Summer in Cornwall is in full swing. The roads are like car parks, the queue for our Shop starts in Weston-Super-Mare and the rain is streaming down the brewery windows.
My love for Lapsang has lasted nearly two decades. I have 3 litres of the stuff every day. There is a big pot on my desk right now. Lapsang is like ‘normal’ black tea but the leaves are dried in pine smoke. The result is a rich, sweet, smoky tea which is hugely superior to all other soft drinks. I think the reason I enjoy so much is that it takes me back to the fun I had setting fire to various things as a child arsonist. I have only used lapsang once before in a really horrible experimental Christmas brew I did back in 2003 where it gave a kind of tarry note. I hope for more success this time.
Jasmine tea is black tea which has been mixed with jasmine flowers until it absorbs the essential oil of the jasmine. I need to borrow these essential oils back off of the tea to give the beer the sweet floral notes typical of the flowers. Interestingly enough the essential oils of Jasmine share a couple of compounds with those of hops (indole and linalool). I am adding both teas in the cask before bottling to ensure I don’t get tea-derived astringency.
As I write this I am starting to doubt the reasoning behind combining the smell of smoke and fresh flowers in a beer. Who wants a beer which reminds them of a cremation? I will however, persevere in the name of experimentation and brewing-boundary pushing. Not as clever as buying lots of American hops and putting them in a tank of beer but still worthwhile.
Malt: Pale ale (Pearl), Golden Naked Oats
Hops: Amarillo, Galena
Spices: Lapsang Souchong and Jasmine teas
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.