Friday, 24 August 2012

Homegrown Hops

On a more positive note, this year's harvest of Bramling Cross hops is coming along nicely.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Brewing beer is my hobby. It's meant to be fun and rewarding. Currently it's neither.

The bottled version of my last brew has gone the way of those before. Early samples were encouraging; lovely tropical fruit on the nose, well balanced on the palate and very drinkable. Then, for whatever reason, the hop aroma disappeared and the beer has become dry and astringent.

Having experienced this in earlier beers, I put it down to cleaning residue which resulted in a change to the cleaning and sanitising routine. From what's developed in this latest brew, it would appear this was not the problem.

And I'm assuming it's just the bottles. I brew in 10 gallon batches, bottle 5 and put the other half in a cask. As much as I'm longing to tap the cask and see how that's doing, it's earmarked for a party. As I currently have a shortage of beer, I have nothing else to take, so it will have to wait.

In a previous brew, although the bottles suffered, the cask was fine, so I'm hoping it will be the case this time around too.

The cask version is racked straight from the FV. The bottled version gets racked into a secondary vessel prior to bottling. So if the beer itself is fine, something is going awry either in the second vessel, or in the bottle.

To try and remedy the situation, for the next brew, I've purchased a new secondary vessel and a new bottling stick and all bottles will be cleaned and santised by hand, instead of relying on the dishwasher. And it has to work, as I'm fed up of chucking beer.

Having brewed for a good number of years without problems, some even good enough to warrant attention at National competitions, I ought to know what I'm doing. Recent events leave me doubting.

Brewery Open Day - Triple FFF

The annual family vacation meant that things have been pretty quiet on the brewing front for the last couple of weeks. And although it's never nice returning to the daily grind after a decent break, the prospect of a brewery open day softened the blow a little.

Three days after returning from France, the Triple FFF brewery threw open their doors for their annual open day.

Based in the village of Four Marks in Hampshire, a history of the brewery can be found here. In addition to the beer, there was musical entertainment and food cooked on a massive paella pan over an open fire.

Shiny Mash tun...

dusty chalkboard...

and some classic two-wheeled transport.

Whilst there, CAMRA awarded Triple FFF with further awards for Moondance and Pressed Rat And Warthog 

I managed to try both, along with Alton's Pride (supreme champion beer of Britain in 2008), Dazed and Confused, Elder Skelter and Jabberwocky, a really tasty black IPA.

A cracking day, good beer, good company and terrific weather. As for me, I'm firing up my brewery again tomorrow. Revisiting my Citra Pale Ale which won me a bronze at last year's National Homebrew Competition.