Sunday, 29 January 2012

Lady Murasaki - Pale Japanese Session Ale

After a brewing hiatus of a few months while a new assistant brewer was born and welcomed into the world, I've finally managed to get a new beer devised and brewed.  I usually make fairly strong beers, 5% abv or higher is common, and I thought the time was nigh to rein in my usual tendencies and try to brew something a little less potent.

I had a couple of bags of the Japanese hop Sorachi Ace in the cellar which I'd been wanting to try out for a while, so that was the start of my recipe.  Given a Japanese hop, I thought that I'd add some cooked rice into the grist as well, to further accentuate the influence of Nippon.

After those broad brush strokes of the recipe I was left with filling in the detail, and of course a name for the beer. Murasaki Shikibu was a 10th - 11th century diarist, poet and lady-in-waiting to the court of Empress Shōshi.  And to add to those honours she's now lent her name to my latest creation: Lady Murasaki - Pale Japanese Session Ale.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Shere Khan IPA

Regular readers may have noticed by now that I've got a deep appreciation for the work done by the Thornbridge brewery.  I was blown away the first time I tried one of their beers - it was draught Jaipur at the Sheffield Tap. Jaipur has gone on to win award after award, and is often credited with spearheading the recent resurgence in strong hoppy IPAs in Britain.

One of my favourite Thornbridge beers is the India Pale Ale called Kipling - it's a blend of classic IPA strength and bitterness, but using New World hops to impart a fruity slightly floral character.  It really is a cracking beer, and I heartily recommend you try it if you haven't already.

I found a recipe that purported to produce something not too far away from Kipling, and decided to have a go.  I've called it Shere Khan IPA after the chief antagonist of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book stories.

Saturday, 17 September 2011


This is a seriously hoppy, seriously strong American-style IPA.  It's called HONK! because it's going to absolutely reek of hops.  Lovely.

This is another self-devised brew, rather than follow someone else's recipe, but I got my inspiriation for the hops schedule from a recipe I read for Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, which had Chinook hops for bittering, then combinations of Centennial and Cascade late on in the boil, and then some for aroma after the boil.  I've also thrown in some  Nelson Sauvin in the aroma hops, and in dry-hopping.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Thornbridge Oatmeal Stout

To celebrate their forthcoming Great British Homebrew Challenge the good people at Thornbridge have come up with a new recipe for an oatmeal stout to get everyone's imagination kickstarted.

Thornbridge are well known for their innovation in brewing, and it's brought them award after award in the industry, and well deserved those awards are too.  And their slightly radical thinking extends to this stout recipe which is, at first glace, unusual.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

"London's Burning" Red Ale

With seemingly half the capital city's youth currently setting fire to cars and wheelie bins so that they can empty the shelves of the nearest Footlocker or Curry's, I didn't have to think hard to name my first attempt at a ruby red ale.

I'm using a base of pale malt, backed up by a good amound of Munich malt, some Carared malt, a little pale crystal malt for body, and a very small amount of both black and chocolate malts - hopefully this should give me a deep red-brown ale.

Monday, 1 August 2011


With apologies to the good people at the Wychwood brewery, I've had a go at a clone of their lovely Hobgoblin ale.  It's for my brother for Christmas, as he rates Hobgoblin very highly indeed - I hope I've done it justice.

I found a receipe on the Jim's Beer Kit forum, attributed to Orfy, and used that, as it came with a good reputation for matching Wychwood's brew.  I heartily recommend the forum at Jim's Beer Kit for picking up recipes and brewing advice.

Saturday, 30 July 2011


Kölsch, or Koelsch if you're not into umlauts, is a traditional beer of  Cologne, Germany.  I've heard it described as a half-way house between lager and ale, in that it uses pilsner malts, like a lager, but it is fermented at warmer temperatures more like an ale.

This is a bit of a departure for me, and comprises a number of firsts in my brewing career: the first time I've used Pilnser malt, the first time I've used just noble hops, the first time I've used a Wyeast smack-pack of yeast - in fact the first time I've brewed something which isn't a true ale.

My inspiration for this recipe is to make something my brother-in-law will appreciate at Christmas - he's a fan of his lagers, so I'm hoping the pilsner malt, noble hops and Kölsch yeast will make something he likes.