I brewed a batch of my house bitter (recipe here) today with the yeast from yesterday’s post. I say house bitter, as if i’ve brewed the same recipe more than once, but that’s not really the case. Sometimes i’ll use a different hop, add a little home toasted malt, different shade of crystal and so on. However, it will always be a low gravity, with a characterful English yeast (no US-05), plenty of English hop aroma and served through a beer engine. Of course, it doesnt take a genius to work out Styrian goldings aren’t technically an English hop – rather a Fuggle grown in Slovenia – but, ever since Taylor’s Landlord, the signature hop of Madonna’s favourite pint, they are surely as English as cricket and warm beer. Styrians have a beautiful lemon-zest aroma, without the sharpness of flavour of other citrusy hops like Cascade or Amarillo, for example.
They cost a fortune, in comparison to last years prices at least. The reason? A combination of a large exodus of hop farmers from the market due to years of over-supply combined with poor worldwide weather conditions, i’m led to believe. Slovenia was particularly badly affected, as this video shows. “When I see this I want to cry”, Hristian77 laments; I know how he feels.
As far as todays beer went, the top photo shows the Styrian pellets I used. I’ve never used them in pelletised form before, in fact i’ve only ever used pellet hops once or twice in my brewing career. They tended to clog up my hop strainer a little, but i’ve had worse things happen on a brew day. The above photo shows a sample of the wort, a nice, clear, copper colour. It is now happily tucked away in the fermentation fridge set to 20C. I’ll post some pictures of my real ale set up when this beer is ready.