I still haven’t used last years hop harvest in anger, so I thought a Sierra Nevada inspired pale ale would do the job.  And the title of the brew comes from The Game of Thrones and those dastardly blonde Lannisters!

My homegrown cascades look and smell delicious.  Really, really stinky.  Much more pungent than the higher alpa hops I’d actually purchased.  Given the Aurora and Northdown hops were from a 2011 harvest it makes me wonder how much aroma and flavor they’d lost over the prolonged storage.

Another overnight mash and Windsor yeast again too.

4000g Marris Otter
260g Crystal 150 EBC
Northdown 9.3% @ 60 mins 14g
Alsace Cascades 6% @ 10 mins 42g
Aurora 8.5% @ 10 mins 42g
Alsace Cascades 6% @ 0 mins 43g
Final Volume: 22L
OG: 1048
FG: 1012

I had to do a bit of serious water treatment to be able to brew this pale, 20EBC beer using my rock hard French water.  Lashings of Carbonate Reducing Solution and Magnesium Sulphate were called for.

Seriously stinky Alsacian Cascades

Seriously stinky Alsacian Cascades


Big Umber Amber

February 26, 2013

Oh my god!  A blog post!  Time has been severely limited of late with the usual suspects of modern life gobbling up my brewdays.  But I finally managed to squeeze one in, so here is the post.  It’s a simple amber ale with plenty of high alpha British hops.  I used Windsor yeast which can be a finicky bugger (low attenuation, poor clearing) but is quite flavourful.  Other thing of note is that I did an overnight mash to cut a few hours off the brew day.  Anyway, here’s the recipe:

4000g Marris Otter
227g Crystal 150 EBC
113g Crystal 240 EBC
227g Chocolate Malt 1000 EBC
Northdown 9.3% @ 60 mins 12g
Northdown 9.3% @ 15 mins 28g
First Gold 8.1% @ 10 mins 16g
Aurora 8.5% @ 10 mins 16g
First Gold 8.1% @ 0 mins 34g
Aurora 8.5% @ 0 mins 34g
Final Volume: 23L
OG: 1045
FG: 1012

I mashed in at 66degreesC on Friday night and wrapped several blankets and a sleeping bag around the tun.  Twelve hours later the temperature had dropped to 50degreesC.  I then topped it up with near boiling water raising it to 78degreesC which was perfect for sparging.

A totally uninspiring shot of the hydrometer 3 days later!

A totally uninspiring shot of the hydrometer 3 days later!

Windsor did the job and the gravity is sitting at 1012 three days later.

Alsace Hops 2012

August 14, 2012

I’m giving the brewing a bit of rest until Autumn time as it’s getting a bit too warm for the fermentation.  However, my hops have done really well, so a post of piccys is well deserved!

The East Kent Goldings have taken over the western wall.

The EKGs have gone crackers and produced a lot more hops than last year.  Twining the bines around the horizontal wires got rather tedious.  I think I’ll install vertical supports in the Spring.

Cascades making for the house!

The cascades have put on less growth then the EKG’s, but should still produce a bumper crop.  Hopefully I’ll have time to use them in the Autumn!

Yahoo!  A day off work and an empty house.  Time to brew!

I’m going for an American pale ale today which should compliment the clement weather we’re having in Alsace at the moment.  The recipe is a clone of the 21st Amendment Bitter American which I found in Brew Your Own magazine, though I did tweak the hops a bit as I wasn’t too happy with the quality of the Cascades in my last brew.  I subscribe to BYO and think it’s a great read and not too expensive either – even with the over seas shipping.

4290g Pale Malt
155g Crystal 150 EBC
155g Crystal 60 EBC
310g Munich
Chinook @ 60 mins 21g
Centennial @ 15 mins 23g
Chinook @ 0 mins 19g
Centennial @ 15 mins 10g
Chinook Dry Hop 10g
Centennial Dry Hop 20g
Pre-boil Volume: 26 Litres
Final Volume: 22 Litres
Original Gravity: 1048
Final Gravity: 1015
Alcohol Content: 4.3% ABV
Yeast: S05

I’m going for a 70°C mash temp on this one to hopefully get the high FG with the greedy beast that is Safale S05.

The hop filter works! And the wort is nice and clear.

And amazingly my hop filer carrot construction worked like a charm.  And I finally got to see what break material looks like…

So that’s what break material looks like!

Hop Filter Mark II

June 24, 2012

Well, here is the new hop filter.  Same design as before, just with a larger gauge mesh.

The new hop filter. It must work!

This is my first attempt at an American IPA using plenty of “C” hops.  It’s a clone of the Sierra Nevada Celebration ale.  The recipe was given out during an interview with Sierra Nevada on The Brewing Network.

5000g Pale Malt
664g Crystal 60 EBC
Chinook 12.7% AA @ 60 mins 18g
Cascade 5.7% AA @ 30 mins 30g
Centennial 9.7% AA @ 0 mins 16g
Cascade 5.7% AA @ 15 mins 30g
Centennial 9.7% AA @ 15 mins 16g
Pre-boil Volume: 26 Litres
Final Volume: 20 Litres
Original Gravity: 1070
Final Gravity: 1014
Yeast: SO5
Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV

All went swimmingly apart from the usual blockage of my hop filter.  I’ll have to have re-think and install something that actually works.

My dingy brew den in the garage. Once the rest of the house is sorted It’ll be cleaned, tiled and made into a clean room.

I plan on brewing an IPA tomorrow so thought I’d check my water alkalinity with my trusty alkalinity Salifert Kit.  The blooming result was off the scale.  Greater than 400 mg/L CaCO3.  And as I don’t have enough CRS to get “de l’eau” into the desirable range I thought I’d try boiling it to precipitate out the chalk.

Chalk, chalk, chalk.

After boiling all my liquor for 10 minutes I got a beautifully festive dusting of white powder and an alkalinity of 136 mg/L CaCO3.  I suppose it will have to do… oh, how I pine for the soft waters of Scotland!

I did this brew a two weeks ago but wanted to know the final gravity before I posted.  The brew day was pretty hectic as I was installing a sattelite dish at the same time (French TV is good for picking up the language, but is quite poor really) so there are no pictures!  I thought I’d try my hand at a Barley Wine to cellar for Christmas time so I basically beefed up the Fullers 1845 recipe from last time, added a bit of sugar and hoped that a 2 hour boil would reduce the volume enough to get a 1090 OG.  I mashed in at 66 degrees C for 90mins looking for a highly fermentable wort.

5114g Pale Malt
162g Crystal 320 EBC
162g Amber Malt 100 EBC
162g Munich Malt
410g Sugar
First Gold 7.25% AA @ 60 mins 42g
First Gold 7.25% AA @ 15 mins 14g
First Gold 7.25% AA @ 0 mins 14g
Pre-boil Volume: 26 Litres
Final Volume: 18 Litres
Original Gravity: 1080
Final Gravity: 1010
Yeast: Nottingham
Alcohol Content: 9.2% ABV

Things didn’t exactly go to plan though.  I seriously underestimated the evaporation rate and ended up with more beer at OG 1080, which I guess should still pack quite a punch at Yuletide.  Also my hop filter stuck which is surprising as I used less hops than the last brew; perhaps due to an increased hot/cold break?  I pitched 15g of Nottingham and slowly raised the fermentation temp from 18 through 21 degrees C.  After 2 weeks the FG is 1010, which works out at around 9.2% ABV with 88% attenuation!

The name for the brew came from the comic 2000AD’s Slaine character.  I’ve recently renewed my subscription to the comic  after a 15 year hiatus and it’s better than ever!  Hopefully this brew will be potent and tasty enough to inspire Slaine mac Roth himself into a berserker rage.


I took the day off work to get this brew done and to tidy up the garden a bit.  All in all a very satisfying brew day with minimum stress.  The recipe, once again, came from The Jamil Show podcast where they attempted to clone Fullers 1845 .  A single hop recipe using all Goldings with a hefty OG.  I also tried out my new hop filter in the boiler which worked a treat.  I very simply just rolled up some stainless steel mesh and held it together with some twists of wire I’d stripped from the mesh itself.

4270g Pale Malt
540g Crystal 150 EBC
540g Amber Malt 100 EBC
EKG @ 60 mins 51g
EKG @ 15 mins 42g
EKG @ 0 mins 42g
Pre-boil Volume: 25 Litres
Final Volume: 18 Litres
Original Gravity: 1059
Final Gravity: 1012
Yeast: Mix of Windsor and Nottingham
Alcohol Content: 6.2% ABV

A very understanding wife took care of the kids for the day so I could get on with my first all grain brew for over a year.  I thought I’d go with something relatively simple so as not to bugger it up so a biiter with just two hop additions sounded ideal.  I used a recipe for Wychwood Hobgoblin as a starting point, subbing out the Styrian Goldings hops for First Gold (hence the “Golden” Goblin).  For the yeast I thought I’d try a 50:50 mix of Danstar Windsor and Nottingham hoping the fruity flavour of the Windsor will come through while the Notty will help with the attenuation.

3860g Pale Malt
324g Crystal 150 EBC
90g Crystal 320 EBC
18g Sugar
Fuggles @ 60 mins 14g
EKG @ 60 mins 10g
First Gold @ 15 mins 38g
Cascade @ 15 mins 10g
Pre-boil Volume: 26 Litres
Final Volume: 21 Litres
Original Gravity: 1045
Final Gravity: 1009
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV

My newly lagged Burco is doubling as a HLT and boiler so there was a fair bit of jigging about of wort and hot water.  I also had a massive boil over of wort and my stainless steel braided hop filter stuck after chilling.  I was forced to just pour wort, hops and break material into the fermenter and hope for the best.  So, a few hiccups but nothing major!

The view from my (garage) brewery. Snowy!

Frothy fermentation with all the hops floating on top.