Well this is admittedly a little late, considering that the first BJCP-sanctioned UK National Homebrew Competition was in fact held in September. I’ve just got back from a holiday in South Africa and I have tons of cool stuff to write up but I had to shamelessly pop this in first :p Continue reading
Category Archives: Brewing
It’s been a while since I posted my brewday and recipe for my Noble Pils. A beer like this tends to be a bit of a long-term project for a few reasons, mainly because it is a lager and as well as taking longer on the day to brew, lagers also take about twice as long as ales to ferment. Add to this the so-called ‘lagering’ (cold storage) process whereby the beer conditions and clarifies at near-freezing temperatures and we’re up to a few months. If this wasn’t bad enough, this was a very hoppy beer and over-hopping takes some time to mellow out (bitterness and hop flavour diminishes with age). Continue reading
This is the third beer I’ve made using homegrown hops. My Saaz harvest was the best of the bunch last year, with me netting about 90 odd grams dried from my two plants. I air-dried them and once dried, put them in a ziplock bag with all the air squeezed out and then in a clip-lock, tupperware-type container in my freezer, where they’ve been ever since whilst I found time to brew with them. Well, the time finally arrived last weekend, when I made a Bohemian Pilsner with them. Continue reading
As some of you may know, I grow my own hops. I do it for a few reasons, none of which have anything to do with saving money. I love plants and gardening in general and like to think I have something of a green thumb. Also, as a brewer, it’s nice to have hop plants about the place. Continue reading
I’ve been meaning to sort my brewery out with QD’s for ages, but for one reason or another I’ve only just managed it. Polysulfone QD’s seem to be the most commonly available option to the UK homebrewery, but I just don’t like using plastic in my brewery any more than I can help it – inert or not. Continue reading
My beer is finally available! For those who don’t know, I was lucky enough to have a beer I entered into the CBA National Homebrew Competition last year take first place out of a total of 216 entries. My beer, Angry Yank Pale Ale, originally a 5.2% American Pale Ale featuring Cascade and Amarillo hops, won 1st place in the ‘Specialty’ class of the competition (a kind of ‘catch-all’ category for those beers that don’t fit into the usual categories of Bitter, Best Bitter, Strong Bitter, IPA, etc, commonly found in British beer competitions) and went on to take the Judge’s Choice award for the Beer of the Festival. Continue reading
This is going to be my summer pilsner. I made a ten gallon batch, so I won’t have my usual dilemma whereby the beer just starts to really taste good when it’s almost finished! After trying Victory’s Prima Pils, I had the idea of using a blend of the noble hops to try make something a bit more interesting.
My hops have recently all woken up to spring and have new shoots. Last year I planted my hops in pots but I think they are now completely potbound and could use more space.
I would put them in bigger pots, but then they wouldn’t all fit properly under the trellis I built last year. I solved the problem by getting new square pots the same size as the ones they are in now and cut the bottoms off them with a stanley knife. I then placed them on top of the soil in the old pots, making double-height pots.
The shoots were about 15cm long and were already starting to develop leaves, so I carefully filled up the pots around the shoots with a mixture of fresh potting soil and perlite for extra drainage, taking care not to damage the new shoots. I expect they will break through this new layer of soil in a week or two.
I’m going to grow the hops along thick jute twine, run from the pots up to the frame in the picture below and then up to eye-hooks on the side of my house. This way the hops form a pergola as they grow, which provides shade cover as well as privacy to the one side of my patio area. I did this last year and it worked brilliantly and looked great. I also got a few hundred grams of different home-grown hops to brew with.