Tasting: Amarillo Ale and Ho Pale Ale

Tasting Amarillo Ale (aka Alvin’s Amarillo Ale) and Ho Pale Ale (Fran’s Fruityalvin ale Ale)

Good news! Despite accidentally freezing both kegs of beer in my new keezer (portmanteau of keg and freezer) both beers went down well at Alvin’s and Fran’s wedding.

The corriander seeds in the Ho Pale Ale weren’t really noticable (need to add more than 2 tablespoons next time) but both were tasty and certainly drinkable. The Amarillo Ale was certainly more citrusy and happy – and the Ho Pale Ale quite fruity. I think both were quite fruity due to the high fermentation temperatures.

The accidental freezing didn’t have an impact on the flavour fortunately but sadly did make both beers rather cloudy. The keezer is definitely a work in progress.

Homebrew: Amarillo Ale

Amarillo Alebrewshed hooks

Beer style: Pale ale
Target ABV: 4.5%
Hops: Challenger and Amarillo
Ready for drinking: from 8 Aug 2014 (keg)

Another brew for Alvin’s wedding. Another pale ale, but aiming for something a bit citrusy this time. The weather has been crazily warm – for the last brew it was almost perfect – 25 degrees during the day and maybe 15 degress at night. With a nice little insulated cover over my fermenting tank, my brew was staying at about 20 degrees.

This brew might be a little bit different. It’s getting up to 30 degrees plus in the day and it’s going to be tricky to keep it cool. I might need to bring it inside the cool house. I guess a highish fermenting temperature will probably give me some fruit esters in the brew. Perhaps not such a bad thing for this recipe.

Homebrew: Ho Pale Ale

Ho Pale Alekegging

Beer style: Pale ale
Target ABV: 4.5%
Hops: Goldings, Hallertau Hersbucker, Saaz (and some corriander seeds)
Ready for drinking: from 30 July 2014 (keg)

A similar recipe to L.O.V.E but with English ale yeast rather than Belgian. This one is also for a wedding – my good friend Alvin Ho – hence the name. I’m hoping for an easy drinking but slightly spicy ale.

The brewshed is getting better every time and absolutely loving the cornelious keg – so much quicker and easier than bottles.

I’ve also been experimenting with a new sterilising fluid (star san). It’s great because you don’t have to rinse it off. So much quicker. All very useful as I’m having to brew every weekend at the moment to keep up with my wedding brew plans.

Homebrew: Brewshed Bitter

Brewshed Bitterbrewshed

Beer style: Bitter
Target ABV: 4.0%
Hops: Challenger, Goldings and Amarillo
Ready for drinking: from 20 July 2014 (keg)

The brewshed is ready! And I’m celebrating with the brewing of my favourite kind of beer – a classic bitter. This is another beer for my sister’s wedding in a few weeks’ time and will be kegged, rather than bottles. Even more excitement.

The brew cupboard needs a bit of work – I’ll get it set up properly over time as I work how exactly how I’m going to use it. Even now it’s made the brewing process much easier – no more running up and downstairs collecting bits of kit from all over the house and no more malty steam in the living room.

Homebrew: L.O.V.E

loveL.O.V.E Summer Ale

Beer style: Pale ale / Amber ale
Target ABV: 4.5%
Hops: Goldings, Hallertau Hersbucker, Saaz (and some corriander seeds)
Ready for drinking: from 15 July 2014

The summer of weddings is starting. This is my first of two brews I’m doing for my sister’s wedding next month. I’m using a Belgian ale yeast, some corriander seeds and some continental hops to make something a little bit different to my usual pale ales.

Still brewing in the house. The garden is still being worked on and the brew cupboard will follow on soon. Exciting!

Homebrew(ish): Al’s Root Beer

Al’s Root Beerroot beer

Beer style: Root Beer (i.e. not actually beer)
Target ABV: 1-2% maybe
Ready for drinking: from 30 June 2014

I’ve never tried root beer, but my friend Al loves it and popped over yesterday to get a bit of help brewing up a batch. It doesn’t contain any malt or any other grains (so in my mind isn’t beer) but is a sugary mix that is flavoured with various roots and spices.

We added the following to some water and boiled it up for 45 minutes or so with 3-4 litres of water:

  • 40g Sarsparilla
  • 8g Burdock
  • 3g Hops (Nelson Sauvin)
  • 4g Dandelion
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (4g)
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 280G unrefined demerara sugar
  • 2 tbspn golden Syrup
We then cooled it and added some English ale yeast before leaving it to bubble away for a week or so.

Homebrew: Last Rivot

Last Rivot

Beer style: Pale Ale
Target ABV: 4.2%
Hops: Challenger, Cascade and Saaz
Ready for drinking: from 26 June 2014

It’s another pale ale, this time to celebrate the completion of the first stage of my friend’s boat restoration project (hence the name). It’s a variation on Salvo, but with some quirky Saaz hops thrown in, and a slightly lower ABV. I’m hoping for photos of the boat launch party soon.

Progress on the brew cupboard is slow but this may be one of the last brews in the living room!

Homebrew: Frida in a keg

Frida pale ale – v2keg_shake

Beer style: Pale ale
Target ABV: 4%
Ready for drinking: from 24 May 2014 (but brewed on 17 May!)

Exciting times! My mate Al is getting married this summer and would love a keg or beer at his wedding reception. So, I’ve bought myself a beautiful cornelius keg. It really is a thing of beauty. All polished stainless steel. The idea is that you stick the beer in the kegĀ  rather than bottles after the initial fermentation and then rather than leaving the beer in the bottles for a few weeks for secondary fermentation you can almost instantly make the beer fizzy by adding carbon dioxide.

I brewed one Saturday and then served the beer from the keg at a BBQ on the following Saturday. I stuck to a known recipe and did a slight variation on the Frida Pale Ale. The fun bit was trying to get C02 into the keg quickly on Saturday morning. Usually you would leave the keg connected to the gas for a week or so at pressure and gradually the beer would absorb the gas. If you want to do it quickly you have to pressurise and then shake it up violently – or roll it along the floor, which was my chosen method. It didn’t quite work and was very hard to just how fizzy it was getting. I ended up with a very foamy, but not very fizzy pale ale. Tasty but looking forward to trying it again with the slow and less exhausting method. Most of all, it was a pleasure not to wash and sterilise 40 individual bottles.

Homebrew: Bunting Bitter v2

Bunting Bitter version 2

Brew Cupboard

Possible Brew cupbard layout

Beer style: Bitter
Target ABV: 5.5%
Ready for drinking: from 31 May 2014

No brewing for more than a month! What a disgrace. I blame holidays and the total chaos in our house caused by our current garden relandscaping project. The good news is that I did manage to squeeze in a brew last weekend and the even better news is the new garden design incorporates a “brew cupboard” – a crazy wooden lean-to that unfolds to create a semi-outdoor brewing space in the side return of the house. No more smelly brewing in the living room or bubbling fermentation in the bathroom cupboard (unless the weather is really bad).

So, I’ve had another go at a bitter. I was inspired by a delicious brew from the Wild Card Brewery up the road in Walthomstow and some very positive feedback on Bunting Bitter version 1.

The recipe stayed almost the same, just a few tweaks to the hop cobination and variety of yeast. Definitely need to do some blind testing with this next batch.

Homebrew: Frida Pale Ale

Frida Pale Ale (aka Erin’s summer brew)Frida Pale Ale

Beer style: Pale Ale
Target ABV: 4%
Ready for drinking: from 9 April 2014

It’s about time I made some beer for my wife. So here it is. A wheaty summery pale ale with a mixture of kiwi and american hops chosen by Erin herself. I’m hoping for a nice fruity ale with a good body from the wheat.

And the simple way to get Erin to really love something is to brand it with Frida Kahlo, her absolute favourite mexican lady!

Bring on a summer of bbqs and beer.