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  1. 24|02 – BBNo x Põhjala Collab Brew

    March 23, 2016 by Dave Seymour

    BBNo Tap Clip - 24|02|000182

    Põhjala is one of Estonia’s leading craft breweries, and from their base in Nömme, Tallinn, have released a wide range of flavour-forward beers since their launch in 2014. Aberdeenshire-born Head Brewer Chris Pilkington, like so many of the current craft beer generation, is a prolific homebrewer-turned pro. Chris has previously worked at BrewDog, and under his watchful eye, Põhjala’s top-of-the-range 12 hectolitre Premier Steel brewhouse has released some stunning beers in a broad spectrum of styles. We especially love their bold and vibrant branding – see their range here.

    We wanted to work with Põhjala on a beer for the Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend on April 1-2, and so last month we invited Chris down to brew a beer with us – something inspired by Estonia. The recipe for the multigrain Amber Ale we came up with was inspired by the traditional Estonia dish ‘kama‘, a milled flour mixture of various grains, nowadays generally enjoyed as breakfast with milk and often sweetened with sugar and blueberry. But how to capture this in beer?

    pohjala collab 1

    To replicate the character of kama as closely as possible in the beer, for the malt grist we used a blend of barley, oats and rye, with some amber and brown malt to add a richer, nutty flavour. To give the fruity, blueberry flavour and aroma, we hopped the beer with Amarillo and Mosaic. 24|02 was picked as the name for this beer for two reasons – it matches the date we brewed it with Chris, 24 February, but is also Estonia’s Independence Day! 24|02 will be released at the Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend, and just for the launch, the beer will be served through a Randall infusing it with real blueberries!

    The beer will also be available here in the UK, so watch out for news of its release soon!

     


  2. Behind the Numbers: 18|01 Farmhouse – Witbier

    March 21, 2016 by Dave Seymour

     

     

    2016-03-21 11.42.06 (2)

    Today we launched our brand new online shop, and to celebrate we’ll be selling a very special beer online while stocks last: 18|01 Farmhouse – Witbier.

    As a brewery we’ve endeavoured to brew authentic recreations of beers that inspire us, as well as create modern twists on classic styles that still have a lot to offer the contemporary craft beer drinker. The ‘Farmhouse’ series of beers under number ’18’ has seen us put everything we’ve learned as brewers to the test, and gives drinkers a good example of the kind of beers we would love to make more of in the future.

    Prior to the published studies of Pasteur, beer was frequently brewed in environments where it was susceptible to bacterial ‘spoilage’ and infection by wild yeasts. Beer styles that were regional specialities were often so because of where they were brewed, as much as how they were brewed, or what they were brewed from. Brewers who were unable to exclude wild yeast and airborne bacteria entering their brews had a limited understanding of the effect they had, but they understood that some beers could only be made in certain places, at certain times and in certain ways.

    For modern examples, we can look to the Pajottenland in Belgium, where any beer calling itself lambic must be made, but there would have been a time when almost all beers would have been affected by the local microflora. Early farmhouse ales epitomise this period of brewing history, when the bacteria and wild yeasts living in the local atmosphere would define the character of the beers brewed there.

    Industrialisation saw these beers and the conditions that made them consigned to history, for the most part. Several breweries and regions in northern and western Europe retained these traditions, but these methods, seen as backward and unsanitary by an increasingly risk-averse brewing industry, become replaced by the pursuit of stable and sterilised products that could be traded as commodities across great distances, long in life and low in flavour.

    The newest wave of craft brewing has become fascinated with the potential of spontaneous fermentation, barrel ageing and handing over control of brewing and fermentation to forces unseen by the naked eye. Rooms filled with slumbering barrels and foeders, gently inhaling and exhaling wild-fermented beers, have become the goal for several breweries. For many, they have become a reality, opening up a whole new world of experimentation beyond merely adjusting recipes. Somewhere between alchemy and animal husbandry, the careful and patient nurturing of wild yeasts in beer and the bountiful bacteria in the staves of barrels gives modern brewers a glimpse back in time, to when fermentation was seen to have closer links to deities than science.

    Distinct from our Barrel Aged and Brett Aged series, with ‘Farmhouse’ we want to combine those methods in pursuit of brewing the farmhouse ales of years gone by, with a modern palate. To do so, we are cultivating a microclimate, a tiny biosphere, inside (currently) a single Burgundy red wine barrel, refilling it every time it is emptied and feeding the wild yeast strains and bacteria living in the staves of the barrel. This barrel is now a sort of microcosm, where it imbues different beers with different characteristics, depending on which beer is used to fill it.

    18|01 is the first of this series, using our 07|01 Witbier – Classic as the base beer. The subtle floral and spice notes of our Witbier are turned up loud by the rich tannins of a Burgundy red wine barrel, whilst Brett aging in the wood dries out the flavours smoothly. The residual sweetness of our Witbier gives plenty for the Brett strains to feed on, making for a boisterously funky nose, and a complex, balanced flavour profile that can be enjoyed equally in gulps or sips.

    This beer is now available online for a limited time only, while stocks last: get it here from our online shop!


  3. BBNo in Northern Ireland – 11 & 12 March

    March 9, 2016 by Dave Seymour

    brewbot

    As part of a booming craft beer culture in London, we love to see equally vibrant beer scenes take off in other cities. We’ve done some great festivals and events in Leeds, Manchester and Bristol in the past six months, and we’re really excited to be heading to Belfast this Friday 11th and Saturday 12th March for a series of special events!

    Belfast is home to great start-ups like Boundary and BrewBot, as well as a rich and thriving pub culture with new bars celebrating good beer opening all the time. Our friends at Nelson Sauvin distribute our beer in Northern Ireland, and have arranged for some really cool events happening this Friday and Saturday. Our very own Chris Hall will be flying over and doing his best to survive the rigours of the job at hand – be sure to say hi to Chris if you see him!

    stokers halt event

    First up, The Stokers Halt in Ballyhackamore Village will be hosting a Meet BBNo event, with our new 11|06 Session IPA – Simcoe on tap and range of our latest bottles to try! Things kick off at 5.30pm – the perfect way to start the weekend!

    On Saturday afternoon, Chris will be heading to BrewBot’s bar in Belfast for a Tap Takeover of six new beers including a hugely anticipated 55|01 Double IPA – Citra Mosaic Simcoe. There’s only one keg – so don’t miss out! Here’s the full line-up:

    • 01|09 – Saison – Hibiscus & Chamomile – 6.0%
    • 08|03 – Stout – Chocolate & Orange – 6.2%
    • 09|02 – Brown Ale – Nut Brown – 6.2%
    • 11|06 – Session IPA – Simcoe – 4.2%
    • 17|02 – Grisette – Lemongrass – 4.0%
    • 55|01 – Double IPA – Citra Mosaic Simcoe – 9.2%

    Finally, Saturday evening will see Chris co-hosting a five course beer & food dinner at the venerable Bay Tree in Holywood from 7.30pm – with our beer paired to a magnificent and vibrant menu. We’re pretty excited about the pairings for this one, but our lips our sealed until the night! Here’s the menu:

    bay tree menu

    Let us know if you’re coming to any of these events and be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates on new events coming soon!


  4. Behind the Numbers: 55|01 Double IPA

    March 7, 2016 by Dave Seymour

    2016-03-07 12.22.57 (2)

    After the launch of 55|01 Double IPA – Citra Mosaic Simcoe on 26 February, we lift the lid on one of our most challenging and exciting brews yet.

    We’re deeply proud of 55|01, and tasting the beer as it developed has been a hugely educational, satisfying and occasionally hair-raising experience for us. A double IPA, or indeed any IPA, is more than the sum of its hops, and having the experience, ability and confidence to attempt such a beer was just the beginning. This beer has taken a huge amount of work and resources to accomplish, and so to help both us and you understand the beer better, we’ve decided to write about the brew and the results as openly as possible.

    The intention was always to create a hugely juicy yet dry Double IPA, with an uncomplicated malt bill – specifically, in the US west coast style – that lets the hop character shine. The beer did not need a ‘malt backbone’ so much as a balancing texture; a supporting hand.

    With the relatively small footprint and capacity of our brewhouse in mind, we achieved the required fermentability by filling the mash tun as much as we dared, and using sucrose to help hit target alcohol without adding heavier malt notes. Without a steam-jacketed mash tun (which would make pinpoint accuracy much easier), hitting the desired mashing temperature on the nose was no mean feat. Next time, we’d likely aim for an even lower mash temperature, and allow it to keep converting starches to sugars while in the kettle by not turning on the heating elements until it is full.

    2016-03-07 12.21.27 (2)

    Hopping the beer as hard as we wanted presented further challenges – restraining ourselves in some respects so as not to clog the whirlpool. Next time, a hop extract product for bittering, for example, would allow us to cram even more hops into the whirlpool.

    Oxygen pick-up is always a concern with beers like 55|01, it’s freshness and clarity being key to its enjoyment, and next time we would prefer not to use pumps and move the beer between vessels entirely with gas, where necessary. Whilst all of our beers are allowed to carbonate naturally at present, force carbonation in a bright beer tank is certainly something we might consider in future.

    For the dry hopping, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe are a dream team combination on paper, bringing a beautifully juicy tropical fruit character. However, next time around we’d like to play with the balance of hop flavour and aroma; potentially bringing a fruitier hop into contrast with something more ‘dank’ and slightly savoury, and something classic to round out the resinous pine and citrus.

    We love to receive feedback and thoughts on our beers, no matter how brief, and we hope this post gives you some insight into 55|01 and future Double IPAs from Brew By Numbers.

    Cheers

    BBNo.


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