Tag Archives: beer

Born To Enjoy By . . .

Two beers, that you are supposed to drink before Independence Day 2015 but saved for a year until the Aliens came back to be defeated without Will Smith (I assume they are defeated, I haven’t been to watch it yet).

First up is Brewdog’s Born to Die 04.07.2015

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Pours a glorious amber yellow with a slight haze.This isn’t as crystal clear as the last Born to Die that was released but I can’t remember if this one from a year ago was ever that clear. Pours with a fluffy white head that dissipates slowly.

On the nose is a sweet toffee aroma with a hint of citrus from the fading hops.

Still holds the bitterness with a sweet malt toffee backbone gives way to the last remaining hops fighting for their lives, more resin than citrus, to finish a slight burn from the 8.5% abv.

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Next up is Stone’s Enjoy By 07.04.15 (bloody Americans writing the date the wrong way round).

Pours a darker rich amber with a voluptuous fluffy white head. Even more murky than its predecessor. This beer has seen a much more dramatic decent . No floral hops have survived, giving way to a slight pine resin caramel on the nose.

More subtle alcohol burn despite the  9.4% with more caramel overtones and a darker resin replacing the once floral hops. There is hardly a hint of the hops that were once so prominent when fresh.

Overall both are still very drinkable beers despite being a year past their best before date. But Born to Die has held up much better and is by far the more drinkable beer after a year.

Unless you like how a double IPA turns into a barley wine with age then drink fresh. But if you find one in the back of the cupboard don’t pour it away, send it to me.

 

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FeeDtheTramP BreWco the RebooT

Like all good superhero movies, it’s time for a reboot.

I haven’t brewed for longer than I can remember, I think the last time was the Christmas before last. In the house that I live in now it only has an induction hob and i don’t fancy trying to get a rolling boil on it when it heats by turning on and off. It is annoying enough trying to cook pasta. So, the only brewing I have done since living here has been at my mam’s.

Well a couple of weeks ago I went round my mates and we brewed a beer on his system. It was a sort of replica of Brewdog’s Tokyo*. That one still has a bit of time on some oak chips before being ready to bottle. He hasn’t got the best system in the world, a couple of tea urns, a good mash tun and some racking to give three tiers. But it was a million times better than my pans, cool box and hob setup.

I’ll admit I was a bit jealous. So I ended up buying a tea urn and a few other bits.

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It might not look like much but this was a big step up from what I had and much easier.

So what was I going to brew? Well, something I have been thinking about for a while is a braggot. Never having brewed one I wasn’t sure on how much honey to use so I created this recipe for about 10L.

  • Maris Otter 2kg
  • Honey 1.02kg
  • Crystal 500g
  • Flaked Barley 300g
  • Flaked Rye 250g
  • Cascade 11g @75min
  • Centennial 11g @75min
  • Cascade 3g @65min
  • Centennial 3g @65min
  • Cascade 8g @0min
  • Centennial 8g @0min
  • Simcoe 8g @min

Hopefully it will give something tasty in a few weeks.

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Waiting for the rolling boil to start is probably my favorite part of brewing. Just staring at it thinking it is going to go, it is going to go is intoxicating.

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Adventures in Home Brewing @FeeDtheTramP BreWco

Well, a while ago, probably about two years if not three I decided I wanted to start brewing beer at home. I did a bit of Google searching and was swamped with far too much information, most of it from Americans. Nothing wrong with Americans but reading recipes in pounds and ounces and gallons (American gallons are not the same as British gallons) is a bit off putting. I bought some books, started to read them. Everything was focused around 5 gallon batches and that is about where I gave in. I was living in a small flat in Manchester, I thought I would have to spend loads on a massive pan that could hold more than 5 gallons of water and I had a crap hob that took about an hour to boil a pan of water to make some pasta.

Fast forward a few years, a change in address and I started thinking about brewing again. But the 5 gallon thing was still really putting me off. The books I had might have been a bit too detailed and everything seemed to want you to start with extract brewing. I didn’t want to do that, I felt it would be like going getting a cake mix, what is the point.

But then, Twitter and Facebook to the rescue. I started seeing a few people brewing, mainly @johncolemanuk, @hopsinjoor and my mate Chris from uni. They all looked like they were getting good results and I wanted in on the action. But still 5 gallon was a huge blocker. Then John put a photo up of him brewing and he had a bottle next to the pot he was brewing in and I thought, there is no way that holds five gallons. I asked him about it and it didn’t, he only did one gallon batches. He pointed me in the direction of a few books The Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book probably being the best one. It focuses on one gallon brews. Speaking to Chris, he only did one gallon batches as well. Chris had started on extract and worked up to all grain. John dived in at the deep end straight to all grain. Things were looking up. Al seemed to be making great beers as well so I decided that was it.

I bought some stock pots, tubes, airlocks, a cool box, some plumbing bits, bottle caps, capper, thermometer, hydrometer, paddle, syphon. The thing I already had was about 10 demijohns from when my Dad used to make wine when I was a kid. I cobbled together a mashtun and got it water tight over a weekend and then I bought all the stuff for actually brewing a beer. I sort of decided to myself I would just make stouts. Everyone seems to make American IPAs or Double IPAs and I thought I wouldn’t bother as most I buy are pretty good and it is unlikely I will make a better one. Stouts on the other hand can be a bit hit or miss.

I took a recipe out of the Brooklyn book, substituted a few things to what I had and I got cracking. It didn’t go well. My mash temp fell too much so I used my sparge water heating it back up. I spilt a few times whilst syphoning, cooling took far longer than I thought it would and then putting it in the demijohn I thought it didn’t seem to be a gallon. I realise now that american gallon<imperial gallon, I had spilt quite a bit and I didn’t get all the wort (wert) out of the mash tun, it was never going to fill the one gallon demijohn. It tasted proper bitter and horrible before I started fermenting. I didn’t have high hopes.

So after reading another book on one gallon brews that used way way way more water I gave another brew a go the next week. This time I over compensated with the water, I added peanut butter before later reading about how you need to get rid of the oil or use powdered. I didn’t hold out much hope for this one either.

I thought I best taste them before brewing anything else. To my surprise after a couple of weeks in the bottle my first stout tasted pretty good. Not the best stout I have ever had but I have certainly paid for worse. I gave one to someone in work who said “A stout so stout it is practically rotund”. Then it was time for the 2nd brew. This wasn’t so good, no peanut butter, I think having too much water meant that there wasn’t enough hops to bitter it properly. It mainly tasted of maris otter. But to be fair, can still drink it and after a couple of months in the bottle it is more like a stout and has a bit of a nutty taste.

Then came the 3rd brew. The other two had both come out at about 4% ABV. I wanted something stronger. Found a recipe that would do that, made some substitutions. I decided I wanted it to be chocolate, I like the mouth feel of oatmeal stouts and I wanted the sweetness of a milk stout. So to the base recipe I added some porridge oats to the mash, and then some lactose and grated chocolate to the boil. Fermentation looked like it had gone ok but after two weeks the FG was nowhere near where I wanted it to be. After having a bit of a read online I swirled up all the yeast from the bottom. It started fermenting again and didn’t stop fermenting for about a week and a half. The chocolate all seemed to just fall out and sit on top of the yeast at the bottom, I’m not sure if this had stopped fermentation early in the first week. This time the FG was fine so I bottled it.

That has been in the bottle two weeks and last night I cracked it open. I have to say this beast is the best of the bunch. Sweet, slightly chocolaty, and deceptive at 7.2% ABV. Will see how it develops in another couple of weeks, I have high hopes.

So now I have given in and I am going to make a Double IPA. I’ve still got some ideas for stouts, the next is probably going to be a Big Blackcurrant Stout.

Let the brewing continue…


Food @BrewDogMancs

It’s been a few weeks now, but the last time I was in Manchester I took a trip to BrewDog. It would be rude not to. I had heard that they had changed the menu from burgers and pizzas to BBQ. I wouldn’t class the new menu as BBQ but that’s just me.

Before hand I was a bit gutted. I was looking forward to a Los Feliz or Lincoln (did the name get changed because Mancs can’t pronounce Los Feliz, Lincoln with the 2nd L isn’t that much better). I’ve had plenty of them in the past, even though the overlap between me living in Manchester and Brewdog opening was about six months. I took my brother on a bit of a pub crawl one time and we stopped for a Loz Feliz, he liked it that much (and it didn’t come with anything so didn’t fill you up) we ended up having two each. I think it was Dean who cleared our boards and said “did you enjoy the 2nd one” to which my brother said “even better than the first”.

I loved the Loz Feliz…

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But we needed food and I will give most things a try before I judge them. The price is a bit steeper, but at least you get a side. Why couldn’t you have had sides with the burgers, Brewdog Manchester? I went for the brisket with macaroni cheese (I’m not American so you can f*ck off with your Mac ‘n’ Cheese (shouldn’t that really be Mac’ ‘n’ Cheese?)). Mrs TramP went for pulled pork with burnt beans.

I have to say it was all really good. I think I made a good choice in side dish. The brisket was slightly spicy, but it was one of those that every bite added to the spice making it hotter and hotter. The macaroni cheese cut through it perfectly. The whole thing was quite filling, I wouldn’t really eat two in a row like I did with the Los Feliz, even though I probably could. The bit of pulled pork with BBQ sauce I tried was also really good. To be honest, you have to try pretty hard to mess pulled pork up. Then there was the burnt beans. Now I’m not a fan of baked beans, I will eat other beans but I don’t often chose to. Soft beans, lovely sauce with bits of meat in. I could be a convert. Mrs TramP said she could eat them all day and could have just had a big bowl of those without the pulled pork.

That was the good, now for the bad. The two slaws (if you can all them that) were crap. One was just shredded red cabbage the other white cabbage and onion. There was no dressing on them at all. Come on, a bit of vinaigrette or mayo based dressing could have made those slaws  and made the meal great. Leave them off or make them better.

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Over all the new menu is great and I would definitely work my way through it if I moved back to Manchester. But there will always be a place in my heart for the Los Feliz. Is it BBQ, I’m not sure.

 


Sourdough Beer Bread

Well sourdough bread seems the trendy thing to make at the moment. Everyone seems to be baking it. I’ve made a few, probably not as many as I would like but I’ve not been eating carbs since the beginning of the year. I mainly bake cakes, bread has never really been up there on things to make as I don’t eat it quick enough before it goes stale. I’m not sure taking a loaf into work to share would work very well.

Mrs TramP bought me the Hobbs House Bread Making Kit a while ago so this recipe is using their 57 year old sourdough starter that comes with the kit. I’m not using their recipe or their method of baking though.

So what could be more trendy than combining sourdough and beer?

Sourdough Malt Beer Bread!!!

  • 240 ml Sourdough Culture
  • 30g Melted Butter
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbl Sugar
  • 240ml Malt Beer
  • 200g Rye Flour
  • 245g Plain Flour

The hardest part of this recipe was finding a malty beer in my boxes of very hop centric beers. The closest thing I had was a Robinsons Old Tom so that’s what I used.

So lets do this…mix the butter, salt, sugar and beer together until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Bang in the sourdough culture, the rye flour and about half the plain flour and mix up. Whack the dough out onto a floured board and knead in the rest of the plain flour. This is where I fail a bit at bread making. I never know how long to knead for and these sourdough breads seem to be well more sticky than anything you see on things like Great British Bake Off. It should be smooth and satiny, I gave up after  a while when I was knackered and my wrist started hurting.

That’s it for about 12 hours, put the dough back in your mixing bowl, cover with cling film or a shower cap a la Baker Brothers. To be fair the shower cap thing works pretty well. It should double in size, if you haven’t worked it out you might want to do the first bit before you go to bed to have ready to bake in the morning. After the 12 hours, tease the dough out and leave for half an hour, if it flattens a lot then knead in some more flour. Shape the loaf however you want and then leave for another 2-4 hours until it doubles in size again.

Now I’v not worked out which method works better, either the one above or this one. After kneading leave for half an hour, knock back, shape, cover and leave for the 12 hours. I’ve not been mental enough to make two loaves at the same time when I can’t manage to get through one.

Here’s the crazy bit, place the loaf on a baking sheet or stone and bang in a cold oven then turn to 190°C and bake for 70 minutes. A cold oven, are you mental? You can preheat the oven to 230°C and bake for 40 minutes, but I have tried the from cold method and the loaf sprang up much better than when I preheated the oven.

That’s it, take out, slice, cover in butter, dip in soup, sit back and enjoy being on the sourdough bandwagon.

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Once a Year Pub Crowd

Over the festive period I’ve seen quite a few posts on social networking sites moaning about pubs being full of people who only go in once a year around Christmas. If you are one of those people who have moaned about this then get off your high horse.

What’s the problem? You go in said pub once a month, once every couple of weeks, once a week, if you are an alchie maybe even every day, unless you are in there from the moment it opens to the moment it closes everyday then how do you know that these groups of people have never been in before. Maybe you have asked the bar keep and they don’t recognise them, so what. I’m quite recognisable and loads of times people haven’t remembered me in bars that I’ve been. Maybe only one of the group has been in before and they are taking the opportunity to get more people in a place they like going.

I don’t go out drinking often but when I do it is usually to the same places. I know that there are tens, if not hundreds of people that also go to those bars every time they go out that I have never seen. If it just so happens that we all go to the same bar at the same time over Christmas should we stand looking at each other thinking to ourselves, look, there’s another group of once a year dickheads taking up all the tables so I can’t sit down. I buy several pints a month in here, a table should be reserved for me. I’m better than them.

Maybe you should get a stamp every time you go to a pub and if you don’t have enough stamps at Christmas then you shouldn’t be allowed in. But that would be stupid. Every pub I went in over the last couple of weeks I have either never been in before or haven’t been in for years. I have a tradition at Christmas were we go to a pub near home and drink in there all day. Each year it is a different one, the one I went this year I haven’t been to for several years, I’ve never drank in there more than once a year but the first time I went in there I was sixteen and as a group drinking from opening to closing we will spend hundreds of pounds.

Now what I think has bugged me the most about seeing comments from people moaning about their local being full of people they assume rightly or wrongly only go in there once a year is that the same people moan about pubs not making enough money and closing down. Why don’t they stop and think about how much extra cash is being taken by their favourite pub from groups of people that may or may not go in there again that potentially have stopped them from having to close in the new year. If the once a year brigade didn’t go in that once a year over Christmas how many pubs would shut in the lull of January due to New Years resolutions of drinking less?

And who knows, maybe that group you saw for the first time over Christmas might have enjoyed themselves that much that they become next years regulars.


Old Worthy Beer

A while back myself and what seemed like hundreds of others received a tweet asking if they wanted a sample of a beer that hasn’t been released yet from a new brewer on the Isle of Skye, Old Worthy Brewing Co. Loving free stuff (I spent far too much time at uni requesting samples from anyone willing to give them and I also managed to get a semi free PS3 and Nintendo DS but that’s another story) I sent them my details. I saw others receiving a beer and reviewing it but there was never a present on my doorstep. I was beginning to think I wasn’t Worthy after all. Then BOOM, out of the blue when I had started to forget about it a package turned up with a bottle in it. Cheers, Old Worthy Brewing Co.

Well I cracked it open at the weekend and to be honest it was nothing like I was expecting. All the literature out there about this beer talks about Whisky distilleries and peat smoked barley. I was expecting some sort of cross between Innis & Gunn and Brewdog Bitch Please. A beer that tastes like dipping your fingers into a beer after doing a spot of gardening with some peat compost then having a sip of whisky. You might have guessed I’m not a fan of peat flavours so I was going into drinking this thinking I wasn’t going to like it.

How wrong could I have been. The beer poured a lovely amber golden colour with a pristine white head. The aroma was ever so slight, sweet with hints of whisky, a bit like pouring a lager into a glass you have just drank whisky out of (yes I have done this, I used to be a tax dodging scumbag student who would drink anything). The taste was the biggest surprise.  I was expecting soil and got a lovely crisp refreshingly sweet almost lager like mouthful. This beer reminded me ever so slightly of Mikkeller’s Burger & Bun L.A. Lager. I think the style of this beer sits perfectly between a lager and an IPA. It’s very crisp, refreshing, sweet with a slight smoky after taste. I didn’t get any peat at all and for me that isn’t a bad thing.

Old Worthy recommend drinking this beer with a Scottish single malt whisky. I’m not a big whisky drinker so to buy a bottle to just have a dram with one beer I thought a little excessive. But I can certainly see myself buying this beer when it hits the market, so when that happens I might have to invest in a single malt and give it a go.