Watch this space….
It may well be the backend of October already, but most of the handpumps around these parts are still busy serving a range of distinctly Summery golden ales, with just the occasional musty cider or conker-coloured seasonal starting to break through. It’s time for a change on the homefront.
We’ve got a lot of work on here sprucing the place up, cleaning out forgotten vessels and planning an inventive brewing schedule that’ll churn fresh brews out in the ol’ Nick of time for the Christmas break.
No recipes to share just yet, but anticipate a stout or two and a stab at a festive red.
Back with more to report soon, promise…
Can it really be a whole year since we last updated The Boxshed Brewery website? Pretty unforgivable perhaps, but actually in such a fast-moving world it can sometimes be pleasant to take time out from writing about daily life to sit down with a pint or six and just enjoy it!
Many seasonal brews later, it’s April 2011 and life in the Boxshed is much the same as it was this time last year. It’s Dark Ale time once again in the brewery, while milds, porters and stouts are also fobbing away at my local. None of this beer is going to mash or drink itself – time to get back to black.
We’ll be posting some more updates soon enough, beginning with the outcome of this dry Suffolk stout, currently conditioning in the shade during a surprisingly hot and sunny East Anglian spring. In the meantime, get out in the sunshine yourself, visit your local community pub and check out the dark stuff coming onto taps and stillage.
It’s probably your round…
Life’s been a whirlwind over the last month or so, but on the brewing front it’s all been about creating an interesting stout.
A test brew and full-on firkin-size brewday culminated in a complex stout which we’re fortunate enough to have on tap at a local ale fest.
The Dark Ale Days festival at The White Horse pub in Edwardstone, Suffolk opens in around an hour’s time at midday Friday 30 April, and runs until Monday afternoon. There are bands every day providing a suitable soundtrack to complement a selection of over 30 milds, porters and stouts from far and wide, including one brew from the Boxshed.
The as-yet-untapped Penny Black Suffolk Stout features eight types of grain as well as three hop varieties grown at the Boxshed. It tasted pretty good in testing and direct from the fermenter, but of course we actually have no idea how it will arrive in the glass. Fingers crossed and many thanks all the fine people at The White Horse and attached Mill Green Brewery who will be working their ale-drenched socks off all weekend serving up all that dark stuff.
See you there?
More details on the brew itself another time.
Time to wrap up the updates for Snow Drop ahead of a couple of looming brews (more about those very soon). This one has actually been conditioning for some while. I’ve even had a couple of sneaky bottles. Just to check it’s okay, you understand…
The Snow Drop fermented out as expected and was moved into secondary for a further five days. We added a good chunk of Goldings dry hops in both fermenters at a rate of 100g to 50 litres. After hoiking these at the end of secondary, we racked 20 litres into a Cornie, filled 24 glass beer bottles and put the rest into clear bottles for ‘test drinking’ over the next few weeks!
One week priming with light Spraymalt in the warm then four weeks cool conditioning.
Anyway, here are the last few photos for this brewday before the next one, which will get its own overdue post in a few days…
Fermentation all seems to be going well. We’re using SafAle US-05 to make a clean golden ale with hops cutting through the finish. The downside is that fermentation is never particularly spectacular with this particular yeast strain, and it isn’t highly flocculant, so not the best for bottling. Worth the extra care and a period in secondary for the crisper taste though.
We named it Boxshed Snow Drop for a few reasons. Outside the Boxshed the actual snow has now gone but the snowdrops are all coming through. We also have a little white Pekin hen called Snowdrop who is the only one of our birds to have laid through the cold Winter. But mainly, it should prove to be a nice Drop to have while watching the next deluge of Snow!
It’s a pretty selfish recipe, to be honest designed to be drunk by a motivated brewer! It’s over 90% pale malt and uses Target and Northdown as copper hops, with favourites East Kent Goldings and Mount Hood as aroma and steeping additions, all in large measures.
We went for a shorter brew length this time to enable a more vigorous boil without too much mess. A three stage batch sparge began with a cool mash and ended with a hot mash out. Sadly we lost a few litres to the copper when the pelleted hops swamped the hopstopper completely, but still managed to stow away 40 litres or so at the target gravity of 1.047. We’re hoping for a brew in the 4.4 – 4.6 ABV range.
Fermentation is taking place at the cooler end of the recommended scale at around 66-68 degrees, and we’ll test for progress towards 1.012 on Monday.
Really looking forward to drinking this one!
*EDIT: Checked progress on Monday after a pretty unspectacular fermentation to discover that both bins are already down to 1.013. That US-05 is a strange old yeast, but very effective! Brew looks pale and cloudy. We’ll leave it a little while longer and then transfer into secondary fermenters later this week to get rid of some of that yeast and trub and give it a chance to drop a bit clearer.
Blimey, the Boxshed is finally brewing again!
It’s been quite some time but this first brewday of 2010 will be a premium pale ale with plenty of hops, just how we like it.
Quite exciting really, so there’ll be more updates later, and hopefully a beer or two to fuel the brewer in the cold old shed…
It was really difficult to get a brew on after such a long hiatus and such a disappointment last time out. There was also Christmas and all those snow days to contend with between brews, which made it seem even longer (and the Boxshed colder and less inviting). Remember back when you were small and you spent the whole summer holidays riding bikes, climbing trees and making mud pies only to discover when back in school in September that you couldn’t even remember how to hold a pen? Well it’s a bit like that. Only with snowballs not mud pies. And a brewer’s paddle not a pencil.
But look, it really is happening – here’s the evidence! More updates on the actual recipe another day.
*Late night update : Sheer volume of pellet hops blocked up the hopstopper. We dropped a few litres short to avoid recirculating the fine hop powder, but still took enough for a couple of cornies in two FVs at 1.047