Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Things are moving along towards Saturday. The pin of Townshend Old House E.S.B. is now stillaged behind the bar where it will be served directly from the cask, the Twisted Hop bright beers have arrived, I went to Moshims on the weekend to stock up on spices, paneer, chutneys and pickles, the goat will be purchased today. I have a corny of Brooklyn Bulldog on tap at the moment that is tasting fantastic and another ready to go on for Saturday. The forecast is currently for a grey day on Sat with northerly gales, hopefully it proves incorrect.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thomas Hardy’s Ale 1979

On Friday I opened my birthday present and shared it with Sarah. My bottle of Thomas Hardy’s Ale was brewed (or perhaps bottled) 2 months before I was born. This was by far the oldest beer I had ever drunk and in no way did it disappoint.

I popped the crown seal and a faint whisper of gas escaped. I poured it into a jug and left it for 10 minutes to breath. 30 years is along time to be constrained under glass. I was quite surprised at how dark the beer was, a very dark brown. Far darker than the 1999 vintage I had a couple of weeks ago and still darker than the O’Hanlon’s vintages.

The beer poured a very dark viscous brown with the faintest whisper of a white head that disappeared immediately. The aroma featured an incredibly complex cocktail of aged intense malt (Borvril, Milo), marmite, beef stock, citrus (orange flesh) a perfume note, Madeira wine, and a refined sensation of warmth. In the mouth the beer was luscious, smooth and viscous but in no way cloying, full in body yet brisk as a volcano you might say! Flavours of Madeira, a salty note, some liquorice, more orange fruit, and lovely vinous warmth all featured. I had high expectations but I had no idea this beer was going to be this good. Pure liquid engineering!

When I added this to ratebeer I was informed that this was my 100th rate (I don’t do it much obviously) and I was rewarded with a REALLY bad heavy metal music clip from You Tube, weird.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The South Star Brewery (part 1)

With Sarah and the kids having moved in it’s finally time to move the brewery out of the house. Soon there will be no more mashing and boiling in the kitchen, no more cooling in the bath, fermentation will probably continue in the bar for the foreseeable future. There is a way to go yet though. Right now the Malt Store has moved to it's new location and the gas bottles and burners are living in their own shed. Soon a big shed will be constructed in the carport in order to house a mashing and boiling room. Hopefully at some point I will be able to scale up to one large kettle which will allow me to produce 100 litre batches by mashing twice early in the morning and then fermenting in 5 cornys. If any one (Martin Townshend perhaps?) has any advice on how I can procure/construct a 100 litre kettle give me a yell.