Thursday 4 March 2010

Gentle Jane

I’m not really a fan of giving beer names. Brewing something I’m proud of and calling it Old Sphincter or Hepatocyte Blaster seems a bit silly. I prefer a couple of words which qualify the beer and potentially make it sound appealing like 6 Hop IPA or Winter Berry. I’m fortunate that the Sharp’s marketing department have the taste to steer clear of references to canine genitalia and geriatric flatulence.

There’s a story behind the name Gentle Jane. You will notice I didn’t say it is an interesting story. Gentle Jane is a name I gave a deliberately-soured blonde ale I made in 2006, principally because ‘Deliberately Soured Blonde’ sounds like an homage to purported effects of Stella Artois. Since then I’ve used it a couple of times to name beers which are wrought from multi facetted production techniques and hence defy pumpclip-sized descriptive names. I chose Gentle Jane in the first place because this is the name of a beach just along the Camel Estuary from the Doom Bar. Doom Bar is of course our biggest-selling brand.

The current incarnation is a beer brewed especially for the Whetherspoon’s April Beer Festival. The grist for Gentle Jane is fairly standard fare; pale ale and wheat malts. The hops are where it gets slightly interesting. I’m using my new and exclusive Slovenian Styrian Golding hybrid hop as a the only variety and adding it a higher rate than we have ever used before. The beer should have a huge hop character. To back up the hops and add even more punch I’m adding ground ginger and chilli powder with the hops.

The beer is then to be fermented warm in our open squares using a 50/50 blend of Sharp’s yeast and ‘trappist’ yeast. The classification trappist does not mean that the yeast has taken a vow of silence and promised to conduct a solo sex life. It means that the yeast has been isolated and used by trappist monk brewers (or nowadays the blokes who work for them). In the case of the yeast I am using, the monks in question brew in the municipality of Chimay in Belgium. I do hope the yeast strains get on with each other. Sharp’s yeast is generally disobedient, aggressive and has the sex drive of a Labrador puppy. I have also asked my brewing team to keep the swearing down while we have holy yeast in the FVs.

I haven’t brewed Jane yet so I can’t tell you what it(she?) tastes like. I’ll update the blog with the details when it’s in the FV.


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