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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: