Harveys Brewery of Lewes, E

Carolina BrewMasters’ Newsletter
Quarterly Publication
April 2007
around us soak up everything - whether it be
through osmosis, they have no choice or
they really want to learn?
Table of Contents
Beer: in our DNA or a Passion?.......... Pg. 1
Steeping Grains…………………… …Pg. 2
Scottish Ales………………………… Pg. 4
Making a Brew Kettle………………. Pg. 7
Harveys Brewery, UK………… ……. Pg. 9
Brew Review………………… ……. Pg. 12
Calendar……………………… …… Pg. 14
Our hobby is not a short term infatuation.
Our delight in beer, and brewing, borders on
obsession; a passion that our wives,
husbands, or significant others allow us to
have and interact with. The only questions
that remain are of what forms does this
passion – beer - possess? The characteristics
of this lady vary and can be quite complex.
Beer: in our DNA or a Passion?
by Brian Beauchemin
Her legacy may begin in Germany or
Belgium; others possess an English, Irish or
Czech heritage; while some evolved over
time to form unique American personalities.
What does it mean when your little girl
scrunches up her nose and makes sniffing
sounds every time she sees you smell your
beer and wants to participate in the routine
as well? Or when she mimics Daddy
checking brew color by holding her sippy
cup up to the light to make sure the milk is
The lady’s appearance ranges from sultry
red to foreign blond to dark haired with ruby
highlights. Does her expression change
whether she radiates in copper or sparkles in
What does it mean when Scott Wallace’s
highschooler over hears a brew session
conversation on torrified wheat and breaks
into the room with some answers after going
online? Or when Bill Lynch’s son shows up
for his brew session and knows to walk in
with a Double IPA and not the default
college-age beer?
Many are multi-dimensional and the
strength and character of this lady varies
widely: assertive to restrained, intense to
subtle; brilliant and bright to nutty.
Her traits wander from lightly dry and
cleanly crisp to assist with summer heat
while others combat snow and cold with a
big and strong winter warming.
Is this entire beer experience we live
literally in our blood? Is it in the DNA that
we pass on to our children? Or do we pursue
our hobby with such enthusiasm that those
Some exude richness, soft and sweet. Others
seasons to tease us and then steal away
equally fast leaving us longing for more.
prefer to bite you with a lingering bitterness
one still enjoys. You know you’re in for a
treat (or surprise) if she prefers to be sour or
tart or is named ‘Brett’.
Our individual preferences of this wonderful
passion we share are many; not only do they
vary from person to person but they
probably change throughout the time of year
as well. So, what do we do with all these
amazing stylistic personality traits? How do
we meaningfully incorporate them into our
lives, and those around us?
backgrounds flourish while others are even
considered Imperial with an ancestry of
complex, deep and luscious characteristics.
Sometimes like the smell of freshly baked
bread, a number of them bestow toasty and
biscuity traits while others employ
multidimensional fruitiness. And as with
some ladies, instances abound when
unpredictability swoops in like chocolate hitting from different directions – sweet or
It’s simple – embrace them; recognize them
for what they are (whether you like them or
not); enjoy them and most of all share them.
Especially with those amongst us who are
our first loves and allow us to trespass with
another love that is also near and dear to us.
Others lure us to their side with their
imagination with floral, fruity, spicy and
minty scents. They cast our minds back to
memories of woodland picnics with their
piney, grassy and earthen aromas. Some
smoke, enveloping our senses in lush rings
of smoldering playfulness.
Steeping Grains
By Bill Lynch
Homebrewers today are quite fortunate in
that they have access to a greater variety of
fresher, high quality ingredients than ever.
This is particularly true for those of us who
choose to use malt extract to brew.
Excellent award winning beers can be
created using fresh malt extract, a style
appropriate liquid yeast and a small amount
of steeped grains.
While one lady shows wonderful poise &
balance, others thrive on countering
equilibrium by leaning toward either the
sweet side or the spicy side of life.
Regardless, they remain irresistible.
They reveal their bodies in various forms of
dress; some unique to their style alone –
long slender stange, tulip, goblet, chalice,
flute, stein, snifter. Most tempt us,
exhibiting staying power and leaving a little
leg behind.
The judicious use of a small quantity of
fresh steeped grains will allow you to
control the color and flavor of extract beers
by extracting sugars and flavored
compounds from the husk. But under the
wrong conditions excess tannins can be
extracted leading to astringent flavors in the
beer. There are a few things you can do,
however, to keep from extracting excess
tannins while steeping.
Like any of us, age creeps into their lives.
Some mature well and grow old gracefully,
standing up to the test of time. Others
perform with vigor while younger and
What Grains Can Be Steeped?
Many adhere to today’s styles while others
prefer to break trends and exhibit
uniqueness. Some visit year round while
others sneak into our lives at different
There are basically two kinds of malts: those
that need to be mashed and those that don't.
Mashing is the hot water soaking process
that provides the right conditions for the
enzymes to convert the grain starches into
fermentable sugars. Specialty malts like
caramel and roasted malts do not need to be
mashed but are wonderful for steeping.
These malts have undergone a special
kilning process in which the starches are
converted to sugars by heat right inside the
hull. As a result, these malts contain more
complex sugars, some of which do not
ferment, leaving a pleasant caramel-like
Size Matters
The biggest mistake that beginning
homebrewers make is that they steep their
grains in a quantity of water that is too great,
therefore extracting all of the goodness from
the grain too quickly. The sugars from the
grain will dissolve quickly and you will
extract a lot of color and flavors from the
husk. But you will also extract excessive
tannins from the husk. This will produce a
beer which will have a mouth puckering, dry
astringent quality.
Other grains are lightly toasted, like carapils,
Victory or biscuit malt. These grains often
give off a nutty taste. Steeping these grains
will add body and unfermentable sugars to
your beer.
The rule of thumb that I always follow is to
use 3 quarts of water for every pound of
specialty grains that I am going to steep. I
rarely exceed a pound and a half of steeping
Some recipes actually call for malts such as
pale malt, Munich malt or pilsner malt to be
steeped. These would be acceptable when
performing a mini-mash (to be covered in a
later newsletter) but I stay away from use of
these malts in the steeping process as they
provide little or no character to the finished
The Process
My process
What Method to Use?
There are a few different methods of
steeping grains. I will address the method
that has brought me considerable success
over the years. If you are using another
method and are satisfied with your results,
by all means continue to use it. However,
one aspect of steeping that I feel very
strongly about is to steep in either a grain
bag or a muslin bag. Personally I use muslin
bags because they’re easy, disposable and
retain the grains nicely.
A pot separate from my brewpot for
Muslin bags to hold the grain
A large strainer
A small pot into which a small
amount of rinse water can be heated
Let’s assume that the recipe calls for a
pound and a half of steeping grains. Heat 5
quarts of water to 155 degrees. Place the
bag containing the grains into the water and
bring the temperature back to 155 degrees;
the addition of the grains will cause the
temperature to drop. Ensure that water
completely surrounds the grains and steep
for a minimum of 30 minutes. Steeping up
to an hour is acceptable, especially if you’re
steeping a larger quantity (I’ve never
steeped more than two pounds of grain) but
do not exceed an hour and maintain the
temperature between 150 – 155 degrees.
Steeping specialty grain is like making tea.
The crushed grain is soaked in hot 150 155°F degree water for 30 minutes. Even
though a color change will be noticeable
early on, steep for the entire 30 minutes to
get as much of the available sugar dissolved
into the wort as possible. The grain is
removed from the water and that water (now
a wort) is then used to dissolve the extract
for the boil.
When you’ve completed steeping, remove
the pot from the heat and proceed to heat a
pint of water to 150 degrees. Once this
water is heated, remove the bag of grains,
Scottish ales are subdivided in a manner
roughly parallel to the English family of
bitters. The nomenclature commonly used is
based on an antiquated pricing system based
on gravity. The symbol “/-” means
“shilling,” The following are the 2004 BJCP
Style Guidelines for Scottish Ales:
holding it above the water in which they
were steeped and carefully place it in your
Allow it to complete dripping.
Under no circumstances should you squeeze
the bag as this will likely release unwanted
tannins from the now spent grain. Pour the
heated water over the grains to extract the
remaining goodness. At this point you are
simply rinsing the grains thus a small
quantity of water will suffice.
60/- “Light”:
OG 1.030- 1.035
10-20 IBU
2.5%- 3.2% ABV
70/- “Heavy”:
OG 1.035- 1.040
10- 25 IBU
3.2%- 3.9% ABV
80/- “Export”:
OG 1.040- 1.054
15- 30 IBU
3.9%- 5%
120/- “Wee Heavy”:
OG 1.070- 1.130
17- 35 IBU
6.5%- 10% ABV.
Remove the strainer and add additional
water into which you will add the malt
extract and hops once the boil commences.
As previously mentioned, there are other
methods employed to steep grains. One
calls for adding the steeping grains to water
into which the full volume of malt extract
has been added; another calls for the grains
to be added to cold water and the water
brought to a boil at which time the grains are
removed. The method described above has
proved to be very successful over the years
and it’s a method that I will continue to use.
Flavor profile:
The 2004 BJCP guidelines give the same
description for all the substyles except for
wee heavy. I too will treat them the same,
differentiating only by gravity and alcohol
content. Here is what they have to say on the
By Jason Teeter
Anybody who loves full malty beers owes it
to themselves to try some Scottish ales.
Heck, anybody who loves beer owes it to
themselves to try some Scottish ales.
Caramelly sweet but not cloying, sometimes
slightly nutty and often with a hint of smoke
along with an unexpected dryness at the end,
these beers make a perfect accompaniment
to a chilly evening in front of a fire with a
good book. With all this going for them, it's
no wonder many brewers make brewing the
perfect 80/- or Wee Heavy a worthy
“Malt is the primary flavor, but isn't overly
strong. The initial malty sweetness is usually
accentuated by a low to moderate kettle
accompanied by a low diacetyl component.
Fruity esters may be moderate to none. Hop
bitterness is low to moderate, but the
balance will always be towards the malt
(although not always by much). Hop flavor
is low to none. A low to moderate peaty
character is optional, and may be perceived
as earthy or smoky. Generally has a grainy,
dry finish due to small amounts of unmalted
roasted barley.”
At first glance, Scottish ales appear similar
enough to their English cousins. Once you
have tasted them, however, you will have no
doubt that they are a unique family of beers,
fully deserving of their own style
Scottish ales, first and foremost, are all
about malt.They should start malty, follow
up malty and finish malty. Some of the best
high mash temperature and significantly
greater than average kettle caramelization.
There are a couple ways to go about
achieving this. First is to extend the boil.
Extract brewers actually have an advantage
here, as the higher gravity in the kettle of a
partial volume boil will caramelize more &
faster than the equivalent all-grain full
volume boil. Three to eight hour boil times
are not unheard of.
barley in the world is grown in Scotland and
the local brewers are not shy about showing
it off. Rumors circulate that another
alcoholic beverage is made in Scotland from
this lovely barley, but they have yet to be
confirmed as of this writing.
Even a 2.5% 60/- ale should be decidedly
malty. This is much easier to accomplish
than it sounds when you are using a high
quality imported malt, one with enough
character to assert itself when used in small
quantities. Needless to say, the selection of
your base grain is of paramount importance.
While some passable Scottish ales have been
made by American micros using US grown
barley, they lack the depth the imported and
homebrewed examples brewed from UK
barley exhibit. Fortunately for us
homebrewers, the price difference for a five
gallon batch between American 2-row and
UK pale malt is easily affordable for even
the most destitute brewer.
Another technique for all-grain brewers is to
turn on the burner as soon as the first
runnings are in the kettle, boiling rapidly
while lautering. The most popular, as well as
one of the more effective ways to get a
strong caramel flavor, is to transfer a portion
of your wort to a smaller pot & boil it
rapidly on the stove until it has reduced to a
thick syrup, adding it back to the main kettle
when caramelized to your liking.
Special care must be taken when utilizing
the last two techniques, stirring & smelling
constantly to ensure you don't scorch the
concentrated sugars, adding a most
undesirable burnt flavor.
As far as varieties go, there are several good
choices. The British standby, Maris Otter, is
of course well suited here, as are Optic,
Halcyon, Pipkin and plain old “British Pale
Malt,” which is usually Pearl.
Crystal malt, while not used in traditional
Scottish breweries of yore, does have a place
in Scottish ales made today. It should be
used in quantities less than the high final
gravity would suggest, as that is a result of a
combination of a dextrinous high
temperature mash, unfermentable caramel
produced during the boil and low attenuating
yeast fermented at the cool end of the
temperature range. When used, most
brewers don't go over 5%, and never more
than 10% of the grist.
Special mention should be made of Golden
Promise, as early tests & extensive sampling
indicate excellent results. It has a lighter,
less nutty flavor than Maris Otter, and it
caramelizes with a “purer” flavor, for want
of a better term, that is in no way lacking the
depth that has rightfully made Maris Otter
the de facto standard UK base malt for
homebrewers. Several Scottish breweries
use Golden Promise as their base malt, as
does Timothy Taylor for their lauded
Landlord Ale.
Extract brewers need not worry, as the DME
sold by the vast majority of suppliers
(including our local source) is Munton's, an
English brand of the highest quality.
Like the base grain, imported crystal malts
give much better results here. Munton's &
Thomas Fawcett crystal are available locally
and are of excellent quality. I have had good
results with the pure, light, caramel flavor
contributed by Belgian Caravienne, too.
The malt profile of Scottish brews needs to
have a strong caramel component. This
should come not from excessive use of
crystal malts but from the combination of
A critical and often underreported part of the
grain bill is roasted barley. This is thought to
originate in that legendary Scottish frugality.
Commercial breweries used to malt their
loving personality. While a truly excellent
beer, it would fare poorly if entered into
own grains. A certain percentage of the
grain would fail to germinate, and since the
brewer paid good money for all of the grain,
it was not to be thrown out. Instead, it was
roasted in the kiln, then added into the mash
with the rest of the grains. Usage is typically
between ½% to 2%, never exceeding 3%.
These are not roasty beers by any stretch.
Instead, the roasted barley contributes color
and a dryness that helps balance the very
sweet, lightly hopped wort.
As with most traditional beer styles, a pure
yeast culture from the region of origin is the
best approach. This is less of a concern with
Scottish ales than most other beer styles.
The most important yeast contributions are a
low ester profile and low attenuation, both
of which can be achieved using an ale yeast
at the lower end of its temperature range.
Many fine Scottish ales have been made
using English yeasts fermented cool.
Finally we come to the biggest argument
regarding Scottish ales: the issue of smoke.
Debate raged back and forth for years as to
whether any sort of smoked malt is
appropriate in a Scottish ale. Rather than
rehash the debate, I'll sum up the consensus
that was reached in the brewing community:
while peated and/or smoked malt are not at
all traditional in Scotland, they have become
part of the emerging American interpretive
The two Scottish strains most commonly
available to homebrewers, White Labs 028
and Wyeast 1728, both produce excellent
results. Fermentation should take place
cooler than is typical for other strains, in the
mid to upper fifties if possible. This will
result in a longer primary fermentation
period, along the line of two to three weeks.
If you have the capability, an extended
period of cold conditioning greatly improves
these beers, although it is by no means
Scottish yeasts throw a smoky phenol
(guaiacol for those of you taking notes), and
the roasted barley & kettle caramelization
also contribute to the perception of smoke in
these beers. If you do wish to add some
peated or rauch malt, use it sparingly if you
are trying to stay within style guidelines.
My own experience with these two yeasts
has been that the White Labs strain is
cleaner tasting, while the Wyeast version
can ferment about five degrees cooler and
gives more of the smoky phenol. The
smokiness requires considerable age to
really become noticeable. I like to age my
80/- & Wee Heavies for a year to really
accentuate this characteristic.
This section, much like their use, is minimal.
Scotland is a very cold place and hops
simply do not grow there. That means they
must be imported, making them very
expensive. Adding insult to injury, they
were most often imported from England, the
target of long standing animosity from much
of the Scottish population. This adds up to
minimal usage for the traditional styles, just
enough to keep the sweetness of the malt
profile from becoming cloying.
Tying it all together
To sum it all up, keep the following
guidelines in mind when brewing your next
Scottish ale:
- Use high quality UK malt/extract, along
with a touch of roasted barley
- Caramelize the wort
- Use only bittering hops, and use them
- Ferment cool, preferably with a Scottish
- Use a light hand if adding peated/smoked
The varieties are usually the highest quality
available, typically East Kent Goldings
and/or Fuggles. They are added once at the
beginning of the boil. Late hop character is
rarely apparent in traditional interpretations.
The late Bert Grant made a Scottish ale with
an assertive hop presence, as befit his hop
Additional Reading:
Many great sources of information exist out
there for those who wish to learn more about
this wonderful family of beers. Here is a
very incomplete list:
- ”Designing Great Beers” by Ray Daniels
has an excellent chapter on Scottish ales.
- ”Scotch Ales” by Greg Noonan, from the
“Classic Beer Styles.” Unfortunately this
one has yet to get the overhaul that others in
this series have. The information contained
within is still solid, however.
The drills shown here will be needed to drill
the holes that will allow you to get the saw
blade through the keg top to start cutting.
You will also drill a hole for the fitting and
ball valve.
- 2004 BJCP Style Guidelines, available @:
Making a Homemade
Brew Kettle
by Scott Wallace
This article will guide you through the
process I go through when I build a brew
I made a template out of cardboard to trace
the circle. Measure the inside of the lid you
will use and make a template to that
The first and most important thing to think
about when doing this kind of work is
SAFETY. Eye protection and ear protection
are required. The metal will be flying and it
will be extremely loud.
Center the template on top of the keg and
trace the template using a Sharpie marker.
Be careful the template doesn't move
(continued next page)
The power tools you will need are a
Reciprocating saw, a heavy duty hand
grinder with a hard rock disc and a 3/8”
Variable Speed drill.
Look at the circle you traced to make sure it
is reasonably centered and round.
After the keg is cut and the guts have been
extracted, you will grind it until it is round
and smooth. I rest my hand against the
inside of the top ring and use it to guide the
grinder in a nice circular motion. Check the
hole size with your lid periodically to insure
a good fit. After this step some finish
sanding will be needed.
Mark 3 or 4 holes equally spaced around the
perimeter of the circle not less than 7/16"
from the edge of the circle. Drill pilot holes
with the center drill. Drill through with the
7/8" step drill. If you are using a larger step
drill be sure to stop at the 7/8" mark. Or be
sure that the distance from the edge is no
less than half of the diameter of the drill you
are using. Push hard when you drill, the
unibit has to cut continuously or it can burn
up. Cool the bit intermittently with cold
The kettle should now look like this. Yes, I
said kettle. It's not a keg anymore. Use your
hands to make sure there are no sharp edges
you will cut yourself on later when you’re
brewing. I recommend wearing gloves when
you do this. Be careful.
Now it's time to drill the 7/8" hole for the
valve. Be sure it is high enough above the
weld to accomodate whatever type fitting you
will use. Drill it so that the hole is centered
between the handles of the keg. Remove any
burrs from around the hole.
Now you can get the blade of the saw in the
keg. Cut around the circle. Be sure to stay
inside the line. Be sure the keg is secure when
you cut as it vibrates a lot. I usually use a
corner of my brickhouse to shove it into. Keep
the blade cool with some cold water. All of
this can be avoided if you have access to a
plasma cutter. If not, start sawing.
(continued next page)
Well, here it is:
One finished brew
kettle ready for
brew day.
Be sure all threads are wrapped with teflon
tape. Which can be bought at any hardware
or auto parts store.
Harveys Brewery, UK
By Jason Randall
Harveys Brewery of Lewes, E. Sussex, UK
After enduring 30 years in the volatile
Mental Health system it seemed best to
celebrate with a month in Europe.
On September 4th after two retirement
parties I flew to London Gatwick. I often
visit my sister and her family who have
lived in the UK for almost two decades
before exploring further. One of the first
things she told me was that she had a tour of
Harvey’s Brewery booked for me and her
husband Clive. I had longed desired to tour
the classic brewery that has a dominant
position in the town of Lewes on the river
Here we used a 2" long 304 Stainless 1/2"
NPT nipple. Stainless welding is tricky. We
recommend that you have a professional do
your stainless welding for you.
Tours are only offered on two occasions per
month and usually booked a year or two in
advance. I had toured the great King and
Barnes Brewery of Horsham years earlier
before a group of speculators bought the
brewery just to get its attached pubs and
Here we avoided welding all together. We
used a Weld-B-Gone fitting from Zymico.
The kit comes with full instructions.
then promptly closed the brewery. Harvey’s
is among the last of its kind.
Today, Harveys remains an independent,
family company with a seventh generation of
Harvey's descendants involved in its affairs.
Selecting the finest quality Pale and Mild
Ale malts, together with the choicest Kent
and Sussex hops, brewing from our own
fresh spring water, and a yeast which has
remained unchanged in the brewery for four
decades, has resulted in a range of beers
which have delighted the people of Sussex
and neighbouring counties for many years.”
“The name of Harvey has long been
associated with the supply of beers, wines
and spirits in Sussex. Records of 1794 recall
the delivery of Old Red Port, Sherry and
Claret within a twenty mile radius of the
medieval town of Lewes. However, it was
under the management of John Harvey
(1784-1862) that the Bridge Wharf Brewery
was established on its present site by the
River Ouse, overlooking Cliffe Bridge,
Year round cask conditioned ales include:
Sussex Best Bitter, Armada Ale and XX
Dark Mild.
In 1880 part of the original Georgian
Brewery was rebuilt and this portion, the
Tower and Brew House, dominates the
scene from Cliffe Bridge. This is a beautiful
example of a country brewery in Victorian
Gothic Design. Behind it stands the other
half of the brewery, the Georgian fermenting
room, cellars and Vat House. The
fermenting room and cellars structurally
have remained unchanged although they
now house modern plant and equipment.
The same applies to the Brew House, but the
Vat House has now been converted into a
modern bottling hall.
Harveys produces 18
bottled beers, mostly
on a seasonal basis,
some of which are
also available on cask.
The seasonals include
their historic porter
brewing journal), Elizabethan Ale (barley
wine), Russian Imperial Stout and their
Christmas Ale. They also feature some
commemorative ales such as Armada Ale
(originally commissioned by the National
Maritime Museum for defeat of the
Spanish), Tom Paine – commemorates the
bicentennial of Tom Paine’s “The Rights of
Man” and Fire Boy – brewed to
commemorate the fire brigade during the
brewery fire of 1996 and is brewed for
Lewes Bonfire celebrations each year.
In 1984 a second brewing line was
completed, doubling the production capacity
from 25,000 to 50,000 barrels a year. The
building for this new plant has been added
in front of the Tower in a similar Gothic
style, right down to the arched ironwork
Harvey’s has been producing beers with
their own signature yeast that has not
changed in the past 40 years. They produce
one of the widest arrays of specialty beers
while also producing a consistent Bitter that
is distributed within a 30 mile radius. The
brewery sells only to pubs that take good
care of their real ale.
“Harveys were delighted to announce that
on Tuesday 1st August 2006 in an
unprecedented repeat victory at CAMRA's
Great British Beer Festival, Harveys won
the Best Bitter Category for the second
successive year.”
After the excellent tour of Harveys we
descended to the cellar where the kegs are
filled. Here we were treated to an extensive
tasting of most all the beers they produce.
Sussex Best Bitter - “Brewed for a Sussex
palate using four different hop varieties, this
has 38 units of bitterness. It's a resiny,
floral, spicy hymn to the hop. It's all about
sublime, classic English hop varieties. The
maltiness is balanced by tart fruit and
hoppiness, dry in the finish. Simply superb.”
From Barry Neild – CNN – “Six of the
Best”. Harveys uses only aged Kentish and
Sussex hops which are considerably more
expensive than continental or their
American counterparts.
Finding a small family run brewery in
England – particularly one that has a long
history is becoming increasingly rare. The
well known CAMRA organization has been
the major force in traditional pubs taking
pride in serving real ales.
One should avoid the chain pubs that rarely
have traditional ales and if they do they
aren’t well taken care of and are usually
noisy and unappealing. It is also
discouraging to see that many of the young
blokes drink lager and with little care or
appreciation for their native brews.
On the other hand, despite buyouts and
microbrewery movement is alive and well in
Britain thanks to a tax break they now take
advantage of and numerous beer festivals. It
is heartening to see a number of guest ales
from very small operations served in many
of the better pubs. Re-educating the public is
a constant job – wouldn’t you agree?
Our tour was guided by Hamish Elder, comanager/director of Harvey’s and a
descendent of the original founder. His tour
was the best brewery tour I’ve had period.
He knew extensively about the history of
Harvey’s and about every aspect of brewing,
keeping and serving their product. Their
fermentation room has large open
fermentation tanks which have a thick layer
of yeast on top. By demonstration, a lighter
held nearby will be snuffed out from the
escaping CO2.
In the next newsletter- Part 2 “The Baltic
Fleet Brewpub of Liverpool and C.K.
Browar of Krakow, Poland”.
roast barley cutoff. No hop flavor. Dry
finish. Well balanced. Slight diacetyl. Much
more delicate than domestic competitor.
Clean and smooth.
The Brew Review
In the Brew Review, contributing writers all
gathered to taste and judge beers at my
house (Brian). Willing participants included
Bill Lynch, Jason Randall and Jason Teeter.
We conducted head-to-head blind tastings of
two different beers from each of 5 styles. In
the first four tastings, one beer in each style
was brewed in its ‘homeland’ and competed
against an American-brewed equivalent (i.e.
German pils brewed in Germany vs. German
pils brewed in the USA).
Retro Red – Red in color. Malt nose and
fruity/sweet smelling. No roast with sweet,
hoppy flavor. Slight vegetal. Poor balance,
too much crystal. Low hop bitterness, nice
malty caramel character. Hop flavor and
sweet malt a bit extreme – fighting for
control of brew. Medium sweet flavor.
Winner: Smithwicks – Enjoyable, stylish
Irish Red
In addition, since we were in the middle of
March Madness we had a “Final Four”
bracket of 4 US-brewed IPA’s that
competed in 2 semifinal rounds eventually
leading to an overall winner. BJCP
guidelines were used and all of our written
comments are combined here. So without
further ado, here is the Brew Review.
Belgian Dubbel
Chimay Red vs. Ommegang Abbey Ale
Chimay Red – Dark amber with reddish
tints. Spicy aroma with sweet taste that is
yeast-driven. Slight astringency in nose. No
hops. Subtle malt with medium–sweet malt
taste; some raisins but no dominate fruity
esters. Some caramel and burnt toffee.
Clove/allspice. Medium-full body. Finishes
dry and digestable. Subtle and typical to
German Pils
Bitburger vs. Victory Prima Pils
Bitburger – Brilliant light gold, very clear.
Fine, spicy, clean noble hops aroma.
Balance on hops both in aroma and flavor.
Sweet, buttery (not diacetyl) full German
malt flavor with minty noble bitterness.
Excellent beer. Crisp noble character, hop
bitterness, high sulfate water. Dry, classic
Victory Prima Pils – Clear light gold color.
Mild aroma, somewhat fruity, yeasty with
less hop impact. Huskier malt flavor with
nice toasty finish. More hop flavor. Softer,
less crisp and clean than Bitburger, but well
made. Very drinkable and refreshing.
Ommegang Abbey – Brown with garnet
tinges. Sweet nose, hot and intense. Fruity,
with cherries, plums and some raisin. Robust
aroma and flavor. Alcohol fumes rise.
Malty, roast, sweet initially with semi-dry to
dry finish. Fuller body & slightly cloying.
Yeast character over-ridden by the malts.
Retains warmth. Even after more than a year
of cellaring this brew proved more
adventurous and pushed everything to the
limit; maybe too much so for the style.
Winner: Bitburger – classic, elegant German
Winner: Chimay Red – too elegant of a
dubbel to ignore.
Irish Red
Smithwicks vs. Retro Red (Fort Collins)
Baltic Porter
Stepan Razin vs. Flying Dog Imperial
Smithwicks – Light brownish-red color.
Malty nose with no hops. Slightly toasty
with caramel. A light roast finish; classic
Stepan Razin – “from Russia with love”Dark reddish-brown color. Aroma includes
chocolate, fig, raisins, and slight cherries,
plum, prunes. Sweet caramel flavor with
some roast and slight alcohol. Initial
sweetness, dark fruity flavors, port-like,
chocolate and licorice. Slight hop flavor.
Clean lager and less alcohol than Gonzo.
Hop Madness – IPA Final Four
To prevent any “arguments” the next time
you see any of us: these “Final Four” beers
are not necessarily what we consider the
best from each region but 1) are very
good/enjoyable brews that would give most
a run for their money and 2) they were
available locally at the time of purchase.
Imperial Gonzo – “from Denver with love”
– Thick, deep, dark brown, almost black
color. Big malt aroma with lots of chocolate
and some dried fruit (fig), medium hop
aroma. Rich/complex malt flavor with
chocolate, caramel/toffee, dried fruit, roasty
and enough hops (but not obtrusive). Well
balanced. Creamy but with alcohol warmth.
Black patent clear and ale yeast. Smooth and
silky. A little less to style with the hops vs.
East vs. Mountain
Weyerbacher Hops Infusion vs.
Avery India Pale Ale
Hops Infusion – Slight yellowish to gold
color. Perfumy, resiny, hop-laden aroma
with clean malt in background. Complex
hop flavor and bitterness is exquisite (both
American and English hops). Bitterness hits
with medium impact but lingers on the
tongue. Malt supports wonderful hop
bitterness. Slight alcohol present and
finishes wonderfully.
Winner: This was a toss up. Although
significantly different from each other both
were well made and within style guidelines.
Personal preferences entered the fray and the
vote said “Go Gonzo”.
Avery – Yellow to medium gold color. Off
aroma and flavor, almost mildewy; ‘smells
like socks’. Light hop aroma; more malt.
Not necessarily pleasant. Hop/malt flavor
balanced but thin body and weak hops. More
like an APA. Not your typical Avery
product and probably abused in shipping or
storage as faulty aroma/flavor were clearly
Barley Wine
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot vs. Anchor Foghorn
Bigfoot – 2005 vintage. Rich malty nose.
Assertive citrus and piney hop aroma and
flavor but well balanced with malt. Intense
malt with caramel, fruity medium-sweet
flavor. Strong hop bitterness lingers. Clear
alcohol presence. Very complex and full
tasting in all aspects of malt, hops and yeast.
Excellent beer. More intense than Foghorn.
Winner: Hops Infusion – hands down.
South vs. West
Highland Brewing Kashmir IPA vs.
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’
Foghorn – 2004 vintage. Sherry aroma and
flavor from oxidation prevalent throughout
tasting. Balance is with malt, with less hop
aroma/flavor than Bigfoot. Sherry-like,
fruity on palate, nutty malt, raisiny. Sweeter
and smoother and less bitter than Bigfoot.
Slightly higher alcohol presence probably
from oxidative notes.
Kashmir IPA – Golden color. Solid balance
of malt and hops (both American and
English hops). Classic grassy aroma/flavor;
mild clean malt aroma. Medium hop flavor –
earthy/spicy. Medium malt supports hops.
Crisp bitterness with dry finish. Sulfate in
Winner: Bigfoot – who could complain
about that?
Hop Ottin’ – Dark gold color. Simcoe,
Amarillo hops, heavier crystal/caramel malt
profile than Kashmir. Disappointing nose
with lack of hop aroma and more sweet
malt. Plenty of citrus hop flavor (more
lemon vs. grapefruit) backed by strong malt
flavor; well balanced. Medium-high
bitterness. Medium body with dry, but
smooth, lingering finish. Slight alcohol
presence. Hoppier and fruitier than Kashmir.
CBM Officers
Brian Beauchemin - President
Jeanette Smith – VP Oktoberfest
Ray McCoy - VP Education
Ben Dolphens – VP Social
Rick Benfield – VP Recruitment
Charles Scheffer – VP Competition
Felton Dengler – Treasurer
Gary Cathey – Web Master
Winner: This wasn’t as easy a decision as
the first semifinal but after a brief discussion
and vote, Kashmir advanced to the finals.
If you have any interest in learning more
about the BrewMasters’ Officer Positions
please contact us. We’ll be more than happy
to answer any questions you may have.
Hop Madness Champion
Weyerbacher Hops Infusion – far and above
the best of the IPA’s we tasted. Fantastic,
complex hops throughout (they use 7
different types of hops in this brew) with the
perfect balance/support of malt. If we didn’t
have to work the next day we probably
would have drunk more!
For local homebrew supplies please visit:
Alternative Beverage
114 Freeland Lane Ste E
Charlotte, NC 28217
May 2nd – CBM club meeting
May 5th - Big Brew
May 11 – 12, National judging
AHA Club-only – Extract beers
(CBM round held at April meeting)
May 12, US Open – Carolina Beer &
June 6th – CBM club meeting
June 21 – 23
AHA National Homebrewers Conference
Denver, CO
July 11th – CBM club meeting (probable
since July 4th would be the regular date)
August 1st – CBM club meeting
September 5th - CBM club meeting
September 29th
Charlotte Oktoberfest – 9th Annual
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