For the last 3 years I have stuck the same recipe because it has been popular and I didn’t want to upset anyone. This year I have changed it. Not because I want to upset people but because the Hallertauer Brewer’s Gold which are key to SBR’s flavour are a bit crap (technical brewing term) this year. This (last) year’s SBR is a very selfish beer because I have opted to use only my favourite hop. “Which is your favourite hop Stuart?” I hear you say. She is Bobek, a fragrant and mild Slovenian with a delicate and diminutive cone. Some brewer’s have posters of the American hops on their messroom wall. American hops are like Pamela Anderson in her prime, stunning, exciting but simple and partially synthetic (I know that she's Canadian). Bobek is an unassuming beauty and her allure is rediscovered with each meeting, a beauty of which one could never tire. She’s too classy to be spread across a poster. Don’t get me wrong, I love American hops it’s just that I feel that Bobek eclipses them.
In this homage to Bobek the malt can only ever play a supporting role. Although a supporting role, the correct degree of caramel, sweetness and depth is vital to adequately frame the beauty of the hop. High colour, well-modified pale and 140 crystal are used to give a deep golden colour and that full caramel sweetness. Bobek is added at first wort, copper up, hop back and finally at 1kg per hectolitre to the conditioning tank. The result of this hopping regime lays bare all that Bobek can be, from sharp bitterness through sumptuous density to fragrant citrus and pine. I have just noticed that I have drifted into my fantasy of what this beer will turn out like. It’s currently in CT16 where it will sit soaking up what Bobek cares to give for a couple of weeks before it travels to the bottlers for filtration and bottle conditioning. At the moment it’s so far so good.
Single Brew Reserve 2010 will be available from mid February. Thank you Wes and thank you Bobek.