Camden Town – Hells Lager

Taste – Biscuity malt flavours, very subtle peppery hop bitterness, a little sweetness, and a dry finish.

Aroma – Lightly hoppy, slight smell of straw to it.

Appearance – Very pale (clear golden) and well carbonated with clean white head.

Would I buy more? – Hells (you see what I did there?!?) yes. I really like this lager – would be most refreshing on a warm summers evening.

BrewDog Camden

BrewDog Camden is the newest addition to BrewDog’s collection of craft beer bars, situated just around the corner from Camden tube station, I’m a bit of a fan of BrewDog’s beers and attitude towards brewing so I’ve been looking forward to a visit…

A few friends and I went there last night for some birthday drinks and to check out the new IPA is Dead range.  All I can say is, I like this pub!  The beer (as expected) is great, and it’s not just BrewDog beers on offer – the fridges were stacked with craft beer from other breweries from all over the globe.  In fact there was such a variety on offer it’s a bit too much choice, but that’s a good thing!  The atmosphere was great too, even when it got quite busy later on in the evening it still felt like a good place to be in and it didn’t take more than a few minutes to get served at the bar.  The only possible negative I could think of is that if this place gets more popular (it’s going to), it could be a little too busy and crowed for a civilised and deep conversation, but you could say that of any busy pub in London of an evening.

On to the beers! For this visit I decided to stick with the BrewDog beers and sample a few (small measures of each of course!):

  • Punk IPA – tastes exactly the same from the pump as it does from the bottle (aka good!).
  • 77 Lager – nice clean, crisp lager, and very refreshing.
  • IPA is Dead Moteuka – great aroma and flavour, real fruity notes.
  • IPA is Dead Galaxy – similar to the Moteuka, great aroma and fruity flavour, but had a slightly more harsh bitter edge to it that I quite liked, this one was my favourite of the IPA is Dead family.
  • IPA is Dead Challenger – nice, but way too bitter.
  • IPA is Dead HBC – ok, but bland in comparison to the other three in the range.
  • Hardcore NZ (Hardcore IPA variant using New Zealand hops) – hoppy, sweet tropical fruit, malty and caramel flavours abound.

All in all the beer experience was as expected (great).  What I didn’t expect though was the food to be equally great!  They only serve a limited selection: three types of pizzas or burgers, and a cheese board.  All of the food coming by looked great, so I opted for the “Meaty One” pizza – I was not disappointed!  Some of the others had the burgers and the cheese board and they were equally happy with the food.

So BrewDog Camden lived up to the expectations, if you can get there I would most definitely recommend it.

Hop Slam Wednesday

I’m pretty sure i’ll be heading over to Brewdog Camden for this one!

IPA is Dead Launch Event – Wednesday 21st March in All BrewDog Bars! From 7pm

IPA is dead showcases 4 killer hops varieties from 4 corners of the planet. The result is 4 radically different single hop IPAs. Each IPA contains the same malt backbone and is brewed to be 75 IBU and is enthusiastically kettle hopped and massively dry hopped.

We will be launching them all on draft in a Hop Slam Wednesday in all BrewDog Bars from 7pm on Wednesday the 21st March.

My First Hefeweizen

I’ve always liked the hefeweizen style of beer, especially on a nice warm day. It’s not too heavy, hoppy or malty and is just damn refreshing.  So naturally I had to give it a go…

Batch Specifics:
Batch Size: 10 litres
Total Grain: 2kg
Anticipated OG: 1.047
Anticipated ABV: 4.5%
Anticipated EBC: 5.5
Anticipated IBU: 11.3
Est. Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 120 minutes

50% – 1kg German Pilsner Malt
50% – 1kg Geman Wheat Malt

13.5g Spalter Spalt whole hops (4.9% AA) added to the boil at 40 minutes

Not good...

0.25 tsp Yeast Nutrient added to the boil at 20 minutes

Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen – made into a 1 litre starter a couple of nights earlier

26 litres of Luton’s finest, boiled for 30 minutes the night before with half a camden tablet. This was cooled overnight and then I ran off 25 litres ready for brewing, leaving 1 litre and all the chalk to be disposed of.

Mash Schedule:
Mash In: 5.3 litres of water at 78℃ for 45 minutes
Mash Out: 2.1 litres of water at 98℃ for 10 minutes
Sparge: Fly sparge with 17.5 litres of water at 76℃

Look at that change in colour!

Brewed 21st January 2012

Mashed the 2kg of malt according to the schedule, and ran off 24 litres of wort at a disappointing OG of 1.019 (expected pre-boil OG was 1.029). So, I added 45g of light dried malt extract to bring the wort up to the target OG of 1.029.

After the boil, again the measured OG was way below target – I measured 1.026 in 16 litres of wort, but the expected target was 1.050 in 10 litres! So I had to add yet more extract (300g) and sugar (600g – as I ran out of extract) to bring the OG up to 1.045.

The wort was cooled using a copper immersion chiller, and then transferred into the fermentation bucket and pitched with 750ml of the yeast starter.  The other 250ml was put into the fridge – we’ll see if it’s viable for another batch in the future.

Not a perfect brew day, but there’s a lot more beer there than was expected – silver linings and all that…

There was good fermentation after 18 hours, and this kept going for another 4-5 days. After 7 days, I moved the wort into the barrel, OG was measured at 1.014, where it stayed for another 7 days before bottling (primed with 58g of brewers sugar) – the FG at bottling was 1.008, so we should be looking at about 4.8% ABV in the end.

That’s enough for this post, i’ll write about the results shortly!

Wadworth Beer Kitchen

The folks over at the Wadworth Brewery have recently released a range of craft beers under the Wadworth Beer Kitchen brand that a few friends and I had the pleasure of sampling the other weekend.

In the range they have five different beers to choose from: Wheat Beer, India Pale Ale, Orange Peel Beer, Whisky Barrel Aged Bitter and Espresso Stout. Unfortunately we couldn’t sample the whole range as the bar had run out of the India Pale Ale but we got to sample the other four beers.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the beers fared…

Orange Peel Beer – Malty, slightly sweet and with a definite orange zesty flavour this was one good beer! This was the first one we sampled and I would most definitely like to drink this one again (and again, and again, and again).

Wheat Beer – Light and clean, with a subtle clove and citrus flavour and a very good mouth feel. I’m a fan of wheat beers and this was my favourite of the four we sampled – I could easily drink this one all night!

Espresso Stout – Coffee and stout has always been a good combination and this is a great example of how it’s done. Dark, smooth and velvety, with a deep roasted malt flavour and powerful cocoa-bitterness made this one of the favourites among the others in the crowd. It wasn’t too heavy feeling either (like you get with a lot of stouts) which made this even more pleasurable to drink. This would be a perfect beer to end a meal in place of a coffee.

Whisky Barrel Aged Bitter – Premium bitter aged in whiskey barrels for two to three months, need we say more. Smokey, rich, malty and deep whisky flavours power through this intense yet sophisticated beer. If you like whisky aged beers, it’s recommended.

Wheat, Orange, Whiskey and Espresso

We sampled these fine beers at The Dandy Lion in Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. If you’re in the area and in need of a drink, I’d highly recommend it – the pub looked great, the staff were friendly, very knowledgeable about the beers and there were four other cask ales (not just Wadworth’s) at the bar in addition to the bottled selection.

All in all the group and I came away very impressed with these beers. If you get the opportunity to sample one of these i’d most definitely recommend them.