Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Super Saturday" pt 1: Brewer's Gold

Yes folks, something special to mark the start of the brewing season and also a 'milestone' brew in the brief history of the Nunhead Brewery: all-grain brew #10. Not just that, but in order to avoid total psychological meltdown and get stocks replenished I'm going to do 2 brews in one day. And a long day it will be at that.

After a summer of stockpiling ingredients and preparing equipment for the onset of cooler, brewing weather I realised that all these hops would be slowly diminishing in flavour and bittering potential so I ought to make a dent in them, quick. The temptation to brew yet ANOTHER Styrian Stunner was proving hard to resist (yes it really is that good) but you can get too much of a good thing, so maybe best to save it for another day. Also, what would be nicer than a strong, dark complex beer on a cold and stormy November night? With this thought in mind I went straight ahead and brewed another light, aromatic and fruity pale ale (rolls eyes). But only on the condition that brew number 2 of this marathon day would be something to lay down to mature in time for christmas.

I had an as yet unopened package of Brewer's Gold hops, bought with the idea of trying to replicate the awesome, twice 'Champion Beer of Britain'-winning Crouch Vale 'Brewer's Gold', a lovely pale yellow ale which is sweet, fruity and delicious, in my top 10 favourite beers ever ever ever list, no doubt.

Some insider knowledge gleaned from JHBF stated that Crouch Vale's recipe uses exclusively Brewer's Gold hops, which go into the boil as one huge late addition that gives all the bitterness and a big hit of flavour at the last 15 minutes. For this first attempt I bottled-it a bit and went for 10 IBUs from the full-boil, then a big flavour addition at 15mins to go, then an aroma addition once the boiled wort had cooled to 80°c.

As if a double-brewday with a completely untested hop schedule wasn't enough I thought I'd give batch-sparging a go, in order to try and shave a bit of time off the process and see if there were any gains in quality to be had from employing different methods. More on this later...


Anonymous said...

All sounds so mouthwateringly wonderful. Here I am working in Andorra where the only beer to be had is Estrella, San Mig and if you go looking for it a few Trappist beers. Not that I object to the Trappist beers in the slightest. Back home at the weekend which is Lewisham and I'll sure spoil myself. Use to live on Lusanne Rd for a few years about18 years ago. Local being the Montigue Arms. I remember a lovely beer on draught Sampsons can't remember who made it. Is it true the Monti is shut now? thats what I heard. I actually grew up outside Maidstone and I remember walking through hop fields 10 min walk from the bottom of the garden. On sat morning mum and dad would drive into Maidstone and park by the old bridge in a car park by the river right opposite the brewery, long gone now.The smell was wonderful I loved that car park. hated being dragged around the shops, and I wasn't even 10 years old then. Anyhow keep up the good work.

Nunhead Brewery said...

Hey anonymous. We're close to Lausanne Road, not sure of the Montague Arms though, there's a boozer down there called the Swiss Tavern which could be a Montague conversion?

Your best choice in sunny Nunhead these days is the Old Nun's Head on Nunhead Green - fantastic pub with several beautifully kept ales on tap at all times.

I owe the hop farms a long-overdue visit, good memories...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous again. We used to live 2 doors up from the Swiss tavern. same side of Lusanne road but other side of the side rd, heading towards Nunhead. A nondescript place.
the montague arms is the pub on the corner of the one way system that heads down to the old kent road from New Cross.
I'm trying to remember the Old Nuns Head but it escapes me at the moment. Next time I pass by I'll look out for it. If I can I'll check out the ales.

Anonymous said...

Swiss tavern. A nondescript place - OK to look at maybe, but get inside on a saturday night you would find The Swiss was swinging and had the best small pub atmosphere in London.