Homebrew cupid imperial stout day

So today we did our first imperial russian stout all grain.  We both love our high viscous type stouts so we decided to pull out all the stops using no less than 12 differents malts and a healthy portion of porridge oats to give it immense body. 

We were aiming for a specific gravity of around 1.100 which we hoped would give us an abv of around 10%.  However due to me not adjusting the efficency percentage on Beersmith we hit 1.084. Which isnt too bad and should give us something around 8.5%, which is fine by me. 

We didn’t actually have a name for this beer until I realised that the brewday was actually on St Valentines day.  Realising this beers proposed indulgent characterists we thought the name ‘Cupid Imperial Stout’ was a very fitting name and so that is what we called it. 

The brew was a 20litre batch and consisted of over 9kg of malts.

The malt bill

We used a combination of columbus and cascade hops to bitter the beer. Which we hope will add a subtle citrus piney character and balance the massive amount of sweetness that will be present from the malt bill.

After mashing, the first runnings were a sight to behold.  Thick viscous jet black wort, wreeking of sweet roasty aromas. 


After boiling for 75 minutes we cooled her down for the yeasties to be pitched and tucked her up for a three week fermentation to turn into delicious rich stout. 

After three weeks we will transfer the stout into a secondary fermenter and add a healthy portion of cacao nibs and fresh vanilla which will have been pre soaked in boubon.  We’ll let that sit and infuse its deliciousness for two weeks before bottling and then hiding away in a dark place for a few months to mature. 

It certainly sounds rather special to me.  I hope it turns out as good as it sounds. Time will tell. 

Also. I think we may actually have come up with a name for the brewery
  Though I can’t disclose it for top secret purposes.  We do plan on going ‘pro’ at some stage in the not too distant future.

Next up. A huge hop bomb of an IPA. Four Seas will be brewed up in the next couple of weeks.  A massive hop bomb of four of the finest American hops on a delicious golden toffee malt base.

Stay tuned. 🙂




Im not the most experienced drinker of beers brewed with rye.  So when I found this on the shelf of a local off licence, I thought I’d give it a go.  And I’ve got to be honest,  I’m happy I did. 

Siren Craft Brew is based in Berkshire Uk and specialise in artisinal craft beers, aiming to encourage people to look at beer in a different way.  Creating different and innovative beer using all different kinds of ingredients, including INSECT beer!!!!!! Which is soon to be bottled.  Must look out for that one. 

This rye ipa pours a gorgeous amber/orange colour and has a fantastic tropical citrus hop aroma.  The rye is subtle on nose, imparting a light toasty aroma hiding behind the hop bouquet.  The head was nice and thick suggesting a nice medium mouth feel.

This beer is 7.4%abv and is a fabulous balance of malt and hops.  It’s dangerously drinkable as the high alcohol is masked by the delicious malty, toasty toffee flavoured sweetness.  The hops engulf the pallet and are vibrant with tropical passion fruit, pinapple and grapefruity citrus.  Theres a good level of bitterness at the end which drys the pallet leaving you ready for your next thirst quenching sip.

If I’m honest. Im not too sure what the rye brings to the party.  Its very subtle and you can taste the toastiness and the subtle dryness it brings to the party.  It certainly does nothing to harm the drinking experience, yet doesn’t exactly elevate anymore either.  Never the less this is a great tasting IPA and one I can highly reccomend. 

I give this beer a more than respectable 8/10



There are moments in your life when you stumble across something that leaves you completely at a loss for words.  Moments that make you giggle like a young child for no other reason other than you simply don’t know what else to do.  I just had that moment.  Literally five minutes ago before writing this review.  I usually don’t write my reviews at the same time i’m savouring the subject im reviewing.  However I just need to tell people about how good this massive 9.5% abv imperial stout is right now.
  It’s phenomonal!!
The smell of roasty sweet maltiness and intense fruity hop character upon opening is merely a teaser of what’s to come upon opening up the bottle. It pours like a thick viscous liquid black gold forming a tight, thick dark tan coloured head, and believe me it leaves your mouth salivating at the prospect of drinking it. 

This beer is so veluptous and intense in its flavour profile.  Rich bitter chocolate at the front, silky smooth in the mouth, leads you on a dance with dark roast coffee, vanilla and spicy hop bitterness. The bitterness lingers but mellows at the back leaving thirst for more accents of burnt caramel and toffee and dark fruit notes.  Its sublime.  Its hard to describe in words.  Its simply fucking delicious. 


Not to mention the comforting, warming alcohol content bringing the whole experience together in one big warm imperial hug.  I cant describe how much I love this beer. 

It saddens me that I live in the UK and its difficult to access this great beer over here.  I’d love to try other styles from Great Divide brewing company.  It is without a doubt a new addition to my bucket list to visit them in colorado meet the guys behind this beer which I believe is my favourite beer to date.  Look out for this one people.  10/10.

Christmas ale brewday in pics


The ingredients


Hlt up to strike temp


Filling mashtun with strike water


Doughed in 🙂


First runnings


Pouring first runnings onto ‘brew’foil so as not to disturb the grain bed 🙂


Incase you are wondering what ‘brew’foil is.  Here u go.  It is merely….foil.


Fitting the sparge arm


Sparge time!!!!


Time for a sparge time 15% beer 🙂


Highly recomended


Adding hops to the boil


Sanitizing the fermenter


Nice aeration.  Plenty oxygen for the yeasties 🙂


Bourbon soaked raisens added to the fermenter


Chill time.  From almost boiling to 20degrees celcius in less than 20 minutes


Yeast starter made up the day before


1.070 original gravity


In you go yeasties.  Enjoy 🙂




Job done 🙂 

Brewery upgrade update

So last Saturday we placed our order for our new stainless steel 100litre HLT and our new stainless steel double insulated 78litre mash tun.  To say we are excited is a bit of an understatement.  The items are custom made to our own specific requirements and our HLT will be ready to collect this friday and the mash tun the following week. 

If you are a regular homebrewer using a plastic cool box and electrim plastic boilers then I’m sure you’ll understand the excitement of the imminent arrival of shiney brewing vessels.  Not to mention the capacity to triple our output.

Our trusty old mashtun

So once the HLT is in place we are going to produce our final beer from our trusted 30 litre coolbox mashtun and make a christmas beer ready to bottle up and put away for the 2015 festivities.  Then when the new mashtun arrives a double 10 gallon batch of our optional hop pale ale will be made to christen the new ‘shiney’!! 

Im going to try and document our final brew on the old mashtun and do an updated post when the new mashtun arrives to give everyone a rundown on our brewery.  I may even begin doing some video reviews of first tastings of our homebrews.  I leave you with a picture of our optional hop pale ale and look forward to my next update on my brewing adventures.

Optional hop pale ale

Going all out on the homebrew front

So, I know I dont really talk much about my passion for brewing my own craft beer.  Since there was always an abundance of ‘real ale’ available to buy in the UK,  I think my first foray into homebrewing with my brew buddy was more a case of trying it for the sake of just wanting to try making it.  I wasn’t even aware of what craft beer was at the time.  For us, real ale was the greatest thing out there, and we were going to make our own.  I remember our first brew like it was yesterday.  It was, looking back on it, hillarious.  After visiting our homebrew store and spending a couple of hundred pounds on a mash tun, a couple of plastic boilers and other beer making related utensils, a big bag of crushed grains, a packet or two of hops and some yeast  we were certain of our ability to produce an award winning English ale.  The guy that ran the homebrew shop did warn us that it will take us all day if we have never brewed all grain before. He even suggested trying a kit beer to begin with, but that was cheating to us.  It was the proper way or no way. So with a guarantee from the shop owner our first brew will fail we set off to my house, and by 10am we were like a pair of over enthusiastic 10 year olds on christmas morning, rigging our improvised gravity fed brewery up in my tiny kitchen.  Using the kitchen bench for the hot liquor tank, a stool for the mash tun.  And the boiler perched securely on the kitchen floor.  How could this fail we thought!!  Anyway, cut a long story short, 13 hours later there we were, tired, ratty, and stood out in the garden at 11pm trying to cool 23litres of wort down to a pitching temperature for the yeast.  Needless to say it was a complete disaster. 

Nowadays though we now operate out of waynes ‘state of the art’ brick built shed, using the same three vessels we originally bought.  Only with a few essential extras, like a wort chiller!!  We now make beer in around 5-6hours from start to finish.  Recently we discovered our love for genuine craft beer and it’s our mission to create delicious craft beer of our own. 

Our last two brews have been a most certain success.  We have brewed a most delicious IPA. Packed full of delicious tropical aromas and fruit flavours from simcoe hops.


The result is delicious and everyone thats tried it are blown away.  Needless to say our passion and drive has gone through the roof and determined to help educate and teach people about the joy of true craft beer, we have given ourself a 12 month plan to hopefully turn our beer making into a business. 

So you can expect more posts on our homebrewing of craft beer shenanigans from now on,  as that is what is going to take up most of my time. Of course I’ll still be posting the odd review or two of great beers i get to try.  I hope you enjoy.

A story on the lack of hop forward, non cost cutting, thinking out the box modern craft beer available in the best bitter, boring real ale brewing Uk

Im not normally one to go into a full on rant, but quite frankly, I couldn’t be more annoyed at how slow and pathetic this country of mine is at truely getting on board this so called craft beer revolution.  Why isn’t it being made more available?  Other than Brewdog, there is  no craft beer on our supermarket shelves other than what is imported from America.  I want to see the mass amounts of microbrewery beer on our beer shelves to be true craft beer, not the same old boring malt overdosed bitters, milds, brown ales and golden ales.  Dont get me wrong.  I dont mind the odd one, but come on.  Other than the pretty but typically boring old man type labelling theres not a lot to tell them all apart.  Its as if the directive to the brewer was clairty and head retention. Completly overlooking the small details of flavour and aroma.  Come on microbreweries of the Uk.  Put some hops in your beer for heavens sake.  Give us some flavour.  And dont any of you realise that there are more hops available around the world. You can try something new world for a change instead of the usual Kent Goldings, or First gold. Which by the way pack about as much flavour as a bucket of cigarette butts.  Dont they realise that people want more flavour in their beer.  I recognise blending hops for bittering compared to blending them for flavour, aroma and bittering is a completly different challenge.  Hence why beer that tastes amazing is known as ‘craft’ beer.  So get crafty. I beg you.  Look at Brewdog.  They claim to use 40 times the amount of hops compared to the majority of uk microbreweries.  Look at the success they have.  Its not just the hip image and branding that makes their beer popular, its actually because its un fucking believably good beer.  Take a lesson from them. And give us some other options.  Dont get me wrong there are exceptions to the rule on this rant.  I have a love for a good handfull of real craft breweries in this country.  The Kernal, Alechemy,  Meantime and Tiny rebel to name a few few.  You all know who Im talking about.  Some of my favourite microbreweries, Blacksheep for example,who make really wonderful real ales.  I feel a brewery of this nature could and should be producing a top class high hopped IPA and give us something different to the norm,something thats slaps you around the face in hop flavour and aroma.

My brew buddy and I probably use more hops in our 5gallon brews at home than some of the bigger renowned breweries use.  So come on.  Pull your finger out. And dilute the shelf full of malty brown water and fill in the spaces with something a little more crafty. 

Rant over. 

Flying Dog Brewery, Easy IPA


Don’t you just love trying an American IPA for the first time.  Well if you don’t there must be something wrong with your head and you should probably get it checked, but anyway, I had the pleasure of sampling this fruity, juicy delight after work today. Fromthe Flying Dog brewery, USA!!  I liked that it came in a can.  Its well known that canning locks in the freshness of a beer so much better than a bottle can (excuse the lame pun),  and this sample did not let me down.  The spray of hop aroma on opening was wonderful.  Fresh, crisp, fruity bouquets filled my nose wonderfully.  Definite notes of apricot and tropical mango, mixed with zesty lemon and orange rounded out with a fresh spicy piney aroma.  Very delicious. Incredibly inviting.  The look of the beer after pouring could quench your thirst on its own.  A wonderful bright golden colour laying beneath a thick bright white head.  This beer gets top marks from me on aroma and appearance. 

The Flying Dog beer is not named ‘easy’ ipa for nothing.  It’s one of the freshed crisp beers I’ve tasted.  Very light bodied and a crisp dry finish.  I dont detect too much malty sweetness.  For me its all tropical citrus hoppiness.  Not a bad thing at all in my opinion being a huge hop head. You get that slightly bitter citrus zestiness, which is so refreshing.  Apricot is definatly a flavour I detect and your mouth gets a good hit of tropical fruit.  The finish is very clean and crisp leaving you feeling refreshed and wanting more.  They don’t brand this a session beer for nothing.  This beer would be great enjoyed sat in the sun with a group of friends and drinking it reminds you of summer sun and good times.

Very nice Flying Dog.  A nice 8/10 from me. 

Craft beer delivery arrived


I had a rather fine delivery of craft ales today.  I will, without a doubt be posting a review or two from this selection.  If anyone would prefer a review of any particular beer in this picture.  Feel free to make a comment and I shall happily oblige. 

Needless to say I can’t wait to sampke the delights of them this weekend.  So please Friday,  hurry up and get here. 

Badgers Poachers Choice


As the winter months grip us, and the dark cold nights set in, there couldn’t be a more fitting time of the year to savour my favourite of all Badgers wonderful array of fine ales than Poachers choice.
Set in Blandford st Mary in Dorset, Uk lies the Halls and Woodhouse brewery where the delightful Badger beers are created.  I can still remember the first time I tried this beer.  At the time I dont think there was anything like it available in the Uk market.  So rich and diverse was the aroma and flavour experience. My ale loving mate and I used to describe it as liquid cake, so rich and fruity was its flavour.

This beer is a classic strong British ale with a difference, coming in at 5.7%abv it packs enough alcohol to warm you up during the cold months of Autumn and Winter.  It pours a dark rich ruby red and has a thick white head which unfortunatley disappears after a few minutes.  This takes nothing away from the aroma though as your nostrils are treated to wonderful rich malty notes that sit behind an explosion of dark rich fruits and spice.  I’m talking about plum sweetness, blackcurrant juicyness.  I get richness of dates and the spicy notes of vanilla, damson, liqorice.  Its an extravaganza of aromas.

If the aromas of this get you salivating the taste does not let you down.  Its so satifyingly rich and warm,  the strong alcohol mixed with the robust malty fruitiness simply warms you up from the inside out.  The mouth feel is full, covering the pallet with rich fruit cake like flavours,hints of dates and caramel, powerful damson and liqorice mixed with juicy blackcurrant are perfectly balanced out with expert hop balance offering perfect bitterness.

The only downside to this is it sits quite heavy, meaning you can only manage to savour two or three.  For me sitting infront of my log burning stove savouring this delicious bottle of ale epitomises my love for the darker colder months.  Or indeed matched with a rich hearty stew or some strong cheese.

In my opinion a wonderful ale by one of my favourite British breweries.  7.5/10 and highly reccomended.