Gigantic Grapefruit IPA – Tasting Notes


So many of you* have written in to ask how this beer turned out, that it’d be a public disservice if I didn’t write this review.

And god knows it’s nice to hear from people from time-to-time.  Very often blogging is like casting pearls to the wind; and people, that’s one mixed metaphor you certainly won’t have heard before.

(*alright, so it was actually two people: Dan and Simon…but I was very happy to hear from them all the same…)

Anyway.  Here is the post about making the Grapefruit IPA:

Annoyingly, the half keg of it I had kicked half-way through a barbecue, so I had to break out some very nicely-aged Brett Pale Ale instead .  The rest was bottled – which are way more “fridgeable” than the corny keg.

The Grapefruit IPA arrives in a glass with a fearful chill-haze; but, hey, it’s an American-style IPA and they’re always hazy so everyone wins.

The head is magnificently retentive and that’s down to the wheat malt (as is, probably, the chill haze…)

Bear in mind, that because it’s 7.7% it has to be served cold, and there’s no two ways about it:  warm it’s like Gold Label (Barley Wine) from the days of yore.  Cold: it’s refreshing, fruity, zesty and suicidally drinkable.

There’s more than enough aroma, which is all West Coast hops with not so much dankness, but more of the fruitiness and juiciness that I was looking for.

It’s a big old taste, with lashings of warming alcohol, fruity hops and a solid bitterness – after that comes a wave of fairly pokey citrus ‘n’ grapefruit.

All-in-all, it’s just what I was hoping for. It runs the Ballast point Grapefruit Sculpin pretty close – and on that basis alone, I’m happy.

Honestly, it’s the best beer I’ve made this year; and do you know what?  I might end up adding citrus zest to all of my hoppy beers – as the hops fade the zest takes over and seems to elongate the sensation of hoppiness.

Again, as with some of my other beery efforts, those who have tried it have offered to buy it in quantity.  But I couldn’t do that… the thought of the excise men battering down my door in the middle of the night leaves me cold and clammy.

God, I wish very small-batch brewers (i.e. under a barrel – 117Litres per month) were allowed to flog their beer like the cider farmers can.

I’d only sell to make a tiny profit, meaning the rest covered the cost of ingredients and electrics.

Essentially it would mean that I’d be able to do more of what I enjoy, and that’s making lots of beer and have people buy, drink and enjoy it.

No-name HefeWeizen III – Tasting Notes


Here’s a review of another Hefeweizen, brewed as part of my eternal quest to brew the perfect representation.

You might remember the brewday from here:

Well, I’ve been drinking this steadily since a bit before Christmas and can’t make my mind up whether it’s smack on the money or whether I’m just a hopelessly picky bugger.

(My money is on the latter)

So, looks-wise: it’s not as luminous as I’d like it to be. Maybe luminous is a bad word. Hold on, *consults thesaurus* It’s not as effulgent as I’d like. I’m not sure whether that helps or not?

Let’s just say it’s not as prettily glowy, when back­lit, as I’d like it to be…

The colour isn’t as glowily orange as I’d like it to be, either. It’s nice enough ­ but I’d like it to be more pretty.

The head, however, is much better than the last effort, but still doesn’t hang around like it should. Mind you, it’s meringue-­white, so that’s something to be happy with.

In the nose I got a sweetly ­clean malt-breadiness with some spicy clove and banana notes. It’s not at all “banana bomb” like the last one…but it’s certainly fruit forward and I like that in a Weizen.

The carbonation is much better this time around and it stays sparkly-­prickly right to the end of the glass.

As with all my wheats so far; it’s mouth-­filling, immensely drinkable with enjoyable spice and clove/banana flavours.

This particular beer feels way more complex and in balance than the other Hefeweizens that I’ve made…there’s even some excellent creaminess that floods in at the end…

BUT! There’s a faintly annoying bitterness that creeps in at the end of the creaminess and ever so slightly mars the whole thing.

My trusty tasting panel are split 50/50: some love it because they usually drink bitters, so a twang on the end is what they want to keep the consumption going. The other half think any bitterness in a Hefeweizen is out of place and slightly jarring.

I quite like it, but in my heart of hearts I know that it’s not to style and not what I intended…and that annoys the piss out of me.  15 IBUs of bitterness does seem a touch too much…

Next time it’ll be the same recipe with 11 IBUs of bittering hops…and maybe swap some pils malt out to make it into a dunkleweizen.

Maybe the next one will get a name.?

The BEST Beer Kit: @coopersbrewery – Thomas Coopers Wheat Beer


Seasons greetings, Happy New Year and assorted other sundry greetings to you…

If you hadn’t noticed I took Christmas off, you know: family stuff, crap weather and a general lack of motivation kept me away from the keyboard.

But I’m back now and I’ve got a nicely effusive start to the new year in the form of a review of the Coopers Wheat Beer kit.

Now, this is a canned kit and costs about twelve quid so I wasn’t expecting much…but you can be surprised sometimes…

(I’m not going to bore you with the details of how to make a canned kit (you can see my review of the Woodfordes Wherry kit for that:­test­woodfordesale-wherry­beer­kit­with­a­twist­or­two/ for a simple procedure)

Being a good boy and not wanting to piss off Father Christmas too much (NEVER “Santa”, I’m English for Chrissakes) I followed the kit instructions to the letter – ­including adding the 500g of DME and 1Kg of white sugar…in fact, I followed them diligently, right up until the bit where it said “sprinkle in the included yeast”.  At that point I dumped in a great load of WLP300 slurry from my just­-bottled all-grain Hefeweizen, straight out of the just emptied fermenter.

How d’ye like that Father Christmas? Huh?

Four hours after pitching and the WLP300 had erupted everywhere to spread it’s festive payload of merry sludge onto to the carpets and internal decor of the house. But it smelt good, damn good, just­ like warm freshly baked bread.

God I love WLP300, it’s just so crackers.

Two weeks later I transferred the lot to a Cornelius keg, not bottles. (Yeah, what’s that you say Father Christmas?  You should always bottle a wheat beer?  Yeah?  Deal with it, man…)

Two hours after kegging I was drinking and enjoying a criminally under­carbonated, but fresh and tasty, Coopers wheat beer.

After another week or so – and despite my best efforts – the beer had dropped crystal clear, I tried agitating the keg a bit to get the yeast back up in suspension, but didn’t have any joy.

But, as a clear wheat beer, it was really great, like a Kristallweizen with it’s pretty straw-yellow colour. As a bonus the head hung about for a bit too.

I will say that it took a bit of farting about to get the carbonation right in the corny keg, but that’s only because I have no kegerator and have to rely on the ambient temperature…but as the carbonation came right this beer became a complete joy.

In the nose it’s pure wheat with a lovely dusty-grain note. There’s hints of citrus there somewhere, but it’s mainly that lovely wheaty gorgeousness.

For a canned kit it’s a bloody taste revelation: mouth filling and wholesome­ despite the smallish ~4% ABV.

OK, it’s a tad thinner in body than my all-­grain wheats, but it’s bloody great all the same: a solid wheaty complexity with a welcome sourish zippy tang at the end.

There’s also a gorgeous creaminess that just goes on and on. It’s not quite a true German hefeweizen/weizen, which is fine because it’s not meant to be. What it is, is a cracking wheat beer.

I’ve drunk pints and pints of this beer over Christmas and every single one has been lovely, ­ yeast or no yeast.

When (that’s not “if”) I make this kit again I’ll be sure to bottle it just to see the difference.  I might even try the included yeast. If Coopers can put a kit together as good as this, then the included yeast is probably pretty good too…

Coopers, to use your local vernacular: “Good on Yer!” this kit is a ripper of a bargain and makes me well and truly believe that you can make excellent beer from a canned kit.

If you haven’t home-brewed before: do it with this kit. It’s simplicity itself and you’ll be delighted with the results (assuming you’re not some kind of cack-­handed idiot who can’t follow simple instructions…)

You can invest (and it is such a small, but worthwhile investment) in the Coopers wheat beer kit from Greg at BrewUK ­ who’ll also happily sell you all the starter brewing gear too if you need it.  You can even get a vial of WLP300 yeast too if you’re so inclined…

When you order Just tell Greg: “I want to make wheat beer and Jon from YIMB sent me.” it won’t count for anything, but at least he’ll know you have taste, are well-read, urbane, stylish and enormously well-endowed.

Summer Summit Pale Ale – Tasting Notes

I have an on-off/love-hate relationship with some of the beers that I brew.

Some I taste when I’m kegging or bottling and I know that that particular beer is going to be great.  Others take a while to warm to…and that can be for a number of reasons…

Sometimes the beer just needs time to condition and show it’s best, other times it just needs to damn-well clear; believe me, once you’ve tasted an un-cleared, still yeast-bitten beer, or one that’s just too young, your memory can be haunted by it for that entire keg-full.

With this beer (, a number of things happened: I wanted some body in the beer so added a nice bit of wheat malt to thicken it up a bit; then I wanted it to be clear before visitors came for the weekend, so I fined it with some gelatine.

Fining with gelatine is simplicity itself, I used the Doctor Oetker powdered variety and dissolved a teaspoon worth in 200ml of warmish water and then gently heated that up to a little below boiling for a couple of minutes.

As I kegged the beer I poured the lot in.  No shaking, no buggering about, I just poured it in when transferring from the carboy into the keg.

I didn’t cold-crash it as I don’t have refrigeration (yet) but let it sit at about 18C for a day or so.  After this the beer was pouring relatively clear and smelt and looked good.

Then our guests cancelled out and I was left with a keg of beer all to myself (shame)

This pale ale poured a lovely polished brass yellow and had a great retentive sticky head.  The aroma was malty, straightforward and nicely hoppy for a pale ale.

In the taste I got sweet malts, a clean yeast profile (due to US-05) and a faintly perceptible candyish edge from the Thai palm sugar.

The hops were there; crisply tasty, and provided a light and refreshing bitterness that prompts much elbow-bending and supping.

All was good.  It’s not an spectacular beer; but it’s good, drinkable and just what I was after.

Then things got weird.  About an hour after drinking this beer, I noticed that there was a distinctly fatty, slick feeling in my mouth – like I’d had a really rich and meaty meal…something like a rib-eye steak.

I can only assume that this as a result of the gelatine being in suspension still and also maybe due to the additional wheat malt in the grist.

I ended up dumping about a litre of this beer – just to get rid of that weird slickness in the taste.  It’s fine now (and has independently been proved so) but I still can’t get the taste “memory” out of my head…

Next time if I fine with gelatine, I’ll be crash-cooling the keg straight afterwards and dumping at least the first pint!

(Yes, alright…I forgot to take a picture.  I’ll put one up when I remember…)