Kit Brew Number 2: Woodfordes Headcracker.

November 3, 2009

A couple of pals at work were clubbing together to do a big order from an online homebrew shop & I couldn’t resist getting this one.  It’ll be a while until I have the time do my next brew-day (a partial mash ESB for my Dad’s Xmas pressie) so this simple kit would act as a stop gap.

Woodfordes get some mixed reviews due to them apparently sticking & finishing with a too high FG, but they still seem to be the most popular two can kits in the UK. So I thought I’d try the Headcracker; a supposed 7% ABV Barley Wine. But as I had a few spare bits in my brew box, I couldn’t resist tweaking.  So here’s the “recipe”:

Westwood’s Skullsplitter

1 Woodfordes Headcracker Kit

200g Crystal Malt

300g Brupaks Belgian Light Candi Sugar

1 x Nottingham Yeast

Original Gravity 1075

Total Cost Per Pint 95p

After steeping the grains, dissolving the candi sugar & mixing in the tins I chilled the fermentor in an ice bath to get it down to 20degreesC & pitched the yeast.  I opted for Nottingham yeast as it’s high attenuating so it will hopefully take a big bite out of this high original gravity.  My Dad also brought up his crop of homegrown Challenger & WGV hops so some of those will be used for dry hopping.  I reckon this’ll be finished in 3 weeks, bottled and then supped in the New Year.

I’ve also taken delivery of 2kg of Maris Otter & some other grains from Barley Bottom.  I reckon I’ll be able to use a large cast iron le creuset pan plus muslin for a bit of mashing.  My first steps on the road to all-grain has begun!


After 10 days the gravity is down to 1020 with still some activity present.  I’ve kept the temperature at a constant 20 degrees up till now but now I’ve popped the brew belt on it to bump it up to 22-24 degrees for the remainder of the fermentation.  I’ll also be rousing the yeast every day.  I’m confident that it’ll finish around 1016.  I’ve also dry hopped with a good handful of goldings.  Smells yummy!

New Update!

Bottled at an FG of 1014 after 3 weeks.  Looking forward to the New Year already.


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