Not for Butty Man: Wye Valley – Butty Bach (Bottle)


I reviewed the tap version of this some while ago and I remember liking it quite a lot (

Well, the bottle version is very much like the draught version, here are my rough and ready notes – which are surprisingly similar to my notes for the other…which means my sense of taste is still good!

Amber Colour with a thinnish but disappearing head.  The nose was sweet cereals and grain.  Not a hugely distinctive aroma, but pleasant enough.

In the taste I got a lovely full sweet malt flavour, with a good solid mouth feel and for a bottled beer, quite a restrained carbonation.

Not vastly bitter, but does have enough bitterness to give a pleasing finish.  A light malty aftertaste means you’ll always fancy another sip.

Butty Bach is a good restorative beer – get yourself a bottle if you need some refreshment after some heavy manual labour…

T ‘n’ T HXPA (Highly eXplosive Pale Ale) in a Braumeister


In your face IPAs…I’ve defined a new style: HXPA.  It’s sure to catch on, so just remember you heard it here first….you know me; any excuse to work up an eye-catching name for a brew.

I couldn’t help but buy a packet of  T ‘n’ T pellets from the Rob at the Malt Miller when I saw them ( as they were different, interesting looking and very attractively priced at £3.80 for 100g

I’m sure the name T ‘n’ T has absolutely frig-all to do with explosives in any shape or form…so it’s still a bit of a mystery to me why these hops are so named.  I’ve searched about quite a bit and don’t seem to be able to unearth much about them – save for vague allusions to tastes of  “Intense red berry fruits”, “citrus”, etc.

The brew has been in the primary fermenter for about 9 days now, so today I’ll be dosing with the dry hops.  I may also sling in 30g of Nelson Sauvin that I kept in the freezer – or I may save them for my next brew which will crammed with boatloads of Citra.

Here’s the recipe for the HXPA brew, note that with this one is all about the late hop additions…that’s where I want the impact to be – not wasted on 30 minute additions.  I’ve kept the bitterness at a relatively low 41 IBU, so we’re staying in Pale Ale territory and not straying into IPA madness:


Plus there’s a dose of Munich and Vienna malt – just to further contribute to the body.

I managed to get 21.5L of 1059 wort into the fermenter and am using US-05 yeast as I trust it and love it in equal measures.  I followed my standard mashing schedule in the Braumeister (see previous post here: but pushed the sacchrification rest to 67C as I’d like to get a smidge more body in the finished beer.

I hope that the US-05 will rip through the wort and leave me with a finishing gravity somewhere around 1010, which should give 6.4% ABV of explosive hoppy goodness…

Tasting notes will follow…

Ray White’s Favourite: Brasserie des Sources – Bellerose

BelleRoseA picture of Bellerose, that I borrowed.  If you don’t want me to use it, just let me know….

Now I know what Raymond Blanc* likes in the way of beer- and it’s to his eternal credit that it’s not too shabby, either…

(*Raymond Blanc or “Ray White” as my wife and I prefer to call him…DON’T ever get us started on Michel Roux/Michael Rooks, either…)

I enjoyed this beer at Ray’s cake shop in Burford: Eve had one of those Groupon voucher doo-dahs that entitled us to “afternoon tea”.  I was heartily glad to learn that Ray considers that afternoon tea can be improved by the addition of a free glass of wine…these crazy continental types, eh?  However, I was even more gladdened to find out that I was able to eschew the aforementioned glass of wine for a bottle of beer from the menu…alright: THE bottle of beer from the menu.

I didn’t get to see the bottle, which meant I was able to appraise it objectively – albeit through several mouthfuls of cake.

It was an opaque and beautiful vision of a Biere de Garde…a species of beer that I’m not overly familiar with but now wish I was more.  In the glass it was yeastily cloudy, and bore forth a very appetizing fruity, phenolic, yeast-led aroma.

In the taste was a melange (hark at me, I’ll be having a bloody “bain“, next) of fruity, yeasty goodness….very much along the lines of yeast-in-suspension Saisons and Weizens that I’ve sampled in the past; spicy, peppery fruity yeast-induced themes helped to make the whole thing a very enjoyable departure from the normal hop-mad styles I enjoy.

The Brasserie des Source* is apparently not that far from where Ray claims to have grown up – but between you and me we all know that he’s a carpet-fitter’s son from Cowley who discovered that he could cook and put on a passable Accent de Francais.

Only joking, Ray mate.  Well done on your beer selection.  Folks, it’s worth the trip to Ray’s cake shop for his cakes and impeccable taste in beer.  Eve’s wine was alright too..and they gave us free bread for Jacob, which was very appreciated…

Ray’s Cake Shop:

Brasseries de Source: (It’s the most I can find…and it’s in French, so – like a good French cheese – you can really get the spirit of it under your fingernails)

(*after writing all of this I now discover that Brasserie de Sources was opened by Gerard Depardieu; just think of all the additional wisecracks about Cyrano de Bergerac, noses and weeing-into-bottles-on-a-airplane I could have crammed into this article…tchoh!)

A “pint” (if you want one): Marstons EPA


Here’s another rapidly written review for you to rapidly read.

In a glass:  EPA (English Pale Ale, if you wondered) is very pale indeed and very carbonated, I can see clean through it.  Where would we be without isinglass finings, eh?  A slick and thinnish head.  A promise of good things.

Sweet cereal on the nose with just the faintest suggestion of Kellogs Crunchy Nut Cornflakes although not much in the way of hop presence…

The taste is all light, breezy and quite tasty. Lightly malty and with a little hint of spritzy hoppy bitterness that’s backed up by a nice dry bite that encourages further consumption.

EPA isn’t terribly complex or fascinating, but it does the job when you want a “pint” – albeit out of a bottle.  I drank my EPA after clearing a load of flood water and blocked drains – and it did a good job of refreshing me.

Crackers Lemon Explosion: Celt Experience – Danish Monster


I have no idea what the folks at Celt Experience have been taking, but if they could arrange for a consignment of it to be sent to me, I’d be very grateful.  I thought Brewdog did some fairly unhinged things, but this is a step-up, indeed.

I like the crazy noire-style label on the bottle…there’s a touch of the “Nosferatu“, silent horror vibe about it.

When you pour it out, Danish Monster is all tame beery-looking beer.  Nothing weird, even the colour is nothing untoward…

…then you notice the aroma as it starts to pervade the room. What an aroma.  It’s more intensely lemony than Lemsip – and that’s saying something.  There’s hops in there somewhere I’m sure – maybe I caught a whiff of the little blighters and their resinous ways somewhere in the whirl of lemon…

In terms of the taste: this is quite a meaty beer – big in the mouth and with quite the oddest flavour I’ve come across…tons of hops come stampeding in accompanied by an intense bitterness – both of which are immediately massively supplanted by a violently assertive roast lemon taste (if you can imagine such a thing). There is malt presence in this beer and it’s good and solid, but this beer’s all about the LEMON, baby…

The after taste seems to go on forever and is all hops, resin and roasted lemon again  (surprise!)

God, I don’t know whether I like this or not…but I’m beyond caring as I’m still trying to get the lemon aroma out of my hair, clothes and nostrils.  I don’t actively dislike Danish Monster, but I can’t say I crave another, either…I think…maybe I do…?  I don’t know.

That’s the sort indecision caused by an unforgettable beer…

I love the look of the -frankly, crackers – Celt Experience website…so I’m considering Danish Monster to be a “Gateway Beer” which should lead me to other strange and wonderful experiences in amongst the rest of the Celt Experience range…

Not entirely cock-a-hoop: Jenning’s – Cocker hoop


This will be the first of some rapid fire reviews as I seem to have built up quite a backlog that I haven’t got around to…

In a glass: dark straw-coloured with an attractive, plain white head.

Another golden-ale-bitter style beer with the requisite cereal and grain aroma, backed up with sweet malt.

In the taste: rounded, flinty dryish and quite refreshing, a little citrus note floats around at the back and accompanies a very nice uncompromising bitterness.

Cocker-hoop isn’t desperately complex by any stretch, but it’s tasty – and with its enjoyable dry finish makes it worth drinking again.

Not my absolute favourite, as I like my malts to come through a tad sweeter, but I can certainly see why folks like and rate it.

On draft, with a lower level of carbonation I bet this a different and more enjoyable animal altogether…the bottled carbonation makes the beer taste just a little bit seltzery.

Dark and powerful: Elmtree Beers – Nightlight Mild

20140316_164738Post-gush.  A bit of a shame, really.

Oh dear.  What a shame.  I’ve just had the gush.  No, not a JAM style “The Gush” (feel free to look it up if you like, but it’s not something you want to look at at work or in polite company…)

It was my bottle of Elmtree Nightlight mild.  I just took the cap off and wham off it went.  The photo shows precisely how much I had left after the event.  So I’m afraid that this is a bit of thin review.

It’s a real shame as I really enjoyed Elmtree’s Dark Horse Stout ( but by the time the gush had finished there was so much yeast mixed into the beer I only managed to extract a few themes and ideas of what it’s supposed to taste like.  I really didn’t want to tip it away as it’s not very often that I get to try a 5.7% mild…and I did so want it to be good – which it probably is when it’s not over most of the floor and worktops.

Here’s my impressions of it, anyway: strongly warming, alcoholic and slightly vinous, very flavourful. Darkly good looking.  I just wish I had more of it to evaluate and more to say about it…