Exmoor Ale Clone

Whenever Catherine and I head down to the west country I love the bitters and ales we find down there.  Exmoor Ale, by the Exmoor Brewery has been a perennial favourite over the years so I thought I’d have a bash at a clone.

Here’s the recipe details:

Recipe: Exmoor Ale
Style: Special/Best/Premium Bitter
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 25.70 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.64 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 18.93 l   
Bottling Volume: 17.41 l
Estimated OG: 1.039 SG
Estimated Color: 30.0 EBC
Estimated IBU: 40.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 74.8 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes


Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
18.93 l               London, England                          Water         1        -             
5.00 g                Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash 60.0 mins)      Water Agent   2        -             
5.00 g                Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent   3        -             
1.00 tbsp             PH 5.2 Stabilizer (Mash 60.0 mins)       Water Agent   4        -             
3.20 kg               Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC)         Grain         5        87.9 %        
0.40 kg               Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (236.4 EBC)   Grain         6        10.9 %        
0.04 kg               Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC)               Grain         7        1.2 %         
50.68 g               Challenger [6.00 %] - Boil 90.0 min      Hop           8        40.0 IBUs     
1.00 tsp              Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              Fining        9        -             
7.00 g                Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 0.0  Hop           10       0.0 IBUs      
0.5 pkg               American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [124.21 Yeast         11       -             
1.00 tsp              Yeast Nutrient (Primary 3.0 days)        Other         12       -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out

Total Grain Weight: 3.64 kg

Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 9.51 l of water at 74.3 C           66.0 C        90 min        

Sparge: Fly sparge with 20.79 l water at 75.6 C

Brewed on 24th June 2012

Notes on the results to come soon. 🙂

Rochefort – Trappistes 6

Aroma – Malty, caramel smells mixed in with a subtle hint of prunes.  You notice the alcohol in the aroma too.

Appearance – Dark dark copper in colour, and very hazy.  Well carbonated, but not much head formation.

Flavour – This follows on from the aroma closely, strong malt and caramel notes, accompanied with a complex fruitiness – prune/cherry type flavours abound.  This is all followed up by a warming alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel – Noticable alcohol warmth, light/medium-light bodied and well carbonated which gives a tingle on your tongue.

Overall – Rich and complex – nice.

Would I buy more? – It’s not blown me away, but I would happily buy/drink another one.  But I think I could only drink one of these of an evening.

BrewDog – IPA is Dead, Challenger

I really enjoyed BrewDog’s IPA is Dead series when I sampled the latest run at their bar in Camden, so I decided to buy them in bottled form just so I could see if they differed in any way to the kegged counterpart.

This is the first one I’ve gotten around to cracking open – the English hop, Challenger.

Aroma – Very soft citrus, but strong pine/resin notes.

Appearance – Golden orange in colour and slightly hazy. Nice white head formation.

Flavour – Strong resin, piney flavours, not much in the way of citrus. The most overwhelming characteristic of this beer is the bitterness – it’s very bitter, almost bordering on harsh, followed by a very dry finish.  As it warmed up (and I got into it) it almost reminded me of Stone’s Ruination IPA in the flavour and bitterness.

Mouthfeel – Dry and smooth with moderate carbonation, medium bodied.

Overall – Not an amazing example of an american IPA, but quite interesting. The bitterness is too strong though on this one…

Would I buy more? – Nah.  It was nice to experience, (as it was on keg), but I wouldn’t like this as a regular beer – BrewDog have done much better.

St. Austell – Smugglers Vintage Ale

Aroma – Malty and sweet caramel, with a slight fruity hint.

Appearance – Dark brown, but brilliantly clear. A thick creamy head persists throughout.

Flavour – Sweet, malty caramel and fruity notes that match the aroma. Good bitterness too.  As it warmed up it gained more of a sherry type of flavour and warmth.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied with an alchohol warmth as it hits your throat.

Overall – A nice old ale, would be great on a winters evening.

Would I buy more? – Yup, but not too many.  This one’s for sipping.

An Evening at St. John’s

A few of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of dining at St. John Restaurant in Smithfield, London.  It’s not often I head out to a michelin stared restaurant – in fact, this is the first I’ve ever eaten at, but I’m hoping not the last!  Let’s just say… the food and drink experience was awesome!

For starters I had bone marrow – this is considered one of the St John specialities.  This was then followed up with bath chaps and chickory for the main course.  Then for desert we had a dozen madeleines to share.

All in all it was a wonderful meal and I can’t wait to go again sometime. 🙂

The Kernel – India Pale Ale Galaxy

Aroma – Intense. Strong grapefruit, citrus and floral notes.

Appearance – Dark apricot-like orange in colour and quite hazy with a very thin white head.

Flavour – Super hoppy, with a character that matches the aroma – fruity, citrus and floral. Quite bitter an dry, and the dryness lingers in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, but not very well carbonated.

Overall – An awesome IPA!

Would I Buy More? – This is one of the best beers I’ve had in a while – most definitely yes!

Fuller’s – Golden Pride

I had this one at The Parcel Yard in King’s Cross Station – it’s a great pub to have just around the corner from work. 🙂

Aroma – Malty, fruity and large amounts of caramel/toffee/molasses.

Appearance – Dark red/brown. Crystal clear. Nice off-white head that sticks around.

Flavour – As with the aroma – seriously malty and sweet, with nice bitterness. Slight fruity flavours in there too,

Mouthfeel – Hmmm, chewy… Full bodied with a hint of warmth coming from the alcohol.

Overall – A very very nice old ale!  Very strong though – one to sip slowly.

Would I buy more? – Most definitely, but I could only drink the one per night.