Style Spreads and Trends, 2011-2014

Earlier this year, David Bishop (otherwise known as @broadfordbrewer) put together an excellent article on the “State of UK Homebrewing“. He kindly asked me to give my take – and I concentrated a bit on what people like to brew, and what might be trends in the coming year or so. Ali Kocho-Williams, as organiser of the UK National Homebrew Competition has kindly allowed me access to use data from the last 4 competitions to do a bit of analysis to see if there are any trends (going into this I had some suspicions). Jumping straight into it, here’s a table of entries by category

Posted in competition, homebrew

That was UKNHC ’14

UKNHC 2014 Medal

Another September, and back to Bristol again for another National Homebrew Competion. Again, another good day judging (though tiring as usual!). This year I was assigned Fruit beers (not my favourite style, but some good examples in there!), a very strong Belgian & French ales, and an American IPA-heavy category 14. I was fortunate enough to pickup some medals and the award for Best of Show for a Munich Helles against some very good beers. Congratulations to *all* the winners – some familiar names and faces included in those lists.

Posted in competition, homebrew

5 Yeast Strains for you to try

Microscopic view of S. Cerevisiae - user: Masur (via Wikimedia Commons)

Microscopic view of S. Cerevisiae The majority of homebrewers in the UK start with dry yeast, moving onwards to specialist liquid strains later. Often those strains might be British ale strains, traditionally used for UK style ales, or the ubiquitous WLP001 (the “Sierra Nevada” strain), so here’s a brief selection of 5 strains you might like to try if you’re looking for something new and some with some alternative uses to perhaps the “standard styles”. If you’ve got a strain you love that others might not use so much, please add to the discussion! A quick note on the sources

Posted in homebrew, yeast

RPi Brewing – Web Control

Brewery Control Web Interface

Hello reader (yes, you, at the back) – apologies for no recent updates,but I’m back with the third in the series of adventures in getting some brewday control developed using the Raspberry Pi platform. Interestingly, this comes only days after the 2 millionth Raspberry Pi was shipped! In the last article I described the simple circuits we’re going to use to control the relays and also to connect the temperature sensors to the Pi. The code remains to be detailed (as does building the permanent circuits). The code to read the temperature is easy and essentially just pulls the data from

Posted in homebrew, raspberry pi

HLT Control, Hardware – Raspberry Pi

DS18B20 Temp Sensor

So, continuing on from my previous post on starting to use the Raspberry Pi for brewery control, this is a post about the interface aspects of HLT control. There’s a bit of circuitry here to interface the GPIO ports of the Pi to a mains powered element – the Pi shouldn’t be switching mains voltages and currents without some isolation – there’s far too much risk involved, both for the Pi and for the brewer… Usual, obvious disclaimer – folow these instructions at your own risk – you are responsible for your own actions; if you’re unsure, get someone to check

Posted in homebrew, raspberry pi

Brewing with Raspberry

Raspberries by Liz West (Muffet on Flickr)

First up, this is not a post about framboise, lambic fruit or any other style beer with fruit – though I have some good ideas to work on homebrew-wise, including a gooseberry witbier and a sloe porter. More of that later. This is instead about first steps towards some brewery automation, and I’m looking to use the opportunity to start to use and learn about the Raspberry Pi. I have some control already later in the brewing process with using an ATC to control the fermenting fridge, but this is about introducing some control earlier  in the brewing process. My first

Posted in homebrew, raspberry pi

UKNHC – 2013

And so passes the UK National Homebrew Competition for 2013. Sadly, I couldn’t make it this year after having an unfortunate coming together with a 70mph+ cricket ball and putting 4 fractures in my face shortly beforehand. Worse that it was held in Oxford, so close! Hope it went well and the venue worked out well, and congratulations to all who got places in their classes. Big “well dones” to Ali Kocho-Williams (@alikocho) for Best of Show with his Lambic; and Rich Caller (@rcaller), Steve Syson (@marisotter) and James Poole/Lee Thomson for their respective 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall places.

Posted in competition, homebrew, oxford

Recipe Retrospective

I’ve recently been helping out Ben McCormick a little with recipe conversions for his up and coming homebrew magazine – I think that promises to be a very interesting read with a lot of contributions from well known UK breweries, and the odd homebrewer or two. Keep an eye out for it. It’s made me think about the resources that homebrewers now have available to us – one of the first homebrewing books I bought, over 5 years ago now was unsurprisingly a recipe book, probably one that many have also bought in the past – and it’s a classic.

Posted in homebrew, recipes

The Norway Trip – Nøgne Ø, Part 2


(The first part of this article can be found here: The Norway Trip – Nøgne Ø, Part 1) My days in Norway involved actually working at the brewery – tagging along with whatever was happening that day and trying to help without getting in the way too much. This included loading the mill, weighing hops, running transfers, helping with gravity measurements (with mandatory sample tasting – GPA, Quadrupel, Half a World Away) and yeast dumping. During my days at the brewery there was a lot of brewing of IPA – 3 batches over the first 2 days added to another

Posted in beer trips, breweries, homebrew

The Norway Trip – Nøgne Ø, Part 1

Nøgne Ø - the brewery

Back in September 2012, I had a good showing in the UK NHC – I’d previously done well in this competition, and this time round went one better and took my first Best of Show award with a Schwarzbier I’d brewed back in February. This was a hotly contested competition (460 entries) with some great beer being put in, influenced in no small way by the first prize offered up by Kjetil Jikiun, Head Brewer at Nøgne Ø – a trip to Norway to work in the Nøgne Ø brewery for the week. And so, at an early hour on

Posted in beer trips, breweries, homebrew