Monday, 12 November 2012

Bottles For Collection - North Bar, Leeds

Just a quick post to let you know that the good people at North Bar in Leeds have offered any local homebrewers free dibs on any bottles that they would normally chuck away. They are happy to put empties to one side for collection, although it would of course be polite to make sure that if you ask them to save bottles for you, you then turn up to collect them! And of course, as North Bar love beer, they would also be happy to receive beers from any homebrewers who happen to be passing through.....

You can email Matt on info (at) northbar dot com

Monday, 22 October 2012

October Meet - Thursday 25th - Update

The next meet of the group has been scheduled for Thursday October 25th, meeting initially at The Brewery Tap in Leeds, between 6.30pm and 7pm.

However, in a departure from our usual format,. we thought that it would be a good opportunity to have more of a social get-together than a structured meet. If you want to bring bottles along to swap, drop in and meet the group, or just come along and have a beer, please do, but we thought that it might be a good time to review what we've done so far, and what we're going to do next year. More of the same? A change of direction? Do we want to try and do some brewing demos at beer festivals over the next year? Shall we book plant time somewhere and do a commercial brew? Shall we register the group as a brewery and "go legit"? (please don't say yes to this - the red tape of being a gypsy brewer is torturous)

Anyhow, bring along some beers to swap (maybe let people know below what you have available to swap), some ideas, and maybe some dreams, and we'll see you on Thursday evening.


Friday, 5 October 2012

October Meet - A Call for Dates

This is a little last minute but there is still time to arrange a meeting for October. With the 24th and 25th October as potential dates.  Please comment below or on Twitter to @leedshomebrew with your preference. Thanks.

Similar format to the other meetings - 6 people presenting their beers to the group, with the option of bringing along bottles to try after the more structured bit of the night.  While we don't have a guest speaker lined up, this should provide a good opportunity to focus on the beer being presented and a little more time than usual to chat.

So, if anyone has beers that they'd like to bring along to present to the group, let us know below. We'll use the same format of first come first served, but if the number of beers goes beyond 6, we'll draw lots on the night.

18:30 Arrive and get a beer
19:00 Move upstairs to the function room
19:30 Tasting of beers
21:00 Meeting adjourned (stick around for a few more drinks downstairs)

Venue: Leeds Brewery Tap (To be confirmed), 18-24 New Station Street, Leeds, LS1 5DL.

More details to follow as they are confirmed.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Ilkley Brewery's Joshua Jane

Just a quick post to say thank you once more to Ilkley Brewery for supporting Leeds Homebrew.  The brewday was a lot of fun and we were on our best behaviour to make sure we're all invited back.  Myself and Matt Lovatt went along to Bar T'at in Ilkley on Tuesday night for the launch of the beer we brewed, Joshua Jane.  It's a 3.7% nut-brown Yorkshire Ale, brewed with Amarillo and Columbus hops. We enjoyed the beer, the pork pie and the moment.  Look out for the beer in MTT pubs this week and further-a-field beyond that.
(Photos by Ian Stevens).

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Homebrewers Copper Dragon Brewery Visit, 7th Oct

This post has been in the pipeline for a while now so apologies for being rather slow in delivering...

You may remember the homebrew competition that myself, Beer Ritz and Copper Dragon set up a while back entitled: Operation Remix. I mentioned at the end of the competition that there would be a special event for any homebrewer or would-be homebrewer to take part in.

Come the 7th of October (the first Sunday) we will be having a little get together at the Copper Dragon Brewery for a bit of fun, drinks and prize giving! An invitation has been given to homebrewers far and wide, Beer Ritz staff and the judges and everyone who took part in the competition to come down to the brewery for the night.

Brew beer? come along!

The itinerary for the evening is as follows:

18:00 - 19:30 > Brewery tour and question time
19:30 - 20:00 > Prize giving. (winners who can't attend will be mailed)
20:00 - 21:00 > Couple of drinks in the brewery and a beery chat.

The Bistro serves food until 6pm on the Sunday, so if anyone needs a bit of feeding before hand they're welcome to turn up earlier. I've been informed that the brewery is just a short 10/15min walk from Skipton Station, and is easily located on Google Maps for those who have not visited before.

We hope to see you all there on the 7th of October at 18:00. It'll be a great opportunity to gain a bit more brewing know-how, whilst having a good time with like minded people over a nice beer.

See you soon!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Roosters Competition: And The Winner Is....

(reposted from

There were no fewer than fourteen entries for the home-brew competition we announced at the last Leeds Home-Brewers’ meet up at the end of July – a number that far exceeded our expectations – with the judging having taken place yesterday afternoon at the Mitre in Knaresborough.

We put together a five-man judging panel that comprised of Adam Gray, the manager of The Mitre, Stuart Goddard and Des Tinline, manager and assistant manager respectively of Ake & Humphris, a top notch wine and beer shop in Harrogate, with two representatives from Rooster’s completing the line-up.

Adam, Stuart and Des all have a strong pedigree when it comes to wine tasting and judging (Adam holds a WSET Diploma in Wines & Spirits and is a qualified trainer, having previously worked in such a capacity for Oddbins. Stuart, a home-brewer himself, has over ten years’ experience of tastings and working in the off-trade, whilst Des is a wine and beer enthusiast, who’s been actively tasting for more than fifteen years), so it wasn’t a difficult job when it came down to choosing who should help us with the competition.

Given that there wasn’t a set brief for the competition, with the emphasis being on quality, rather than brewing to a particular style, we had a wide range of beers to sample, from a classic English bitter to a pumpkin brown ale, with pretty much everything in between. We organised the beers in order of perceived intensity, from pale ales all the way to the other, darker end of the spectrum.

Judging was based on appearance, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and an overall opinion, with each judge giving a score out of fifty, before discussing the beer as a group. It was agreed, as it is with such competitions, that, once all the beers had been scored, the highest and lowest scores would be removed from that beer’s total, with the remaining number being divided by three. This was to ensure that any personal preference or dislike towards a particular style could be eliminated from scoring, as we wanted this to be all about the quality of the beer, how well it had been brewed and whether it was a good representation of the style.

Suffice to say, the quality of what had been offered up was very good, very good indeed, with the final result being a close-run thing.

The names of the brewers behind the beers were kept in sealed envelopes and only became known to everyone around the table once the winning beer had been confirmed. So, without further delay, in reverse order, the top three beers on the day were as follows…

3rd Place -
Saison De La Maison (6.1%) – Neil Gardner
A delicately-balanced Saison, this beer was an understated triumph. Far from being brash and in your face, it was a beer that quietly went about its business in ticking all the boxes for the style, without being over the top or ramming it down your throat. Lovely stuff.

2nd Place -
Amber Ale (6.5%) – Jon Ainsworth
There wasn’t a great deal to get excited about in terms of aroma with this beer, but the complex bitter-sweet flavours that had been brought together resulted in a very well-balanced and moreish beer, with a good length of flavour, that proved tricky to put down.

1st Place -
Transatlanticism (6.8%) – David Bishop
A hop-forward porter in the modern style, this beer screamed HOPS at you from the glass. Bursting with juicy fruit aromas amidst a touch of coffee, backed up by a big hit of roasty bitterness, the carbonation was spot on and it retained its head well. A worthy winner.

We’d like extend our gratitude to all those who took part and will arrange for a small token of thanks to be delivered for each brewer to either Friends Of Ham or Beer Ritz, depending on where the beer had originally been dropped off, along with the judging sheets for each beer. We hope the brewers involved will find the feedback useful.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Homebrew Festival at Coopers

For those of you who are involved with, or just following the progress of the Leeds Homebrew ‘club’, you’ll know that we’ve established a small group of brewers from around Yorkshire, who meet regularly to share their enthusiasm, their knowledge and most importantly their beer.   You’ll also know that the group have enjoyed the support of a number of breweries, including Summer Wine, Thornbridge, Revolutions, Copper Dragon, Ilkley, Magic Rock and Roosters.  When I see those names written down I can’t quite believe it.  Good times!
We brew beer at home, and then meet up and drink it with friends.
There hasn’t been a chance to sound the group out about the latest brewing venture, but since the last meeting in July myself and Neil Gardner have been contacted by Paul Huntington, manager of Market Town Taverns Coopers Bar to discuss the possibility of organising a homebrewing event to be hosted in their function room.  The Homebrew Fest would give around twenty homebrewers the chance to brew a beer of their choosing and show it off to the discerning public, all in the name of good fun and good beer.
The plans are in their infancy but the next step is to invite those interested to put their names forward and plan to have a beer ready for drinking on Saturday 24th November.  A small entry fee will be required to secure your table, allow the organisers to plan ahead and to make sure we have twenty brewers on the day.   The fees will be donated to a charity (yet to be determined).

As well as being able to show-off your bottled beer, there will be an opportunity for a few people to cask their beer and serve it on the bar in the function room.  Please let myself, Neil or Paul know if you would like to do this (4.5 gallon casks can be provided upon request).

There will of course be a prize or two for the best beers of the event.  The finer details of how this will be judged and by who will be confirmed nearer the date.

So there you have it, all you need to do is register your interest and schedule a brew day!  The tables/pumps will be reserved on a first-come-first-served basis and anyone is welcome to get involved as long as you can travel the distance on the day.

Homebrew Fest 2012

@Coopers Bar & Brasserie

24th November

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Search for the Perfect Pint

For those who didn't attend the last Homebrew meeting allow me to introduce myself, I'm Andy Hamilton not the short comedian or the larger darts player but a beer writer from Bristol. At present I am writing a book called The Search for the Perfect Pint and I am touring the country drinking beer in the name of research. I gave a talk at the last meeting as I must say it is always a pleasure to drink good beer and an even bigger pleasure to drink it with enthusiastic brewers and drinkers. I'd like to extend my thanks to all of you Leeds Homebrewers for the warm welcome and to Zak for the invite to come and talk at the last meeting. I left that night hugely impressed (and hugely pissed after carrying on into the small hours with Seb).

Impressed as almost every brew that we drank was above the quality of many of the commercial beers I’ve tried in the process of searching for the perfect pint. It seemed daft to walk away from that evening without any homebrew recipes, sadly I can be pretty daft so that’s exactly what I did.

On the way back to Bristol I had plenty for time to think as the megabus driver (who regaled us all at the start of the journey with a story of how he got brain damage in the megabus toilet) decided to take us via Barnsley on an epic 8 hour journey back home. I thought I should ask the brewers of Leeds if they wanted to share any of their amazing beer recipes, well to be honest I thought that on the night but I was too busy enjoying myself.  After d a quick chat with Zak we decided that this post would be the best way to come cap in hand.

What I am looking for are tried and tested homebrew recipes that exemplify various different styles of beer and/or recipes that subvert styles in order to give a truly magical brew. In many ways this leaves the field wide open for anything that you might wish to share as long as you think it’s pretty good as I know you all to be pretty good judges of beer.

I will of course brewing all of your recipes myself, but if you felt like sending  any tasters down then that will make my life a lot easier for the selection process.  I can’t guarantee that every recipe will make it as of course I’m aiming for quality rather than quantity in this book. But I really don’t think that will too much of an issue with you lot if the last meeting has anything to go by. If you wish you may send me more than one recipe, each one will have your name published alongside your brew along with your blog or website (if you have one). Every recipe will be most gratefully received.

It would be impossible to say at this point how many copies will be sold and how many people will read your work, but I can be guarantee that there will be a copy of my book in the British Library with your name in it until the end of time (or until the end of the British Library, whichever is first). Hopefully too you’ll get that fuzzy feeling from knowing that brewers all around the world are brewing beer to your recipes.

I’d also like to extend an invitation to all for the piss up book launch next September (2013)  and I’d strongly advise against the Megabus as a means of transport down to Bristol. I’ll send exact details nearer the time.

If you have any questions or want to get in contact then please email me at and cheers!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Rooster's & Leeds Homebrew

If you were at the meet-up last night, you'll already know that Rooster's Brewery are the latest kind souls to offer a hand of friendship to our group. Unfortunately, the hand is holding a card, and on that card, in bold capital letters, it says just one word: FIGHT!

Yes, it's competition time again. No sooner have we announced the winners of our previous competition, generously hosted by Ilkley Brewery, than Rooster's come along and plop another one into our laps. This time, the gloves are off. Rather than brewing to a brief, as with the Ilkley competition, this is a very different challenge - brew whatever you like, just make sure it's better than everyone else's!

So, what's hard about that? Just brew the best beer you can, make sure that you try hard, but don't go over the top and seem as though you're trying too hard. Maybe have a think about the last beer that made the transition from homebrew to trial plant - Rooster's very own Baby-Faced Assassin. Big and bold, but balanced and beautiful. Pale golden ale or chocolate and chilli stout - just make it the best beer you can. No pressure.


Leeds Home-Brew Competition 

Deadline - September 14th (Beers to be dropped off at Beer Ritz or Friends of Ham any time up to this date)

Judging - September 15th/16th

The Rules...

The rules are there are no rules! Well, within reason. Each entry must be a clean and balanced beer in terms of flavour for the style. Any style can be entered. Big aromas welcome. An ABV. of 5-7% is recommended.

2 x 500ml bottle of each entry will be needed for judging, with the (potential) name and style of the beer stated on the bottle. The name of the brewer of each entry will be recorded separately by Beer Ritz and Friends of Ham until a winner has been chosen. DON’T PUT YOUR NAME ON THE BOTTLE! 

The Prize...

A Rooster’s goody bag (!) and the opportunity to brew the beer on Rooster's trial plant with Rooster's Head Brewer. The beer will then be bottled (in 750ml bottles) and sold commercially via Beer Ritz in Headingley (and

Rooster's Brew Day - Friday October 12th

The Small Print...

All ingredients will need to be disclosed to Rooster's and although, where possible, the winning beer will be brewed to the same (up-scaled) recipe, it may have to be tweaked according to Rooster's needs.

July Meet Round-Up

Thanks to everyone who turned out last night for a fun evening at The Brewery Tap. In fact, here's a list of people that we would like to thank:

Thanks to Leeds Brewery for the hospitality and chance to experiment on the in-house brewplant.

Thanks to Ilkley Brewery for coming down and announcing the winners of the competition to spec and brew their autumn seasonal. And congratulations to Matt Lovatt and David Bishop, who took joint first place in the competition, and will now spend weeks bickering over the exact formulation of the winning recipe, which will be a blend of the two.

Thanks to Andy Hamilton for coming and visiting the group, showing an interest, and hopefully getting something useful for his upcoming book. And also thanks for the preview reading of a passage of the book (but don't try a Welsh accent ever again)

Thanks to Stuart from Magic Rock for bringing malt samples, supplying yeast at very short notice, and passing opinion on the members beer. I think he was quietly surprised at the quality.

And thanks too to Tom from Rooster's for announcing the next collaboration project (that's what we're a calling competitons these days), of which more shortly......

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

July Meet - TOMORROW! - Wednesday 25th July

Just a quick reminder that we will be meeting tomorrow, Wednesday 25th July, at The Brewery Tap, 18-24 New Station Street, Leeds, LS1 5DL.

As well as a talk from Andy Hamilton, we will have Ilkley Brewery popping in to announce the winner of their competition - an American Brown Ale - which will be going into production later in the year. The announcement will be at the start of the evening (we think!), so if you're in the running, please don't be late!

Also lurking in the shadows will be Stuart Ross of Magic Rock (not to be confused with Stewart Ross of Ilkley Brewery....), who very kindly supplied the yeast at short notice for the production brew of Matt Lovatt and Will Brigg's Possession Amber Ale, which will be on the bar tomorrow. Thanks also to Alex from Leeds Brewery for supervising the brew day.

As if that wasn't enough to drag you away from your mash tuns for the evening, Tom from Rooster's Brewery will also be in attendance with news of another collaborative experiment between the group and Rooster's Brewery. It may be in the guise of a competition, but that word makes it sound so, well, competitive, doesn't it?.....

See you tomorrow!

18:30 Arrive and get a beer
19:00 Welcome / Talk / Q&A
20:00 Tasting of members' beers
21:00 Meeting adjourned. Carousing optional.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

July Meet - Wednesday 25th July

Apologies if this is a bit of a snap decision, but the next meet has been called for Wednesday 25th July, with a room being kindly provided by Leeds Brewery at The Brewery Tap, New Station Street, Leeds, LS1 5DL.

With good fortune and a following wind, we should have a beer on the bar that night brewed by members of the group. My suggestion is that Matt brews Possession under the supervision of Alex on the kit at The Brewery Tap, although of course this is an open invite for people to come along, get involved, throw in hops, dig out spent grain, and generally see what it's like to brew on a large stainless steel plant rather than in plastic buckets in the kitchen! Mash in will be at 7am on either Tuesday 10th or Wednesday 11th.

Our guest on Wednesday 25th will be Andy Hamilton (not the stand-up comedian, but "the other Andy Hamilton", as even he is forced to describe himself). Andy will be giving a short talk and Q&A about the idea of "booze for free", and will be in Leeds for a couple of days while he researches a book about beer and homebrewing. Please do come along and show him some proper Leeds hospitality (that sounds much more menacing than it's meant to).

The meeting will follow the usual format:

18:30 Arrive and get a beer
19:00 Welcome / Talk / Q&A
20:00 Tasting of members' beers
21:00 Meeting adjourned. Carousing optional.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

July Meet - A Call For Action!

Hi folks, if we want to meet this month, we need to settle on a date. And if we want to do a brew ahead of the meet, we need to move double quick, because time is against us!

If we meet the last week in July (Wednesday 25th or Thursday 26th), we still have time to squeeze in a brew, but we need to do it next week. The other option is to postpone the brew until the next meet (October), and get organised. But either way, we need to set a date for this month!

Let me hear you!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

July Meet-Up - A Call For Dates, & Possible Brew Day

Homebrewers of Leeds (and its environs), we need to try and set a date for our quarterly July meet.

For this meeting we have found a new home. The Brewery Tap, part of Leeds Brewery's estate, has very kindly offered to host us for the evening. As you will know if you've visited this fine establishment, it has a small (2.5bbl) brewplant on the premises, and Dave Scott, the manager there, has suggested that we might like to brew something that we can put on the bar for the meet.

So this post has two objectives - the first to set a date for the meet, and the second is to figure out if we can logistically brew a beer for that date, and what it should be. If we can brew a beer, then we need to decide what it will be, and who will brew it - should it be a collaborative effort from anyone who can get involved, or do we want to put one of the better recipes from a previous meet onto a small production run?

This should be fun!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Ilkley Brewery / Leeds Homebrew Competition

We have been in touch with Ilkley Brewery following our homebrew meet on the 26th April, and are very pleased to be announcing an Ilkley Brewery / Leeds Homebrew competition.

So, if you would like the opportunity to get up close and personal with the shiny brew kit in the photo, then read on and start planning a brew day!

Ilkley have set the challenge of brewing a low ABV beer to the following specification:

Style - American Brown Ale
Target OG - 1038
Colour - Amber/Red
Bitterness - 35 EBU
Hops - up to you!
Yeast - up to you!
Water treatment -  up to you!

Entries will be judged by the Ilkley brewers and the winning entry will be scaled up and produced by Ilkley as their autumn beer.  If that wasn't enough, the winning brewer will be invited to brew the first Gyle. I think the appropriate word to use here is AWESOME!

Deadline for entries to be delivered to the locations below, is Saturday 14th July.

Entries should be bottled in 2x500ml brown bottles, with gold crown caps, and posted to:

Beer Paradise Limited
Unit 20, Centre Park
Marston Moor Business Park
YO26 7QF

Or bottles can be left at Beer Ritz, Headingley (14 Weetwood Lane, LS16 5LX) on or before the submission date (Saturday 14th July).  Please mark the parcel in some way with 'Ilkley Homebrew Competition' and include your name, contact telephone number and details of your recipe with your entry.  It would be helpful if these details were printed and stuck to the bottles as a label.

Friday, 27 April 2012

April meeting with Ilkley Brewery

Last nights meeting went well, a great talk from Chris Ives from Ilkley Brewery, as well as some new faces joining us.  Chris gave an insightful talk on the challenges of brewing low abv / hop forward beers, with some irony that the beers the homebrewers presented being upward of 5.8% abv, including an Amber Ale from Matt and Will, a 6.5% Cascadian Dark Ale from Ian, a 7% single hop IPA from Rob, a 9% smoked IPA from Pete and two versions of a 10% Barley Wine from Simon.  Safe to say that some hops were harmed in the making of these beers!

Chris made several points on the variables a brewer needs to control when brewing a low abv beer.  Interestingly, and from my point of view, each point is important to consider when brewing any beer; sanitation of your kit, water treatment, temperatures of your strike, mash and sparge liquor, boil length, hop addition timings and choice of yeast. However, these principles are arguably more important with a beer which is all about balance between its body and the hop character.  I can't speak from experience of brewing this style of beer, but I've drunk a few and any slight mistakes have nowhere to hide.    

This is not to say that brewing a low abv beer is necessarily anymore difficult than brewing any other style, but this leads on to what I found to be the most important advice of the evening.  Regardless of the style you are brewing, if you are going to produce exactly what you want and to be happy with it, then you will need to brew it a few times before you get it right.  Chris was honest enough to share with us that Ilkley beers took some development, no surprise there, but also that it is an ongoing process of incremental adjustments to the variables listed above, that allow them to understand where they need to focus to make the beer better the next time.  Food for thought and a big thank you to Chris for joining us.

Looking forward to our next meeting, we will be arranging a meeting sometime in late July (venue to be confirmed).  However, between now and July, Chris has extended an invitation to the group to visit the brewery for a tasting session.  Before we tackle the logistics of getting us all to the brewery, it would be useful if we can agree on a couple of dates that we can put forward.  The best days for this to happen are are Thursday late afternoon onwards (which could prove difficult for most) or a Saturday afternoon.

So, lets be having your suggestions below.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Next Meet - TOMORROW! Thursday 26th April

Just a quick reminder that our next meet is tomorrow at Mr Foleys, on the Headrow in Leeds.

 The usual format applies - arrive for a 7pm start when our guests from Ilkley Brewery will be talking about brewing low-gravity, hop-forward beers in general, and no doubt about their all-conquering Mary Jane Pale Ale in particular. After this, the floor is open for any Q's and A's to them.

Following this - at about 8pm - there is the usual ceremony of throwing yourself to the lions, or as it's more commonly known, an opportunity to have your homebrew assessed by a panel of professional and amateur brewers. Of course, it's not really that scary, but it's a great opportunity to get your beer in front of a panel who will tell you what they think, in the nicest possible way.

Game on!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Beer Ritz & Copper Dragon Home Brew Competition

With the idea of creating something a little different, and with the hopes that this could be quite an educational and interesting experience, Ghost Drinker from Beer Ritz and Rob Percival from Copper Dragon have teamed up to bring the first B.R./C.D. Home Brew Competition entitled:

Operation Remix

The idea behind this Remix is twofold: Firstly - choose one of the three Copper Dragon beer recipes given. Secondly - take the ingredients specified, and do what ever the heck you want with them to create what you think will be a creative and tasty beer!

If you want to know the full scoop and details, visit this post on Ghosty's blog, but if you need an incentive, just know that there's some fantastic prizes available up for grabs. Not just that though... everyone who takes part in the event itself will be treated to a fantastic evening up at Copper Dragon after the final judging of the competition.

Time to show people the skills that local home brewers have!

Get those kettles and mash tuns warming...

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Slightly belated congratulations to group member Peter Hindle for his victory in our first homebrew competition, held in conjunction with Revolutions Brewing Co. Here's what Mark Seaman of Revolutions had to say about the process:

"We were very pleased with the overall standard of entries. The judging panel comprised Andrew and myself, Kevin and Ruth who put on Headingley BF, Rhian from Arcadia and Colin Williams, who is our CAMRA brewery liaison officer. (Leigh Linley was moving house, so had to withdraw.)

"We met at Mr. Foley’s where Dean acted as our impartial pourer to ensure a genuinely blind tasting. It was a close run affair at the top of the table but the top three were...

1 – Peter Hindle - @pchindle – with a pale golden bitter, featuring a big peppery / hoppy finish
2 – Matt Lovatt - @braukerl – an interesting beer with a hint of coffee
3 – Gary Lester-Olivier - @bosium – a ruby / chestnut ale with more than a hint of 80/- about it.

"We scheduled the brewday with Peter for next Tuesday 13th. He seems excited about it, so that’s good. 30 odd casks of Replicas should be hitting the pubs just at the end of March"

Congratulations again to Peter, and we look forward to the launch of this beer shortly.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

April Meet: Guest Speaker Announced

We're pleased to announce that for our third meet on Thursday 26th April, a brewing contingent from Ilkley Brewery Co. will be joining us. In contrast to the last meetings Barley Wine master class, the subject matter of Ilkley's talk will be on brewing low gravity, hop-forward beers, and for those who want to take part to then go away and put it into practice.  In a similar format to the Revolutions Brewing Co. competition, the brewer of the best beer (judged by Ilkley) will be invited over to their brewery for a brewday.

If you would like to join us, and for those of you who plan to bring beer, please can you let us know by commenting on this post.

They venue is Mr Foleys and I'll post a runnning order nearer the date, although it will read much the same as last time, be there to start for 7pm.


Friday, 3 February 2012

April Meet Up: Call For Dates

This is an advance call for dates for our April meet. Thursday's 19th or 26th are the preferred dates, and we have another interesting guest lined up. I know April is a way off, but if you could respond with your preference then we can confirm with the guest.

Similar format to the other meetings - 6 people presenting their beers to the group, with the option of bringing along bottles to try after the more structured bit of the night.

So, if anyone has beers that they'd like to bring along to present to the group, let us know below. We'll use the same format of first come first served, but if the number of beers goes beyond 6, we'll draw lots on the night.

Venue: Mr Foleys.

More details to follow nearer the date.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Revolutions Brewing Co. & Leeds Homebrew - Competition

With the aim of creating yet more interest in West Yorkshire brewing, Revolutions Brewing Co., in collaboration with Leeds Homebrew, have announced a homebrew competition.

The prize is a full 8BBL commercial brew (reserving the right to make any necessary technical tweaks) of the winner in a competition to produce the best 4.5% homebrewed beer of any style - the winner can of course come and participate in the brewday.

It will be released to market in April 2012 as part of our Rewind 33 series under the name REPLICAS (referencing the 1979 Tubeway Army album) - the beer will certainly appear in pubs throughout Yorkshire and further afield, including The CRAFT Beer Co. in London, Mr Foleys in Leeds and The Maltings in York, where the winner can enjoy a pint and bask in the warm glow of craft brew glory! It should also appear at beer festivals such as Rothwell, Doncaster, Leicester and Newark. We will encourage the winner to participate in publicity activities.

Here are the rules, such as they are:

1. The beer should be brewed to a target ABV of 4.5%.

2. It can be any style – (except Milk Stout please – we’re doing one in February!)

3. It must use only European hops – a) to test you all on a level playing field and, b) to avoid any issues of scarcity of US / NZ versions when it comes to the commercial brew.

4. You must divulge your full recipe and method. We reserve the right to “tweak” it for technical and / or commercial reasons.

5. We will set up a judging panel of people outside the group, including ourselves, to determine the winner.

6. Entries must be submitted in bottles by 28th February 2012 – judging will take place on February 29th – the brewday will be in Castleford in early March.

7. Please submit your bottles with your name, contact details and recipe to us at the address below, or alternatively drop them at Mr Foleys or Beer-Ritz marked for our attention.


Revolutions Brewing Co, Unit B7, Whitwood Enterprise Park, Speedwwell Road, Whitwood, Castelford, WF10 5PX

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Running Order - Thursday 12th January

Some info about this Thursday's meet-up [edit]AT MR FOLEY'S ALE HOUSE IN LEEDS[/edit]. The hour slot from 19.00 to 20.00 is going to be filled by Dominic from Thornbridge Brewery, who will be making a presentation on how to brew barley wine, answering any questions thrown at him, and should time permit, performing some live kitten juggling.

There will also be a special announcement about a collaboration between the Leeds Homebrew group and Revolutions Brewing Co. Please try to be "in da house" by 7pm for this.

The 8 - 9 slot will be for panel tasting of members beers. We will be limiting this to 6 x 10 minute slots, so if we have more than 6 people wanting to present to group, we will draw lots on the night. Please bring enough beer for a dozen or 15 samples - maybe a couple of litres? There is always the option to share and critique after the structured part of the evening is over.

So in summary:

18:30 Arrive and get a beer
19:00 Welcome / Talk / Q&A
20:00 Tasting of members' beers
21:00 Meeting adjourned. Carousing optional.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Broadford Aire Porter

Maris Otter Pale Malt - 76.1%
Brown Malt - 8.4%
Crystal Malt - 7.9%
Black Malt - 3.8%
Flaked Oats - 3.8%

Galena 10g – 12.0% @90mins
Galena 10g – 12.0% @30mins
First Gold 10g – 7.8% @10mins
First Gold 40g – 7.8% @0mins (steep 20 mins)

Final Volume: 19 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.044
Final Gravity: 1.011
Alcohol Content: 4.2% ABV
Bitterness: 31.4 IBU
Colour: 28.9 SRM
Yeast: Safale US-05
Mash: 90mins @ 66c
Boil: 90mins
Water treatment: In the HLT 1 camden tablet. In the mash 3.4g gypsum.  In the boil 4.4g gypsum, 3.8g epsom salts. 
As with most brew days, there is at least one thing that will go wrong, in this instance it was the last minute realisation that either I made a mistake on my order and ending up with Flaked Barley rather than Flaked Oats. 
Moving on from this minor glitch I used what I turned the HLT on and weighed my malts out.  The mash was the next thing to go slightly wayward, when you have your 4 year old being helpful and when you are trying to help cook the dinner and get the kids to bed, things tend to slip.  I had the HLT to strike temp of 78C and added a kettle of boiling water to the mash tun to pre-heat it.  Time passed. I came to mash in, but forget to re-heat the tun, this meant that I had to mess around to get the mash temp to my target 66C.

Mashing out, HLT temp set to 78C again and a quick temperature check on the tun told me that something had gone wrong.  It was 62C, I usually only lose a degree over 90 mins.  Carried on with the brew, batch sparging.  I usually try to take hydrometer readings throughout the mash, but decided to try to do this by tasting the wort.  This worked in that I got some experience of this method.  I stopped sparging with 3L water left in the HLT.  Got the boil on, 90 minute boil with the additions detailed above.  FOr my 19L brew length I collected 13.6L at around 1.058 (temp corrected).  I decided to liquor back and added 5L boiled/treated liquor. giving me a final volume of 18.6L at OG of 1.044.  Pitched the US-05 yeast when the temp hit 23C Happy with this, but there are some learning points:
  • Check your ingredients well before your brewday.
  • Always pre-heat mash tun with boiling water.
  • When the mash tun is half empty, correct the strike temp? or at least give the tun some external insulation.
  • When sparging, use the calculated liquor volume to avoid having to liquor back so much.
You can see the rest of the pics here.

Looking forward to the next Leeds Homebrew meeting 12th January 2012.

Contributor: David Bishop (@broadfordbrewer)