Thursday, 28 April 2011

London Brick 2: The Embiggening

To The Kernel (Will Hawkes, sometime Independent beerhound, gives us this nice piece) to witness and if necessary, lend a hand to the birthing of the new version of acclaimed collaboration brew, London Brick. That version was a meaty 6%, this will be a bit different...




Toby not thinking about
extract efficiency as he mashes in
As I arrive, Matt Wickham is loafing about outside with his lovely wife Karen, MarkStar Tranter, Angelo Scarnera from Saints & Sinners, and Emma J Cole, your hostess (and mine) at the year-old Jolly Butchers, in far Stoke Newington. They are lurking because Matt appears to have jinxed the HLT, so no mashing-in can start yet.

This version of the beer, dubbed Big Brick, has been 'visioned' by Phil Lowry (fast becoming the London Beer Scene's Justin De Villeneuve) to be a big 8% ABV. He isn't present as we finally get underway, probably jumping on the New Thing From America, White IPA.

We get underway, and the arch is filling with familiar faces from around London Brewing: Andy Smith from Redemption, Stig from LAB, Simon Siemsgluess from ZeroDegrees; and there are the various helpers who pitch in at Kernel, augmenting the small team of Evin, Toby and Chrigl. The grain bill is pulled together, including a generous (or ominous) proportion of rye malts. I quite like the spicy character rye imparts to beer, but brewers don't like using it. It has high water retention capacity, increases wort viscosity and makes the mash sticky and prone to setting. A German roggerbier might have as much as 20% rye in the mash, Big Brick goes much further that that.





7 hours? i wonder why?

Mashing-in goes well, then we start the runoff. First hops are introduced (Magnum and Hercules) and we wait...

And wait...

I had to leave at 2pm. Evin was busy with a shitload of freshly-boiled new potatoes and a raclette cradle, feeding the multitude who had assembled. The copper was about a third full at that point, and I found myself wondering how much longer they'd had to wait before getting the boil underway. Twitter came to life around 7pm, with the news that the runoff had taken 7 hours, and the mash was set like concrete. I wish I could have been able to stay around 'til the bitter end, but I'm glad it wasn't me who had to dig the mash tun out.





hop monkeys

I'm looking forward to sampling this beastie. It will be all the more enjoyable for knowing how much of a struggle it proved to even get the bloody stuff into the copper. I find myself hoping that it all turns out OK. But it will, I'm sure. This is London after all, and we're doing things differently here these days...

3 comments:

Leigh said...

Nice report! Loooooove Kernel.

Rabidbarfly said...

where can I get this White IPA you speak of?

Sid Boggle said...

Not here yet - heard about it on a US beer board. I'll bet Lowry is on it, though...