They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Friday, 14 October 2011

Brew Number 2, Collaboration - Go!!

I am currently drinking my second collaborative home brew and it looks a little something like this:

This collaboration is a 6.66% amber ale called Poltergeist and was brewed a few weeks back with a good friend of the Ritz and us: Matt Lovatt (or @braukerl as he's twitter bound) - and is tasting pretty damn good! Here's a little look back at how we went about making the beer... I say we, Matt did most of the work:

- The Kit. A pretty much essential mix of containers needed by any keen home brewer. Yes they may look a little like pick-nick equipment, but I assure - they are all very essential indeed.

Here is the specs for the recipe we made up:

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (L):           20.0
Total Grain (kg):         5.975
Total Hops (g):           300.00
Original Gravity (OG):    1.067  (°P): 16.4
Final Gravity (FG):       1.015  (°P): 3.8
The mash - Matt decided
batch sparging would be best.
Colour (SRM):             16.7   (EBC): 32.9
Bitterness (IBU):         77.5   (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 69
Boil Time (Minutes):      60

Grain Bill
4.000 kg Maris Otter Malt (66.95%)
1.000 kg Munich I (16.74%)
0.425 kg Invert No. 2 (syrup) (7.11%)
0.200 kg Caramunich I (3.35%)
0.200 kg Carared (3.35%)
0.150 kg Crystal Extra Dark (2.51%)

Hop Bill
20.0 g Warrior Leaf (18% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil) (1 g/L)
20.0 g NZ Cascade Leaf (10.7% Alpha) @ 35 Minutes (Boil) (1 g/L)
20.0 g Simcoe Leaf (12.2% Alpha) @ 20 Minutes (Boil) (1 g/L)
20.0 g NZ Cascade Leaf (10.7% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes (Boil) (1 g/L)
60.0 g NZ Cascade Leaf (10.7% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma) (3 g/L)
80.0 g Simcoe Leaf (12.2% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma) (4 g/L)
80.0 g Warrior Leaf (18% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma) (4 g/L)

Misc Bill
4.0 g Irish Moss @ 15 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 66°C for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 20°C with WLP001 - California Ale

- This was the Californian Liquid Ale yeast that we used. It needed a starter, hence the interesting looking bottle. To be honest it didn't look like something you'd ever want near your beer! Matt was initially a little worried because it seemed it didn't want to, or ever seem like, it would stop fermenting. Luckily, after a few more days than it should, it managed to settle down enough so that it could go into bottle.

- Beer boiling away nicely... 

We had intended to dry hop the beer in secondary with 100grams of Bramling Cross, but, as nothing is ever simple or certain in brewing - it was decided that this would probably not do the beer any good. For instance; I had intended to make this a brown ale, because I was sick of too many people making crap brown ales, but after looking at the wort samples, it seemed it would be a bit more amber than brown. Oh well... (more on that below)

The steeping part at the end of the boil was new to me. - It looked a little too much like a bomb too. 

Whilst we waited for a massive amount of hops to steep their goodness into the beer the process seemed a whole lot more like cooking a large vat of stew that anything else. (which is never a bad thing!) After that the liquid yeast was, slightly unceremonially, dumped into the beer and all was packed away - content to ferment into the night. It was a fun day for me. A lot of the techniques in brewing that Matt used, I had never even seen before so it was quite educational. While he may have been a little 'down' on his own creation (probably just an effort to not set his hopes too high) the beer itself, which I'm now finishing, couldn't have turned out much better for what we tried to achieve.

Turns out the beer was slightly darker than we expect, and could have stood up to it's Brown Ale name I wanted for it. Oh well, you live and learn.

It has a great aroma with loads of fruit. Mangos, peaches and lychees are all very prominent. The flavour is all about bitter fruits to begin with. Some orange pith and lemon sherbet flavour in the body which makes the bitterness quite lasting - in fact it goes on for quite a while after the swallow. As it warms a little some carmel sweetness starts to show mixed with hints of hazelnuts. It's quite a dry beer and rather moorish - quite dangerous at 6.66%. I gave my friend a sniff and a taste - he said it smelled like a Barley Wine... I'll take it as a compliment.

Overall it's been a great conclusion to a project that's been more than a few weeks in the making. I can't wait to see who I'll get to brew a collaboration beer with next! Hey it could well be Matt again...


  1. Every time I see one of your bottles, I get a vivid premonition of it sitting on the shelf at my local Waitrose.

    You have been warned...

  2. Ahhh...this might be the first beer I've tasted with liquid yeast in it (homebrew) - i'm looking forward to it really now, as I'm going to try some myself in a few month's time. Sweet.

  3. Look great mate, I have to have a go at some stage, looking forward to a taster, cheers bud

  4. Can't wait to try mine! review to follow. Cheers guys.