Won’t you take me to Funkytown

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I’ve been wanting to brew a proper sour beer for ages now.  Having binge listened (or gang listened as they say) to The Sour Hour I’ve finally plucked up the courage to step into the funk.

I’ve played with a bretted saison and used the Funktown Pale Ale yeast but I really want to delve into it properly.

I’ve been a fan of Belgian Lambics for a while now.  I was very lucky to have some friends who lived in Brussels who took me to Cantillon when I stayed with them back in 2013 and have recently got into American sours since they have become more readily available to buy over here.

A huge thanks to my Boyfriend’s brother Mark for buying me Michael Tonsmeire’s American Sour Beers book.  It has been an invaluable resource, I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about trying to brew a sour beer.

I also been very lucky in that I still have a brett strain from Chorlton Brewery to use.

I decided to do a strong Belgian style brown. I got a but merry one night and decided to grow the dregs of a bottle of Cascade Sang Noir which are raging with lactobacillus.

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My malt bill was as follows

3kg Pale malt
1.2kg Munich malt
1kg Pilsner
340g Biscuit
340g Crystal
60g Acid malt
60g Midnight Wheat
400g dark candi sugar
15g Hallertauer at 60 mins

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I’ve made sure I have a separate set of equipment to use for any sour brewing I do and it is kept in a completely separate room to my clean stuff.  I mashed at 68c and stepped up to 75c at the end. I mashed high to get as much dextrose out of the grain for the bugs to feed on. I also kept the IBU low as anything over 8 will start to inhibit the lacto. I couldn’t find any Belgian yeast that I wanted in stock but my local homebrew shop, Water into Beer in Brockley, had some Mangrove Jack Belgian Ale Yeast so I went with that.

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It fermented rapidly and went down to 1.010 very quickly.  I moved it to secondary (glass demijohns) and pitched the Cascade Sang Noir dregs and the Chorlton Brett.

I pitched some dregs from a bottle of Boon Black label into one of the demi-johns, can you guess which one?

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I’m quite patient when it comes to brewing so I have no problem waiting around for this to develop. Plus I find the whole process of the pellicle development fascinating.  I plan to add some more brett to layer up the flavour profile later on.

I am planning to do a spontaneous fermentation in the near future. I have a shed with windows that open onto a cherry tree so hoping there are some good yeasts and bacteria floating around. I may cheat a little by spiking my shed with bugs. If anyone has any advice on doing a turbid mash on a Braumeister,  I’m all ears.

 

 

 

 

 

The Goatshake

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I love a chocolate stout and I really love chocolate milk stouts.  Sadly, they do not love me as I am lactose intolerant.  I picked up a Dark Revolution Velveteen chocolate milk stout AG recipe from Brew UK and decided to experiment. Big thanks to Brew UK for sending me the recipe after I managed to be a complete numbnut a throw the one that came with the kit away without punching it into Beersmith.

I can tolerate goats dairy products but I have not been able to find a UK producer of goats lactose. I can get a 500g bag shipped from the US but it’ll cost £40, fuck that!  I did find some goats whey protein powder and thought, hey Omnipollo have been putting this whey crap into everything why the hell not?  Whey contains lactose so it should, theoretically, work

 

The AG kit came with the following:

3250g Marris Otter
500g Carafa Special III
500g Oats
475g Brown
240g Crystal
240g wheat
26g Magnum
44g Fuggles
500g Lactose
1 bag of cocao nibs

 swapped out the 500g lactose for a plain flavoured goats whey powder.

Mash schedule (for Braumiester) 

Mash with 23L of water at 65c for 60 mins. Raise temp to 77c for 10 mins then remove malt pipe and top up to 27L. Bring to boil then follow hop schedule.

Hop schedule

Total Boil time:60 mins
Start of boil: All Magnum Hops
10 Mins from end: 21g Fuggles + 500g Lactose Sugar
End of Boil: Balance of hops then cool.

 4 days after fermentation add cacao nibs
I used US05 to ferment. 

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The initial wort without the cacao or yeast added tasted wonderful, I am very likely to use this as the basis for a stout recipe again.

A few notes about adding the whey powder. After adding I instantly thought I should have dissolved it in water first.  Some of it, as you would expect going into a boil, clumped up into weird rubber balls . which made transferring the wort to my primary tricky.

When I transferred to my bottling bucket the yeast cake at the bottom of the fermenter was very odd.  It was a strange, rubbery honeycomb like structure which you could just pick up in one lump.  Made clear up a lot easier!

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only added the cacao nibs for a few days as I have learnt from previous experience that it can impart a very tannic bitter flavour if left in for too long.

have no idea on what the ABV is as I forgot to take a picture or note down my O.G., according to the recipe kit it should be around 4.8%, I think mine turned out slightly higher which may be due to the whey powder. 

It has taken an age for it to start carbonating which I suspect is because it’s bloody cold.  6 weeks in and it’s finally nearly there, it has a creamy mouthfeel and a lovely chocolate tone but then it gets a bit goaty. Might have been nicer with a vanilla flavoured whey powder.  Some experiments just do not work and I’m unsure what to make of the result of this one.  Maybe I should stick to taking lactase pills when I drink normal milk stouts and leave the goats alone.

  

I Gose Back to Black

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Simon was on his mate’s stag weekend in Lisbon so I decided to brew a beer and have some friends over.  I invited Mick and Si to pop over for a brewday (ie I brew beer whilst Mick and Si ask me silly questions and generally stand in the way).  A few weeks before, we entered into discussions as to what to brew.  Mick was after something funky and we decided on a gose. Si mentioned it was blackberry season so we ended up with a blackberry gose.  I then mentioned I had some black lava salt so we could use that to carry on the black theme and we could use midnight wheat malt to make it black. So a black blackberry gose made with black lava salt it is!

Si was determined to forage for the blackberries, however, he failed.  He turned up to brewday late and empty handed with a hangover.  Mick to the rescue, he foraged for blackberries in our nearest Morrisons and bought a bottle of Westbrook’s Mexican Chocolate Cake with him.  Gold star for Mick.

Grain bill

2.0kg wheat malt
1.2kg German Pilsner malt
900g acidulated malt
400g Midnight Wheat
15g Hallertauer hops at 60 mins
28g ground coriander seeds at 10 mins
20g sea salt at 10 mins
2kg Blackberries at 10mins

We mashed in at 65°C all of the grain apart from the acid malt and midnight wheat malt.  We mashed those in after 1 hour for a 45 min period. Was great to watch the wort change from pale to black.
During the boil we added the blackberries and the blackness disappeared. Should have guessed this really, you add 2kg of blackberries and it’s going purple whether you like it or not.  The addition of midnight wheat was pointless.  I let it ferment with WLP029 kolsch yeast for a few weeks.  Initial fermentation was very vigorous, I awoke to find the airlock had blown off across the kitchen and the beer had fermented all over my floor.  I had to put in my first blow off tube system in 5 years.  I moved it into secondary on a further kilogram of blackberries. After 2 days I bottled it and the colour has much improved.  Before the secondary it was quite wishy washy but now it is a definite purple. It’s come out a bit strong for a gose at 6% but I assume this is down to all the blackberries and I should have accounted for that in my grain bill. I tasted it before bottling and there was a definite blackberry taste with a yoghurty creaminess. 

After a week I noticed there was a pellicle forming in the bottles. Uh oh, in to the cold shed with you!  Not sure if the lacto was eating all the fruit sugars or if aceto was forming but they are lively buggers and it took a week for the pellicle to drop out. It smells and tastes very yoghurty and is cloudy as hell so I’m keeping this out in the shed for now.  I probably should have waited a bit longer before I bottled it for the fruit sugars to ferment out.  Lessons learned.

Got a few brewdays coming up.  I’m experimenting with a chocolate milk stout made with goats lactose instead of cows lactose as I’m sensitive to it.  Also brewing a strong dark Belgian ale which I’m going to pitch the Chorlton HS2 brett strain in the secondary.

Saisons in the Abyss has been bottled since September now, it’s tasting very winey. I’m incredibly pleased with it. I can’t wait to experiment more with sours.

Pellicle from Saisons in the Abyss

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Summer Summer Summer Thyme

I wanted to brew a wit beer for us to drink over the summer in our new garden, but, me being me, I wanted to flavor it somehow.

I’ve had a couple of beers using herbs this past year. Namely Borg’s Snorri, a wit beer using artic thyme and Colorado’s Wild Sage which is awesome.  Snorri is probably Simon’s favourite summer beer (but Brew By Number’s Saphir Grisette is a very close 2nd). So I’ve decided to go for a lemon thyme wit beer.  Well, that was until my friend Skully recommended verbena so I’m going to split the batch and do both.

Recipe

2kg Pale malt
2kg wheat malt
15g Citra at 60 mins
20g dried  orange peel at 5 mins
20g lightly crushed coriander seeds at 5mins
Belgian Wit yeast

I wanted to keep this simple and not strong. I want a good session summer beer.  Using citra again as I still bloody have some in my freezer! Plus I’m not a fan of the traditional wit beer hops.

I stepped my mash starting at 50oC for the protein rest for 30 mins then up to 69 for 30 mins then up to 75 for the last 10 mins.

After 3 weeks fermenting I split into two 5l demi Johns (deciding to bottle 10l as plain wit as it was so nice) and put 40g of lemon verbena in one and a bunch of thyme from my garden in the other. The thyme was in for a day as it came across as quite strong but once bottled it has, sadly, mellowed a bit. The verbena was in for 4 days. It has given the beer a floral and lemon finish but I think it’ll be better if next time I make a hot tea with it and leave it to cool before adding as I think this’ll bring more flavour than just cold brewing.

Lessons learned.
 

 

Getting the Christmas brew in early

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I had planned to make this just before Christmas and then bottle it for a year but the mortgage process, as always, had other ideas and we were delayed in buying our house until the new year.

Now safely in and having got the house up to a reasonable fermenting temperature (it has been empty for a long time and was a cool 5oC when we moved in) it’s time to finally get on with it.

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My first problem though is removing this bad boy!  Yes, all the taps in the new place are a bit style over substance annoying shits.  Kitchen designers: please spare a thought for people who want to water their gardens when you are designing these twatty things.  I got the other half to dismantle it and, success, it comes off but my hose connector doesn’t fit.  After locating one that does I set my chiller up so I could check it works as I don’t want to get to the cooling part and find I can’t do it.  Our water pressure is high and at first the water doesn’t run through and explodes all over the show at the tap.  After a bit of physics (ie gravity) I get it running.

The idea for this beer came about from my friend Emmy who just announced “OH MINCE PIE STOUT” very excitedly one day.  Now, you can’t just go throwing mince pies in to your boil due to the pastry.  Nobody wants fat floating around in their beer. I had to sit down and have a good think about it.  I know I wanted a whiskey element in so decided I’d soak some dried fruit in whiskey and put them in the boil. Next the spices, I don’t want to over spice it.  I’ve had a few Christmas beers and some of them are disgusting due to the spices just overpowering the beer and leaving a powdery taste in your mouth.  I should probably be adding cinnamon and ginger but when it came to it on brew day I decided against spices.  I just haven’t had a beer that wasn’t ruined by them.  I did add dried orange peel though and will add more if needed after fermentation. I’d like to also age the beer on more dried fruit soaked in whiskey to try and impart more of that flavour.

Hop wise I’m going for Bramling Cross to give me some deep blackberry and also some peppery notes to offset any sweetness.

I’d like to make this an imperial stout so I’m going for as strong as I can get it.  I have some scotch ale yeast which can tolerate up to 12%.  Malt wise I have a lot of stouty malts in the cupboard so have devised something with what I have got.  I do like Mikkeller’s Black Hole so had a quick nose at that to see how they got it so strong.  Turns out they had a fuckton of sugar and honey.  I’ve decided to add a bit to mine but not as much as that.

Out of the whole brewing process I’d say malt is the stuff I have the least knowledge about.  It’s the backbone to many a beer and with hop shortages malt forward beers may soon become very important.  I’ll certainly be doing more research into malts, I plan to get myself a smoker and smoke my own soon.

Malt bill

6.5kg Pale malt
500g Roasted Barley
350g Chocolate malt
225g caramel malt
200g flaked oats
200g Caraamber
200g Brown Malt
120g Special B

Other stuff

500g light muscovado sugar
50g honey

To accommodate this in my Braumeister I need to attempt a double mash as the Braumeister is only meant to have a max of 4.5kg of malt at a time.  Now I’ve never done one of these but it means to make it easier I’m going for a one step mash at 67oC.  If I did a stepped mash I’d have to use the chiller to cool down the wort at the end of the first mash ready for the second which I just can’t be arsed with to be honest. I split the malt bill into two equal parts of each malt.

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The double mash is not as much of a pain in the arse as I thought.  I set the first mash up and after an hour I stop it, remove the basket, dig out the grains and then put the new lot in and set it to mash again at the same temperature.  I think I lost a few degrees which didn’t take long to recover.

It would be easier if I had a second malt pipe but y’know they’re like £70 a pop!

Mashing done, time to boil.  I add 100g of Bramling Cross at the start and the dried fruit, sugar and orange peel at 45 mins. I stick the honey in at 55 mins.

My chiller system is ace as the water that comes out of our taps is super uncomfortably cold at the moment so I think it chilled in less than 10 mins.  I was aiming for around 10% and the gravity reading says 1.10. I transfer it to my Christmas present (SS Brewtech fermenting bucket).
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I popped out for evening and when I returned it was already bubbling away, hooray.
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I plan to leave this for a few weeks then transfer it to a secondary on the dried fruit and orange peel and then leave it in the bottle until Christmas.  Anyone want a Christmas present?

Tryanuary tales

It was New Year’s Eve (my birthday) and as I was making my way through the 5 10%+ beers the Buxton Tap House had on that night the other half made a suggestion. “Why don’t you only drink beer 6% or below in January as your Tryanuary challenge?”  Through the fog of imperial stouts I agreed and drank a farewell Tsar Bomba.

Tryanuary is a great concept, a big fuck you to the deluded dry crowd who think they are somehow healing themselves and gaining some sort of smug enlightenment by not drinking for the whole of January.  It doesn’t help you, you go back to drinking how you usually do in February, and sometimes more to compensate. Just learn moderation and stop being so extreme you dicks.  Tryanuary is also about trying new things so for me this means a lot of pale ales.  I don’t usually drink pale ales that much, preferring dark beers or sours.   It’s also about visiting new places, extending your beer love money to new faces and generally supporting the beer industry.

I started on New Year’s Day in Buxton.  We visited some pubs we hadn’t been in and I drank a few beers which I usually avoid and describe as “old man beers”, mainly bitters and red ales.  Tribute Extra was one that stood out to me. I was quite taken aback by how much I liked it. I also had this in a great little micropub in Buxton called Ale Stop. They only have three taps but they are pretty good and have a fantastic bottle selection. They had beers from Torrside and Tempest on whilst we were there.

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Some examples of the beers that Ale Stop have had

Back in London I popped into Hop Burns & Black for drinks for a friend’s birthday, I searched the shelves for something under 6% I hadn’t had and came across Wild’s Epic Saison in the bin ends box.  It’s the last one so surely I need to rescue it!  And so I did and I was rewarded handsomely, how have I not had this before? I suppose it got overshadowed by Wild’s more exotic sounding offerings (winey beast, bibble, ninkasi, sleeping lemons etc). I will definitely be having this again, tryanuary success!

Going through my Untappd I can see I’ve had quite a lot of flavoured beers. Not sure if this is the in thing, I’ve seen all sorts of weird abominations (Jester King’s – Snorkel, an oyster mushroom and sea salt farmhouse sour) is this going to get a bit silly?

I’ve had To ol’s Releaf Me which is a refreshing blonde brewed with keffir lime leaves. Black Market’s Blackberry Berliner. Thornbridge’s Charlie Brown (Peanut butter Brown Ale) needed more peanut butter but their strawberry pale (I love you will you marry me) was spot on and reminiscent of Campinos.  My favourite was Lindeman’s Pecheresse at only 2.5% I could drink it all night. I have a major sweet tooth so this suited me down to the ground.

I’ve tried a few things I would definitely never go for. Such as Weird Beard’s Faithless Spreadsheet Ninja. I’m not a pilsner or a sorachi ace fan but, I have to hand it to them, this was fantastic. I have another bottle waiting in the fridge already.

But , as they say, you win some you lose some. I tried a can of Adnam’s Crystal Rye IPA after spotting it in Morrison’s and, although it was perfectly drinkable, me and crystal are just not going to ever get on.

I also picked up a Theakstons Distillers Cask which reminded me of Innis & Gunn but without the sweet sickly taste. For 79p it was worth it and I’m sure it would go lovely in a cake.

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Beer of Tryuanuary for me though is Mad Hatter’s Brunch Club.  It’s a pale ale at 5.4% but the flavour hit is ridiculous.  The word juicy banger gets banded around a lot but this certainly deserves it. I just need somewhere local to stock it now. It’s borderline whether I prefer this over Magic Rock’s Cannonball. Shock, horror.

                                           
I’ve not done too well on the visiting new places front mainly due to moving house halfway through.  My new location is Peckham and I’ve not been to The Hope before so I popped in there for a Sunday roast and a pint of Brick’s Peckham Rye. They have a great selection of beers on cask, keg and in bottle. The Sunday roast was fantastic with a choice of beef, pork, lamb, duck, chicken or a veggie.

I also managed to pop into The Beer Shop in Nunhead for a bottle of Cloudwater Ardbeg. I didn’t get to sit in and drink but I’ll be returning on Friday.

I also went along to The Bottle Shop for the Crafty Beer Girls monthly meet up. There were 17 of us when I left, a great turn out and fun to drink and chat beer with girls for a change. Plus the cakes provided were scrumptious. If you are a woman who works in beer in London get yourself along. They have a Twitter and a Facebook group you can join.

My challenge was all going well until 23 January.  For this was the day I was reunited with my one true beer love, Noa Pecan Mud Cake.  The Bottle Shop thwarted my challenge by having it on tap but the other half said I’d done well and that if I was going to fail it should be on my favourite beer.  So fail I did and it was a glorious failure as it was the barrel aged version!

Tryanuary has taught me a few things. I’ve learnt to like lighter beers, I’ve learnt to pair them with food.  I’ve also learnt that a good bitter can be a great warming friend on a cold day.

Next year when you’re feeling guilty about all the food and drink you’ve had just sit and think about all the food and drink you haven’t had.  Get out there and get trying. You might like what you find.

Happy Ølekalender

Advent

It’s the 1st of December which means I can finally start unwrapping my advent calendar beers from To Øl. Hooray.

I was thinking about putting one together myself this year until To Øl stuck one on their webshop, I believe I was the first to order it (to be honest I was checking the website quite regularly for it to appear). They arrived all wrapped up in tissue paper so I couldn’t see what they were and even though I am incredibly impatient and have for the last 2 weeks contemplated peeking at them I have been very good and left them alone.

This has made Christmas exciting again, I’ve always found it to be a bit of a let down as an adult. I think making my own would have no anticipation or excitement when I come to open it every day so I’m pleased I took the plunge and bought one. The plan is to unwrap the bottle each morning, stick it in the fridge and then it’ll be ready to drink when I get home from work and I can dream about it all day.

I’m going to update this blog every day with information and my reaction to the beers I get behind every number.

On the first day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

… one bottle of Sun Dancer

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It’s a low ABV to kick off with which is handy as the average ABV in my fridge had reached a terrifying 10%.  It’s got a floral nose and a bitter sweet crisp finish, I imagine this would be lovelier in the sunshine but it is going well with my curry.

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On the second day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

……a bottle of Hop Love Pils

Another summery beer. I think To Øl might be doing us a favour here by not giving us Christmas beer fatigue too early. This is a pilsner hopped with mosaic and simcoe I think and is part of their sessions range. Hopefully we’ll get some dark christmassy beers soon and a few more of the sessions range will pop up to break down the heavyness.

It pours Amber and is well carbonated. Taste is peachy and long lasting. Nice and crisp and easily drinkable, going very nicely with, you guessed it, leftover curry from last night. Shame I only have one as it is moorish. Guess I’ll have to dip into the 10% fridge of doom.

On the third day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

….. A bottle of Eurodancer
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Upon opening this I started throwing some shapes in my living room pretending I was in a club in Berlin dancing to cheesey eurobeat. After reading the blurb on their website it appears that was the right reaction.

The other reaction I had was to have the words “hold me closer Eurodancer” in my head all day. If I could hold this beer closer all night I would, it’s a fantastic American Pale Ale exploding with centennial, galaxy, simcoe and citra hops. It tastes of orange, peach but with a honey/biscuit finish which may be from the melanoidin malt. The initial taste reminds me of Magic Rock’s Cannonball. It’s the stronger sequel to Summer dancer at 6.5%. Thoroughly enjoying this one. The balance of flavours is spot on.

Would go well with The Macarena after a few.

On the fourth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

….. A bottle of Nelson Survin

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It’s Friday and I have a feeling To Øl had worked that out when compiling this advent calendar as they’ve given us a 9% Sour Nelson Sauvin DIPA to celebrate with. Wallop, ‘ave that sunshine!

I love nelson and I love sours and I love DIPA’s so I guess I’m going to really love this.  I’m a big fan of their Sur Citra so hoping this is along the same lines (and hoping for a Sur Citra at some point). I’m out tonight celebrating workmates’ professional exam passes so will try to get home at a reasonable time and in a reasonable state to enjoy this to the max.  Should have bought it with me really!

I’ve been reading descriptions of this beer all day and it sounds like a proper banger.  Tart, tangy, mango, pineapple, passionfruit, lemon, juicy and boozy have all been used.  I’m at danger of disappointing myself by getting too hyped about this beer before I drink it but i’m sure it won’t let me down.

Will be back later to let you know if it has lived up to my hype.

Update

I’m back after only having one pint due to the fact I’ve become one of those twats that doesn’t see the point in drinking something unless I’m enjoying the taste of it.

I can safely say I am enjoying the taste of tonight’s calendar beer. It’s malty then tart and then the Nelson hop’s grape notes shine through. There’s also a little tickle of pineapple at the end. Very impressed with all the beers so far.

On the fifth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

… ONE LIQUID CONFIDENTIAAAAAL

Wish it was five. I was predicting this beer as the fifth one last night. The ABV has been rising (this is 12.2%) and the bottle was slightly bigger than usual. Just call me mystic meg.
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Liquid confidential is a big imperial stout made with ancho, guajillo and chipotle chillies which gives it a light smokey undertone and not the harsh holy shit my mouth is on fire feeling you get with most chilli beers . It is then aged in rum barrels which adds a spiced boozy note to the beer which is initially liquorice in quality. It’s ideal for warming you up whilst Storm Desmond rages on outside. It feels very grown up but still a bit of a dude.

Goes well with The Big Lebowski

I sense a pattern here. Predicting the ABV to plummet tomorrow and to slowly rise again until beer 11 as its also slightly bigger.

on the sixth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

…. A bottle of frost bite
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We are a quarter of the way through and we get our first Christmas themed beer, a 6% pale ale brewed with orange peel and pine needles. I think it’s more of an IPA myself. It’s incredibly marmaladey and has a very bitter pine finish. Would go well with an armchair after you’ve lugged home the Christmas tree.

I personally don’t lug home a real tree as I can’t imagine why you’d get a real one when you can get a fake one that means you don’t have to deal with the shedding crap everyday. Plus I hate the smell of pine. This beer smells a bit like one of those car air fresheners but the orange peel is saving the taste.

On the seventh day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

…. A bottle of Maj Pilsner
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This is a pilsner hopped with Tettnanger, Mosaic and Amarillo. It is at first citrussy but this quickly makes way for a peppery finish. It’s light and refreshing but feels thicker in your mouth to normal pilsners and I don’t think it will last in my glass for long. Would go well with a pad thai or some fat salty chips fresh from the chippy down the road. Mmmm chips.

On the eighth and ninth days of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of Fuck Art this is Architecture and a Sofa King Pale

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I’m double parked tonight as I had my office Christmas do last night. Cheeky names aside these are both solid offerings and also at 5% and 4.7% respectively they are not a bad pair to be double parked on.

The first is a Belgian bretted table beer. You can smell the trademark farmyard whiff of the Brett a mile off and the taste is heavy on the horseblanket. Luckily I happen to like Brett. For those not in the know. Brett (Brettanomyces) is a strain of wild yeast which can be introduced to a beer to give it “funky” flavours although sometimes it gets in by accident and seen as a defect. This has a great musty Brett hit but also a slight banana hint at the end. It’s not going to be for everyone but I like it. I imagine it’d be nice with some brie.

The second is from their already mentioned sessions range. It’s a pale ale hopped with tettnanger, simcoe and citra. It’s large on the pine notes but with blood orange and pineapple thrown in. It’s very easy to drink which is its main aim really. Goes well with your sofa and some sport on the tv.

On the tenth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

… A bottle of snowball saison

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This is very crisp and refreshing and as the bottle states you can drink it whilst you wait for summer to come. It’s peppery from the saison yeast but there’s no Brett coming through which is probably because this bottle is too young for it to develop. Buy one and leave it for a while to funk up. I’ve absolutely demolished my bottle and just read it’s 8%, dangerously easy to drink this one.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

Another bottle of Liquid Confidence

Hooray. I think this one is the non-barrel aged version. I am out tonight saying farewell to a couple who are off out of this country on adventures (good luck Dan and Catriona) so won’t be drinking the advent beer tonight. Unless I fancy it when I get in which is quite likely as that 12.2% shitbag will be whispering and winking at me the filthy tease. So might be here later with sensational, garbled tasting notes, might not.

I was too tired to drink the Liquid Confidence and will fit it in tomorrow somehow.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

…a bottle of Sur Simcoe
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I’m excited about this as I bloody loved Sur Citra, their single hopped sour. It’s defo up there as one of my highest rated beers of the year. This is nice but not quite got the edge of Citra. Commendable but just not quite as good.

On the thirteenth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of Reparationsbajeren

We are halfway through and after a day of Christmas pub crawling yesterday this is the perfect beer to get in the calendar. It’s a pale ale with punchy American and NZ hops designed as a recovery beer. It’s easy going and although I don’t get hangovers, I’m thankful it’s not a rich, strong number as I’m getting a bit of beer fatigue. Much better than any recovery green smoothie bullshit.

On the fourteenth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

… A bottle of Sur Yule
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I’m dreaming of a sour Christmas. Yum. Another great alternative to the traditional overspiced Christmas beers. A lovely tart cherry sour with a light sherbert like feel. Goes well with wrapping presents.

On the fifthteenth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

…a bottle of Markedspils

Was a bit disappointed when I opened this one. It’s very similar to the two pilsners I’ve already had. Hop profile is slightly different as the tettnanger is coming through more but this coupled with a stressful day means I’m very unenthused. It’s an alright beer, could just do with something more exciting today.

On the sixteenth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of Music Non Stop Techno Pop
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I’m in a funny mood this evening. I may, possibly, be exchanging on a house I m buying tomorrow so I’m really happy but also on the edge of my seat expecting some stupid shit to go down and for it all to go to pot. A bit similar to how I feel about this beer. Initially the taste is lovely, citrus, pineapple and marmalade but then I get a horrible mango aftertaste which I don’t like and it’s yet another pilsner which I’m guessing contains mosaic. I need some variety! Still it’s named after a Kraftwerk song so swings and roundabouts.

On the seventeenth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of Cloud 9 Wit

We’ve exchanged, hooray. Let’s celebrate with a light, refreshing wit beer brewed with mango and orange peel. Lovely stuff and went really well with my fish dinner.

On the eighteenth and nineteenth days of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of Jule Maelk and a bottle of Hardcore Maelk

Both of these sound amazing. The first is a heavely lactosed Christmas milk stout and the second is a black milk IPA collab with Brewdog aged in scotch barrels. Sadly I cannot drink either of these due to the lactose so in the spirit of Christmas I have given them to my lovely friend Emmy who is the biggest milk stout fan I know. I treated myself to a Double Axe from Buxton instead.

On the twentieth day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of Mikropolis
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This was brewed to be a house pilsner for a cocktail bar and uses Curacao Orange peel to keep with the cocktail bar theme. It has a lovely orange hit at first followed by a bitter citrus hop finish. I like it a lot.

on the twenty first day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A Mocchacino Messiah

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I can’t drink this due to the dreaded lactose again but the other half relished the chance. He said it was very roasty, smooth but not overly bitter. It really smells of coffee and he is very much enjoying it. I treated myself to a Vocation Naughty and Nice instead.

on the twenty second day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of Stalin’s Organ

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This is a California Common, it’s a lot hoppier than usual and has an undercurrent of smoke on the finish. Not sure I could drink too many of them but it is interesting.

on the twenty third day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of LikeWeisse

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I’ve had this beer before and couldn’t believe how much flavour it had for a 3.8%. It’s definitely one that can be enjoyed all day long. It’s incredibly juicy with grapefruit and lime bit not too sour with a slight breadyness. Lovely one to start off my Christmas drinking with.

On the twenty fourth vand final day of Christmas my To Øl Ølekalender gave to me…

A bottle of Shameless Santa

This is a big 750ml bottle of a 10% Belgian red ale. I’m going to put it away and have it as my Christmas dinner beer next year.

Looking back this advent calendar has been pretty good quality. Had a few missed bottles due to my lactose intolerance and maybe a few too many pilsners for my liking but other than that it’s been great. Would definitely recommend this if they sell it again next year.