad Kiwi Ha Ha!

    

Our Verdict -

Saint Brendan was, in some respects, one of our best brews to date and showcased the lively, zesty hop character of New Zealand hops pretty damn well!  A huge resinous fruity, mangoey, melon-like hop aroma was a great start, then the flavour had a very dry maltiness topped by a bitter fruitiness, soft kiwi-like fruit and even some citrus!  The finish was bitter, malty and increasingly dry yet with sweet soft fruit oozing out all over the place leading to a finale of bitterness and pungent hoppiness... bloody lovely stuff!  (9/10)

South Pacific had the same dryness and lean body with an almost herby, bitter flavour and a lively, zippy and zesty fruity hoppiness which was delicious.  The finish was increasingly dry and bitter with a complex hop aroma and flavour, increasing bitterness, and an attractively leafy, herby yet restrained hoppy finish which was very, very pleasant indeed.  (8.5/10)

Bez 7 Wasn't, as is usual for the non-dry-hopped brews, as aromatic or immediately attractive as the other versions yet was bitter, aromatic and had a pungency of zesty, fruity hops in the finish which led to a quite delicious finish with everything in perfect harmony... started poorly, finished well, I really liked this!  (8.5/10)

Quad Kiwi had a suggestion of the fruit in the nose and, more so, flavour yet it was the hops which came to the fore and pushed the fruit into the background... I say that, yet the three hops we used are so fruity themselves that it was hard to notice if those fruity flavours were from the added kiwis or the hops themselves!  (7/10)

Ha Ha! was, as expected, a bit of a bruiser yet not as much as maybe it could have been with the extended fermentation taking the edge off the bitterness somehow!  The increased alcohol was immediately obvious yet this was a beer all about the hops with a massive fruity, hoppy nose which was everything Nelson Sauvin is about rolled into one sniff!  Lots of hop resins and bitterness led into a finish which had more than a suggestion of alcohol yet the dry, bitter, grapey and pungent hoppiness swamped everything in a tide of Nelsony goodness... extreme yet quite subtle all in one!  (8/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to : Cask & Welly, Sheffield (SB); Magna (Rotherham) Beer Festival (SB); Anchor, Digbeth (SB); Harwich Town brewery (x2 SB); Boggart Distribution (x4 SB); Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (SB); Rutland Arms, Sheffield (SB, SP, QK); Star, Huddersfield (SP); Southampton Arms, London (SB); Bent & Bongs (Atherton) beer festival (SB x 2); Blackpool Beer Festival (SB); Dove, Ipswich (SB)

 

Brew 12 : Shadowplay Black IPA, 11/12/2010

Forged at Little Ale Cart, Sheffield

The brewday photos are here...

Shadowplay Black IPA

 

Ah yes, Black IPA - the ultimate oxymoron - a black "pale ale"?  What's all that about, eh?  Well, over in the US these brews are all the rage at present and the infection is spreading across the Atlantic with more and more being brewed in the UK so, never ones to shy away from having a go at something difficult, we thought we'd have a go ourselves.

Brewing a proper black IPA requires very different ingredients than making a stout despite the beers looking identical; the dark malt needs to be de-husked to minimise the burnt flavour meaning Weyermann Carafa-Spezial, from Bamberg in Franconia, is the only real option, then you need a good dose of flavoursome pale malt to hold it all together plus a whole shed-load of resinous American hops to add the bitterness and hop aromatics these beers demand.

Having studied (OK, drank) plenty of commercial examples whilst in Portland, Oregon, and consulted brewers about the techniques and ingredients required, we're now ready for our first attempt at a Black IPA - or Cascadian Dark Ale - and are confident that it'll be an absolute beast of a beer!  It finished at 5.6% and 116 IBU so expect something rather tasty...

 

Variants on the brew

  • "Dead Souls" - Shadowplay dry-hopped with deliciously fruity Citra. 

  • "Černý Bez - Dva" - A lone pin of this exists at the Cask & Welly in Sheffield, as usual this is the base beer without any dry hops.

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Martin's Fearless Sorachi Mild" - A dark mild from the "mini-kit" hopped with - guess what? - for Martin the Mildman's birthday!

 

   Dead Souls Cerny Bez - Dva Martin's Fearless Sorachi Mild

Our Verdict -

Shadowplay worked more or less exactly how we hoped it would with a big, burly chocolatey malt taste and just a touch of roastiness but all overlain by a huge oily, zesty, fruity and hash-like hoppiness which worked really well against the dark maltiness.  The finish was a crescendo of hop oils and resinous lupulins set against a solid chocolatey backdrop and, overall, this was a beer of which we were very proud indeed although, being super-critical, maybe Sorachi or Citra would work better as the aroma hop...?  maybe next time!  (8.5/10)

Dead Souls was, if anything, even better than Shadowplay owing to the deliciously mangoey, fruity character the Citra gave to the brew and this seemed to mesh perfectly with the dark maltiness and resinous hop base to give something truly exceptional.  This is definitely something we'll be considering for our next black IPA, whenever that is...  (9/10)

Martin's Fearless Sorachi Mild was brewed for a mild lover by hop-heads; could this ever work?  Well, yes it did!  Created on our "mini-kit" and hopped with a featherlight touch (for us, anyhow) this was a very dark brown brew with sweet malt, chocolate, toast and pineapply fruit on the nose.  The flavour was full-on rich chocolate, smooth and mellow, with a noticeable and very attractive pineapple hint from the Sorachi then hints of bitter dryness in the very malty, chocolatey aftertaste; it works!  (8.5/10)

Černý Bez Dva somehow lacked the oomph of the two dry-hopped brews yet still gave a big chocolate malt and oily hop character which some drinkers preferred over the other two... but for me it needed the extra "top dressing" dry hops give.  Still, a very tasty brew and impressively hoppy!  (8/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to : Cask & Welly, Sheffield (SP, DS); Hunters, Kilburn (SP); Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (DS); Star, Huddersfield (SP, DS); Rutland, Sheffield (SP, DS); Cask Corner, Doncaster (SP); Wenlock Arms, London (MFSM, SP); Harlequin, Sheffield (SP); Anchor, Birmingham (SP); Ely Beer Festival (SP); Otley Brewing (2xSP); Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage (SP); Merton Beer Festival (SP);

 

Brew 11 : This Corrosion, 13/11/2010

Forged at Little Ale Cart

The brewday photos are here...

This Corrosion

 

Not content with challenging perceptions of us as a one-trick pony by brewing a glorious dry stout (Marduk) a few months back we're at it again with the dark malts although, this time, the hops have more than a supporting role.

"This Corrosion" is an unusual and, we'd like to think, very different brew utilising some interesting ingredients and brewing techniques.  We mashed slightly hotter than usual at 66.5c to add some body and, in addition to our usual Fawcett's low-colour Maris Otter malt, we used a relatively high proportion of Wheat malt - just under 20% - to aid smoothness and head retention, plus a dash of Caramalt for added body.  A good dose of Weyermann Carafa Spezial type 1, a de-husked chocolate malt, was our grain of choice to give colour and flavour without the burnt malt taste (so as not to conflict with the hops) plus, for extra colour, we "sparged through" some Roasted Barley to extract colour but not flavour (thanks to Phil Lowry for the tip!).

Such a good grain recipe demands a clever hop mixture but, for once, this wasn't the plan and a mere three hops sufficed with Magnum for bittering, Bramling Cross for aroma and over 3kg of mangoey, fruity Simcoes for bitterness, flavour and aroma were added at five occasions during the brewing process to give the fruity hop character we are after plus, as is our wont, we'll be dry-hopping it with yet more Simcoes to add extra tropical fruit aromas and flavour!

So, what will it be like?  First tastings of chilled wort from the paraflow were extremely promising with lashings of tropical fruit and only a suggestion of toffeeish maltiness and so, hopefully, this brew will be just what we envisaged when creating the recipe... time will tell!

The "mini-kit" was pressed into use for it's second run to create a stronger beer from the first runnings of the mash.  There will be a single cask of this beer which we hopped extravagantly with Chinook which should bring an interesting combination of grapefruit flavours to the toffee maltiness of the malt and may or may not work... but hey, it might and we just had to find out!

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • "Red Star" - The main brew with Citra as the dry-hop. 

  • "Červený Bez" - Our "Red Bez" will be without the Simcoes in cask...

  • "Red Hot" - Basically Bez with the addition of three sliced chillies (grown by Brian Moore!!!) just to see what happens! 

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Number of the Beast" - Red IPA?  You'd better believe it, all 131 IBU's of it, 1066.6° and 90% Chinook from our "Mini-kit"!

Red Star Red Bez Red Hot

  

Our Verdict -

This Corrosion was tawny amber/red in colour with a toasted grain and perfumey, fruity hop nose.  The flavour wasn't quite as integrated as we'd hoped with the dark malts not sitting altogether perfectly with the fruity hops, but what it lacked in flavour integration it more than made up for in full-blooded punchiness!  The toasty malt mixed with the fruity hop, more perfumed (almost honeysuckle or orchids?) hops and then a good bitter, malty yet still flowery and perfumed finish with a long roast and bitter aftertaste... so, not a total success but it was very interesting indeed!  (7.5/10)

Red Star had all of the above yet, as is their wont, the delicious Citra hops lifted the aroma to a crescendo of rosepetals and fruity sublimity; it may even be one of the most inviting aromas I've ever sniffed!  The flavours, again, didn't quite mesh but the full-on hoppiness brought it home in style with a big hop and toasty malt finish.  (8.5/10)

Červený Bez was altogether more of a well-rounded and well-mannered brew without any of the excesses Red Star's Citra brought to the party and less perfumey fruit that Corrosion.  A good, toasted malt and bitter flavour somehow melded together better than the two dry-hopped brews and the finish was smooth, roasty yet bitter and hoppy... one of our better Bez's!  (8/10)

Red Hot was simply one of the best chilli beers I've ever tried, and that's not me with my Steel City hat on, that's with my beer tasting hat on!  Most chilli beers have too little else in the flavour and tend towards a simple fieriness, but Red Hot trumped them all with it's chocolatey flavour backed by an almost crunchy capscium flavour - you could really taste the chillies! - and a subtle yet persistent and building heat in the finish which tingled on the lips.  So, darker beers do work with chillies... in this case, very well indeed!  (8.5/10)

Number of the Beast didn't really finish fermenting properly owing to the very cold weather and the lack of cladding on the little fermenter (now fixed!) and so the final gravity was higher than we'd have liked.  This gave the beer a sweetness that wasn't sticky owing to the huge amounts of Chinook hops in there (with their bitter, grapefruity blast) but, even so, we'd have liked a little more dryness to the finished brew.  Ah well, it was still a big, bitter, hoppy bruiser of a beer and very tasty!  (7.5/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to : Cask & Welly, Sheffield (RS, TC, CB); Hunters, Kilburn (TC); Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (TC, RS); Star, Huddersfield (TC, RS); Rutland, Sheffield (TC, RH, NOTB); Boggart (6xTC); Mexborough Imperial Club (TC); Wellington, Brum (TC); Frodsham Beer Festival (TC); Anchor, Brum (TC); Strathmore Arms, St Paul's Walden (TC); Wenlock Arms, London (TC); Swan, Stone (TC)

 

Brew 10 : Nightmare on Henry Street, 09/10/2010

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The brewday photos are here...

Nightmare on Henry Street

 

Our "spookily hoppy" October brew should be hoppy enough for the thirstiest lupulin-sucking vampires out there!  We resisted the temptation to dye it lurid red (as adding food dye to beer is a disgusting practice) and instead settled for 7.5kg of hops in the 6 barrel brew!

We have tried out a slightly unusual technique this time in the form of "sparge hopping" which involves spreading a kilo of Amarillo on top of the mash and sparging through them to extract the hoppy goodness (which does work, apparently) and then we went mad and piled in a kilo each of Cascade and Amarillo as First-Wort hops!  Magnum was, as usual, the bittering hop then we progressively added kilo-loads of Centennial throughout the boil plus a hefty dose of gorgeous Citra at flame-off for a total hop charge of 7.5kg (plus dry-hopping, of course!).

The brew is 5.2% and we're hoping for something pretty good as it tasted delicious from the paraflow and should be even better once dry-hopped with Citra and Amarillo...

 

 

Variants on the brew

  • "Bez Suchého Chmele - Šest" - No dry hops in the cask to give you that "straight from the FV" taste!

  • "Exeter" - Dry-hopped with Cascade hops for Andy Powis' 44th birthday... hence the log "Exeter"!

 

  Bez 6 Exeter

Our Verdict -

Henry Street was yet another hop beast with luscious aromas of citrus, tropical fruit, malt and a sweet mango overtone.  Malt was prominent in the flavour at first although this was soon overtaken by waves of complex hoppiness with first citrus then sticky resins, oranges, peaches and finally those sweet tropical fruits parading across the tongue.  It ended with a well balanced bitter, hoppy, citrussy and malty finish which lasted for ages and left a bitter, citrussy aftertaste with a smooth bitterness lingering.  Overall, then, a big success!  (9/10)

Exeter had a far dryer flavour without the sweet mangoey Citra to help the character and, although the lemony Cascade tried hard, it didn't quite mesh with the rest of the hops and fell a touch short in the aroma department... still, the finish was a delight of bitterness and waves of hoppiness so all wasn't lost!  (7.5/10)

Bez 6 showed that dry hopping is an essential part of brewing as, despite a rich hop mix in the flavour, it was lacking the finesse and power of Henry Street.  (6.5/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion! 

Where it got to : Dragon, Worcester (NoHS); Cask & Welly, Sheffield (NoHS, Bez 6, E), Riverside, Sheffield (NoHS); Hunters, Kilburn (NoHS), Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (NoHS); Queen Vic, Stroud (E); Star, Huddersfield (NoHS); Bury Beer Fest (NoHS); Ring'o Bells, Bridgewater (NoHS); St Austell Celtic Festival, St Austell (NoHS); Talbot Taphouse, Ripley (NoHS); Henry's, Sheffield (NoHS); Otley Arms, Treforest (NoHS); Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd (NoHS); City Arms, Cardiff (NoHS)

 

Brew 9 : Marduk Oatmeal Stout, 19/09/2010

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The brewday photos are here...

Marduk Oatmeal Stout

 

Marduk is our second stout, the first being Black No.1 back in January, and although the recipe is similar we have learned the lessons of last time and cut out the crystal malt - there really is no need, not even in stout!  We've used "full-colour" 5EBC Fawcett's Maris Otter this time and mixed in Roast Barley and Chocolate Malt for colour and flavour, Caramalt for body, Malted Oats for smooth mouthfeel and texture plus 5kg of Demerera and Muscovado sugar for... well, whatever they bring to the party!

Hop-wise we have used, in addition to half a kilo of our preferred Magnum for bittering, UK hops in the form of the delicious and sadly all-too-rare Bramling Cross which will give a berryish, fruity and juicy bramble aroma / flavour to the brew plus, as is our wont, we've dry-hopped it with yet more Bramling Cross just to be sure there's enough hop character in there!  The hop rate is almost double the last stout at nearly 4kg in a 6BBL brew and we have very high hopes for this one indeed...

Last time we produced a single cask of stout (Czarna Kawa) dosed with liquor in which 500g of coffee beans had been steeped overnight.  This time we've upped the number of coffee casks to six although we have downgraded the coffee to 250g per firkin as last time it tended to overshadow the beer!  Our plan for a chocolate and vanilla stout will happen next time, we promise...

We've also racked a single pin of non dry-hopped Marduk which goes by the name of "Černý Bez - Jeden" (Black Bez) and will be at the Cask & Welly, Sheffield, in due course.

Finally, Dominion / Mother Russia, our imperial stout, is still fermenting away and we will be racking that next weekend.  We're not 100% sure where it's going yet but there's a possibility it'll be kept back for the Scooper's Piss-up weekend in Sheffield during December... watch this space!!!

 

Variants on the brew

  • "прикарпатс кий сильный кофе" - Our "Carpathian Strong Coffee" is Marduk stout with a shot of liquor made from steeping 250g of hand-crushed coffee beans added to each cask!

  • "Černý Bez Jeden" - A non dry-hopped pin of Marduk, there are only 36 pints of this in existence! 

From the Mini-kit...

  • "Mother Russia" - Our first play with the "First Runnings" kit, this monstrous brew was as black (and as thick!) as Brent crude and ended up, after 4 weeks' fermentation, at 8.2%!  We hopped it at double the rate of Marduk in order to balance the massive maltiness and, just to make things more interesting, we added a whole bottle of natural Vanilla extract...

  • "Dominion" - The "non-vanilla" version of Mother Russia, just as it came out of the FV! 

прикарпатс кий сильный кофе Black Bez one Mother Russia / Mat Rossija Dominion / Vladichestvo

Our Verdict -

Marduk was like our first stout... only better!  We deliberately mashed low to give us a dry, lean body and to balance the sweetness from the malt but, for me, the star of the show were the Bramling Cross hops which meshed perfectly with the roasty, chocolatey maltiness to give a deliciously moreish yet eminently drinkable dry stout with plenty of bitterness, hop character and dark malt for everyone... plus it was pretty black, too!  (9/10)

Kofe was, surprisingly, not as impressive as we'd hoped and it seems as if we've veered too far the other way in our coffee additions after over doing it last time!  Still, the fresh espresso flavour was there and went well with the roastiness of the brew although we'd both have been pleased with a touch more in the coffee department... another lesson learnt for next time, who said this brewing lark was easy? (7.5/10)

"Black Bez" showed that dry-hopping with the criminally rare Bramling Cross brought that extra layer of finesse and flavour to Marduk although it was still a mightly fine stout.  (8/10)

"Mother Russia" was a huge beer in all aspects... but what a beer!!!  The massive winey, roasted, burnt and thick-as-tar body carried the thankfully natural-tasting vanilla very well and all flavours combined well to leave the tastbuds blasted yet, strangely, crying out for more; this didn't last long in the Rutland and we had some very good feedback and so will be trying a similar thing again in due course!  (9/10)

"Dominion" was the standard beer without the vanilla and, after a month's long, slow fermentation and a further two months in cask had developed some amazing flavours with jammy fruit, woodiness (no idea where that came from!), tawny Port, pipe tobacco and all the stuff you'd expect from a strong stout such as roast, sweetness, dry bitterness, tar, chocolate and much more besides... a huge beer and one of which we are very proud; Gazza preferred this to Mother Russia whilst Dave preferred the opposite but they were both crackers!  (9.5/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to: Nottingham BF (M, CSC); Cask & Cutler (M, CSC, ČB, Vlad); Oxford BF (M); Strathmore Arms (M); Boggart (2 more); Coastal (3 M, 1 CSC); Anchor, Brum (M), Rutland, Sheffield (M, MR); Star, Huddersfield (M, CSC); Sheffield BF (M, CSC); Wenlock Arms, London (M); Hunters Arms, Kilburn; Falmouth Beer Festival (M); Star, Crowlas (M);

 

Brew 8 : Master of the Spooniverse, 21/08/2010

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The brewday photos are here...

 

Brew eight is one we wish we didn't have to make but, as we can't change what's happened, we feel it's only right for us to do everything we can to keep the memory of our good mate Chris Fudge alive.

Chris died this year at the tragically young age of 39 and so, in order to show our appreciation for his friendship and all he did for the cause of scooping and craft beer over the years, we've decided to brew a hoppy beer - his favoured style - in his honour.  If you know anything about 1st generation diesel locos you'll recognise the class 47's on the clip; Chris was a huge fan of the class and travelled over a million miles behind them so the name - despite being potentially confusing to normals - would, we'd like to feel, mean a lot to him and make him laugh in that infectious way he had... it's just a shame he's not around to enjoy it.

All profits from this brew will be donated to cancer charities and therefore we ask everyone who drinks the beer to raise their glass in tribute to Fudgey, a great bloke, friend and character who will be greatly missed in both the scooping and beer world... RIP Chris, you won't be forgotten.

We raised £558.56 from the sales of this brew which we have donated to St Giles Hospice, the charity chosen by Chris' wife Claire; thanks to everyone who drank it... you all made a difference.

 

Variants on the brew

  • "Bez Suchého Chmele - Pět" - Our continuing series of beers no-one can pronounce, this non-dry hopped version is... ah, surely you know the score by now?

  • "The Seventies are Over!" - A thinly-veiled rant against Crystal Malt and certain organisations / people's continued support for the filthy stuff despite the future being Mid-Atlantic...

Bez 5  The Seventies are over!

Our Verdict -

Spooniverse was a deliciously crisp, refreshing and totally hop-led beast of a brew with a solid maltiness in the body (with maybe too much wheat showing through, but hey...) overlain with layers of bitter, citrussy goodness... the aroma hop addition, too, was a resounding success with the fruitiness of the Amarillo matched perfectly by the citrus of Cascade and just a hint of Citra peeped into shot, too!  Overall, then, this was everything we aim for... balanced in a vague way yet with a massive hoppiness and bitter, hoppy finish making it an effortless drink.  A very big thumbs-up and, we hope, Fudgey would have liked it too... over £500 was raised for charity so thanks to everyone who drank the beer!  (9/10)

The Seventies are Over! - All of the above, just with more Citra!  The aromatics which come from this fantastic hop still continue to amaze me and we've ordered next year's stocks already just to ensure we have enough of this gorgeous hop.  The sweet mango, pineapple and passion fruit flavours are superb and there's always that little suggestion of cat's piss too... in a nice way, obviously, which adds it's own little something to proceedings.  This beer was done for Lytham Beer Festival although a few more did get out and about!  (9/10)

Bez 5 - Strangely, the hop attack was reduced a fair bit on tasting this brew although it may have been slightly fresh which mutes hoppiness.  There's certainly no way it should have tasted less hoppy than Spooniverse although the aroma being lacking is totally understandable.  (6/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to: Hunter's, Kilburn (MotS); Cask & Welly, Sheffield (Bez, 70s); Lytham Beer Festival (70s), Harlequin, Sheffield (70s), Dragon, Worcester (MotS), Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (MotS), Talbot Taphouse, Ripley (MotS), Anchor, Birmingham (MotS), O'Donoghues, Wakefield (MotS), York Beer Festival (MotS), Star, Huddersfield (MotS, 70s), Rutland, Sheffield (MotS), Bull, Horton Kirby (MotS); Nottingham Beer Festival (MotS); Narrow Boat, Skipton (MotS); Darlington Rhythm & Booze Beer Festival (MotS);

Brew 7 : HopSession, 14/08/2010

Collaboration with Phil Lowry at Brewwharf, SE1

Forged at Brewwharf, Southwark, London

The brewday photos are here...

This isn't really one of our brews per se but a collaboration with Phil Lowry of Saints and Sinners at Brewwharf!  We were invited to roll on down to London to brew with Phil and, having seen the Brewwharf kit through the huge glass windows previously, who were we to refuse such an offer?

We have included this beer on our list of brews as we devised the recipe with Phil (making it sort of our beer, plus it's brewed in the Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale style!) and think it should turn out to be a bit of a beast - well, it does have 6.5kg of hops in a 5BBL brew and that's without the dry-hopping - and we had such a good time brewing at Brewwharf we feel it only right that we should tell you all about it through the medium of photography... so, the phots will be online very shortly!

The beer will, hopefully, be available at Tamworth beer festival and a very small number of other places but the best place to catch it will be Brewwharf itself; get on down there and let us - and Phil - know what you think!

See what Ratebeer folks think about it here...

 

Our Verdict - A story of two halves, really, with the actual flavour being hugely hoppy and all we could have desired bitterness-wise, although the over-use of Bravo hops lent their tell-tale "burnt wire" twang to proceedings and took away some of the citrussy hop flavour of the Apollos.  The finish was big, malty and bitter with plenty of hop taste although the dry-hopping didn't come through as well as we hoped and the aroma was slightly lacking.  Still, Hopsession was a huge beer in all respects and one which I think was a pretty good show for our first try on the "goldfish bowl" brewplant!  (7/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to: Brewwharf, London; Tamworth BF, York BF, Bull, Horton Kirby; Evening Star, Brighton

Brew 6 : Western Bram / New World Disorder, 24/07/2010

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The brewday photos are here...

New World Disorder    Western Bram

 

Our sixth brew diverts from normal practice and comes out as a "double A-side"... if such a thing exists in the beer world!  It was brewed for Bram's birthday and so, with Peterborough BF wanting a decent percentage of the total barrelage, we've only done two distinct variants from the brew (plus the obligatory Bez), both worthy of A-side billing in their own right.

The brew, the second under our own HMRC license, utilised Columbus, Magnum, Centennial, Citra, Cascade and Amarillo in the copper for a full-on US hop feast and will be dry-hopped with mango-esque Citra (Western Bram) and Amarillo (New World Disorder).  Both these hops give stunning results when used as dry-hops and both beers will therefore be noticeably different with the Citra giving a sweet tropical fruit overtone whilst Amarillo will add a luscious peachy fruitiness.

The best place to try the beer will be Peterborough Beer Festival but it will also be out and about in a very small number of other places too; we really need a bigger brewlength!

Thanks to Steve Fulcher for the phot of 1015...

 

Variants on the brew

  • "Bez Suchého Chmele - Čtyři" - Our continuing series of beers no-one can pronounce... this non-dry hopping experiment is the beer as it came out of the fermenter without all those pesky aroma hops floating around in it!

Bez 4

Our Verdict :

New World Disorder - Dry, bitter and very fruity were the key flavour components with some subtle yet delicious hints of tropical fruit and lemons on the nose and, increasingly, in the flavour.  The body was reasonably full with plenty of maltiness whilst the finish maintained it's hefty bitterness well yet with lots of fruitiness from the late hops and a bitter, citrussy and surprisingly (for us!) malty finish which balanced the bitterness and hop oils well.  (8/10)

Bez 4 was obviously without much of the subtle fruit and citrus aromas (which come from the dry-hops) but still packed in the flavour with a malty, bitter and reasonably hoppy taste and curiously dry finish with a pronounced oily bitterness.  Not the best Bez we've done although the high ABV certainly had something to do with the flavour balance.  (7/10)

Western Bram - Oh yes, oh yes... Citra are rapidly becoming one of Gazza's favourite hops and rarely does he sample a beer blessed with their magical fairy dust than he goes all dewy-eyed and starts gibbering about cat's piss and mangoes... must be old age.  Anyhow, WB was dry-hopped with Citra and, consequently, turned out to be an absolute stunner!  A huge aromatic nose of hop oils, sweet juicy fruits and that deliciously bizarre reek that Citra bestows was stunning and the glass was sniffed for a good few minutes before any beer was even consumed!  In the mouth a huge, crashing bitterness was immediately apparent (although never astringent or caustic) with oily hops, lots of herbage and hop juice and even some rich biscuity maltiness plus a hint of alcohol too.  The finish still had rich malt although the sublimely fresh, juicy and aromatic hops balanced the bitterness superbly... I'm chuffed to have brewed this beer; it's everything I wanted to make and, had someone given me a glass of this a year ago and told me I was going to co-brew it, I'd have laughed in their face.  (9.5/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to: Peterborough Beer festival (WB, NWD); Old Oak, Horsley Woodhouse (NWD); Hand & Heart, Peterborough (WB, NWD); Altrincham BF (NWD); Star, Huddersfield (NWD); Cask & Welly, Sheffield (Bez, WB); Dragon, Worcester (NWD); Harlequin, Sheffield (NWD); Rutland Arms, Sheffield (NWD)

Brew 5 : Independence Day Pale Ale, 12/06/2010

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The brewday photos are here...

Independence Day PA

Our fifth brew is a proper hop-monster, no doubt about that!  To celebrate our independence (and Yorkshire Day if there's any left by then!) we have brewed a beer with a huge 1 kilo of hops per brewer's barrel (36 gallons) including Columbus for bittering and pungent hop flavour, Magnum for soft bitterness, Centennial for "sherbet lemon" citrus flavour and aroma, Cascade for it's sublime citrus zest and, finally, a big helping of gloriously pungent and fruity Citra at flame-off... plus it'll then be dry-hopped in the cask with Cascade and Amarillo (a mix suggested by Gazza's favourite Portland brewpub) for good measure!

This beer has been brewed with our standard malt grist of Fawcett's LCMO plus a small amount of Wheat Malt and will be very pale, very hoppy and also very bitter!  We've overloaded the IBU meter (or would have if such a thing existed) breaking the 100 threshold which, to give you a rough idea, is approximately five times more bitter that most standard beers on the market today although pretty much par for pale ales brewed in the last century, making it a traditional pale ale albeit slotting nicely into our self-proclaimed "Mid-Atlantic" style!

The beer will be out and about shortly and, as always, your feedback is very welcome... we love to hear what people say about our beers even if they hate them! (although we'd rather you loved 'em...)

 

Variants on Independence Day Pale Ale

  • "Bez Suchého Chmele - Tři" - The return of our non-dry hopping experiment, this is the beer as it came out of the fermenter without all those pesky aroma hops floating around in it!

  • "Merton Ruination" - Dry-hopped with plenty of deliciously pungent Citra for Merton Beer Festival (16th - 17th July)

  • "Goodbye Fudge" - A pin of Independence Day dry-hopped with Chinook and racked bright specially for Chris Fudge's wake.

 

   

Our Verdict - What a cracker this was!  The maltiness was strangely pronounced in the flavour although the huge dose of citrussy hops and big (yet never harsh) bitterness took over nicely and brought the beer to an oily, hop-juicy conclusion with more bitterness and a smooth hop and citrus aftertaste; good stuff indeed.  (8/10)

Bez 3 was obviously not as hoppy in the nose yet had a gloriously complex aroma and taste of grapefruit, melon, lemon zest and juicy tropical fruits which melded well with the malt and long bitterness and resulted in a deliciously drinkable pale ale which left no doubt about the amount of hops used in it's production!  (8/10)

Merton Ruination - Citra are one of our favourite hops and they made this beer an absolute belter!  Their intense "cat's piss on a mango" character - in the nicest possible way - infused the brew with a gloriously fruity and unique aroma and taste which brought plaudits from both Merton Beer Festival and the Star in Huddersfield... cheers!  (9/10)

And, finally, despite the very sad occasion, Goodbye Fudge provided some cheer with it's almost tongue-curlingly grapefruity aroma and oily overtones; Chinook are definitely a hop which bring their character to the beer and this was no exception!  A glorious example of hop overkill which showcased what we're all about... we hope Fudgey would have liked it.  RIP, mate.  (8.5/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where it got to: Continental, Preston (ID); Wenlock, London (ID, B3); Dragon, Worcester (ID, MR); Cask & Welly, Sheffield (B3); Royal Oak, Bath (B3); Merton Beer Festival (MR); Riverside, Sheffield (ID); Star, Huddersfield (MR, ID); Coach & Horses, Dronfield (ID); Anchor, Birmingham (ID); Fudge's Wake, Tamworth (GF); Castle, Bradway (ID); O'Donoghues, Wakefield (ID); Harlequin, Sheffield (ID); Evening Star, Brighton (ID)

Brew 4 : 51st State, 13/03/2010

Forged at Little Ale Cart

The brewday photos are here...

51st State

Brew four sees a return to our forté of "pale 'n' hoppy" after the success of our first stout and continues our theme of naming the beers after "proper" music, in this case New Model Army's seminal track from the "Ghost of Cain" album.

The name also hints at what's in the brew; we're piling in the West Coast hops with CTZ (Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus), Centennial and Citra all utilised plus it was dry-hopped with yet more zesty Centennials.

The strength is 4.7% with a colour rating of 5.2 EBC and the usual bitter blast you expect from us with 76 IBU's.

We brewed this one in "the brick shed", aka Little Ale Cart, and it is in our own Cypherco plastic casks, too, which are black-black-purple (even though some unkind souls have said they're pink!).

Newsflash - D-Generation XX has won Best Golden beer and Overall Beer of the Festival at Doncaster !!!

 

Variants on 51st State

  • "Bez Suchého Chmele - Dva" - The return of our non-dry hopping experiment, this is the beer as it came out of the fermenter without all those pesky aroma hops floating around in it!

  • "D-Generaton XX" - Dry-hopped with (lots!) of CTZ for Doncaster Beer Festival (8th - 10th April) Best Golden beer and Overall Winner at Doncaster Beer Festival!!!

  • "A Slight case of Overhopping - 51st State" - The first in our new series of intensely dry-hopped beers, this being 51st State with even more Nelson Sauvin and Centennial in the cask. LAC2C

 

  Bez Sucheho Chmele - Dva   LAC2B  LAC2C

 

Our Verdict -  Wow!  After a few weeks' conditioning in-cask the Centennials certainly livened up this brew (although I think Columbus are a better dry-hop aroma wise)!  A huge hop aroma, all citrus, hop oils and fruit, gave way to a full-on bitter yet rounded flavour with some maltiness before an almost "Sherbert lemon" zinginess from the Centennials, some tangerine zest and loads of rich resinous hop flavours and then a long, bitter, citrussy aftertaste with plenty of hops and yet more citrus fruit and zestiness - what a corker!  (8.5/10)

Bez was similar with only a slightly less pronounced zesty, citrus hop nose before the strongly citric, bitter and lemony taste, very fresh and lively, leading to a huge citrus, tangerine and bitter hop finish with a very long hop oil aftertaste.  (8/10)

D-Generation XX had a simply massive aroma as you'd only get by immersing yourself in hops; it really was something to behold and bounded from the glass like a greyhound from the blocks.  Hop oil, resin, juicy fruit, herbs and raw almost hemp-like aromas led to the very bitter, juicy and tropical fruit-flavoured body, finishing long, bitter and hoppy but it was that aroma I'll remember for a long, long time... stunning.  (9.5/10)

A Slight case of Overhopping - 51st State was full of tropical fruit and zesty citrus aroma and flavour although didn't quite reach the high standard of D-Generation XX.  (8/10)

Or, you can tell us your opinion!

Where 51st State got to: Wenlock Arms, London; Wellington, Sheffield; Dragon, Worcester; Doncaster Beer Festival; Strathmore Arms; Frodsham Beer Festival; Harlequin, Sheffield;

Brew 3 : Black No.1, 16/01/2010

  This beer is dedicated to Pete Steele, RIP 

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The brewday photos are here...

Black No.1

Our third brew will be, in a surprise move, a stout!  Despite being out-and-out Hopheads we appreciate other styles too, and certainly don't want to get typecast just yet! We're both stout drinkers (in both senses!), so are pleased to reveal that our third brew will be the first of a new 'Black Metal' series, appropriately enough called 'Black No.1' (after a song written, coincidentally, by Pete Steele of Brooklyn's Type O Negative), it will be a full-bodied, traditional (very) dry stout, weighing in at 5% abv. As usual, there will be the limited release of a variant, this time with a mystery ingredient and called "Douro Negative".

Since our first two brews elicited comments from unsuspecting normals along the lines of 'this is too bitter' we fully expect to hear comments like 'yuk, this is nothing like Guinness'. Yes, that's the point, this is proper stout!  We will be brewing this beer at Little Ale Cart due to lack of capacity at our usual hosts The Brew Company; both breweries are likely to feature in our future productions, rest assured that we will always declare the origin both on our website and on the pumpclips.

 

Variants on Black No.1

  • "Douro Negative" - A variant with a secret ingredient!!  One cask will be at Oakwood beer festival, one at the Harlequin and four are off on their travels with Boggart.

  • "Czarna Kawa" - "Strong coffee" in Polish!  A single cask of Black No.1 with the addition of water in which 1lb of crushed coffee beans had been cold-steeped for 36 hours.  This is an experiment for a forthcoming beer. 

  Douro NegativeCzarna Kawa  

Our Verdict - Well, that came out pretty well and no-one could call it bland, that's for sure!  A huge roast, chocolate and full-on toasted malt flavour was tempered by a hefty bitterness - as a Stout should have - with some leafy, fruity hops adding interest.  The finish was massively burnt and roasty with, maybe just a touch too much sweetness meaning we could have left out the Crystal and maintained our boycott...! Still, it had everything we think a stout should have and it was even compared to "old-fashioned" stout by drinkers in the Bitter Suite; just the kind of feedback we want and appreciate.  (8.5/10)

Douro Negative had a lovely richness and fruitiness from the Port atop the coffee-chocolate and bitter base flavour (8.5/10), whilst Czarna Kawa positively reeked like a just-made espresso and was about as near-perfect as we could have hoped for! (9/10)

Where Black No.1 got to: Derby Beerfest; Harlequin, Sheffield; Dragon, Worcester; Cask & Welly, Sheffield; Fleetwood BF; Liverpool BF; Bitter Suite, Preston; Wenlock Arms, London; White Horse, Hedgerley; Oakwood BF, Rotherham; Doncaster BF;

Brew 2 : Worcestershire Sourced, 14/11/2009

Forged at The Brew Company

See the brewing and beer photos here!

Brew two follows a similar pattern to our first in that was made with only Maris Otter malt (normal colour this time, although we're still a crystal malt-free zone!) and a touch of wheat malt, but this time we'll be using, in addition to our favoured Magnum for bittering, some very special Worcestershire Cascades which Gazza has managed to acquire from a very sociable brewer who shall remain nameless but let's just say that we're well in debt to him!  We managed to acquire half the total harvest of these hops and used 6.1kg of them (plus 50g per cask for the dry-hopping in addition to 1.2kg of Magnum for bittering) to produce what we hope will be a hop-lover's wet dream in a glass... oh yes!

 

Variants on Worcestershire Sourced

  • "15:20" - Dry-hopped with American Cascades for the Scooper's "Xmas Piss-up" in the Harlequin, Sheffield, 19th December, commemorating Dave's 15,000th scoop and Gazza's 20,000th at the same time!

  • "Wheel Ale" - Dry-hopped with Worcestershire Cascades for Pig's Ear beer festival.

Our Verdict - Sadly, the Worcestershire Cascades were nowhere near as citrussy as we hoped (and they smelt!) so hop character was down on expectations, however the beer had an earthy bitterness with a tangy, fruity hop taste, maybe elderflower and/or ripe melons, so all wasn't lost.  An experiment that went wrong but at least we tried...! (5/10)

Wheel Ale Wasn't noticeably different than the base beer (5/10) whilst 15:20 came out by far the best with a lovely zesty, lemony Cascade nose. (6.5/10)

Where Worcestershire Sourced got to: Pig's Ear BF (Wheel Ale); Strathmore Arms; Dragon, Worcester; Plough, Worcester; Bacchus, Newcastle; Hillsborough Hotel, Sheffield; Harlequin, Sheffield; Micro Bar, Manchester; Black Lion, Manchester, New Oxford, Salford, White Horse, Hedgerley

Brew 1 : Hop Manifesto, 26/09/2009

Forged at The Brew Company

See the photos from our "Hop Manifesto" brewday here!

Hop Manifesto clip

 

Our first beer was brewed on 26th September and will be ready week commencing 12th October.  As it's our first testbrew it has been brewed and will be sold under the Brew Company's license although brewed the beer ourselves and created the recipe.  It is 4.8% alcohol and 81 IBU's in bitterness with a base of Fawcett's low-colour Maris Otter malt and Magnum, Centennial, Cascade and Chinook hops with Amarillo as the dry-hop.  Although we've not going too mad with the hops to begin with it still promises to be quite a treat for us... oh, and you hop-heads!

Why Hop Manifesto?  Well, it sets out our stall on what characteristics (hops!) we intend to strive for in our beer and also hints at us being slightly revolutionary... hop-wise, obviously, as we're good Capitalists in reality who love shiny-shiny new things... 

 

Variants on Hop Manifesto

  • "Bez Suchého Chmele - Jeden" - non-dry hopped (Hop Manifesto is dry-hopped with Amarillo).

  • "Life of Brian" - Real Lemon Zest and Amarillo dry hops added for Brian Moore's 70th birthday.

Our Verdict - What a blinder for a first beer!  Okay it didn't clear star-bright and it wasn't as hoppy as we hoped, but the Amarillos came through beautifully with a peachy fruitiness and the citrus hop was great.  With a bit more bitterness and hop in the finish this could have been just what we're aiming for meaning us never brewing anything new again... lucky you, then, it wasn't as good as we hoped!  This beer will be repeated in the future but, this time, made to recipe with a bunch more hops for good measure...  7.5/10

Bez came out pretty decent but was lacking the finishing Amarillo peachyness (7/10) and Life of Brian was over-lemoned (!) but still an interesting experiment and has given us an insight as to how much we need next time. (6/10)

Where Hop Manifesto got to : Wenlock, London; Oxford Beer Festival; Dragon, Worcester; Bacchus, Newcastle; Anchor, Birmingham; Various Sheffield pubs;