Wednesday 10 November 2010

New Seasonal - Abbey Christmas

Every week I learn that l was wrong last week when I thought that I couldn’t get any more exhausted or stressed.

Our last seasonal, Autumn Red sold out nearly a month before the end of the season so the festive offering is nearly just in time. Let me first distance myself from the name. It is a Christmas beer and it is fermented with a Belgian abbey yeast but that is where the justification for Sharp’s first foray into punland ends. I suppose that like your grandmother's brussel sprout enduced flatulence, it's fun and it's festive.

The beer is a generously hopped dark mahogany ale. I have tried avoid brewing a flattish, watered-down abbey dubbel by compensating for the lack of alcohol with extra body, extra hops and the interesting contribution of yarrow and camomile. Malt is pale ale with loads of roasted barley and even more high-colour crystal. These malts give huge roast and caramel on the nose but principally in the mouth. Hops are Northern Brewer, Bobek and Galena. The oily American hop works really well with the Belgian yeast to give bubblegum esters slipping seamlessly into piney hops. The herbs give an extra depth of flavour without jumping out and saying look at me!

I wasn’t sure how the abbey yeast would work in a cask ale but flavour wise it is blinding! My brewing team like it so much they have been asking me if we can change to it for all our brands. I’m not sure how it will fine, I find that out tomorrow when I check the CT sample.

The beer (see how I have managed to avoid using the name) will be on sale from 15th November. I hope you manage to track some down.


Anonymous said...

How did you get your yarrow - out into the garden with the lawnmower? Or is there a man in Harrow (or Jarrow) who delivers yarrow in a barrow? (Actually, that's a serious question – are there yarrow suppliers?)

Stuart Howe said...

The Eden Project grow some for us. The rest comes from the Organic Herb Co.

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