Big Ideas Series 20
Like a traditional barley wine, but fruitier.
Celebrate variety. Reflect a sense of place. Brew modern takes on traditional styles. Brew contemporary styles with a twist. Avoid overused hop varieties. Full flavour spectrum brewing.
This is the Big Ideas Series, the first set of releases from the brewery. The beers are all unfined, vegan friendly and conditioned in package: bottle, keg and cask. We love our beers and hope you do too... let us know!
Description and Tasting Notes
A richly textured sipping beer with expressive fruity and hoppy notes. Light amber with a golden/orange tint and some haze, topped with a tight white head that clings to the side of the glass.
It’s like inhaling Christmas cake mix; a big, fruity aroma with orange, banana, toffee, candied peel, sherry and dried fruit. Half of the grain bill is wheat, so there’s a bready-honey sweetness that’s balanced by a firm hop bitterness from English First Gold and Bramling Cross hops plus a dash of Mandarina Bavaria. Orange peel and boiled sweets mingle and there’s a sherry-like finish in which tannins, resin, citrus fruits and clean light alcohol notes linger long. Amazing with cheese.
What The Hell Were We Thinking?
For number 20 in the Big Ideas Series we wanted to do something a bit different. We’ve been focussing on our more mainstream styles (Pale Ale, Twisted Pilsner, Table Beer, Golden Ale) recently and the ‘0’ number seemed like a good excuse to wander off the beaten track a bit. Wheat Wine is a style that you rarely see and, while having its origins in the US, is certainly a style that lends itself to British and European ingredients, having something in common with Strong Golden Ale, Belgian Tripel and of course Barley Wine.
When it came to recipe development we were keen to use English hops and went for First Gold and Bramling Cross, which gave us the fruity and expressive character we were after. The sweetness of the wheat and high alcohol content needs to be matched with plenty of bitterness and hop flavour so we didn’t hold back with the kettle additions. We trialled quite a few different dry hop combinations and found an addition of Mandarina Bavaria to the First Gold really brought out the citrus notes in the aroma.
The flavour of the beer was incredible pretty much from day one and it was fascinating to observe it developing over time. It continues to change even now; as the warming alcohol notes recede and the bitterness mellows slightly the finish is smoother, though still with a tannin-like element that recalls a dry sherry or single malt. This maturation is why it’s appeared out of sequence; this was not a beer to be rushed. Even after we’d bottled it, we held onto it for longer than usual while it continued to meld and mellow. There’s definitely ageing potential with this beer, we’ll be putting some away to taste in 1, 2, 3 years time. It’s tasting great now, of course, while the hops are still fresh and popping.
This rarely brewed style is a real treat; it’s strong and hoppy, but not in a TIPA way. It’s big and fruity, but not in a Tripel way. It’s warming and complex, but fruitier and more approachable than a traditional barley wine. It deserves to be closer to the beaten track than it is, and that makes it the ideal way to mark beer number 20 in the Big Ideas Series.
Bottle conditioned, vegan friendly
Malts - Wheat, Vienna, Maris Otter, Cara Gold
Hops - Admiral, First Gold, Bramling Cross, Mandarina Bavaria
Yeast - US-05
Other - Sugar
(Allergens underlined. Contains gluten.)