Here we will keep all previous posts from us, hopefully with some semblance of order.
Space, Craft keg and One beer to rule them all?
Since the last update, brewing with green hops, we’ve been busy with Christmas, bottling like mad then pushed straight into the expansion in the brewery. Just after New year’s eve we closed the Foundry for three days started dismantling walls and demolishing a cellar. We installed three new fermentation vessels, on show, and have even found a secret location to hide a forth. Although we haven’t increased the size of the brew-house we have taken our maximum weekly output from 12bbls a week to 40bbls, giving us a greater flexibility and more time to care for our beer (no more sleepless nights worrying about chill temperatures). In keeping our small brew-house size we also keep the flexibility in our schedules to keep brewing exciting, innovative and downright odd beers to keep us all engrossed by the possibilities of beer and have the time and space (down in no small part to our, now, not-so-new boy Sam) to keep brewing our regulars.
We have taken the opportunity to play straight away and have put together some unusual beers to help us all through the next couple of months. We started our new brewing schedule with a 9.6% chocolate and vanilla imperial porter. This was brewed as a test for our house yeast and it definitely passed. After achieving a 9.6% beer in the tank we decided that wasn’t enough and to give us something special for Valentine’s day (we all deserve something special for Valentine’s day) we added Madagascan vanilla pods and over a kilo of organic cocoa nibs. I’ve been blow away by the flavour and aroma of the vanilla and the balance between the chocolate and unfermented sugars in the beer and a late addition of some East Kent Goldings .
After making a beer that was big, dark and malty we needed something to cleanse our palates and as brewers only hops would do. I’ve been looking at an unused bag of New Zealand motueka (used in the Hoppin’ Belgian) for weeks desperately trying to find an excuse to brew again with them as they’re a big favourite of mine.After some discussions and some excellent dressing up by Sam (see pump clip) we decided to brew a Kiwi double IPA inspired by the release of the Hobbit film.
The Hoppit as we felt duty bound to call it is an 8.1% double hopped with all of the NZ favourites we could lay our hands on, Green Bullet, Pacific Gem, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin.
Both of these are now conditioning away in our store, but, on the bar now is our oak-aged, cherry fermented ale. We filled a spare whisky cask with a strong malty base beer and added some sour cherry and an American ale yeast and waited. Six months later we were happy enough with the cold maturation and now have it on tap. This forms part of our newly expanded keg range, which we’re hoping to have a launch party for soon, including the new 50/Fifty wheat beer which I’ll talk about more as the sun comes out.
Finally we can stop hassling the lovely people at Simply Hops in Paddock Wood as our American hops have started to arrive. Citra was the first through the door so Gold has been back with us since Christmas and last week the Centennial arrived so the first batch of Red Rye has been brewed and is due back on the back in the next two weeks.
That’s all I have time to talk about today, but I’ll let everyone know about anything we get excited about in the coming weeks or hope to see you at the Planet Thanet Beer festival in a few weeks.
Kent Green Hop Fortnight and the Canterbury Food and Drink Festival
As part of our celebration of the Kent Green Hop Fortnight we will be launching not one, but four beers: Seriously Saison, Obama’s Honey Ale, a green hop version of our cask lager and our single hop pale with lashings of lovely, local Goldings.
Brewing started nearly three weeks ago and we’ve been so busy getting covered in our favourite foliage since, that I’ve not had time to let everyone know about it. Most of our hops have come to us from John Clinch’s beautiful gardens in Ospringe and this year’s Goldings and Challenger look stunning. They have got us a bit over excited, (see photo) as I’m sure anyone who’s been around the brewery in recent weeks will tell you and we liked them so much we’ve decorated the entire ground floor of the Foundry with them if you’d like to come and have a look.
First we brewed our Saison with a cracking Belgian Saison yeast and so many hops that it took nearly 40 minutes to force them into the copper. We added over 10 kilos of fresh Goldings per brewers barrel, admittedly this is only 40kilos on our kit, then stood round looking over excited; while trying to explain to the customers watching the hopping why we were so thrilled. We managed to get the hops from field to copper in less than 45 minutes to preserve some real flavours of Kent sun.
The following week we brewed twice in a day for the first time here. I arrived feeling very awake at four in the morning so we could brew both the single hopped pale ale, the lager and get the hops freshly from the bines. We started with the pale as we use a higher strike temperature for our ales and by midday Jon had arrived with some hops and some bad news, due to problems at the farm we couldn’t get any Challenger for the mornings brew. However, the Goldings looked even better than previously so we weren’t too upset. New boy Sam came in to help, a by now very weary brewer, finish off the first brew then get set up for lager time. Thankfully the Challenger was now available and we could follow our Canterbury lager recipe, allowing for the extra hops.
Having thought this would be the end of our green hop brewing we came across Barack Obama’s homebrew recipes. We found that in his Whitehouse Honey Ale he used exclusively Kent hops and saw an opportunity to keep feeling the green hop love. We got to collaborate with our friend Martin at Canterbury Ales and brew on his lovely eight barrel kit in Chartham. In place of Whitehouse Honey we substituted in some beautiful local honey from the wild hills of Whitstable and brewed with some more of Syndale’s Goldings and some Fuggles. To get the Fuggles I stayed behind in Chartham and a group from the Foundry joined by some very helpful types from Simply Hops had a lovely morning picking the Fuggles in Dartford and rushed back just in time for the huge aroma additions.
Since brewing our hop celebration we’ve been keeping busy (not just drinking Saison, honestly) preparing for the festival in the Dane John. Things look ready at time of writing and we’re hoping to see lots of you for a real celebration of Kentish produce and agriculture. There should be a good turn out from the other Kent brewers and we’ll be back in the Foundry Brewpub after each of the days enjoying some more fresh hopped beers.
Hope to see you at the festival or back at the brewery, more new beers to came and the return of some favourites.
Below is an e-version of the information sent out to pubs who have received a cask of the Enigma hop ale. We’re very excited about this and I’ll update you with what’s been going on after we’ve received all the feedback.
Thanks for your help…
The beer in front of you has been brewed with a unique hop, grown in Britain, that may have never been tasted before. We have been asked by Dr. Peter Derby of the National Hop Collection to brew with an unknown hop variety. This could be a historical variety not brewed with for a hundred years or a brand new variety never tasted anywhere in the world before. We’ve brewed the beer, now we’re asking for your help to give the growers some feedback on the flavours. We have used the hops throughout the brewing process to show all of the flavours possible. Your feedback will be taken seriously and by giving us an honest appraisal you will be helping to sustain one of the proudest features of our local landscape.
Everyone’s palate is different and there are no wrong answers in taste, in order to help with clear flavour definitions we have provided a flavour wheel for your use. Any of the flavours in the segments (eg. orange, mandarin) are part of the flavour group heading (eg. Citrusy), if you detect these flavours then give a rating from 0-7 in the box provided. Please give an intensity rating for all eight flavour groups.
Please click on the image below for a larger version.