Oh Deer!

I was inspired to try to rebrew my Lorem IPAsum IPA with a hint of the orange and some spice that has worked well for “Better than a pair of socks” and Kev&Jono’s ESB and lagers.


  • Boil hops were same as last time but no secondary hops
  • 1,100g Pale
  • 100g Golden Promise
  • 100g Lager
  • Small piece of ginger (50g max) grated (full boil)
  • 60 min mash, 60 min boil, no chilling (instead it went into demi overnight to cool)
  • Mangrove Jack West Coast yeast
  • Roasted orange peel in secondary for 7 days
  • 3.48 litres with 20g demerara sugar for bottling
  • OG: 1.044 down to FG: 1.012 making it around 4.7%

Brewclub Tasting Notes:

  • Called it an IPA, really liked the orange ness. Not getting much in the way of spice.
  • Love it, spice works well. A unique take on a Christmas beer.
  • Lots of Orange, hint of ginger, maybe needs more ginger.
  • 1st impression is ginger, then something sweet, maybe dates.
  • Lovely bitter orange develops. Wish there was more left

Overall I’m annoyed that I didn’t put hops into secondary as originally planned but I’m really happy with the end result. I hope that people enjoy their Christmas presents (along with Kev&Jono’s Imperial Stout AND my treacle chilli stout!).

Fifty Shades Of Stout #1

Here is the first of my “Fifty Shades Of Stout” beers! Things I did differently? I brewed over two nights (which was a really simple process and it saved tonnes of time), I tried adding the priming sugar as a liquid (rather than just dumping in the sugar) and I used my new bottling wand (with great success!).

Batch Size: 4.6l
Original Gravity: 1.057
Final Gravity: 1.012
Alcohol: 6%

Grain Bill
0.763 kg Pale Malt (59%)
0.090 kg Flaked Oats (7%)
0.090 kg Flaked Wheat (7%)
0.065 kg Chocolate (5%)
0.065 kg Flaked Barley (5%)
0.040 kg Dark Crystal (4%)
0.052 kg Peated Malt (4%)
0.052 kg Roasted Barley (4%)
0.052 kg Treacle (4%)
0.013 kg Black Malt (1%)

Hop Bill
2.8 g Chinook Leaf (11.4% Alpha) @ 40 Minutes (Boil) (0.6 g/L)
2.8 g Citra Leaf (11.1% Alpha) @ 40 Minutes (Boil) (0.6 g/L)
2.8 g Chinook Leaf (11.4% Alpha) @ 20 Minutes (Boil) (0.6 g/L)
2.8 g Citra Leaf (11.1% Alpha) @ 20 Minutes (Boil) (0.6 g/L)
2.8 g Chinook Leaf (11.4% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Boil) (0.6 g/L)
2.8 g Citra Leaf (11.1% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Boil) (0.6 g/L)

23.0 g Lactose
4.6 g Chipotle Chili Pepper for 7 days
3 tbsp of vodka which soaked 4.6 g Oak Chips for 10 days
1 Vanilla pod unopened for 7 days then one vanilla pod sliced for 7 more days

Tasting notes
Well I got 3 out of about 14 votes for the best stout on the stout table so I’m pretty stoaked about that! There were several comments about the amount of chili (some loved, some hated… it’s mellowed out several weeks later though) and some people always seem to like or dislike the peated malt flavour (I love it though so haters can hate). Overall I need to do this again with a teensy bit more treacle flavour – I should have added it to the secondary like I’d originally planned…



Months ago I decided to brew my first batch of mead. I took the steps and recipe from Hugh – I’ve edited the recipe to show what I did and how it worked.

  1. Sterilize
  2. Boil then cool 2 litres of tap water and 0.5 litres of pure apricot juice
  3. Pitch the honey – I used 1,875 grams of set honey and I pitched at around 80 degrees c
  4. Stir honey until dissolved
  5. Cool the mix to 20 degrees
  6. Whilst the honey/water mix is cooling take some out and cool it down more quickly then use this smaller batch as a place to pitch your yeast – shake it to get plenty of air in then add a full sachet of wine yeast and a teaspoon of Young’s yeast nutrient
  7. Pour the mead into a demijohn and shake
  8. Add the yeast mix
  9. Add 24 raisins and some cinnamon
  10. Put an airlock filled with vodka on top and move to a warm dark place
  11.  After 2 days the airlock was bubbling at a rate of once every 6 seconds
  12. After 4 days add another teaspoon of yeast nutrient
  13. Taste after around 1 month when the mead starts to clear and the bubbles slow
  14. Bottle into sterilised bottles after 4 months

Doing this I did a lot of research into whether set honey could make mead as the River Cottage site clearly stated not to use set honey. I couldn’t find anything so I went for it. I also elected not to boil the honey – I didn’t want to kill all the good stuff off.

For the future I’d like to experiment with some of the following flavours:

  • Chilli & Vanilla Pods
  • Chocolate & Cherry Juice
  • Orange, Star Anise & Nutmeg


FG: 1.038

Taste Test: There is no question that this worked. Like 100% worked. I personally think that it tastes nicer than the gold-standard of meads, Lindisfarne Mead! I’ve shared with a few people and even Ruth was seen voluntarily drinking it!! I’m calling this one a winner and I’m definitely going to rebrew.

Solo Beer Brew: Lorem IPAsum



Pun-tastic I know but “Lorem IPAsum” is a play on IPA and the “copy” that websites and books sometimes use before the real text has been written; in my case this IPA recipe started off as a clone of BrewDog’s Punk IPA. When Edinburgh Brewstore homebrew club set the August theme challenge as “IPA” – I imediately though about how Brewdog make their IPA. Punk IPA is a go-to beer, it’s always good and it’s becoming more and more available (especially around Edinburgh) so why not try and learn a bit more about IPA by trying to copy their recipe? Point 1 – there is no way that this is going to be an exact copy; I have vastly inferior equipment and I could get neither the right hops for the clone recipe nor the right grain so I hope that this doesn’t turn into a “Punk’d IPA”! Point 2 – I’m mostly relying on advice from the internet here so who knows how reliable info on the original recipe was!

Label Stuff

Collection: Punk’d
Style: Trans-Atlantic IPA
Colour: 8 SRM
Body: Medium
ABV: 6.6%
IBU’s: 45 ish
Malt: Pale & Biscuit


Hops: Chinook, Ahtanum, Citra & Simcoe
Yeast: British Ale Yeast M07
Other: None
Pairing: Best paired with Sausage-in-a-bun


Original Gravity: 1.058
Final Gravity: 1.012
Brew Date: 26/6/14
Secondary Date:
Bottle Date: 14/7/14
Target ABV: 5.6%
Target IBUs: 45

1,100g Pale Malt
200g Biscuit Malt

3g Chinook @ 60 minutes
6g Ahtanum @ 15 minutes
3g Citra @ 15 minutes
3g Simcoe @ 10 minutes
3g Chinook @ flameout
3g Citra @ flameout
3g Simcoe @ flameout



3g each of Ahtanum, Simcoe & Citra for 5 days


First taste

This really isn’t Punk IPA (colour too dark, too malty and high alcohol flavour) but glad that it worked!


Second taste

The opinions at Brew-Club were favorable and I was dead chuffed. 🙂 Two people said to not bother calling it a Punk IPA clone and the different expectations would mean an even better opinion. 🙂 One suggestion was to drop the Biscuit entirely and use 1/2 Golden Promise and 1/2 Lager in it’s place or drop the Biscuit to 3-5%. To try next time!

Solo Beer Brew: A One Gallon Single-Hopped Black IPA


Nothing quickens the pulse like a challenge – not just any challenge though; it’s got to be the right kind of challenge… one that is potentially achievable but enough of a stretch to make failure a worrying probability. Making beer was an exciting challenge the first time but it turns out that getting everything right to aim for great beer is an exciting challenge every time. This batch was another learning experience (which resulted in a mouthful of hops from the siphon) but it was still a rather fun experience.

Whilst I know I never want to have my own brewery it’s fun to homebrew and design some labels. This one was for the “single-hopped” challenge for the Brewstore Edinburgh homebrew club last week. I had a bit of a disaster and changed hop at the last minute so it’s single-hopped with Green Bullet, a New Zealand hop. Suggested names included “Haka” and “The All Black” but when I got a mouthful of very hop-filled beer whilst bottling it I decided that I’m not going to give it a name (other than Green Bullet) and give my kitchen solo brewing efforts a name:  “Mouthful of hops brewing”. This was my first attempt to brew solo and it wasn’t strictly ideal (I hadn’t checked ingredients,  the hops I used had higher bittering properties than I expected, the scales are seriously inaccurate, I can’t fit a wort chiller to my tap, the hops in secondary came free of the filter and the overall volume was way less than I wanted) but I think it was a good attempt and maybe, just maybe, a couple of the bottles might be drinkable!


Collection: Mono
Style: Single-hopped Black IPA
Colour: Almost black, 30 SRM
Body: Medium
ABV: 6.2%
IBU’s: 50 odd
Malt: Pale, Crystal & Carafa III
Hops: Green Bullet (NZ)
Yeast: British Ale Yeast M07
Other: None
Pairing: Great with a haggis burrito
Original Gravity: 1.060
Gravity at 1 week: 1.020 – temperature ran high, reached 25 degrees over first couple of days!
Final Gravity: 1.017
Bottling sugar: 24g table sugar to prime approximately 4 litres of beer


Pale Ale Malt 76% (1kg)
Crystal 19% (250g)
Carafa III 5% (66g)

Green Bullet hops 20g @ 20 mins
Green Bullet pellets 20g for 4 days at secondary


Tasting Notes #1

Explosion! Ick ick ick! (I drank one of the beers with lots of hop sediment. I’m already trying a different technique on the next beer!


Tasting Notes #2

Well… I was pretty down on this one but the feelings from BrewClub weren’t anywhere near as bad as I’d expected. Here’s what was written on my comments board:

  • Thick body, benefit from maize or wheat maybe. Could benefit from later additions of hops.
  • Lovely aroma, carafa and hops mix well. Good hop flavour, a little thin on the finish.
  • Like its got chilli in it, very spicy. A bit brown rather than black. Green bullet pretty heavy spicy raisin, overpowering. Cloying sweetness with 19% crystal, not so clean for a single hop I reckon.
  • Nice nose, dry finish, malt profile should be punchier.
  • Sweetness takes away from clean basic hop qualities.
  • Chocolate cake with lemon frosting.
  • Nice spiciness, works well with underlying chocolate.
  • Smells like hops, Fresh, like a new opened bag. Taste dissipated quickly, slightly ‘trendy’ in flavour?
  • Nice fruitiness to start. A little too much carafa for me. Good though.

Next Steps

The comments round out to me trying to:

  • Make it more black
  • Add more hops later in the game for aroma
  • Dial down Crystal (sweetness) slightly
  • Try to add another grain to give a bit more body

Watch this space for take 2!

My 10 Most Favourite Tracks


  1. Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper
  2. Foo Fighters – Best Of You
  3. Green Day – Brain Stew
  4. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – What If We Could?
  5. Queens Of The Stone Age – No One Knows
  6. Paul Simon – Graceland
  7. Sigur Ros – Sé Lest
  8. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dosed
  9. Biffy Clyro – Glitter And Trauma
  10. Radiohead – The National Anthem

Woodstock ’94

I wasn’t at Woodstock in 1994 for many reasons (being an 11 year old and living in the UK being two of those reasons) but it would have been a pretty special experience. I’ve watched quite a few of the videos of the festival and here are 3 of my favourites:

Nine Inch Nails. I don’t know how you feel but I love this performance: the filth, the rawness, the carnage. Trent said he’d thought it was their best and then when he watched it back thought it was terrible but I think it’s amazing. It’s a strong opening that leads to a great set.

Green Day. The infamous mudfight with the crowd. The best bit about Green Day is that they always sound exactly like Green Day – great show.

Red Hot Chili Peppers. The lightbulb costumes are moronic but the set is pretty decent – there are some great moments (especially Under The Bridge).

Spent Grain Cookies


Brewing makes beer… but the by-product – the spent grains – can still be used! Here’s a recipe that uses up a small amount of the grains as well as using some stuff that we had leftover in our kitchen.

Spent Grain Cookies

Microwave the following for 2 minutes:

  • 1/3 of a chili
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp margarine


  • 1 1/2 cups of spent grains
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp hot chocolate powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 35g prunes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sr flour

Remove the chili from the milk mixture then add the milk to the dry ingredients in the blender for one last blend.

Cook for 18 minutes at 180 degrees (fan).