Saturday 5 March 2011

Dentists, The French and 69 Hops

I hate dentists. Sorry if you are a dentist but in my experience all dentists hurt you, cock up your teeth and charge you for the privilege. They slag off every other dentist you have had and offer advice which is guided solely by their desire to empty your wallet. If their treatment doesn’t work they still charge you and then offer to carry out more work at more cost to put right their cock ups. When they have your jaw clamped open they tell you about the restaurant they have just bought or the fact that they only work mornings because they like to play golf in the afternoon. They then imply that that all the pain and expense is down to your fundamental ineffectiveness as a human being. If they were builders they would all be on rouge traders. More about this later.

It doesn’t seem like a week since the 69 hop IPA became a reality. It has passed in the blink of an eye. This is especially surprising as so much has happened since. I had a splendid non-brewery day watching England bludgeon Les Bleus with the charming Fergus Fitzgerald from Adnams, the incomparable Gary Todd of Thomas Hardy and Mr Richard of Simpsons Malt. Ever heard the joke about the Englishman, the Irishman, the Scotsman, the English-curious Scotsman and a French rugby fan who wouldn’t sit down? I’ll tell you that one later. I enjoyed the game, their ears did not. Sunday and Monday were spent plumbing my new FVs in. Tuesday was the kind of day you dream about with wall to wall meetings and audits only punctuated by having wisdom teeth out. On Wednesday the Molson Coors project engineer arrived to start to take the burden of engineering project management off of me. This week has taken me from brewing in a brewery which makes 200 barrels per year to discussing engineering with a man who built part of one making 7,000,000 barrels per year; beer, brewing and life are fascinating.

On Thursday I gave my new 160 barrel FVs a caustic soak and yesterday I filled them with wort and yeast. FV 21 and 22 are go! Good timing really as sales are now growing by over 60%. We sold more beer in the last week of February than we sold at Christmas and Atlantic IPA looks like it’s going to break our seasonal sales volume record. I have broken my personal record for working hours in a week already and it’s only Saturday.

Back to 69 Hop, I have been checking on its progress via text and e-mail all week and it seems to be progressing well. Not being able to physically check on a brew is like being in prison. It has cost me a few hours of sleep. I would have hoped for a more rapid fermentation but oxygenation is not possible at Brew Warf. Looking on the bright side the more leisurely fermentation means that less hop volatiles are lost so the aroma should be stunning. My latest communication from Steve included full Brew Warf sensory analysis. The beer is “roasty and hoppy with the characteristic flavour of Sharp’s yeast”. ABV should be around 6% I can’t wait to try it.

69 Hop would have been a mere pipedream if it hadn’t been for the world’s finest hop merchant Charles Faram. Will and Paul are gods amongst men and British beer would not be as Great without them.

Fleet Films have made a sensational film of the 69 hop day which is available to download here until 14 March. Before you watch it I would like to assure you that I am a lot uglier in real life.


BeerReviewsAndy said...

I love your saturday evening posts, they give me something interesting and entertaining to read with my sunday morning espresso!

The video was great but not as good as the rugby! Bring on the scots!!

also thanks for the reminder about the dentists i discovered a voice mail from mine the other day...well not him one of his assistants, i'm not sure they'd ever pick up the phone to call someone when they have a legion of people to do it for them.

Stuart Howe said...

Thanks Andy,

Allez Les Blancs!

Fergus said...

Hi Stuart
Just had a carton delivered and I find two mini casks in there. I only wanted a bottle not 20 pints !!! you loon. How's that for charming.
Seriously though cheers.


Richard E. Simpson said...

still recovering...

Anonymous said...

Good stuff! Totally agree about young Paul and Will at Farams! Am imagining you'll be down under to watch the ABs thrash you at the World Cup this year? ;)

Looking forward to hearing about the delightful flavours of 69 Hop!


Stuart Howe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stuart Howe said...

Alas no Kelly,

I barely have time to get to England. A trip to NZ is an impossibility.

In any case I suspect that your lot will choke before they meet England! Only joking big man my money's on ABs for the cup this year.

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