Wednesday 30 March 2011

I am a poor, freezlingly cold soul..............................

Bit of a Richard (cockney rhyming slang) of a week. I had to cancel the brew at the Atlantic Brewery due to someone attempting to win the 2011 Darwin Awards. I am due to go down there anytime soon when I have a few hours to spare, which may not be anytime soon. I received a sample of 69 hop last weekend which while unexpectedly malt-accented was still a thoroughly good beer. I also got a case of P2 from the loveliest of lovely people at Molson Coors and a surprise visit from Alex of O’Hanlons Brewery (very nice man) and his Friend Thomas Hardy (very, very nice man). That’s it really.

Is it really so strange that I can work 90 hours and still have nothing substantial to blog about? I lost my bag in Newport Pagnell.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Shimmering Bargain

Tired of carrying barrels around? Tired of seeing your staff standing around with a pressure washer? Fed up of barrels not being clean and sterile? Looking to speed up racking to free up time for the important things in life? Can’t afford a ££££Microdat washer? Then this stunning Gimson Cask Major, cask washer is just what you are looking for. The Cask Major is 5 station walking beam washer capable of washing up to 120 casks per hour. The stations are:

1. Bung finder and external wash

2. Gunge wash (reclaimed rinse water)

3. Detergent wash

4. Hot water rinse

5. Hot water / steam

Sharp’s used this machine from 2003 – 2009 . We have had it as a back-up washer since then. It is a great first automatic cask washer with pneumatics and a simple PLC controller. It is avialable now in as seen condition or for extra cost fully refurbushed. Details of a company to service and maintain the washer will be provided with purchase.

Any serious offer considered.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Toight, Toight like a Toiger

It’s an exciting Saturday. I awoke before my work alarm with none of my normal post-week fatigue. As I write an England rugby team are preparing to break my heart yet my inner boy is still electric with anticipation. An extra layer of excitement comes from the newly-arranged visit to London at the end of April. I shall be strutting my stuff and exposing my wares to a room containing 30 glamorous ladies at Tower Bridge Draft House on the 30th. 30 women in a room with me, Stuart Howe, the 13th Duke of Wynborne, with my reputation? Has no one thought of the consequences? It has worked out quite well really as I will be in London the day before doing Prince William’s pre-wedding bikini wax.

The event at the Draft House has been organised by THE Melissa Cole for the Barley’s Angels. There will be a public event afterwards for all genders and species. I am not going to select beers which I think will specifically appeal to women because I am of the opinion that a human being’s ability to enjoy sophisticated drinks is not affected by the possession of a front bottom. The beers on show for tasting are yet to be completely finalised but won’t be too far removed from:

  1. Cask Atlantic IPA
  2. 2010 Single Brew Reserve
  3. 69 Hop IPA
  4. Monsieur Rock 
  5. Sharp’s Special
  6. 3 year old cask Massive Ale
  7. DW
  8. Turbo Yeast Unspeakable Abhorrence from Beyond the Ninth Level of Hades

I will update with timings and exact tasting journey on a later post. I do hope that you will be avialable to attend.

And when I thought that Saturday could not get any more excitifying. I have just found that 2010 Yearmix is available to download. I'm listening to it now. It’s toight, toight like a toiger!

Friday 18 March 2011

It's Hoppy and it's Out There


12 Brew number two, the 69 hop beer was unleashed on the public last night at Brew Warf. I am not sure if the rumours that it is called 69 Hop Oral Stimulation are true. I have just heard from Steve Skinner that it is superb “Creamy, nice body, hoppy but not over the top”. If I wasn’t spending my weekend doing what Alfa Laval, the commercial embodiment of Satan should have done for me along with trying to get the next batch of Altantic IPA ready for Monday, I would be in Brew Warf nervously sampling a pint or two. If you do try some please let me know what you think.

As those of you in possession of a calendar or similar digital device would know we are approaching the end of March. Yesterday I finalised the details of my March brew with Stuart Thomson Head Brewer, Head of Sales, CEO and Managing Director of the Atlantic Brewery in Newquay. I am going along next Friday and we are brewing an 8ish %ABV organic vegan blonde ale with organic vegan citrus peel.

The Atlantic Brewery is a wonderfully idiosyncratic brewery producing sustainable, vegan, organic beers in the middle of nowhere. I have been supplying Stuart with his yeast for a few years. I shall provide more information on the brewery and the brew in a subsequent post.

I had some feedback from Keith from Otter on 12 Brew number one, our Pilgrim Barley wine yesterday. Keith’s scale of measurement for beer quality is a simple one. He has two terms, crap and all-right. Crap is beer which is undrinkable or lacking in substance. All-right describes everything from acceptability to perfection. To my amazement Keith has broken with tradition and rated our effort as “nice”. My flavour panel will meet the Pilgrim at their tasting this afternoon. We shall see if they are equally moved.

Finally I would like to send my love and consolation to the team from Beer Ritz and Beer Paradise. True strength is forged on the anvil of adversity.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Light up the sky like a flame

You may have picked up on the fact that I am a busy boy from previous posts. I need help (people have been saying it for years). I am looking for an excellent person to dedicate themselves to helping me take Sharp’s to the next level in terms of production volumes and technical standards. If you are interested please click this link. If you think you have what it takes please apply.  

Friday 11 March 2011

To Win a Pilgrim

The Howe vs Bennett, Pilgrim Barley Wine is ready. A cask has gone to Keith at Otter and the rest is in our cold store. As a bit of fun I have decided to run a competition for a minikeg. I am looking for the stupidest thing anyone has ever said to you about beer. Just leave your beer stupidity as a comment below. You need not name names. The minikeg needs to be consumed soon so the competition will run until Wednesday. I will get the beer to the competition winner by Friday (terms and conditions apply).

As encouragement to enter I would add that it is a good beer. The ABV is 9.4% and the flavour is a classic barley wine with an added edge provided by a massive amount of dry hops.

Anyone who can get me a qualified second brewer will win a lifetime's supply of any beer.

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.