Sheffield Beer Week Collaboration

Written by critterwill

Lemon Powered Spaceship

At a year old, we still hadn’t done a collaboration brew with another brewery, so with Sheffield Beer Week (13th-19th March) not too far away, we decided it was about time! Jules from Hop Hideout who organises Sheffield Beer Week spoke to us about teaming up with HopJacker (Dronfield), which we thought was a great idea! Edd who runs HopJacker has managed some of the Thornbridge pubs and I (Will) used to be on the Thornbridge brew team, so we’ve known each other for years and share the same passion for great beer. We also decided to get Jon from the White Lion involved, as he’s holding a small beer festival at his pub, and you can find both HopJacker and Little Critters beers in his atmospheric Heeley pub on a regular basis.

So between myself, Edd, Jules and Jon, we decided that an easy drinking 5.0% pale ale was the way forward. We threw some ideas about additions to make it a bit more unique and Edd suggested using some Lemongrass, to make it a bit more lemony and refreshing, on top of that, we settled on using some Lemon peel to add a moreish, citrusy bitterness. As far as hops go, we used a healthy amount of Kazbek and Centennial; both lemony hops to finish our game of lemon bingo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasting notes for the beer:

A golden beer with an orange hue, featuring aroma of candied lemon, sherbet and lemongrass. On the palate you get pleasantly pithy bitter lemon, lemon peel and bready malts that goes from being fresh and lively upfront, followed by a moreish citrusy bitterness with a long lasting taste of the kazbek and centennial hops.

As for the name, Jules came up with Lemon Powered Spaceship as a nod to “Red Dwarf” episode Lemons, and Jon from the White Lion designed the retro looking pump clip, which we’re really pleased with.

We hope you enjoy the beer as much as we enjoyed making it! Look out for it in venues across the city over the next couple of weeks.

Cheers!

Chameleon: Hallertau Blanc

Written by critterwill

Toward the end of last year, we introduced the ‘Chameleon’ to our lineup of regular beers, a 5.5% pale beer that changes the hop variety used. So far we’ve done Mosaic and Simcoe versions, which are both relatively new American hop varieties, which have gone down really well and we’ve had to do multiple brews of both over the last few months, but we decided it was time to throw another into the mix!

We opted to try out a new variety from… Germany! Most German varieties have subtle characteristics; soft herbal, earthy, and floral flavours are common and are perfect for classic Germanic styles like Helles lager, Hefeweizen and Pilsner which only require a delicate and precise addition of hops. However, a new variety on the market ‘Hallertau Blanc’ has been released in recent years, claiming to be more assertive and reminiscent of Nelson Sauvin, one of the most destinguishable hops from New Zealand, so we thought we better try it!

From opening the bag, we were greeted with citrusy and spicey notes at a much higher intensity than we’d ever experienced from a German hop and were excited to see how it turned out in the final beer. We brewed it with the same, simple malt recipe as our other Chameleon beers which just include low colour Maris Otter malt, and some malted wheat, which really lets the hops standout when combined with our clean and reliable English yeast strain.

In the final beer we have aroma and flavour of lemony citrus, gooseberry, elderflower, white grapes, light bready notes with a dry and refreshing finish. We’re happy with it, and how much it contrasts to the two previously used American varieties; it definitely has similarities to Nelson Sauvin, if a little less pungent.

Hallertau is a famous growing region in Bavaria and produces 80% of the hops grown in Germany, and especially known for the production of Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, a noble variety of hop grown for over a hundred years that’s commonly used in German Pilsner thanks to it’s mild herbal, pleasant spicy notes. Other varieties grown there include Magnum, Northern Brewer, and Hersbruker, with Blanc being released in 2012.

We hope you enjoy the beer, and look forward to hearing what you think of it! Our next blog will be about the collaboration brew we’re doing with Sheffield beer week, HopJacker (Dronfield), and The White Lion (Heeley).

 

Hazelnut Milk Stout

Written by critterwill

After our well received Imperial Coffee Stout (a collaboration with The Grind Cafe, Kelham Island), we’ve been itching to get another stout brewed to make a matching pair. Myself and Director Mark are both fans of stouts and enjoy the challenges of brewing them; selecting the right quantities of the different highly kilned dark malts (and roast barley), balancing the hop bitterness against these and adding minerals to the soft Sheffield water to make it more akin to the water of famous stout brewing areas such as Dublin and London.

After talking about it for a while, we decided we’d like to do a milk stout, a style of beer that has been brewed since the early 20th century but has seen some great examples made by craft brewers in recent years. A milk stout is named as such due to the inclusion of lactose, a sugar derived from milk than cannot be fermented by beer yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae), and because of this it adds sweetness and body to the beer.

As with our Imperial Coffee Stout, we decided to add something a little extra. After throwing a few ideas around and running a few trials, we settled on some natural hazelnut essence as it complimented the roasted coffee flavours derived from the brown and chocolate malts used in the mash, much like the experience of adding hazelnut syrup to a roasty, aromatic Americano.

The different malts in the mash tun

We started off by using a base of the famous Maris Otter pale malt and added oats, roast barley, chocolate, brown and crystal malts to give the beer the enticing black colour and flavours of roasted coffee, chocolate, hints of caramel and a slick smooth body from the oats and lactose. As for the hops; we’ve kept the bitterness low (around 30IBU) and used some Slovenia Bobek hops at the end of the boil to add some earthy and herbal notes that compliment the malt flavours. We then ferment it with our house English ale yeast strain which ferments cleanly at lower temperatures allowing the malt, hops and natural hazelnut essence to come together in perfect harmony.

We’re happy with how the beer has turned out; flavorsome and complex, but not overwhelming. We’ll be packaging it into both cask and bottle over the next couple of weeks (cask available early February, and bottles toward the middle).