Friday, 30 December 2011

Brewing up a storm in Manchester

Well hellllllo people. Once again I find that I have to apologise for my sporadic blogging, but still with a lack of a proper computer to write with and being epic busy with playing Skyrim (well......that game was always gonna take over my life) I've only just found time to write. So this is a quick update on my life as of now:

- I'm back where I belong.....Working behind the bar! I'm currently working at The Gateway in East Didsbury and all is going well and the cellar is NICE.
- I'm living in my own place.......well.....I say my own place....its a house-share, but I've got my own keys and everything!!
-Life in Manchester is going pretty darn well. I could probably do with meeting more people, but hey, I love the fact that you cant blink an eye without a new brewery opening its a bit of give and take.

Anyway...... that's enough of me, lets take about beery things. Now one of the first things I did after coming to Manchester (other then blowing ALL of my cash going to ALL the pubs and tasting ALL the beer........I should probably get round to blogging about that as well at some point??) was to resume home brewing, but not for hobby purposes, ohhh its for research. To shake things up a bit, this time I would have a partner in beer-science with The Ara brewing with me......well....I say "partner"...Ara came up with the types of beers we were going to brew, what hops and malt we were using and did most of the work......I mostly did a brewing of another kind.........the tea :D.

I've been sworn to secrecy under punishment of castration on the recipes and specific details of the brews, but what I can tell you is that Brew 1 was a smoked red ale and that Brew 2 was a spiced pumpkin bitter that was also slightly smoked. We made only a small batch of each as we didn't have much brewing space and to say our equipment was....well...."rustic" is a bit of an understatement, but as would later prove, didn't make a difference on the finished beers. What did though was a calculation error on my part for Brew 1 that meant we ended up with a beer a 7% ABV rather then the planned 5%.......worse things happen at sea.

2 months later and we decided it was time for the first tasting, and what can I say?? Both beers left me more then pleasantly surprised. Brew 1 was slightly hazy so we made a bit of a cock-up on the finings, but it did still have the slight red hue that we were looking for. It has a sweet caramel malty aroma, with a slightly herbal note and a lingering smokiness on the nose. Its taste, like its aroma, is predominately sweet, but with the caramel, joins a faint chocolateness that trys to coat the tongue, but is stopped by the rapidly following dry, herby flavour coming from the saaz hops (Crap!! No one saw me write that OK? I think I got away with it......If anyone asks, you don't know what hops we used. OK??) that along with the deep background smokiness, cut through the flavour nicely to stop it becoming too sweet. Saying that though, it does feel like its lacking something and may need to be brewed again for some tweaking (WHAT A SHAME) or just needs to be aged longer......not a bad start at all though.

Brew 2 though, well.....just wow!! It was a "hit the nail on the head- bobs your uncle- send your answers in a postcard please- awesome-balls" success!! (someone told me last week that I may be a bit crazy........I think their theory holds water) Its a perfect balance of deep, spiced ginger-nut biscuit maltyness, a good amount of sweet pumpkin flavour that rather then feeling odd or out of place, just fits amazingly, and pleasant tingle of hoppyness on the tongue and finally, a light smoky note bringing everything nicely together.......Without wanting to blow our own trumpet......It was the best home-brew I've ever tried and also better then a lot of commercial stuff I've had.

I know I'm always gonna write up a beer I had some part in making to make it sound better......but with this one I'm really not.......this was a brewing win!!

Well, that's all for now.......until next time (which I hope isn't as-long as last time) bye all!