Thursday, 29 January 2009

Crusty beer bread

This rose all night, so is probably over-proved. The scent of baking bread in the morning is wonderful, though. I'm hungry because I didn't have time to taste it before rushing off to work.

200g wholemeal wheat flour
200g wholemeal spelt flour
200g white wheat flour
12g salt
12g caraway seed
400g Brown Beer
2 tbsp yeast gunge harvested from the bottom of the Brown Beer fermenting bucket

Bake at 200°C for 25 minutes, turning down to 150 for a further 20 minutes.

Sunday, 25 January 2009


I have a sore back, so no brewing this weekend. I am sad because I can't wait to get an all-grain brew on.

This is the bread I made on Thursday. It's already all gone so I shall have to make another couple of loaves today. There's a tub of beer yeast in the fridge to be used.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Brown Beer

Brown Beer is bottled ... yay!


The X Ale from Saturday before last was fermented out by Tuesday and bottled on Thursday, and is fizzy already. It's not especially nice though. That's what I get for copying Tartan Special.

Perhaps I should recycle some unsuccessful beer as malt vinegar. The thing is, I don't really use that much vinegar, except for sushi and I'm not sure how well that would work with malt vinegar. I suspect it would be ... unique.

It's just occurred to me that I also meant to acquire some chilli seeds and grow a chilli plant. Then I could pickle the home-grown chillies in my home-made malt vinegar made from beer that I brewed myself. Triple autarky!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Pottering about on a school night

Busy stuff to do tonight. I'm making a batch of chilli and some bread dough. I have neglected my sourdough culture recently in favour of baking with left over beer yeast. I'm going to give it a good feed with rye flour and hope that gets it going again.

I also need to sort out somewhere to store the empty bottles between drinking and filling, so my flat doesn't permanently look like an alcoholic lives there.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Weekend stuff

I went for lunch with some friends to Gusto & Relish round the corner from my flat. We had very nice sandwiches, though someone commented that crisps in the salad garnish were a bit 1970s (crisps were used back then because radicchio hadn't reached Scotland yet). What sets G&R apart from other cafe-delis is that they make their own ham and sausages. I was particularly taken with the White Cart ham which has a remarkably unctuous quality.

Also nice is that they have a bring-your-own-bottle policy, so I nipped home and came back with some of my Pale Light Beer. I fear that the two litre bottle complied more with the letter of their corkage charge than with its spirit, but our waitress seemed too interested in what we were drinking to be bothered. It's lovely to be somewhere where people obviously care so much about what they are doing.

Sadly, such people are in short supply at the next place we went, the Clockwork Beer Company in Cathcart Road. It is a tragedy what has happened to this brewpub. On Robin Graham's watch years ago, it was a source of amazing beer and I have vivid memories of drinking the intensely bitter Red Alt Ale and the sulphury Original Lager. What is sold under the same names now has lost any character it once had, and what's worse, more than half of what we ordered was flat, sour or otherwise undrinkable. Red Alt was flat, Gosch merely dull and boring. A pint of Arran Fireside had a bizarre chemical taint, and on returning it was exchanged for Houston Peter's Well that was well on its way to being vinegar. We switched to the still impressive selection of German bottled beers, then we left.

To cheer ourselves up we then returned to Pollokshaws Road and the Allison Arms and proceeded to get battered on the comparably splendid selection of extremely recherché bottled Franconian lager there.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Sour Ale Bread

I still have half a dozen bottles of Stale. It's pretty much undrinkable. However, it should be ok in this.

350 ml stale ale
11g salt
sprinkle caraway seeds
150g rye flour
200g white flour
150g wholemeal flour
2 tbsp sourdough starter

Update: no signs of life this morning. I hope the alcohol hasn't killed the sourdough beasties. They usually recover eventually though; I should give them a chance – after all, they've been in a cold fridge for a couple of weeks without much feeding or exercise, as most of my bread recently has been made with beer yeast instead.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Brewing equipment at the fabric store

I'm quite excited about my visit to Remnant Kings yesterday. Remnant Kings is helping me move to all-grain brewing.

Up until now I've been using malt extract, which is fun and easy, but the extract is quite pricey. Malt is dirt cheap and by all accounts the difference between extract and all-grain beer is like night and day. So I've always had the intention of moving to all-grain, but the way most people do it needs a bit of investment. You need a mash tun and a boiler, both of which cost money and take up space. I brew in a tiny kitchen so the space is even more of an issue than the money.

Until the other day when I read about brewing in a bag – which is exactly what it sounds like. On the teabag principle, just have your grain in a bag in hot water, and that's your mash.

I now have two metres of polyester voile fabric and once I have sewn it up I'm ready to go. I can't wait.

Nice to know

I discovered today that if I really need to, I can cycle from work to the homebrew shop and back again in my lunch break ... which is handy.