Troublemaker CCDA in a Braumeister

Tuesday night was brew night again for me…I’ve been hankering after a dark, roasty IPA sort of thing for a while, blame Magic Rock’s Dark Arts; I still can’t stop thinking about the taste of that beer, even though it’s not a CDA or IPA, I can’t get it out of my head.

So with roasty hoppy thoughts to the fore I put this together…let’s face it, this is more of a CCDA, than a CDA – featuring as it does Chinook and Cascade.

Here’s the recipe:


I used US-05 again as I wanted the hops and malt to feature strongly and not have the yeast steal the show.  The final 25g of Cascade and 10g of Chinook will be for dry or keg-hopping.  I haven’t decided yet which.

I hit the target gravity of 1053 and got 22 or so litres of wort into the fermenter. It tastes good and is fairly hoppy…but the carafa II does seem to run quite strongly, so I’m hoping the tastes will even out during fermenting and conditioning.  Combining dark malts and powerful hops does seem to be a bit of a delicate balancing act.

The one thing I will say about this latest brew session is: BLOODY LEAF HOPS IN A BLOODY BRAUMEISTER…  If I get another hop blockage in the bloody teeny weeny Braumeister tap, I’ll bloody scream.  In future it has to be either pellets or a hop screen.

Speidel, this piddly little block-up-able tap really is a major shortcoming, please fit a hop strainer as standard to the Braumeister.

…And that’s why this brew is called “Troublemaker”, a hop blockage during the run-off meant that I had to unscrew the Braumeister tap to let the wort out into the fermenter through a sterilised sieve and funnel combination.

Unfortunately the pressure of a full volume of wort in the boiler meant it overshot the funnel and pissed a litre or so of wort all over the floor and into one of my shoes.


The Troublemaker is bubbling away at 18.5C, tasting notes will follow…

Homemade Belgian Waffles


See how the yeast works.  That’s what I’m talking about


The finished article…

These last couple of reviews have been mining a rich seam of all things Belgian, so on that theme we’ll once again hand over to my wife for her take on Belgian Waffles.  Yum…

Serves: 4


325ml milk, lukewarm
60g butter, melted plus extra for greasing.
2 -3 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
260g bread flour 
1x 7g packet of dried baker’s yeast


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, making sure that the bowl is big enough – the mixture will increase in size as the yeast goes to work
  2. Stir to combine the ingredients.  It’s OK if the mixture isn’t perfectly smooth
  3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm, or as we do: use a cheap disposable plastic shower cap
  4. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for an hour – the mixture will begin to bubble as the yeast works
  5. After an hour the mixture is ready to use, or you can refrigerate it overnight to let the flavour develop and cook the waffles the following morning
  6. Now preheat your waffle iron. Spray with non-stick vegetable oil spray, or using a pastry brush, smear on melted butter and pour a ladle of batter (or the amount recommended by the manufacturer) onto the center of the iron. Close the lid and bake for the recommended amount of time or until the waffle is golden brown and steam has stopped pouring out of the iron. Our iron takes about 5 to 6 minutes per waffle
  7. Serve immediately, or keep them warm in the oven

Serve with one or a combination of the following: maple syrup, fresh berries, fruit compote, hot chocolate ganache, whipped cream or ice cream…depending on the time of day and how decadent you are feeling.

Brouwerij Van Steenberge: Bruegel

20131117_175503Bruegel is officially the beer that no-one wants to own up to…at least that what it seems like.  I’ve tried to find it on the Van Steenberge brewery site and it just don’t show up.  I’m not sure I understand their reticence as it this is a perfectly enjoyable amber ale.

Bruegel is a lovely light coppery amber colour with a fine running bead of carbonation and a dense foamy, rocky head.

This is one of those beers that – like Pilseners et al – suits a healthy bit of fizz.

From the aroma I got some of those fruity yeasty phenols; some additional “cheap penny sweet” notes (I have no other words for this taste and I can’t use Bubblegum again!), there’s also the very faintest ripened banana too.

Ain’t it great that you can squeeze so much out of a distinctive yeast strain?  Remember this beer is just water, malt, hops and yeast…

The taste is all at once sweetly and breadily malty, yeastily fruity and carries along a light refreshing bitterness.  A lot of the aromas feature again in the taste, which is always a bonus – and by now you should know what a stickler I am for having the aroma and taste in sync.

The aftertaste lingers and has a trailing edge of bitterness, provided by a respectable amount of hops that are there purely for bittering/preservative duties.

Certainly not the most taste-laden Belgian I’ve had, but very enjoyable all the same.  This was another bottle from my in-laws’ Beers of Europe selection.  Hooray for free beer…

Bourgogne des Flandres

20131116_192837I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a long time since I’ve had a decent Belgian ale…I seem to spend so much of my time seeking out, drinking and trying to brew entertaining IPA-inspired hop bombs that I have shamefully neglected marvellous continental yeast forward beers…

Now, my in-laws are welcome house guests at the best of times, but when they turn up bearing a crate of beers carefully chosen from Beers of Europe then they’re even more welcome than usual.

The two stouts I reviewed previously were from that crate, as was this bottle of Bourgogne des Flandres.

The clear bottle shows off probably the palest beer that I’ve ever seen, it looked like elderflower cordial and really thin.

(A clear bottle! I hear you cry, surely that’ll incense Jon no end?  Well it doesn’t really…this is beer is all about the yeast and the malt – the hops being used for their preservative and bittering qualities, so there shouldn’t really be any hop aroma to get all skunked in any sunlight)

Poured out, BDF looks so ethereal and light I wondered if it would taste of anything at all, but the aroma is enchanting: all pilsner malty, spicy and fresh.  There’s almost a lemony, ozoney quality too, and a faint alcoholic note (it’s 6% – happy days)

The taste eventually materialises through the strong effervescence and is yeastily fruity, with delicate spicy edge, notes of bubblegummy sweetness come through here and there with clean honeyed malty overtones.  A gentle bitterness appears on the swallow and the lovely combination of tastes continues.

All-in-all, a nice yeast character and balanced body lead to a clean and refined drop.  I liked it a lot, so much so that I’m considering putting a clone recipe together.
(I’m frankly confused by the Timmerman website, so just have a poke about…)

Everydrop looks like a good water filtering solution for home brewing…

We all know that we should be filtering our water prior to brewing, as chlorine is not a happy bedfellow to a hop – combined they create a nasty medicinal taste in the finished beer.

So with the release of Everydrop by Whirlpool it seems possible to cheaply ($20, no UK price yet) filter all the water you’ll need, at pretty much the same speed as it comes out of the kitchen tap:

Plus it looks like it’ll also filter out all the chloramine, particulates and other rubbish that might be present.

I might get one to replace my Water Gem filter and lengths of garden hose that I currently use for brewing…unless Whirlpool see this and fancy sending me a free one to review…*

(*to date I have received precisely zip in the way of freebies from any brewers or manufacturers to review.  Mind you Vigo did cut me some discount on the Braumeister and chucked some bits in FOC.  We like Vigo.  May they flourish.)

Unlocking the genetics of yeast…

I see White Labs are putting some effort into decoding the genetics that make up everyone’s favourite yeasty funsters Sacchromyces Cerevisiae.  There’s a small article about it at

Now, try as I might, I can’t find much information on the actual White Labs site? (

If the truth be told I probably missed it as I got caught up reading a whole lot of other stuff about exciting yeast strains – especially as I’ve been enjoying some Belgian Pale Ales recently and have a hankering to brew some up*

Sorry Fermentis, US-05 just won’t cut it this time.  I need something a whole pile fruitier:

Best headline comment in the reviews: “This made an excellent fruity blonde!”  Sounds a bit like my wife.  No, stop it…

(*God, I haven’t even made the Cascadian Dark IPA yet and I’m planning the brew that’ll follow that.  Such is the joy of brewing.  Oh, you don’t brew?  Why not?  JUST DO IT.)

Porterhouse Brewery: Wrasslers XXXX Full Stout

I don’t come across many beers where there’s a warning on the label…

The Wrasslers label warned me that this is a proper Irish stout (and brewed in Ireland too!), and I use the word “warned” as it’s actually presented as a warning.   I’ve no idea why, though?  Maybe to warn off all those people who drink extra cold Guiness…i.e. people who are afraid of their beer having any taste whatsoever?

Wrasslers appears thick, jet black and sporting a far lighter white head than it has any business to.

The aroma is eye-poppingly intense: lovely heavy roast barley, heavily roasted coffee and thickly malty.  I fell in love with this stout from the aroma alone.

The taste is a heady riot of espresso, dark bitter chocolate, caramel, and gorgeous dark malts. More roast than a month of Sundays and like a really excellent cup of espresso. Splendidly bitter.

The aftertaste actually develops the further away you get from the swallow – with more coffee, and caramel and roastiness all whirling around yet firmly nailed into place by that excellent darkly bitter bassline.

God it’s good.  Complex, strong and with a taste to really think about.  I can’t recommend this stout more highly.