Bateman’s XXXB

3 01 2011

Batemans is an independent brewery from Wainfleet in Lincolnshire; the Bateman family have been operating the brewery on a pretty much continual basis since  1874 and along the way have turned out some cracking beers and picked up rather a lot of awards – the most recent of these being “Best Regional Brewer” at the Publican Awards 2010.

XXXB is their 4.8% premium bitter and has previously been voted as being one of the top 50 beers in the world.

I have sampled XXXB on a number of occasions over the past few years, both on tap and most recently bottled as part of a deal from our local off licence – all Batemans beers €2.00 a bottle, a real bargain by Irish standards!

XXXB pours to a nice clear coppery finish with a mid-sized head that lasted reasonably well with a fair amount of lacing.

The initial aroma that I picked up was that of a slightly bitter  black tea with some citrus and a bit of sweetness coming in afterwards  – possibly toffee.

On drinking this beer the first thing I noticed was that there is very little sweetness to it, the citrus comes through quite clearly along with a slight nuttiness and some biscuity richness from the malts.

There is a lot of bitterness present through out along with the slight taste of black tea, this with the slight element of citrus makes for a very refreshing pint although some might find it a touch sour towards the finish.

The body is reasonably light but the carbonation is spot on resulting in a very pleasant mouthfeel overall.

In my opinion XXXB is better than average but there is certainly room for improvement.

4/5

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Norfolk Nog homebrew

11 11 2010

The time has come for me to start my next batch of homebew.

I have decided to go with a kit of one of my favourite beers; Woodfordes Norfolk Nog.

As I have mentioned in a previous post there is an inherent level of risk involved in this as up until I have only ever made generic beers, as such whilst there might be an overall style that you can judge it against there isn’t any particular named beer that you are expecting to have a clone of.

That said Woodfordes are one of the leaders in terms of home brew kits and having tried homebrewed Woodfordes Wherry before I can say that it was nigh on perfect.

Norfolk Nog is a 3kg all malt kit as such there are no additional sugars that need to be added, this is also a first for me as previously all my beers have had at least some sugars added.

Wish me luck 🙂





An update on my homebrewing project

28 10 2010

 As regular readers will know my most recent homebrew was a traditional IPA, well it now a little over a month since it was bottled so I decided to give it a try and see how it is getting on.

 There is a fair amount of carbonation, certainly enough for my tastes. The beer pours to a very pleasant light amber with a decent sized head that lasts well throughout drinking with a fair bit of lacing.

 There is a decent aroma developing with hops, a slight hint of citrus and a rich maltiness being the predominant notes.

 For me the look and smell of my homebrew are important but the key is very definately how it tastes. Well I can officially say that this IPA is a winner as far as I’m concerned.

There is a good level of bitterness to the beer offset with a nice caramel like sweetness from the malt, I was really pleased as a lto of homebrews that I have sampled before have had an almost cider like quality to them coupled with a rather unpleasant sweetness.

If I compare this IPA with a commercially brewed version I would certainly take this over something like the ubiquitous Greene King offering and not only because this is tipping the scales at a little over 6% (6.2% as close as I can measure it)

I can’t wait until my next scheduled tasting at the end of November 🙂





Week 1 taste test

20 09 2010

My lager was bottled over a week ago now. It has spent this week liberally swaddled in coats and sweat shirts to ensure that it has stayed within it’s optimum temperature bracket of 21-24 degrees and it seems that I have succeeded 🙂

On getting home yesterday afternoon I decided to give it a quick taste test to see how things are faring one week on…. well the results are positive indeed.

The beer is reasonably fizzy (but not there yet) is keeping a decent head, has a reasonable amount of lacing on the glass and actually tastes good.

Not just like a half decent store bought lager but actually properly good!

Somehow by some miracle I was drinking lager that had a taste other then just being a really cold fizzy liquid 😀

Now to leave it be for another week at room temperature before sticking half of it into the fridge and the rest under the floorboards.





Another beer :)

17 09 2010

Having bottled my first ever homebrew last Sunday my fermenter was sitting looking empty and sad 😥

Luckily though this was just a temporary period of inactivity as my next batch of beer was only a day away.

The week before I had been sitting there contemplating the lager bubbling away in my fermenter and had thought to myself that if I was going to keep on track with my plan for all of my festive drinks to be of a homebrewed variety that I really needed to get cracking and minimise the downtime between brews.

So I ordered up a couple more kits and also another 40 odd bottles as there is no way all of the lager will be drunk by the time I need to bottle my next batch.

The choice of kits available is really quite large and I will readily admit that I did spend somewhere in the region of 4 hours trying to work out what I wanted to go with; in the end I settled on a Coopers Brewmaster IPA which I would be making using predominately spray malt instead of sugar and Woodfordes Norfolk Nog which is all malt and as such wont need any extra fermentables to be added at all.

I am taking a little bit of a risk with the Nog and I will tell you why; having lived fairly close to the Woodforde’s brewery when I was back home in the UK I have had the opportunity to try 95% of the beers that they have produced including of course Norfolk Nog.

Now on the one hand this is a good thing as I know how it should taste, on the other hand it is a bit of a problem as I know how it should taste… Whilst I’m sure that it will turn out to be very close to the original and be very drinkable I do worry that it is going to have a taste to it that doesn’t fit with how I know it should taste. Well nothing ventured nothing gained as they say!

The Coopers IPA is now in the fermenter and is bubbling away nicely at about 24 degrees in the end I added 500g of light spray malt and 300g of dextrose. I had been going to go with all spray malt but a few forums were listed as saying that this combination works out to be a more traditional tasting IPA.

It should hopefully be ready to bottle by Monday so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out as well as people are suggesting it should.





Bottling day cometh

13 09 2010

Yesterday was quite a fun day for me; I got up in the morning and made bread nom nom nom and then after eating the bread went home and set about bottling my beer.

For anyone who didn’t read my homebrew post earlier this week (if not why not?) I brewed my own beer for the first time last Monday evening.

I have been watching over my beer like an anxious mother hen, checking it’s temperature, making sure it is snuggled up at night and of course taking hydrometer readings.

For those who aren’t in the know a hydrometer allows you to measure the specific gravity of a liquid, in this case my beer.

It started out at roughly 1050 on Monday evening and as of Yesterday had been sitting at 1008 since Friday when I got in from work.

Not only is it good that the SG has been static for 2 days as it means that the fermentation has more or less complete it also means that my little beer is going to be near as damn it 6% 🙂

I had a little taste of the beer and my conclusions are that it looks, smells and tastes like beer! Not a bad start.

So I rinsed out all of the bottles that were provided (44 50cl plastic bottles with caps) primed them with the carbonation drops and filled those suckers up!

Now I just need to wait, two long weeks at the least 😦





Homebrew day 4 and counting

9 09 2010

I am now on the 4th day since I put my homebrew into the fermenter, at first I was a little concerned that it was taking a while to get going but after a day or so we are motoring along nicely.

There is tons of condensation on the lid and a nice thick layer of krausen (foam that forms during the fermentation process) has formed on top.

I checked the gravity of the beer when I  first put it into the fermenter and it was showing up at approx 1050, as of this morning we are sitting at just below 1020 and I must say that what I tasted from the trial jar certainly tastes like beer!

Not only did it taste like beer but it smells like beer and when poured into the jar froths up like beer.

I am hopeful that there will only be 1/2 days until I can go ahead and bottle this bad boy.

Just in time for my next batch to be started!








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