Collaborations, or "collabs" as they're known by lazy people who can't be bothered to pronounce whole words, are all the rage at the moment in UK craft brewing. They began in the US when fellow brewers began to brew beers together and it's migrated, as with many things, over to our shores where we've put our own spin on it.
We meant to do loads of collabs with all the lovely brewers we know, but until now nothing has actually come off despite several tenuous plans... well, until last week that is! We were joined by James Bendall of the soon-to-be-operational Axiom Brewing of Wrexham and John Winnerah of the lamented Art Brew of Dorset who closed the day after we brewed - for now.
One of the main ideas of a collab is that all collaborators have input on the recipe and so we all sat around the PC wondering what to do; Gazza and Tom had just driven back from Reading after a "meet the brewer" the previous evening and although we'd all talked about the brew on twitter and email a bit nothing had really been decided upon! After some ideas bounced back and forwards we settled on a vague idea I'd put forwards the week before; a Belgian(ish) Black IPA which really is a bit of a strange beer to make but, hey, collaborations are all about pushing the boundaries!
The recipe was devised, the malts mashed in, dug, hops added, boiled, (lots) more hops added, wort cooled and finally stuck into FV4 with the yeast; sorted, and just enough time for some beers in Cardiff as a bonus!
So, massive thanks to James and John for their sociablilty and putting up with our shambolic setup and getting back late, the beer is now on chill (and at 5.8%) and tasting lovely; the whole sack of Special W malt (it's the German take on Belgian Special B malt) has given the beer a luscious fruitcake flavour to balance the hops and I'm very hopeful this will be an absolute cracker when it's finished in a week or two...
So, who's next then?
|James, Gazza (not asleep, honest) and John|
|The yeast begins it's work!|
|Worker and supervisor dig the mash|
|John getting stuck in|