One of the great things about the beer industry is the sense of community amongst beer drinkers and brewers. This has accelerated in recent years with the advent of social media providing an easily accessible platform for people interested in beer to keep up to date with industry news and make connections with other brewers.
We’ve made loads of great friends in the industry in the last few years and when two brewers from two of our favourite breweries expressed an interest in joining us for a brewday it didn’t take long for us to set the date.
As we are so new a brewery we thought a ‘collaboration’ brew would be jumping the gun, so we decided instead, and to keep things interesting we’d brew the first of our planned ‘specials’, a double IPA (essentially a bigger version of our IPA Cannonball) which we’d already christened ‘Human Cannonball’.
Matt from Hawkshead and Colin from Marble arrived on the morning of our launch day to help us with the brew and set to work mashing in. The malt bill for Human Cannonball was similar to Cannonball but with some extra malts added for a richer colour and of course we needed a lot more (600kg in total) to get toward the OG required for the planned 9.2%. We mashed in without incident and moved to the office for bacon sandwiches and cups of tea to set us up for the rest of the day.
After the transfer to the kettle, we got on with weighing of the hops. In addition to the big bittering addition in the kettle we prepared Apollo, Summit, Target and Warrior whole hops to add to our Magic hopback which would balance all that sweetness we were creating with the malt, and create a defined hoppy character. As this was the biggest beer to date we’d need the biggest amount of hops, and in total 29Kg were weighed out for our 12bbl brew.
Once the boil was completed we started the run off to our hopback, which as it filled with near boiling wort forced an incredible piney hoppy aroma out into the brewhouse. After re-circulating the wort to create a good filter of hops in the hopback the rest of the wort was transferred from the kettle and perculated through the big hopbed en-route to the FV.
After checking the OG we all gathered round to taste the cooled hoppy wort. It was extremely hoppy to say the least, reminiscent of the smell of pine floor cleaner but also with a massive malty sweetness and extreme bitter finish and induced a few swear words from all of us. All that was left was for us to pitch the yeast and clean down the brewhouse ahead of a few well deserved beers.
Human Cannonball is currently ticking along in FV1 and approaching it’s final gravity. Once it gets there we intend to dry hop it again with lots more big US hops, which should hopefully give it a big hoppy aroma to complement its flavour. The beer should be ready in a couple of weeks and is mainly destined for bottles although there will also be a few key-kegs about and there’s a rumoured special guest appearance on cask at Hawkshead’s excellent beer festival in July.