Friday, 22 November 2013

Homebrew Review - Galaxy

Firstly a big thanks to Scott, who kindly supplied the hops and the recipe for this one, all the way from Oz. Brewed at the beginning of October, the recipe for this one is here.

I split the batch into two and bottled half and stuck the other half in a keg. Gravity was 1.046, slightly under what was expected, but the beer is certainly no worse for it.

It pours a lovely golden colour, with decent carbonation producing a bright white head which laces the glass nicely. It's a cracking looking beer, but it sadly lacks the hop aroma I was expecting. It wasn't dry hopped, but I anticipated more from the good whack of late hops.


Initially, I was underwhelmed with the taste, but in fairness I was drinking the beer quite cold. Having raised the serving temperature a tad, the beer came to life. Even so, it's still a delicate number, no massive hit of peach, passion fruit or mango. More a gentle caress, with sweet herbal notes added in.

The more I drink it, the more I like it. I think my initial problem was that I was expecting something truly hoppy. With the bulk of the hops added from 10 minutes onwards, I guess that was never going to be the case.

As such, the beer makes much more sense as a summer drinker, but for now it gives me a nice low-gravity option over the Porter and IPA that were also recently brewed.

Ultimately it's a good beer, but I also liked the promise of the similar beer I brewed where the Galaxy hop was combined with Nelson Sauvin, although that brew wasn't without it's issues either. I reckon there's a really good beer somewhere between the two, which offers plenty of promise for a summer beer next year.

EDIT: A day after writing this review (of the kegged beer) I sampled one of the bottles. The beer was fresher and more vibrant, for sure. Although still a delicate number, the Galaxy aroma is definitely present in the bottled version and it drinks a nicer beer. I think the co2 in the keg might be responsible for masking a bit of the aroma. 25/11

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Hop Growing

I'll get to review the beer featuring my homegrown Bramling Cross hops shortly, but the early news is that it's not quite the beer I wanted.

However, earlier this week I managed to secure an hour or two up the allotment to tidy up the hop vines and frames. After harvesting, I cut the vines at the base and let them die back. I removed the withered growth from the canes this week, so the frame is now empty as winter approaches.

I also took the opportunity to plant another variety. Regular readers might remember that in addition to the Bramling Cross, I also had some Target in the past. The Target failed to establish as well as the BX, so I dug them out at this time last year, with a view to replacing them.

It was some job trying to remove all trace of the roots, and to ensure there was no mix up with varieties in the future, I left the bed empty for a year. I must have made a good job of it as no growth appeared, so the bed is now ready for its new occupant.


These are Whitbread Golding Variety (WGV). I planted two rhizomes in a container last year, just to get them going prior to planting out at the allotment. Having retrieved them from the container, they have come on a bundle from their original size, so I'm hopeful of a good start from them next year. 

I tend to use WGV in a Best Bitter, a recipe I've probably returned to more times than any other, usually pairing it with Progress and a late addition of Styrian Goldings. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Brewday - Best Bitter 06/11/2013

No time to waffle. I've wasted too much time over the last couple of weeks dealing with computer problems and emotional crap from the family. I'm certainly in no mood to write chapter and verse.

Suffice to say that anything expensive around the home that might breakdown, has done exactly that over the last fourteen days. If it carries on, I might be next.

Today I'm washing my hands of being a father, a husband and and employee. Today, the real world can feck off. I'm brewing.

Special/Best/Premium Bitter

Type: All Grain Date: 06/11/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 45.00 l Brewer: Mark
Boil Size: 52.43 l Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Elite 45l Brew
End of Boil Volume 48.88 l Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 45.00 l Est Mash Efficiency 73.1 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50):
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8200.00 g Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC) Grain 1 94.8 %
450.00 g Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (157.6 EBC) Grain 2 5.2 %
30.00 g Progress [6.78 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 3 12.2 IBUs
20.00 g Whitbread Golding Variety (WGV) [6.78 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 8.1 IBUs
15.00 g Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 5 5.8 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 6 -
15.00 g Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 1.0 min Hop 7 0.5 IBUs
2.0 pkg British Ale Yeast (Mangrove Jack's #M07) Yeast 8 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.042 SG Measured Original Gravity:
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG Measured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.1 % Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 26.6 IBUs
Est Color: 15.0 EBC