Elgin Summer Ale – I posted about this back in March just as I was about to brew it. It was bottled at the start of April and, keeping with the summer theme, I decided to prime the bottles with local honey, made in Kelty and kindly given to me by Jock at Woodlea Stables. I gave a few bottles to folk to see what they thought, with, in hindsight, the stupidly optimistic ‘best after’ date of 10 April. Those that cracked the bottles around that date would have been as disappointed as I was – flat and unremarkable. I’m pleased to say that two weeks later and both the carbonation and flavour are now where I’d expected them to be. It’s definitely got a nice golden honey colour and the slightly dry, bitter freshness I was after, although at 5.4% it’s a good bit stronger than I’d like it to be. It should be around 4% – the kind of beer you’d drink a few pints of on a warm afternoon without a hangover in the evening. If we ever get a warm afternoon.
This batch was brewed with a California lager yeast which has worked as I’d expected – clean and crisp, making no obvious contribution to the flavour. But, as ever, where flavour goes economics is never far behind. Since it costs three times as much as S04/S05 I have to wonder if similarly clean yeast would do the job just as well, or perhaps better, adding something of its own. We’ll find out. The second batch was brewed yesterday, aiming at 4% and fermenting with S04, my standard British ale yeast.
Rocks Road – this is the successor to Full Nelson first brewed nearly a year ago as a single hop pale ale with Nelson Sauvin and later as a single hop with Simcoe. This combines both – Simcoe doing the bittering and late hop additions and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin. A lovely combination, although expensive to make. It’s Nelson Sauvin’s fault. Compared with something like Cascade at £25/kg, Simcoe comes in at £36.50 and buying Nelson Sauvin in smaller quantities means that it costs an eye watering £75/kg. That gets passed on in the cost to the shop so the customers will decide if it ever gets made this way again.