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Archive for the ‘Brewdays’ Category

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.



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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



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…but in the meantime, there’s cider to be made!



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This is a bit of an unusual Brewday Update bonanza, so undoubtedly we’ll now forget to post for weeks, but we finally discovered why there was no photo of the Styrian hops being thrown in to steep for yesterday’s brewday – I’d taken a video clip instead, then only half remembered doing it.

So here are a couple of slightly embarrassing clips of me fiddling with the Boxshed Timmy’s Original while listening to 6Music (which, by the way, always gets a lonely mention on the brewsheets under the ‘assistant brewer’ column!)

Remember everyone, never drink and brew (too much, anyhow) – there’s every chance you’ll spill either the refreshing pint or the boiling brew. And who’d want to waste a glass of BHJ?


First up, it’s the obligatory rolling boil following the addition of the chiller, auxiliary finings and late hops:



And finally the missing Styrians, in to steep. These always smell a treat, and should lift the aroma finish of Timmy’s Original:

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The morning after the brewday before is always a mixture of grogginess and excitement. Tired, but happy at the malt and hop aromas seeping from the Boxshed, we’re still waiting for that explosive fermentation S-04 brings, but pleased to see plenty of bubbles a-rising.

Here are the remaining photos from the session, following the mash. It was good fun, as all hoppy recipes are. All went well once again, which is great as long as we’re not storing up fortune for a gigantic cock-up somewhere along the line! But hey, nothing stuck or broke, we didn’t drop anything in the wort, and we ended up hitting our target of 1.046 and securing 50L of the good stuff in two fermenters.

Can’t ask for more than that really:


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Brew on!

It’s a Wednesday night brewday here at The Boxshed, and we’re brewing up a beer that’s been in the planning for yonks now. Boxshed Timmy’s Original is a special concoction created specially for our pal Tim. He likes drinking beer, so we asked him if he’d like us to make him gallons of the stuff to his own taste just for the hell of it. Unsurprisingly he was pretty keen on the whole plan, so we’ve been messing around with BeerSmith for a while now tailoring the perfect recipe. Today it all came together, and there seemed no good reason not to get the whole shebang underway as soon as possible. Which was about 6pm today. It’s all good so far.

Tim used to love the old Flowers Original draught recipe, so the first thing we did was think about the hops. We ordered a load of Target hops from Craftbrewer down in Oz. Powerful Target coppers featured in both Flowers Original and IPA, as far as anyone can tell. I can’t recommend Craftbrewer enough actually – get a big order together to make the postage worthwhile, and go for it, you won’t regret it. Anyway, Tim is also a bit of a hophead when choosing beers at festivals, as well as a Best Bitter fan, so we planned more Target in the boil than Flowers ever would have used, in order to up the edge. We also decided to add a much bigger chunk of Styrians at the end to steep, then factored in a hefty addition of our own favourite aroma hop, East Kent Goldings, right in the middle of the whole beer soup. Selfish, huh?

To get a robust Best without too much caramel taste, we opted for a blend of four malts, including Patent, and went easy on the Crystal. A 90 minute 65-66 degree mash seemed to make sense, followed by two large equal batch sparges and plenty of runnings. The boil would also be 90 minutes, with an addition of glucose, and those three rounds of hops. SafAle S-04 would do fine for a rapid fermentation, rehydrated in sweet wort from the mashtun.

Anyway, the mash is on, we’ll see…

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It’s taken a week or more to get this brewday post up on the blog. The day job may not be as much fun as either brewing or drinking beer, but it certainly consumes a lot more time and energy. What can you do, eh?

This brew revisited a very successful recipe from a year ago, with a few tweeks. The original idea had been to create a modern hoppy mild in the style of Darkstar‘s formidable Over The Moon. It worked pretty well, and we drank the whole 20 litres ourselves with nobody else really getting a snifter.

The ’09 variety is much the same brew with a few exceptions: it’s a 50L brew length, the roasted barley has been reduced significantly in favour of more patent malt, the yeast has been swapped over to Nottingham Gervin, and ALL the hops are now from Boxshed garden Fuggles and WGV goldings plants. It truly is a Boxshed Dark Garden brew.

The details of the brew day have been lost in the protein haze of time, but everything went to plan over about six hours and the brew has already fermented out. The dark wort was great fun to mess about with and the smells were a treat, particularly the blend of malts and the Fuggle coppers. We can’t wait to get planning the recipe for this year’s Seasonal Stout now.

Anyway, enough with the words, here are some steamy pictures:

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