Ref 2020-11 Cwtch Brewer Tiny Rebel
Style Red Ale Type Beer, kit
Started Thu 5th Nov 20 OG 1.048 Status Archived, 5.0% ABV
Packaged Sun 22nd Nov 20 FG 1.010 Fermenter Plastic Bucket
Handle 2020-11 Cwtch
Brewer Tiny Rebel
Style Red Ale
Type Beer, kit
Fermenter Plastic Bucket
Status Archived, 5.0% ABV ABV
Started Thu 5th Nov 20 OG 1.048
Packaged Sun 22nd Nov 20 FG 1.010

I was surprised to find this as a home-brew. Not only is Cwtch an amazing ale, it’s also released by the actual brewery responsible for the draught version. Pretty neat!

Milestones & Tasks

Dec 06 -1263dReady to taste
Nov 24 -1275dStarted conditioning
Nov 22 -1277dBottled 36 crown-caps
Nov 09 -1290dAdded 30 g Columbus, 28 g Citra
Nov 05 -1294dStarted Primary
Jan 202122Fri

This has had just over 8 weeks of conditioning now, and I’m guessing it’s about as good as it’s going to get. Which is very good indeed; deep red colour, perfect clarity, ideal head retention, good carbonation. Taste is great, though there is a tiny amount of twang left, and that’s hard to quantify. Would you say this is Beer of Britain, an accolade it achieved in 2015? Probably not. But that’s my failing, not Tiny Rebel’s. On the other hand, if I were on holiday abroad and this is the only ale on the menu, I’d have 3 or 4 successive pints with no hesitation at all. Perfectly enjoyable.

Ideas for Next Time

Looking back over my notes I see that there’s a couple of hydrometer readings with excessive surface tension, which may have led to slightly off numbers and slightly iffy timing. I also suspect that closer attention to fermentation temperature won’t hurt.

11 days
Jan 202111Mon

This has mellowed a little since the last one I tasted, but there’s still a tiny bit of twang. The carbonation is much better and results in a nice head which hangs around for a while as you drink. Colour’s good. Still pleased with it.

33 days
Dec 202009Wed

It’s been just over two weeks now since Cwtch was moved to the garage for conditioning, and since I note from the key dates that she’s supposedly ready I thought it best to open a bottle.

Not that different from the one I cheekily popped 11 days ago after just 4 days in the garage, perhaps this one (36 of 36) is a tiny bit less twangy and a slightly better head, background fizz is just fine for an ale but would be disappointing for a lager. Maybe that too will improve with time, but as it stands right now I’d be happy to regularly neck one of these without too much of a struggle.

3 days
8 days
Nov 202028Sat

Decided to open a test bottle of Cwtch this evening on my way between Okell’s MPA and Guinness West Indies Porter, despite it having been in the garage at 7-9 ℃ for just eight days. What’s the worst that can happen?

Not much, apparently. It’s perfectly clear already, and there was a slight schnick as I popped the cap, so some carbonation has clearly taken place, but I was expecting a little more from bottle #34 with 2 Fox’s drops aimed at 500 ml. Can’t see the yeast doing much at those low temperatures though, so unless I bring her indoors it’s probably not going to get more fizz. Could be interesting if I have to move bottles about in future.

In terms of taste there were some lovely blackberry notes and a very slight smokiness, like roasted chestnut ice cream. No, I can’t explain that either, but it’s lovely. It’s also a little sweet and, dare I say it, unrefined, but not enough to distract from making a very enjoyable pint. Another couple of weeks and this will be excellent session material, though I do wonder if it needs a week somewhere warm in order for the yeast to do its thing.

Overall a very pleasant experience, given the short amount of time since I started this one.

4 days
Nov 202024Tue

Can’t believe the instructions call for just two days “somewhere warm” after bottling, but there you go. Cwtch is going to the garage for at least a fortnight, and I can’t wait to try some. The sediment’s already forming on the bottoms, but it’s got a long way to go before it clears up. Although this is not my first brew it is the first one to start conditioning, so let’s see how this magic works.

2 days
Nov 202022Sun

No change in gravity, so bottling today with FG of 1.010, 36 standard brown purchased crown cap 500 ml bottles in total:

  • 15 bottles with one Cooper’s carbonation drop for 375 ml (bottles #1 – #15)
  • 21 bottles with two Fox’s carbonation drops for 500 ml (bottles #16 – #36)

I’m storing these in the brewery at 22 ℃ until Wednesday 25th November at which point they’re going into the garage for a couple of weeks.

1 day
Nov 202021Sat

Cwtch is still chugging along, popping the airlock once every couple of minutes. It’s been far longer between starting and hopping to bottling than it was supposed to be, but there’s still some activity and I’m concerned about creating bottle-bombs. That said, the brew tastes very nice now, perhaps a little raw in terms of alcohol finish but well rounded enough in body. SG measured around 1.010, making for 4.99% from 1.048 on 5 November.

6 days
Nov 202015Sun

Still some airlock activity with bubbles every couple of minutes, but it doesn’t appear to have changed SG in 6 days, still sitting at 1.011. A bit uncanny actually; Evil Dog is the same, and Razorback bottled today despite also being  at 1.011.

6 days
Nov 202009Mon

SG tested at 1.011. Added 30 g Columbus hop pellets, 28 g Citra. Thin layer of foam has settled on top of the brew, nowhere near what was present on Evil Dog or Razorback. I think the difference was that I sprinkled the yeast on top of this one as opposed to stirring it in, like I did with the other two. Must try that again next time, as the result was much cleaner and didn’t get any foam into the airlock. Speaking of which, that was bubbling very slowly before the hops were added, maybe once every 3 minutes though I didn’t measure it accurately. Activity increased briefly after dry-hopping (look at me with the jargon) but soon died off again. 

4 days
Nov 202005Thu

Kicked off my first Tiny Rebel brew, a tasty Welsh red called Cwtch. OG = 1.048 @ 20.0 ℃, room temperature 23.1 ℃. Decided to go for this one (and leave Wherry and the Honey Stout for later) since Cwtch likes to ferment at the same temperature range as Razorback and Evil Dog. According to the included instructions the OG should have been 1.045, but oh well. The first bubbles started appearing in the airlock around 19:00. Initial ingredients:

  • 3 kg medium hopped malt extract
  • 30 g Columbus hop pellets
  • 30 g Citra hop pellets
  • 12 g American ale yeast
  • Water (to 20 litre mark)