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Like the BBB, the homeBBBrew board is not a club, just a place to talk about making beer. Is there a swap you would like to see happen? If we can find a few others who have something similar then lets do it!

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Matt MacLeod
02/25/09 08:37 AM  
Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
I'd love to get involved in the various beer swaps that happen here but I live in England which makes things tricky. Are there any other board members in the UK?
SteveG
02/25/09 02:39 PM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
I bet the answers no - unless you extend that to the other board. No shortagle of Brits there. If you get to know some folks on the other side of the street maybe you can get someone to carry something for you in their travels. Sure would not be the first time. Odds of getting in on a swap go up then.
Chadyak
03/01/09 05:19 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
Matt I'm up in Edinburgh for maybe the next 6 months or so till I'm back to the US. I'm doing quite a lot of homebrewing, and I have a few mates who are also hombrewing. Between the lot we have quite a range of styles and beers, some descent some experiments. What kind of swap were you looking to get involved in?
ChadYak
03/01/09 05:30 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
By the way the next brew will be in a week or two and it is planned to be a dark Saison possibly followed by a golden farmhouse Saison the week following... Could be a good swap?
Matt MacLeod
03/02/09 03:47 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
ChadYak - Definitely up for that. I'll probably be brewing again in the next two or three weeks so lets go for the golden saison?
SteveG
03/02/09 11:33 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
Chadyak - back to the US? How long have you been in Scotland?

That rasies an interesting question, since you've now been a homebrewer on 2 continents, what is it like brewing over there compared to here? I mean more than anything else in terms of supply availability. Is there a community of brewers over there like here?

ChadYak
03/02/09 02:40 PM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
Matt - Sounds good. Did you do the Saison this weekend or are you putting it off? I have loads of Brett cultured up and some nice lacto to pitch. I'm going to do a 20L or so but split in half and do both primary WLP 565 but about 10L with the Brett and lacto. Let me know how your brew gets on and we'll look to around mid april get a swap on. I'll try to get others to do a similar brew and see how it goes.

SteveG - Well I know there is a lot of homebrewers here in the UK due to the amount of stores. For instance I live in Edinburgh and we have two homebrew shops. But they are pretty basic. I dislike both but can get by. I order all my supplies from a brew shop down in England and they have everything I could want especially and like most they import from the US things like yeast and other specialty items. The difference is mainly that brewers are more experimental in the US but maybe this is only because I lived in Colorado all my life and grew up not all that far from Boulder and the Brewers Association, so knowing about the AHA and all they do. I'm not sure if they have something like AHA in the UK. There are starting to be "craft brewers" societies in various cities and this is like a homebrew society with some very small brewers popping up too. Since I'm at University with brewers and then we go and brew after school, or on the weekends I have no reason to search for more brewers. I have learned to brew without High Alpha Acid hops but still get good results and great aroma none the less. I can get good German and Czech hops so that is a nice trade off. Great malt though in the UK. It is nice that I only use Maris Otter due to the fact that is so easy to get not by choice exactly. So I have to tweak recipes, or use lager which is also normal. The four friends I have homebrewing are all doing their 4 year degree in Brewing and Distilling. They tend to make more ale type beers with some interesting tweaks. Since bringing over for them some really hoppy beers to open their palates they have started brewing more american styled hop driven beers, but it is hard to get them to try belgian beers. I'm sure it would be the same if they would try these, but they think it is all thick estery beers. So I guess due to the US hombrewers exposure with many beers, hombrewing is on a different organized level. And this shows with the need to pre order specialty supplies. I suspect that maybe in places down in England they have a greater presence especially with the amazing beer you can get in London and in other various towns. There are some good Belgian bars and beer shops. This is my two cents as I have only been in Scotland since early September. I lived in London for six months last year but didn't homebrew, although I did get to brew on a 5 barrel system. I'll be back to the US (Colorado) in September hopefully once my dissertation research is done. Although I'm trying to get an apprentice or training type position for a month or two with some small Belgian brewery... Its a dream we'll see...

Matt MacLeod
03/03/09 03:11 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
Chadyak - sounds great. I did a saison about 10 days ago upon which 565 is slowly doing it's thing, so hopefully that should be ready around mid-April.

Just expand on what Chadyak said about homebrewing in the UK: I think the hobby has had a bad reputation for quite some time. Too many bad experiences of dodgy malt extract kits I think. Things seem to be on the up though and new online retailers seem to be popping up all the time. As Chadyak says, we have access to some superb malt (and luckily it's still reasonably cheap) and through one supplier or another I can get hold of most ingredients including US hops (I love Amarillo!) and White Labs/Wyeast etc...

In terms of community, this is where I envy the US. There is a small craft brewing association, but perhaps given that the small number of enthusiastic brewers is spread pretty thinly around the country the number of events and get togethers is very small indeed. I would kill for something like the AHA and being a AHA member I even looked at coming over to Cincinnati (until I saw the price of the flight at least). And competition brewing is practically non-existent. I went to the National Competition last year and I think there were just over 100 entries total. Last I heard the competition had been cancelled for this year. There are some good UK web fora though - http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/index.php arguably being the best, so there is definitely a community here, albeit a small one.

The thing that I do notice though is that there doesn't seem to be much interest in brewing non-British beers. Maybe this is the influence CAMRA have had over the home brew community here, or maybe it's just because I represent a minority that is more interested in a Belgian Triple or a Bavarian Hefeweizen than I am a Best Bitter?

SteveG
03/03/09 07:35 AM  
Homebrew culture shock!!
Wow, that's amazing. Over here homebrewing started to get big cause you could make beer types beyond the popularized commercial ones. Shortly thereafter craft brewing really started to blossum and imports really picked up. But at its foundation was the ability to create beers the likes of which you could not easily buy. A tendancy to brew the same kinds of beer available at any pub down the street is a completely different mindset. Any thoughts on why, under such circumstances, people bother brewing? Maybe just to save money? Or is there a feeling that homebrew quality can exceed that of commercial alternatives?

Last question (for this post at least!). CAMRA is big on cask beer, if CAMRA influence is a factor here - which certainly seems like it could be the case - is there a push for kegging or do you guys mostly bottle? Actually I don't mean you guys personally, you sound a lot more like us. But for instance when you are in shops, is there more stress on either bottle or keg packaging systems?

Matt MacLeod
03/03/09 10:03 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
SteveG - I think the image of quiet British pubs selling first class draft real ale is long gone which is why a lot of people are starting to homebrew, plus the rising cost of beer (along with everything else). Most pubs in the UK now sell commercial mass produced piss and a good "beer" pub is a real treat.

A lot of guys are kegging - I had a cornie for a while - but it's much more expensive to get into here as the gear is a lot more expensive and pretty rare. Plus CO2 tanks aren't too easy to get hold of. A lot of people use the plastic pressure barrels and gravity dispense using the small CO2 "sparkler" cartridges to top up the headspace. Personally, the beers I like are generally bottle conditioned so I'm still a bottler!

Don't get me wrong, there are people here brewing stuff other than ordinary bitter but not many!

SteveG
03/03/09 10:13 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
I think I might be pushing this into talk more in line with the other board, but what the hell, there needs to be some perks to running the place!

It sounds a little like if CAMRA is an influence on the homebrew scene that might be extent of their reach. I wonder if you folks are now where we were in 1988? Really, back then megapils was all you could find except for the rare nice tap, much as you describe. I think the motivation to learn to brew was similar to what you are describing. There are those who say homebrewers, in that climate, where a factor in jumpstarting our craft beer industry.

Matt MacLeod
03/03/09 11:18 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
I'm not sure that CAMRA's influence is that strong nowadays, but I know that there are a few English homebrewing books that were published by CAMRA, so there certainly has been an influence.

I don't think the commercial situation here is as bad as you had it - you can certainly get a decent cask ale without having to look too hard, but it'll most likely be one of the mid-size brewery products eg: Marston's, London Pride, Greene King etc. But cask ale is pretty much all you can find. What we don't have is the diversity of styles and creativity that the US craft brewers are producing (I'm thinking of people like Russian River and Dogfish Head).

SteveG
03/03/09 11:31 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
Sounds like we were definately more desperate in '88 than you are now. I picked up a British published home brewing book a few years ago (Brew Classic European Beers at Home: Roger Protz, Graham Wheeler) and was stunned by it. Among the recipes were ones for Rodenbach and Goudenband. I took particular interest in those till I read the yeast part, for recommendations it said something like "any good real ale yeast will do". I gave it away. It sounds like maybe your homebrew shops apply a related mindset. If so, and if its your kind of thing, it might be worth taking a stab at ambient fermentation. Free yeast, and for some people it works!
Matt MacLeod
04/11/09 03:04 PM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
ChadYak - Will be bottling my saison this week sometime - are you still up for that swap?
ChadYak
04/25/09 07:54 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
Hey Matt sorry I just got back from a holiday for some much needed sun!

I have just bottled the Saison two days ago. It needs a good two weeks to condition especially the bottles which have been blended with a 100% B. brux batch...

Does that work for you in a couple of weeks?

Chad

Matt MacLeod
04/26/09 03:54 AM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
Chad,

You should have holidayed in my back yard - it's been glorious here!

A couple or three weeks is cool - to be honest I've been crazy busy with other things so I'm bottling today.

ChadYak
04/27/09 12:25 PM  
Re: Any homeBBBrewers in the UK
Sounds good let me know when your ready email me at chadyakobson@gmail.com

Up in Edinburgh I can't even feel the sun even though its out... Longer days and rain that the only thing that changes with the seasons up here it seems..

 
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