Posts Tagged ‘dark garden’

Here are a couple of videos that were taken during the recent Dark Garden ’09 brewday that we’d forgotten about.

We haven’t got a free video editing tool to hand (any ideas of the best option, please leave a comment and let us know) so they’re a bit rough and ready and are just raw brewing clips, but you might find them interesting, who knows?!

A vigorous rolling boil is important, but so is nursing it through the first ten minutes or so to stave off a boil-over!

The bitter wort comes out with enough force to aerate the brew and add the yeast during the flow. We alternate between FVs every 5L to keep each vessel’s contents consistent.

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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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An update on the progress of our three hop plants. Despite me clumsily butchering the roots of the WGV and Fuggles in order to take some quite simple plantable samples for my dear old bruv, all is going very well indeed. The WGV and Fuggles will be used in as many batches of Dark Garden as I can muster in the Autumn. The Bramling Cross is a rather more reserved old stick, and if we get any cones at all for use in aroma additions I’ll be very happy.

Here are some photos from lunchtime today:

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According to Procrastinationadvice.com, a site that surely is the epitome of self fulfilment, “In order to know the reasons, as to why certain people delay or put off performing their certain tasks or assignments, it is essential to recognize the definition and level of procrastination. The fundamental understanding of the procrastination definition is that, it is an act of delaying or putting off performing some tasks to a later period. This kind of avoidance behavior may be an occasional practice of some individuals. Typically delaying the performance of some assignments can lead to a traumatic situation. Thus, an individual needs to thoroughly understand the definition of procrastinate, so as to understand its significant causes. However, for the persistent procrastinator, it may lead to failure in their assignments and tasks to be furnished.”

Utter twaddle. I’ve just been too busy earning a crust and refinancing my little world to post for a while, that’s all. That and the fact my new iPhone camera doesn’t work very well, doesn’t have a flash, and remarkably lacks both Bluetooth and removable media. It’s a great toy (you can even get brewing software on it created by a fellow UK beer forum bloke), but a crap camera. And phone, frankly.

Anyway, enough bush beating, here’s the latest. The Dark Garden was terrific and as such is long gone. The Pion Brew, Best Bitter and Stout are all finally on tap, although because the Boxshed is so damn cold, the two ales are suffering very badly from chill haze. The same can’t (because it’s simply impossible to tell) be said of the Stout, which as intended tastes terrific with a double port in the bottom of a cold pint.

In other news, thanks to borrowing some equipment off of Tom the microbrewer (he’s normal size you understand, but his plant currently churns out five barrels a pop) and some gratefully received elbow-grease as chance would have it, the APA is also now in 40 pint bottles and has just finished warm conditioning. Oh, plus various swingtops of random beers as well as Pickled Onions (which are great by the way, if you like ’em spicy) have been bundled off as Christmas gifts.

As soon as I work out what the hell Apple is playing at, I’ll post some photos of the current draft offerings and the bottles. If that doesn’t happen before Christmas, I wish you A Very Merry One.

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The plan for this brew was to produce a mild with all of the characteristics of a complex porter. My favourite commercial dark beer is probably Darkstar Over The Moon, and so I wanted to brew something with the same layered malt texture and hoppy profile. I realised this wouldn’t strictly result in a Mild, but the ABV certainly would as I wanted this to be a drinker, not a rare treat.

The only other essential ingredient for this brew was to use my own garden grown Fuggles hops in the copper. I was quite excited about using hops I’d planted, harvested and dried myself, and so was extra careful to get this one right. What made this a little tricky was the fact I’d never actually brewed a dark beer before, and simple things like black as oil first runnings and not being able to just clarity very easily at any stage were all things I hadn;t really considered.

As far as the recipe goes, I settled on six different malts, including two pales, three coloured and some wheat for head retention. On the hop front, Fuggles were a given, and East Kent Goldings made a natural partner, with a decent aroma guaranteed from a nice chunk in to steep. Here it is:


Boxshed Dark Garden

Mashing (90mins, 66 – sparge at 75)
MO Pale Malt, 2.7Kg (70%) 
Munich Malt, 400g  (10.5%) 
Crystal Malt, 200g  (5.2%) 
Wheat Malt, 200g  (5.2%) 
Chocolate Malt, 180g  (4.7%) 
Roasted Barley, 170g  (4.4%) 

Boiling (90mins)
Fuggles 4%AA, 45g, 90mins
East Kent Goldings, 30g, 15mins
East Kent Goldings 30g, Flameout steep

Other bits
SafAle S-04 rehydrated

Facts & Figures
Est. Brew length: 23L
Est. OG: 1.040
Est. FG: 1.010
Est. Bitterness: 30.6 IBU
Est. ABV: 3.8%


The mash and sparge all went very smoothly. Doing the returns was a bit weird because I’ve never brewed a beer as dark as this, so I simply did six litres in jugs and rinsed the grit each time rather than go by clarity. Check out the gallery to see more – sorry the photos are so gloomy but it was a grim, cold night, our fuses had blown on that lighting circuit, and the steam was pretty dense!



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