Golden Summer Shower Ale (IVPA)

Miss me?  I mean, did you miss me?

Don’t worry if you didn’t.  I’ve been off of brewing for so long now it’s embarrassing, so I don’t expect any teary welcome backs or anything.

So.  It’s nearly summer, and what could be nicer than a lovely refreshing summer ale – something that’ll glide across the taste buds, slake a parched throat or re-hydrate a tried work-worn body?  Yeah, that’d be really nice…if only I wasn’t such an efficient brewer.

5.2% – that’s what Beer Engine reckoned it’d be; 1052 OG or thereabouts for my 5 and a bit kilos of grain.

Well, I got 1061 and if that US ale yeast does it’s job and wrestles the lot down to 1009, we’ll be looking at 6.7% or so ABV.

I planned on dry-hopping with some more Styrians (Bobek) but it might end up getting a dose of centennial as well, plus the rind of two or more pink grapefruit.  Anyone for another (hastily invented) beer style?  IVPA – India Very Pale Ale?

Yeah, suck it up craft breweries, I can make those moves too…


Notice the deceptively simple grain bill?  That’s because I needed to ease myself back in gently and that little bit of wheat malt is only to work up a bit of head protein and interest in the mouthfeel.

The mash was simplicity itself:

  • Dough-in 38C,
  • Sacch Rest: 67C for 80 Minutes
  • Mash Out: 76C for 10 Minutes

I sparged with 2 litres of hand hot water – mainly because I’d already mashed out and to be honest sparging a Braumeister malt tube with 82C (or whatever) water?  Life’s too short…

Heaven only knows how this one will shape-up, especially as it’s fermenting in the shed in my new fridge-based-fermentation chamber.  We’re currently at a reasonably steady 17-18c so I have hopes that it’ll be as clean as a whistle.

…and of course, when I want to clear the finished beer, I’ll drop the temperature down to 5 or so degrees.  That’s how we roll in these temperature-controlling times.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Next up: probably a rendition of Ommegang Hennepin Saison – especially now I’m able to ramp up a temps to 25c…  Cha-ching.



I can’t believe that I like this: Greene King – St Edmunds Golden Ale

20140616_193609Another short and sweet review today as I’ve built up a backlog due to sheer laziness.  Hold on to your hats, off we go…

A Greene King beer that I actually like?  Yes, I know.  I don’t believe it, either.

Arriving in a glass a lovely polished brass colour, St Edmund’s Golden ale looks appetising and comes in smaller 375ml (I think) bottles – which are ideal for this time of year where you just want a quick drink of something at a lunchtime and not a whole pint.

Lighty malty with a slightly spicy and almost “minty” hop aroma – I’m impressed.  Most GK beers I’ve had before have sweet FA in the way of nose.

Delicately effervescent and with that same light maltiness plus a not-so-meagre hand with the hopping make for quite a tasty enjoyable flavour and a lasting quenching bitterness.  Style-wise we’re pretty much smack on the money.

Apparently St Ed’s is made with Cascade, but I couldn’t really discern it in the flavour or the aroma…but I’m not too bothered.

Well done Greene king.  This isn’t a barn-stormer of a beer – and it’s not hugely complex, but it’s enjoyable and I haven’t said that about a GK beer for a long time.


A Palatial Palate Pleaser: Blenheim Palace Traditional Golden Ale

20140324_193931I like Blenheim Palace (I went to school in Woodstock, so we often used to get thrashed around the grounds of the palace on cross-country runs by our dear teachers from the Marlborough school.  Hi Mr Haynes (Clarry) – yes, you were right…I should have tried much harder in Economics lessons)

Anyway, the palace itself aside -nice, though it is- we’re here (again) for the beer.

Normally when I see branded products that are so obviously destined for the gift shop my heart sinks…invariably they’re tawdry, novelty items that are more a reminder of a place than a product that’s actually any good.

But unbelievably Blenheim Palace Traditional Ale is not too bad at all.

Poured into a glass it’s a fairly good-looking golden straw colour, is also bottle conditioned and has a delightfully sweet malt ‘n’ grains sort of aroma going on.

Let’s be clear about this…it’s not the most complex drop you’ll ever have – but it’s very drinkable and is all honeyed and tasty. Definitely a summertime drink and with a good trailing bitterness it’s a taste that you’ll want to revisit…very much like Blenheim Palace itself.

As you can see I had mine with an Indian meal (lovingly prepared by Eve) and it worked perfectly.  I’d like to see BPGA on draught in Woodstock, but that’s unlikely, I guess.

I didn’t get my bottle from the Blenheim gift shop, I actually got it from my sister’s deli in Woodstock – which is the go-to place for hampers, champers, baguettes, sandwiches, coffee and just about anything else you can think of in the eating and drinking line.

Co-op: “Sourced locally” Golden Ale

Co-op ales

Golden Ale is another in the trilogy of Co-op’s “locally sourced” range.  I reviewed the Dark Ale previously, here:

Co-op’s Golden Ale is produced by the Nethergate folks (they of “Growler” fame) so you’d hope it was something a bit special…

In a glass it’s very…you know…brassy and golden, which is just how a golden ale should be.  Good strong running beads of carbonation help to buoy up a cow-parsley head of froth.

This beer has an aroma that’s all grains, cereals and sweet malt…a bit like walking into a grain store on a farm, it’s an interesting aroma, but I think I would have preferred more maltiness and less cerealiness.

Maybe Nethergate are using maize or some unmodified malts as an adjunct to the malt bill?  (Not that there’s anything at all wrong with doing that…many other brewers do exactly that)

On the taste-front this Golden Ale is a little one-dimensional and monochromatic: I only get sweetish malt and a little bitterness on the back edge as the beer goes down.

It really could do with an extra dimension in order to add a little complexity, make it pop and bring it to life…trouble is with a Golden Ale you’re kind of constrained by style: e.g. if you bumped up the sixty minute hop addition it would then become a golden bitter which is not really the point.

Maybe a more distinctive yeast strain would introduce a more exciting fruity dynamic?  Or maybe just use the existing yeast and ferment it out at a slightly higher temperature, that would also add a fruity complexity, I’m sure.

Anyway, in its current state Golden Ale is drinkable, kind of enjoyable, but definitely lacking any wow factor.