Thursday, 31 October 2013

Beer Review: Green Tights

"Back in the saddle again"

I know, I know, starting with a song lyric is the last bastion of a scoundrel. Tonight I restart my reviewing of beers in a new place with new breweries. Apparently I now live in the brewery capital of the British Isles. This should help make up for the fact that I am farther from the coast than is possible anywhere else in England and thus the fish and chips are... well, they're not top notch. Tonight, therefore, I sample through the goodness and generosity of my wife a local brew from Wollaton Breweries by the name of Green Tights.

An expensive little brew but craftily done and in a small local brewery outside an old Elizabethan estate that we went to visit. It's an IPA with a 4.1% ABV and a lovely little squat bottle in which looks the part. On opening there wasn't much of a snick and the bottle warned rightly of sedimentation. I suspect I ought to have left it a little longer to condition (hark at me as a brewer). Anyway, nicely pale golden colour with an aroma that was nothing to write home about. Vigorous head that forms quickly and then froths a bit.

Taste is hoppy and lively with an element of citrus as one would expect. The bottle claims that it is crisp and it does not lie, this is one craft brewery that has delivered more than the one from Fountains (and it pains me to say that), and there's a depth to it. The bottle says 'biscuity' and I can't comment, but it is a bit flakier than a standard ale. It is very nice, very flavorsome, and very crafty.

I enjoyed it as an accompaniment to the watching of Sharpe's Enemy, a real blast from my youth and also one that I have never actually seen before. For this purpose the ale was well matched for it had that sort of body and zest that fits the musical overtones. As Sharpe was a bit of a bastard so is the beer in the fact that it masquerades as something less than it is, with the sediment and the lack of carbonation. No, this is a proper ale for sharing with men in snugs and with darts or snooker being played in the background. Enjoy it slowly, let it breathe and let it work its magic. It is a proper little beer from a proper little brewery. I have much to live up to.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


The beer has a name. It shall forever be officially known as Slightly Shitty Slow-Brewed Stag.

Would you like to more?

Monday, 21 October 2013

We're bubblin' it hot hot hooot

And if you get my reference in the title you are a) rather old and b) rather sad. If you don't, well done, you passed the test.

Just a little update: as of this morning my bucket has started to swell slightly and there are alarming bubbling noises every so often. I think this means that the yeast is doing its thing quite nicely despite the fact that the temperature is below the 20 degrees required (a constant 18 has been observed and that's pretty good). I think we're on track for a Friday evening adding of hops.

On bottling I may cheat and use IKEA bottles with replaceable stoppers for two reasons: I'm lazy and, more importantly, when I inevitably get it all wrong and the tops explode I can simply replace them. Actually, that's both the same reason: I'm lazy.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Beer Brewing

With many thanks to all the people at my old Department, I have begun an epic journey this evening.

Well, okay, I've started brewing my first batch of beer. Beer kit provided by Festival Beer Brewing Company, it is the Golden Stag variety. I have disinfected the bin, lid, tubes and various items. Then you soften the malt (stop reading if you know the process), cut open the bags and put the malt in the bottom of the bin. I don't know what I expected malt to look like but the treacle-viscous substance that oozed from the plain green bags wasn't it. This formed a viscous treacle (no, really?) layer at the bottom of the bin that seemed to be solidifying and hardening as I watched. Add three litres of boiling water and it started to flow better, then, with my lovely lady assistant doing the stirring, I added a further twenty litres of cold water.

It frothed, looked like a bad batch of beer, and then did, uh, nothing. I sampled it as instructed for Specific Gravity and the reading said "40". I have recorded this, the SG meter tells me that this is "start brewing" SG, and then added the yeast with a gentle stir. I have put the lid on, stuck in the airlock (which promptly drained and had to be refilled with water when I moved the bin into the cupboard under the stairs) and stuck the bin in an area that is currently about 18 degrees Centigrade and is roughly consistent temperature.

At approximately six days, so next Friday evening, I shall add the hops. At some point this week I must also order either another bin or some barrels to decant the beer into. Given that the barrels last less time than bottles I suspect a second bin and some bottling kit may be in order. This... could get expensive.

Still, I am moderately excited and this, hopefully, sets a new routine that I can follow. Members of my old Department, expect bottled slightly shitty beer in the near future! I can't promise a label.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Beer Review: Manns Brown Ale

I have had a good few days and I feel like I have produced some good work. I feel productive recently in a way that would have been unthinkable this time last year, or this time the year before that. Hell, since 2009. Anyway, I decided that I would reward myself with a beer. Which I have. It is Manns Brown Ale from, yes you guessed it, Manns Brewery. There's no apostrophe, I feel like I should be insulted, but there it is.

However, grammar-based issues aside (and, let's face it, it's not a formal setting so why do I care so much?) there's an ale here in my kitchen begging to be drunk. Look at it, could you deny that face? Would you like to know more?