To the Kernel to rack off my 50th birthday beer, where I find the arch interior undergoing some minor demolition and Dominic Driscoll from Thornbridge watching wort recycle. These two events are unrelated.
Dom is down for GBBF, but takes the opportunity to pop in with some saison yeast for Evin, so a new beer codenamed 'Saison De Dom' is about to be run off into the copper. I am there to help out with the bottling of the beer Evin has been putting together for me. It's a raspberry porter using some of his superb Export India Porter as the base beer. The beer has been sitting on a bed of lightly mashed working-class raspberries for a month.
I chat with Dom, asking if he misses the hands-on small-scale experience now he's playing with a 30-bbl computer-controlled plant. He says not, though as he doesn't have a hop monkey to sort out the additions while he sits on the bridge and pushes buttons, he still gets up close and personal with his ingredients.
As my beer is brought out and made ready for bottling, Charles Faram and one of his team arrive. They're also down for GBBF, and are popping into a couple of South London customers to talk hops and other things. Evin produces some of his latest Citra-hopped IPA. I've been drinking this, and reckon it's the best Citra he's done so far. Just the beer for a warm morning.
A sample of my beer is drawn and measured with a hygrometer. It's tart. Very tart. I'd wondered if the residual yeast in Evin's porter would be able to cope with the fermentables in the raspberries, and it turns out there's probably still quite a bit to attenuate out. We agree that a few bottles with different levels of priming and reseeding should be incubated to ensure either the beer doesn't remain flat (it's a bit listless right now), or become 'bottle bombs'. Hopefully we'll know by the end of the week, so I should have the bottles in good time for the Big Day.
How do you get a bottle? Rather than receive birthday presents, I'm aiming to give them away. If I see you and know you, you'll get one (while stocks last, though I don't think I know that many people...) But, here's a chance to WIN WIN WIN! Study the first picture above and tell me who you think that is with their backside hanging out of the Kernel's copper. First correct answer will get a bottle.