Wednesday, December 1, 2010

There will be Trouble ahead

Last night to my great surprise I was awarded First Prize in the Trouble Maker brewing competition. It was a beer brewing competition run by Trouble Brewing Company in conjunction with and the The Bull and Castle, where the judging was held. First prize not alone included dinner for two in a gastro pub and a hamper of beer but the winning recipe will be brewed commercially in 2011 and be available at various festivals depending on what pops up. It will be launched at the Fanciscan Well's EasterFest 2011.

At around 10pm I received a text from an unknown number telling me of the news. In the back of my mind I was thinking complete stitch up so I rang the number and it was confirmed I had won by Mr S. Billings of fame. I talked to some of the judges and I got fairly giddy at the thought of a commercial batch being produced and me being there to help brew it.

So in the new year I'll be off for a day to Trouble to brew my award winning recipe Galaxy Pale Ale. Here's hoping it lives up to it's tag line 'Galaxy Pale Ale - it's out of this world'.

Galaxy Pale Ale

4.9% ABV, 40 IBU

Size: 26.0 L
Original Gravity: 1.046
Terminal Gravity: 1.012
Color: 11.02 (9.85 - 27.58)
Alcohol: 4.9%
Bitterness: 40

4 kg Pale Ale Malt
1 kg Munich Malt
.250 kg Crystal 60
.5 kg Carapils®/Carafoam®
1 tbsp 5.2 pH Stabilizer - added during mash
16 g Galaxy (13.4%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
25 g Galaxy (13.4%) - added during boil, boiled 10 min
25 g Galaxy (13.4%) - added during boil, boiled 5 min
1 tsp Protafloc (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
1.0 ea Fermentis US-05 Safale US-05

Friday, November 5, 2010

Losing The Plot

After numerous attempts at planting various varieties of vegetables in pots or back gardens over the last few years I finally went after an allotment. I had spent plenty of time talking about getting one but after a couple of calls to the local councils where I was told the waiting lists were so big it would be decades until someone died and gave up their plot (no pun intended). So in Jan 2010 I Googled once again looking for plots and to my amazement two new allotments had opened near enough to my door. I emailed both to inquire and within 15 mins I had a call back from John who ran Glencullen Allotments. A few days later I was up selecting a plot and the hard work was about to begin.

Not really having a clue I set about designing my raised beds and rang about to find used scaffolding to make the beds with. Seed catalogues were reviewed and I seemed to be heading to the local DIY store and the nearby Saw Mill every second day (I kept all receipts for purchases but it scared me too much to think about how much I had spent so I haven't look at them and I am fairly sure I never will). Grow your own books were purchased and constantly reviewed as I tried to get a grip on what to grow.

Once the scaffolding planks were delivered, on what was a beautifully icy day where the truck couldn't reverse up the hill for all the mud, I got to work setting out the markers for the beds.

Not wanting to have to saw through the 2 x 8 planks I made do with their lengths and widths as the dimensions for the main beds. I attatched stakes to the ends and with help from my Dad (who wasn't long after a triple bypass) we got them into place and hammered them into the sod.

After being so intent on making raised beds I never gave much thought as to how to fill them. Being 24 feet long and 8 wide it was going to take a fair few wheel barrows to fill them. I got to work and dug up the clay next to the beds and wheeled in barrows of wood chips to make paths. It gave the plot a rustic look but made it practical when the weather turned sour, which is basically anytime in this bloody country.
So All the donkey work done it was time to start growing. I wanted to keep my patch organic and mainly plant Irish varieties. With this in mind I got onto Irish Seed Savers and the Organic Center. Little did I know what was in store: sleepless nights considering when and what to plant, worrying about frost and snow, every morning running out the back to check on seedlings. It was like having a baby. Instead of going for nappies it was down to the local garden center for compost. And just like a baby it wont be the first time ever again. Doesn't mean I will be able to sleep with the excitement next spring though!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A new era.

Well well well. I thought it would never come to this. First it was Facebook, which Jen bullied me into signing up to. Then it was Twitter.Jen actually signed me up and got me following a few folk before I even knew I was in. Now it's a blog. Jesus Christ what's going on? I should be doing long tones or lip slurs not writing crap online. Anyway before I rush off to teach some little Tboner's how to wield a bone I have to mention Wednesday Night Beer. My WNB was an oak aged stout made with 70% Munich Malt and a hefty helping of Chocolate Malt,Roast Barley,Amber Malt and hopped with lovely citrus American hops. The oak really mellowed the beer out and added some lovely fruity yet smoky flavours. It's the first time I have used oak chips and they will certainly be making another appearance. Here is the recipe:

Nuclear Summer

5.1% ABV, 42 IBU

4.167 kg Munich TYPE I
1.5 kg Pale Ale Malt
.5 kg Carapils®/Carafoam®
.5 kg Amber Malt
.300 kg Chocolate Malt
.5 kg Roasted Barley
1.0 ea WYeast 1084 Irish Ale
21 g Target (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
33 g Chinook (11.0%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
27 g Cascade (7.8%) - added during boil, boiled 5 min

Mash at 66c for 90mins. Sparge with 15l at 75c. Additions of sats at mash gypsum 1g chalk 1g. At boil 1g gypsum, 3 epsom salts, 5 calcium sulphide.
Pitched at 25c.