Wednesday 27 August 2014

Now that's what I call a big hop charge volume 85

Today we brewed, as promised, "Who's been sleeping in my Brain?" which is a golden 4.5%-ish brew with plenty of US hops including the new Eldorado which, unfortunately, didn't really impress us that much... yes, it had a luscious fruity aroma, but it just wasn't intense enough for us!  Hey ho... we stuck the whole pack in, all 5kg, anyhow along with Cascade, Citra and Columbus for a total copper hop charge of 15.5kg as can be seen here just before Jay got in to dig it out!

Hop sauna...

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Short week working, big batch brewing!

Yet again this week is a day short, thus depriving us of a brewing day, although this was more than compensated for by a proper day off and associated lie-ins!

Anyhow, to try and keep up with demand - last week was our best week ever with over 70 9's sold - we're brewing a "brew and a half", a 12 brewer's barrel (2200 litre) batch, of a new beer which utilises a new American hop (Eldorado) as well as some old-skool ones (Columbus, Cascade) and one new-wave classic (Citra).

The beer is called "Who's been sleeping in my Brain?" and is named after the album by seminal Goth band Alien Sex Fiend; it's also unusual in that this is a name request from an extremely sociable bikery-looking bloke at Cheltenham Motor Club after my meet the brewer there recently... and who am I to refuse a request of such quality, being an ASF fan myself?

Thursday sees a delivery run along the M4 to Wantage and Reading with more essential supplies of lupulins for the Thames Valley before Friday is spent loading a pallet bound for Manchester and casking up yet more beer, this time "Sharks against Surfers" and probably some more "Nelson Plus", although I may get tempted to cask some "Napoleon Complex" instead; we'll see on the day!

I really love that font!

Friday 22 August 2014

Special visitors and happy yeast!

I've been happy to welcome two lots of visitors today to Hopcraft towers... yes, I actually welcomed people, I know it's not generally the way I do things, but these people are my friends!

First up were Elaine and Tara of Yorkshire's Mallinsons brewery; we go back a long way do Tara and I, and it's always a pleasure to have some banter with the lasses from Huddersfield, and now it looks like I'll have to go and brew a beer with them!  Oh the hardship... !

Tara under the "mezzanine"
Second up was long-time mate Jessi (and friends) of old-skool Railpunk band Eastfield who popped in to check up on "Sharks against Surfers" which was named after an Eastfield track!  A clothing exchange was completed too, with a hoodie coming my way so I can look more "yoof", innit...

Jessi with goodies

I'm now about to cask up a load of beer before heading off home, I'm leaving two beers in full ferment with very happy looking yeasties gorging on the worts of Day of the Lords and Oceanic; as I've already mentioned this week was our busiest week ever so thanks to everyone who supports us and drinks our beer...

Have a good bank holiday everyone, keep the lupulous faith!

Thursday 21 August 2014

Delivering in that there London....

Seriously, if I'd realised the route we'd do today, I'd have left the seats in the van and charged £20 a go to some bemused tourists....

Then again, we hadn't banked on being stuck in Craft Clerkenwell for an hour!  Of the 4 roads leading to it, one is blocked off by bollards, one was blocked by a scaffolding truck, one was one-way the wrong way and the other blocked by a market!  After eventually getting outside (by encouraging a bloke towing a big silver oven to move...) we were then trapped as the exit road was full of scabby white vans being loaded with all manner of tawdry crap from the market as it was dismantled... ah well, at least we had a beer and a chat whilst we waited!

That's another 30 casks dropped off, good way to end our busiest week ever with 76 casks going out of the brewery door... thanks to everyone- drinkers and publicans - for their support!

The cold store is bare after loading up!

Craft Beer Co, Clerkenwell

The scenic route to Pimlico...

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Two brews in the FVs, now off to London!

Gazza and Jay have been busy the last couple of days brewing, palleting, cask washing, you name it!  We've brewed the much requested Oceanic again; this was a beer devised by Gazza and long-time beer acquaintance Dean Roberts a few months back and both brews done thus far have flown out; we'd like to think it was the combination of two international award-winning brewers (honestly, we are!) but it's probably just down to Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy being amazing hops...

This time Gazza has taken a machete to the recipe and trimmed out all the "filler" hops and replaced them with even more luscious Nelson and Galaxy, so here's hoping version 3.0 is the best yet... if so then don't expect it to be brewed too many times as we're reeeeealy short of both Galaxy and Nelson; not the best planning, eh?

The other rebrew is of the latest Joy Division beer, "Day of the Lords", which absolutely flew out - gaining rave reviews at the meet the brewer at Cheltenham Motor Club - so we felt it only right to brew it again, that and we didn't have the hops for the beer on the "brew planner"....

Citra and Nelson Sauvin (yes, again!) make up the majority of the hop charge for this brew which is a lusciously fruity thing of beauty and demands contemplation of it's huge fruity aroma; honestly, it smells absolutely gorgeous!  Such was the praise for the original brew we've unashamedly caved in to peer pressure and made it again with a few small recipe tweaks to improve the "user experience"...

Tomorrow sees us off to London town for deliveries to Craft Beer Clerkenwell, Southampton Arms and Snooty Fox Canonbury as well as recovering some much-needed empties along the way... rest assured the stereo is already being primed with bangin' choonz for the journey!

Gazza was sad because the Nelson twig cost him a fiver...

Monday 18 August 2014

Bigger, better, faster, hoppier, bitterer, Oceanicer...

Oceanic version 3.0 will, hopefully, be all of those things when we brew it tomorrow!  The recipe has been pared right back to include only luscious Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy hops (plus a pinch of Magnum for bittering) and we're hoping this will be the final iteration, the final word, the definitive Oceanic!

15kg of Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy will be drowned for you hopheads, don't let it be in vain...

The stickiest Galaxy hops ever!

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Collab at Waen!

Yesterday I went upcountry (perilously close to Gogland) to brew the return leg of a collaboration at the Waen brewery with Sue Hayward.

We produced a best bitter with British and German malts, plus Slovenian AND British Bramling Cross hops; it should be around 4.2% or so and will be more interesting that your average bitter; look out for it in a few weeks.

Getting out of the copper isn't easy!

Second attempt...

Quality control

Racking Swizzlestick

The only Fuggle to be added... ironically of course.

The surprise ingredient - very rare Slovenian Bramling Cross hops!

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Next collaboration brew... is next week!

Tuesday 12th August sees the return leg of our two-way collab with the Mid-Wales Waen brewery; Sue came down to brew "Whatever", an unclassifiable hoppy dark beer a few months back, and now Gazza is heading up the A470 to Llanidloes where we'll be brewing.... a best bitter!  Not the most surprising collab you might think, but we're expected to turn out something mad and/or hoppy so this should be an interesting one!

We're using Challenger, Bramling Cross and even... heaven forfend.... some Fuggles!  "The Brown Beer Society" is, as you'd guess, named for the monicker given to CAMRA by some of the more militant "crafterati" and, seeing as CAMRA love bitter and all things old-fashioned, it seemed an ideal name for it!

More news next week, maybe even some photos...

New CO2 cylinder shock

The excitement never ends here at Hopcraft Towers!  One of our CO2 cylinders which we use for putting a sterile blanket of gas into the conditioning tanks has been replaced with a shiny new one... our cup runneth over.

In other news, we're transferring beers to conditioning tank this week including "15 Minutes of Flame", "Napoleon Complex" and "Sharks against Surfers" plus hopefully re-brewing Deliverance APA again as it went down so well last time and we're trying to get the recipe nailed down tight.