Noble Pils @ THBF’s Spring Thing 2011

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

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Filed under Beer, Brewing

A Taste of Home

Every so often I have visitors from South Africa come to stay with me – usually family or close friends. One of the benefits of having said visitors is that sometimes they can be persuaded to mule some South African produce over the Atlantic for me. Any ex-pat saffa will tell you how awesome it is to be presented with treats such as biltong, Nik naks, Snacker bars, Strawberry Whirls, Klipdrift brandy and the like from our homeland and while I love all of these, my personal preference is for a bottle or two of fine South African wine. Continue reading


Filed under Food, Travel, Wine


Directly translated, ‘bitterballen’ means ‘bitter balls’. There are so many jokes I could make here, but I’ll refrain as it’s not in my nature to take the low-hanging fruit (oh dear, and I tried so hard). Does this description sound appetising? Well, I’ll let you decide. Continue reading


Filed under Food, Travel

Homegrown Saaz Pilsner

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


Filed under Brewing, Hops

2010 Hop Harvest

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


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Leffe Lentebier / Bière de Printemps

Leffe 'Spring Beer'

I picked this up at Noel Cuvelier’s. I’d never seen it before, but at a mellow 6.6% ABV, I thought I’d give it a try.

‘Lente’ is the Dutch word for spring (in Afrikaans too, fwiw), so I was half-expecting a Belgian take on a Maibock. After tasting it, I’d like to call it a Belgian Blonde ale despite it being fairly dark in colour, although not nearly as much as the picture would suggest (the flash makes it look much darker – apologies for poor photography skills). Continue reading


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Noel Cuvelier’s Beer Shop

This place is an absolute goldmine.

I stumbled upon this place online somewhere while doing research for my first trip to Belgium, three years ago. An old mate of mine and I decided to take a long weekend and drive across to the Abbey of St Sixtus in Westvleteren to get some of the famous beer that the monks there brew. I was looking for a good beer shop with a wide selection that we could stop at on our way back, before crossing back to England. Continue reading


Filed under Beer, Travel