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Recipe – Waimea Pale Ale

Those who have followed the blog for some time (I think there actually are a few ..) know that when it comes to Indian Pale Ale I belong to the school which feels that IPA’s should be very dry bodied and have very little malt character to leave room for the hop aroma to come through. I dislike an IPA that has a heavy malt character, especially if the brewer has been heavy-handed with the caramel malts as often is the case. Personally I think that  what separates a Pale Ale from and Indian Pale ale is not necessarily the amount of hops but rather the balance of hops and malt in a the beer. To me, “just” a Pale Ale is a beer that has less bitterness than a true IPA and also has some malt character along with a medium hop aroma and body. A more balanced beer in the true sense of the word if you will.

To fill the other tap I decided to brew such a Pale Ale using Maris Otter Pale Ale malt with just a touch of Pale Crystal malt. For hops I’ll use some of my diminishing crop of 2013. I’ve written before that I went overboard last year when all the interesting varieties started to appear and bought way too much hops. So I decided to skip buying hops from the 2014 crop and design my purchases much better when the hops of 2015 start to become available. This has meant that my hoppy beers have steadily had less aroma as unfortunately hops start to decline in quality even when stored in a freezer in a barrier pack. The hop I’ll be using for this beer is a variety from New Zealand called Waimea. It smelled robust coming out of the back and had a very American quality about it with Citrus and some Pine. We’ll see how it turns out in the beer. To keep the bitterness in a medium range I did what I’ve often done with Pale Ales; I skipped using a 60 minute bittering addition and threw the first hops in the kettle at the 15 minute mark followed by a hop-stand of 15 minutes after boiling. I also decided to dry hop this one, adding pellets straight into the fermentor. All in all I’m using 200 grams of hops for a 17 litre / 4,5 gallon patch which is still more than some of the IPA recipes floating around the internet. To get hop aroma you have to use hops. To round things up I used my go-to dry yeast for English Bitters and Pale Ales, Mangrove Jack’s M79 Burton Union. It is a fairly fast fermenter, flocculates well and gives a little bit of ester character to the beer.

P1060178

Here is the recipe :

—————-
Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 3,15 / 6,94
Anticipated OG: 1.047
Anticipated SRM: 6,2
Anticipated IBU: 40,3
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Fermentables
—————–
95,2%  3,0kg / 6,6 lbs  – Maris Otter Pale Malt, Thomas Fawcett
4,8%     150g / 0,33 lbs  – Pale Crystal malt, Thomas Fawcett

Hops
——–
40g / 1,4 oz. Waimea  (Pellet, 14%  AA) @ 15 min for 40,3 IBU
80g / 2,8 oz. Waimea (Pellet, 14%  AA) @ Hop-Stand for 15 minutes
80g / 2,8 oz. Waimea (Pellet, 14%  AA)  Dry Hop for 5 days

Extras
———-
½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
4g / 0,14 oz Gypsum in mash

Yeast
———

Mangrove Jack’s M79 Burton Union, 1 packet rehydrated

Mash
———————–
23,9 Litre BIAB @ 66 Celsius for 60 mins (6,3Gal/149F)

 

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Recipe – Spelt Saison

The new electric kettle arrived quickly so I was able to brew my first patch of beer in my new home yesterday. The new kettle is a bit more quicker to heat the wort to boil and a bit more vigorous so I had to add some water after the boil to get to the desired OG.  After i get some experience with the new setup I’ll change the evaporation rate in beersmith but other than that everything went smoothly. Brewing in the bathroom is much more convenient and you don’t have to worry about spilling or over-boiling as much.

P1060177

For my first beer I wanted to brew something that would be simple to brew and would be refreshing in the case we happen to get a warm summer day over here. So, I decided to brew a low-abv Saison and keep the IBU on the low side so that both of us can enjoy it. In my experience, keeping the IBU’s within a moderate range in a Saison doesn’t result in a sweet beer since a Saison yeast typically leaves the beer very dry. To get the desired 10-15 IBU’s a 15 minute addition of East Kent Goldings was scheduled with another addition at flame-out for some hop-aroma. The malt bill is also simple with a base of Pilsner malt together with a dash of flaked Spelt which I have used before. The yeast is a new one for me, M27 Belgian Ale by Mangrove Jack. Judging by the high attenuation and recommended temperature range (26-32 degrees C (79-90 degrees F)!) it’s a true Saison strain rather than a “normal” Belgian Ale strain.

Nothing much more to it, less is often more when it comes to beer. This one took right of and is happily bubbling away in ambient 26C(77F).

P1060181

Recipe :

—————-
Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 2,5 / 5,5
Anticipated OG: 1.037
Anticipated SRM: 2,4
Anticipated IBU: 12,3
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Fermentables
—————–
80%  2,0kg / 4,4  lbs  – Bohemian floor malted Pilsner malt, Weyermann
20%  0,5kg / 1,1 lbs  –   Flaked Spelt

Hops
——–

30,0g / 1,05 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet 5.0% AA) 15 minutes for 12,3 IBU
30,0g / 1,05 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet 5.0% AA) @ Flame-Out

Extras
———-
½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
2g / 0,07 oz Gypsum in mash

Yeast
———

Mangrove Jack’s M27 Belgian Ale, 1 packet re-hydrated

Mash
———————–
22,5 Litre BIAB @ 65 Celsius for 60 mins (5,9Gal/149F)

16/7/15 I insulated the better bottle with a sleeping bag to raise the temperature a bit – some sources state that the M27 works better in the upper recommended range.

21/7/15 Bubbling away about once in a minute, Temperature at 26C

The brewery has moved!

The past month has been quiet because I’ve been busy moving to a new house. To be honest I didn’t really feel that setting up the brewery was first priority so I’ve only now started to think how to go about brewing in the new house. Having done some research I decided to buy an electric kettle that holds 27 litres. This would enable me to brew in the bathroom where spillage and some steam from the boiling wort would not be such an issue. Cleaning up afterwards would also be much easier. Otherwise I think I’ll stick to my true and tried BIAB setup although there would now be enough room to try “real” mashing.

One advantage of moving to a place where there is a backyard garden is that you can grow your own hops. We ordered three saplings of Hallertauer Aroma from Germany and although they spent almost a week traveling in a cardboard box we were positively surprised when two of them started to grow. The summer here has been really cold and rainy but despite this you can see from the pictures below that they have grown quite tall. If they produce any cones this year the plan is to use them fresh in a beer that both of us can enjoy.

When the new kettle arrives I’ll post a recipe of what I’m brewing first (At the moment I’m thinking it will be a Saison) with the new gear and I still haven’t written tastings on two of the last beers (And I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the Cascade Pale…). Until then, have a nice summer, hopefully a warmer one than we have here.

hop1hop2P1060173

Recipe – Black IPA

Having bought too much of the 2013 hop crops I brewed yet another IPA –  but this time with a twist. “Black IPA’s” are a relatively new style of IPA’s that have gained some popularity in the states. The idea is to brew an IPA that has all the typical characteristics ; dry body, high bitterness and a strong hop aroma but all this in a beer that is black. There should be no, or very little roast character which would clash with the hops. Usually this is achieved by using a special de-husked malt like Carafa Special which gives the colour without the typical acrid aromas of roasted malts. I did some research and a suitable percentage  according to most sources is around 4-6% of Carafa III. I erred on the side of caution because I didn’t want to end up with a “Black-ish” IPA. If 6% gives too much of roast character I’ll tune the percentage down in future recipes.

Otherwise the beer is pretty similar to my usual approach to brewing an IPA – base malt is two-row pale malt with a dash of munich malt. This time I left out the dextrose since I wanted the alcohol level to be on the low-end and the beer to have a dry body as opposed to my normal bone-dry IPA’s. The hops I chose is a duo of Cascade and Columbus together with a newer variety, Mosaic. I did an almost single hop Mosaic IPA (all but the bittering hops were Mosaic) earlier this year and I think it would complement “typical” American hops that have pine-citrus flavours. All three are added in just two doses, a long hop stand and a relatively short dry hop period of 5 days straight in the primary vessel when the beer is almost done fermenting. For the yeast I’m trying something slightly different as well – usually for normal strength IPA’s I go with the neutral high-attenuating California strains but for this beer I’m trying something that a few of the “Big boys” do – fermenting with a semi-neutral British strain, Burton union from Mangrove Jack, a dry yeast strain that I’ve been very pleased with in the past.

As has been the case this year, I’m late in writing so this beer is already carbonating under pressure.

Recipe

—————-
Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 3,4 / 7,49
Anticipated OG: 1.052
Anticipated SRM: 21,2
Anticipated IBU: 48,8
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Fermentables
—————–
85,3%  2,9kg / 6,39  lbs  – Pale Malt, Viking
8,8%   0,3kg / 0,66 lbs  – Munich malt, Weyermann
5,9%   0,2kg / 0,44 lbs – Carafa III Special, Weyermann

Hops
——–

30,0g / 1,05 oz. Bravo (Pellet 11,70 AA) 60 minutes for 48,8 IBU

50,0g / 1,76 oz. Mosaic (Pellet 12% AA) 30 minutes hop-stand
50,0g / 1,76 oz. Columbus (Pellet 15,5% AA) 30 minutes hop-stand
50,0g / 1,76 oz. Cascade (Pellet 7% AA) 30 minute hop-stand

50,0g / 1,76 oz. Mosaic (Pellet 12% AA) Dry hop for 5 days
50,0g / 1,76 oz. Columbus (Pellet 15,5% AA) Dry hop for 5 days
50,0g / 1,76 oz. Cascade (Pellet 7% AA) Dry hop for 5 days

Extras
———-
½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
6g / 0,14 oz Gypsum in mash

Yeast
———

Mangrove Jack’s M79 Burton Union, Yeast Cake from Cascade Pale

Mash
———————–
23 Litre BIAB @ 65 Celsius for 60 mins (6,07Gal/149F)

P.S It seems that the Stone yeast strain is actually from Canada but the British WLP002/007 or Wyeast 1968 are often recommended as substitutes.

24/2/16 Lost my tasting notes of this one when I moved. The beer was otherwise good but the hops had started to lose their aroma – should do a re-brew with fresher hops perhaps replacing Cascade with Amarillo or a similar fruity hop. The amount of Carafa III was also a bit too much imparting a bit of roast aroma and a jet black colour. Around 3% should be enough in the future.

Recipe – Cascade Pale Ale

CascadeAle

For a while I really didn’t feel like brewing and though I didn’t drink that much the inevitable happened and one of the kegs kicked. So, I “needed” to brew something that would be ready fairly quickly. Usually I brew a bitter in such a situation because they are relaxing to make since the malt bill and hops schedule are simple. Most British yeast strains are also quick to ferment and flocculate well after they are done so from grain to glass in two weeks isn’t impossible (if you don’t mind drinking the beer while it’s still carbonating under pressure). This time around I decided to try something slightly different and decided to use a British malt bill and yeast with an American Hop. Cascade is the hop that started it all for me since it’s used in Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and like with quite a few people it is the beer that got me hooked on hops. So I used 100 grams of Cascade in this one with a fairly traditional 60/15/0 minute hop schedule. The Burton union dried yeast didn’t disappoint and this one is already in the kegerator. I used the yeast cake to ferment something a bit exotic but that’s a post for next week.

Here is the recipe :

Recipe
—————-
Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 2,8 / 6,17
Anticipated OG: 1.044
Anticipated SRM: 6,6
Anticipated IBU: 28,3
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Fermentables
—————–
92,9%  2,6kg / 5,73 lbs  – Maris Otter Pale Malt, Thomas Fawcett
7,1%     200g / 0,44 lbs  – Pale Crystal malt, Thomas Fawcett

Hops
——–
15,0g / 0,52 oz. Cascade (Pellet, 7%  AA) @ 60 min for 15,5  IBU
25,0g / 0,88 oz. Cascade (Pellet, 7%  AA) @ 15 min for 12,8 IBU
60,0g / 2,11 oz. Cascade (Pellet, 7%  AA) 15 minute hop-stand

Extras
———-
½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
4g / 0,14 oz Gypsum in mash

Yeast
———

Mangrove Jack’s M79 Burton Union, 1 packet rehydrated

Mash
———————–
23 Litre BIAB @ 65 Celsius for 60 mins (6,07Gal/149F)

Tasting – Session IPA

SessioIPA

I’m late to post testing and recipes, live has been busy and for a while I didn’t really feel like brewing (or drinking for that matter). Still, I managed to take a picture and notes of the session IPA that I made with Amarillo, Simcoe and Columbus. Not quite what I was hoping it to be, here are my thoughts :

Appearance : The beer was very cloudy at first and even with almost two months in the keg there is still some yeast in suspension. The colour is a nice coppery-orange and it pours with a voluminous thick head now that it has been thoroughly carbonated in the keg.

Smell : Oranges, peach (probably from the yeast) and slight pine. It doesn’t stand out like some of the small IPA’s that I’ve made with the same amount of hops.

Taste and mouthfeel : Pine, a note of caramel followed by a slight bitter bite. I think the IBU’s are well-balanced, any more bitterness in a beer this small would feel harsh. The taste is a bit “muted” in some way, I suspect that the yeast (Wyeast 1469) that’s still in suspension is to blame for that. The mouthfeel is on the thin side but not that I would call watery.

Notes/thoughts : I really didn’t like the fact  that Wyeast 1469 didn’t flocculate well and even with a lot time in the cold there was some yeast derived cloudiness in the beer. Most of the British yeasts that I have used flocculate really well and leave the beer crystal clear. I also think that the yeast flavours, especially the peach note, somehow clashed with this hop combination and the end result wasn’t as harmonious as some of the other Micro Ipa’s that I have fermented with British yeast strains. I decided to look for another “house strain” and poured the “seed” away.

The beer also wasn’t as aromatic that I was expecting but part of that might have to do with the age of the hops – even when sealed in vacuum barrier backs and frozen they eventually start losing their aroma. Once I go through my current stock I really have to start planning what and how much I buy more carefully.

Otherwise I think that the malt bill and hop schedule are very good for a session strength “IPA” and with a different yeast and fresher hops this recipe would result in a solid beer.

 

 

Tasting – Belgian Strong Dark Ale

quad

The Belgian Strong Dark that I brewed to commemorate my wedding has had some time to mature in the bottle and we tasted the beer together a while back. I plan to hold on to these bottles for years to come and so brewed a beer high in alcohol (though technically not quite in the Quadruple territory) that will keep well. I was hoping that I’d achieve a bit more yeast character and malt complexity when compared with the dubbel I brewed last year and I think I managed to do quite well. Here are our tasting notes, some of the descriptors are quite interesting :

Appearance : Pours with a finger-wide head that lingers around for some time. Perhaps the carbonation isn’t quite yet complete even after about a month in the bottle, I was expecting a bit more. The first glass poured carefully is very clear while the second ended up with some haze from the yeast which hasn’t sedimented yet. The colour is quite nice with some red highlights when held up to light.

Smell : I get a strong spice note with clove. Some demerara sugar and gingerbread. She also smells the clove-note and in addition a lemony coca-cola smell, allspice and archipelago-bread (a dark  bread baked with rye and molasses).

Taste and mouthfeel : She describes the beer as malty, sweet and with a nice syrup-bread taste. I get pretty much the same notes. The syrup nicely combines with the caramel malts giving a rum-like quality to the beer. We both feel that the bitterness nicely balances the sweetness. Carbonation could be a bit higher for the style but it might be too early to tell where it will end. Despite its high strength the beer is quite light-bodied and easy to drink. Not thick or heavy in the least.

Notes/thoughts : We both enjoyed the beer and I feel that the recipe is quite solid. I’m also happy that I managed to get more of yeast character to the beer this time. If someone would hand this to me saying that it’s a Trappist beer I’d most likely be fooled which I think is an achievement by itself. A nice sipping beer to keep around to be enjoyed on anniversaries and I’m happy that my fiancée enjoyed it as well.

 

Tasting – Mosaic IPA

MosaicIPA

Had I written this tasting a month ago it would have been different – I really couldn’t understand what the all the fuss was all about. To me, my (almost) single hop IPA with Mosaic, the latest”hot” variety of hops to reach our distant north, tasted and smelled just like pretty much any beer with a “modern” American hop. Citrus ( the “chicken” of American hop flavours to quote a blogger with a better nose and command of the English language), pine and perhaps a bit of “fruitiness”, another generic term you throw in when you can’t really put a more accurate name on it. In that sense the hop is very aptly named because that pretty much covers the range of descriptions of the flavours you get from a modern new world hop (not counting “tropical” which is another thing entirely and is really, in a sense, a latecomer to the scene).

But now, as the keg is almost finished and the beer is really much older than what my kegged beers usually are (I “blame” my healthier back which again allows me to train 3 evenings in a week, I simply don’t have time to drink as much as last year) I finally “get it” – blueberry. For the last week, every glass I have poured from the tap smells clearly of blueberry. And I can state that with a degree of certainty, having gathered bucketfuls of the stuff during my life.

I think what is happening here is what I’ve noticed often with beers kegged with hops – as time passes some aromas grow stronger as the level of the beer in the keg goes down and  there is less volume floating around with the bag of hops. I’ve yet to notice a “grassy” smell or taste that everyone on the blogosphere seems to warn people about but towards the end of the kegs live some of the more fragile notes sometimes emerge.This time it was blueberry which some sources stated as the “signature” aroma of Mosaic hops. It’s really interesting to follow the developement of a keg, and sorry, if you don’t brew your own beer, it’s not really something you can experience…

Would I use it again? Not in a single IPA unless I can figure out how to get that signature aroma from it straight out of the fermenter… But, I do think it might be an excellent hop to complement one or two American hop varieties with a significant signature of their own, to sort of “fill in the blanks”. It seems fairly robust and like I said, it does cover a lot of the spectrum of flavours that people expect from an American IPA or an aromatic Pale Ale.

A different set of tasting notes this time but I think that the nature of this particular hop warrants it. I’d be really interested to hear on what are other people’s experiences with this interesting variety.

 

 

Recipe – Citra Simcoe Columbus IPA

One of the better hop combinations that I’ve tried out was the Citra-Simcoe IPA. I love the tropical notes that Citra brings and this combined with the more “traditional” American Pine-Citrus (with a touch of fruitiness of its own) character of Simcoe worked well together. Still, I thought at the time that the beer could have been better with a slightly more aggressive hop character on the pine citrus side and this time I’m adding Columbus, the unsung hero of the American hop family to the mix. I like it for it’s slightly harsh nature both as a bittering addition and on the aroma side. The hops that I received from the 2013 harvest also have a very nice herbal note that I think will work well with this beer. I’m opting for a 2:1:1 combination with Citra as the star of the show and Columbus-Simcoe providing backup. I suspect that one reason why Columbus is usually so aromatic is that it’s a well established crop and so more good quality hops reaches the home-brewers here in Europe compared with some of the more “hot” varieties where the craft breweries in the states take most of the good crops.

I went back and forth with the grain bill and gravity on this one. I wanted to try something new in the form of an Amber IPA and keep the gravity on the low side but then decided to go with my now usual West Coast approach with no Caramel malts and a bit of dextrose to really drive the attenuation up. I also decided that If I’ll use 400 grams of hops including the rest of the Citra that I have I’ll go for a “normal” gravity beer. There seems to be a saturation point with session strength beers after which throwing more hops in doesn’t really accomplish much besides loss of wort. So the original gravity for this beer is a fairly modest (for an IPA) 1.054 which is still way more than the “Micro” and session strength beers I’ve done.

I’m trying a new yeast with this beer, WLP090 San Diego Super. Brulosophy recommends it for American style beers and I’m also using their starter harvesting method to keep some yeast for the next brew. True to its name the fermentation was fast but at this point the beer is still very cloudy. We’ll see if some time in the kegerator clears it up.

Here is the recipe :

hops2

Recipe
—————-
Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds):  3,65 / 8,04
Anticipated OG: 1,054
Anticipated EBC: 9,2
Anticipated IBU: 60,7
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Fermentables
—————–
82,2%       – 3,0 kg / 7,27 lbs Pale Ale malt, Viking
8,2%        – 0,3 kg / 0,44 lbs Munich malt, Weyermann
5,5%        – 0,2 kg / 0,44 lbs Wheat malt, Weyermann
4,1%        – 0,15 kg / 0,33 lbs Dextrose

Hops
——–
30g /  1,05 oz. Columbus (14,0 % AA) pellet @ 60 minutes for 60,7 IBU

30g /  1,05 oz. Columbus (14,0 % AA) pellet @ Hop-stand for 30 minutes
30g /  1,05 oz. Simcoe (11,0 % AA) pellet @ Hop-stand for 30 minutes
60g /  2,11 oz. Citra (11 % AA) Plug @ Hop-stand for 30 minutes

35g /  1,23 oz. Columbus (14,0 % AA) pellet Dry hop for 5 days
35g /  1,23 oz. Simcoe (11,0 % AA) pellet Dry hop for 5 days
70g /   2,46 oz. Citra (11 % AA) Plug Dry hop for 5 days

35g /  1,23 oz. Columbus (14,0 % AA) pellet Dry in the keg
35g /  1,23 oz. Simcoe (11,0 % AA) pellet Dry in the kegs
70g /  2,46 oz. Citra (11 % AA)  plug Dry hop in the keg

Extras

———-
½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
6g / 0,21oz. of Gypsum in the mash

Yeast
———
WLP090 San Diego Super, 1,5 litre starter on stirplate, cold-crashed and decanted.

Mash
———————–
23,5 Litre BIAB @ 64 Celsius for 60 mins (6,2Gal/147F)

———————-

7/3/15 Normal brewday. The whole hop Citra soaked a lot of wort up, collected about 16 litres. Shook for two minutes and added the yeast.

8/3/15 Yeast seemed to have formed a layer on top of the wort. Sanitized the thief and mixed carefully. Fermentation took up in the evening. This has happened once before so from now on I think I’ll add the yeast before aeration despite conventional wisdom…

14/3/15 Added the dry hops, pellets straight and Citra packed in a sanitized nylon sock. I didn’t remember to raise the temperature after the 3rd day as recommended but we’ll see how the beer turns out fermented at a steady 18C/64F.

19/3/15 Racked the beer to a CO2 flushed keg with the second dose of dry hops. Still very cloudy.

16/7/15 Somehow writing a tasting for this beer just slipped past me… The hop character was very nice tropical/pine/citrus and I think this combination of hops is one of the best I’ve tried. However it could have been a bit stronger considering the amount of hops – I don’t think that the process is to blame but rather the hops had lost some character in storage (even though I store them in a freezer in barrier bags).

Tasting – Belgian Table Beer

Belg_Table_Beer

Life has been busy and I’m behind posting some of the tastings. Luckily I took pictures in time and wrote down notes before the keg of Belgian Table Beer kicked.

Appearance : A pale yellow body with a voluminous head. The beer cleared up surprisingly well after a few weeks in the keg.

Smell : Nice malty note, some yeast derived spice, that “Belgian character” but not too strong. Can’t really say that I sense that Saaz note that I like but then again there wasn’t that much of it in the flame-out addition.

Taste : A malty biscuity note. At times I could taste the rye addition but it wasn’t something I’d call defining. The bitterness is really soft but it balances the beer nicely. With such a low gravity any more of bitterness would feel harsh.

Mouthfeel : The body is on the thin side, which is to be expected in such a small beer. Carbonation is low, as per usual.

Notes/thoughts : I wanted to brew a low ABV% beer that would go well with different sorts of food and in that sense the beer was a success. Nothing to go ooh-aah about, just a nice thirst-quenching pint to have with dinner or to enjoy a few pints without getting tipsy.