Having spent quite a lot of time sampling some of the world’s best beers recently I realised I haven’t written about my own beer very much.
Well a lot has been going on in the brewery/understairs cupboard over the last couple of weeks as I’ve been preparing for a little party at the end of September all the beer has to age for a month before it.
First I made a couple of extract brews in the style of a Belgian Blond but with more hop than normal. “Holloway Hop 1” (HH1) is bittered with Styrian Goldings then flavoured with Saaz and Hallertau; HH2 is bittered with Northern Brewer then flavoured with Styrian Goldings and Hallertau. As I had a problem with my yeast these have both been fermented from the dregs of a Westvleteren Blond which is rather exciting.
On bottling HH1 had a lot going for it, you could really taste where the yeast came from, however… it also seemed massively over hopped with a huge bitter hit. After a week in the bottle it’s a bit better, still full of bitter grapefruit but I’m now hopeful it will be ok with age. HH2 isn’t ready to bottle yet but currently tastes similar though more promising. I was really careful not to let the Northern Brewer overpower it so put in very little and this may have saved it, time will tell.
A couple of days into it’s fermentation is something I’ve tried making a bit more British, mostly using extract again but with some steeped CaraMunich to improve the malt flavour (for those new to brewing steeping is immersing malted grain in hot, though not boiling, water for about half an hour, a bit like making tea). I’ve used Fuggles to bitter and flavour it and it’s fermenting with Safale S-04, British ale yeast.
The party lineup is completed with a keg of Brewferm Framboos. I’ve made this before and Jess is a big fan, hopefully it will be something for those who are not so into their beer. I also recently made up a Brewferm Gold pilsner so I could have some lager for the summer and I’m really pleased with it, there’s a lovely rich malt taste which I think is rare in these extract kits.
Finally, tonight Jess and I did a back to back test of two versions I made of “The Scrubber”, my Belgian Quadrupel style brew.
These are pretty similar extract brews but one is a little darker and stronger than the other and uses different candy syrup. Both have turned out ok though we agreed that the slightly weaker version works better, it is more spicy and less fruity and shows off the Westmalle yeast I used better. Both were a bit flat, this was the first time I had done a proper secondary fermentation and I didn’t realise how much more crucial priming (adding a tiny amount of sugar when bottling to allow a small in bottle fermentation to occur) would be because of this. Lesson learnt.