May 2017 Meeting

Normality is resumed!

The sunshine of May clearly had a positive effect on the Brew Crew and we had a bumper turnout and some amazing beers being showcased.

May’s Beers

  • Ben: Cwtch Kit, Simcoe & Chilli Double IPA
  • Chris: Belgian Brune, Cider Kit
  • Ed: Chocolate Milk Stout
  • Charlie: Banana Leaf & Tree Honey Wheat, “Feminist Paramilitary Death Squad” (a Fresh Tea and Coconut Treacle Beer), Redcurrant Oak Sour
  • Guy: Citra and Roast Barley Bitter

It goes without saying nowadays that Charlie’s incredible selection of ingredients resulted in some amazing beers but this months winner of Brew of the Month was my Simcoe & Chilli Double IPA. This is the beer I brewed for the Recipe Roulette competition back in March and the extra 2 months bottle aging has provided the final polishing touches. The recipe writeup will be on the website soon!


April 2017 Meeting

Once the dust settled…

Following the roaring success of our Recipe Roulette competition in March was always going to be a big ask and April’s meet was a distinctly quieter affair! So much so that I completely forgot about getting the blog write-ups done until now 3 months later… cough cough!

April’s Beers

  • Guy: Dunkel, Columbus Smash
  • Chris: English Bitter, American Brown
  • Ben: Simcoe & Chilli Double IPA

With such a small selection of beers on offer we decided that there wouldn’t be a Beer of the Month award this time around!

Brew of the month – March 2017

Brew of the month!!!

It will be no great surprise to you all that this months Brew of the month award goes to Chris’s Pioneer and Grains of Paradise Wit which was crowned Grand Champion at this months Recipe Roulette competition. Chris scored a mightily impressive 446 points out of possible 600 from the judges panel on the night to scoop the top prize, and I think there will be a lot of people wanting to brew this one for themselves in time for summer!

Wit beers are a Belgian Wheat ale that’s very pale and cloudy in appearance due to the high level of wheat that is used in the mash. They are always spiced, generally with coriander and orange peel but can include other spices and herbs in the background. Chris has probably gone a little ‘German’ on his recipe for the purists but this beer is so good I think we’ll let that slide on this occasion!

Chris’s recipe for the Pioneer and Grains of Paradise Wit is:

  • 3Kg Maris Otter Pale Malt
  • 3Kg German Wheat Malt
  • 20g Pioneer Hops @ 60mins
  • 25g Sweet Orange Curaçao peel @ 10mins
  • 25g Bitter Orange Curaçao peel @ 10mins
  • 50g Coriander seeds @ 10mins
  • 1pkt Mangrove Jacks Bavarian Wheat Beer Yeast M20
  • 5g Grains of Paradise (per gallon)

Chris brews on a Grainfather so used a stepped recirculation mash to mimic the complicated Mash profiles often used by German and Belgian brewers. He started with a Protein Rest for 30 minutes at 50C, followed by 30 minutes at 65C and then 30 minutes at 75C to Mash Out.

The brew was then split out into two parts and 1 gallon from the main 5 gallon batch was racked into a demi-john and Chris added the 5g of Grains of Paradise and pitched the yeast. The reported the OG was 1.065 and finished up around 1.018 to give an ABV of approximately 6.2%
The beer was fermented at 21C for 7days followed by 7days at 18C to release the banana and clove esters usually associated with this style of yeast.

Congratulations again Chris, I am looking forward to try this recipe out for myself and can’t wait for it to go on tap at the Cellar Bar in the next couple of months! Cheers!


March 2017 Meeting

March sees the culmination of our Recipe Roulette competition we set back in January. Out of the 18 entries picked a grand total of 16 were submitted for judging making this years competition over three times the size of last year!

That is a lot of beer!!!

Over the hours that followed our crack team of six judges tasted and scored each beer giving out a possible maximum of 600 points and gradually whittled them down to a Top 5. The judges then reconvened with fresh samples of these beers and as a group discussed their personal favorites and agreed on their final rankings!

The Judges!

Pioneer & Grains of Paradise Wit (446 points) – Chris W
Runner Up
Simcoe & Chilli Double IPA (416 points) – Ben
3rd Place
Goldings & Chocolate Milk Stout (414 points) – Ed
4th Place
Hallertauer & Chamomile Pale (380 points) – Neil
5th Place
Saaz & Salt Gose (370 points) – Charlie

I think it is fair to say that Chris was pretty surprised when his beer was announced as the Champion for 2017 but with judges comments including “amazing flavours”, “lovely beer” and “Everything a Wit should be!” it was clearly a resounding success and a well justified choice for 1st place!

Champion Chris! (and Ben from Top Rope!)

Chris takes home a £20 voucher from Cellar Bar, a Beer Tasting Masterclass for 4 people from Brewhouse & Kitchen, a Stainless Steel False Bottom from Grainfather, a bottle of Chocolate Orange Imperial Stout from Cloudwater and most importantly Chris’s Wit beer will be brewed commercially by our friends at Top Rope Brewing and will be available on tap at Cellar Bar ready for Summer! Brilliant!

Overall 2017’s competition worked really well and I hope everyone who came along had a brilliant night! It would have been totally impossible to have held this event without all the people involved from both Cheshire Brew Crew and the Liverpool Homebrew club, our judges who selflessly gave up their time to battle through all the weird and wonderful creations the entrants had come up with, and of course the unbelievable generosity from Cellar Bar, Top Rope Brewing, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Malt Miller, Brew UK, Grainfather and Cloudwater for their donations to the prize pots! Thank you to everybody!!!



February 2017 Meeting

Storm Doris 1:0 Homebrewers!

Unfortunately the February meeting was a bit weather affected and after Storm Doris had finishing lashing the Northwest with 70mph winds only three hardy homebrewers ventured outside in the evening! Special thanks to Neil and Ed for braving the elements too!

As there is very little beer to talk about this month I’ll take the opportunity to update you all on the Recipe Roulette competition set last month. We have 18 confirmed recipe picks and thanks to the amazing generosity of Cellar Bar, Top Rope Brewing, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Grainfather, BrewUK and Malt Miller those homebrewers are competing for a prize pot which is pretty darn amazing! So, here we go!

1st place
Your beer commercially brewed by our friends at Top Rope Brewing!
A Brewhouse & Kitchen Beer Masterclass for four people
£20 Cellar Bar Voucher
A Grainfather Growler & Yeast selection

2nd place
£25 BrewUK Voucher
£10 Cellar Bar Voucher
A Brewhouse & Kitchen Growler & TShirt

3rd Place
£25 MaltMiller Voucher
£10 Cellar Bar Voucher
A Brewhouse & Kitchen Glass & Keyring

Now I think you’ll agree, that is something a bit special!

I hope you’re competition beers are all going to plan and we’ll see you all on Thursday 30th March at Cellar Bar, Chester!


Brew of the month – January 2017

Brew of the month!!!

The January Brew of the month voting was a very tight affair with such a good selection of high quality beers being showcased at the meeting. Just able to sneak ahead (by 1 vote) to clinch the top award this month was… Ed’s Black Double IPA! Congratulations!

Ed is a two time winner, and this Double IPA is another cracker! Weighing in at 7.9% the roasted Chocolate and malt undertones are well balanced out by a big American hop bill. Belgian Candi Sugar helps bump up the fermentable sugars and two packs of White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale yeast do the hard work before nearly another pack of hops goes in as a Dry Hop!

Ed’s Black Double IPA

Ed’s recipe for the Black Double IPA is:

  • 7kg Pale malt
  • 0.3kg Crystal malt (60L)
  • 0.3kg Carafa III malt
  • 0.3kg Chocolate malt
  • 0.45kg Dark Candi Sugar
  • 50g Columbus Hops @ 60 mins
  • 57g Citra Hops @ 15 mins
  • 85g Citra Hops @ flame out
  • 57g Pacific Jade Hops @ flame out
  • 2 vials White Labs 007 yeast
  • 71g Nelson Sauvin Hops @ 7day Dry Hop

The brew length for this was 25l and Ed reports an OG of 1.084 and a FG of 1.024. All in all this was another quality IPA from Ed following on from his Blood Orange IPA which won Octobers Brew of the Month! Well done Ed, and long may you continue to bring down award winning IPA’s for us to sample in the future!


January 2017 Meeting

Happy Anniversary us!

This time last year we were mourning the demise of the Brewdoo Homebrew club and Chester Brew Crew, and celebrating the creation of the Cheshire Brew Crew! A year! Doesn’t time fly when you are drinking having fun?

After the success of last years competition this January we decided to set it up again and Recipe Roulette II was born! The same rules and randomly picked ingredients as last time but this year, thanks to the interest of the Black Lodge Brew Club (@liv_homebrew ), we have increased the participants for 2017 to 20 entries!

  • Ben: Simcoe & Chilli
  • Neil: Hallertauer & Chamomile
  • Guy: Citra & Oak Chips
  • Charlie: Saaz & Salt
  • Chris W: Pioneer & Grains of Paradise
  • Nick W: Centennial & Peppercorns
  • Mark: Galena & Fruit
  • Dave: Amarillo & Star Anise
  • Ed: Goldings & Chocolate
  • Simon: First Gold & Coriander Seeds
  • Lol (Liv): Northern Brewer & Cinnamon
  • Ken (Liv): Fuggles & Cardamom
  • Andy (Liv): Galaxy & Orange Peel
  • Ron (Liv): Cascade & Tea
  • Pete (Liv): Chinook & Coffee
  • Damian (Liv): Ahtanum & Juniper Berries
  • Steve (Liv): Motueka & Heather Flowers
  • Andrew (Liv): Sorachi Ace & Vanilla

The competition will be judged at the March meeting on Thursday 30th March and the prize pot up for grabs currently includes donations from Malt Miller, BrewUK, Cellar Bar and a goodie bag from the guys at Grainfather!


January’s Beers

Once all the messing about with the competition entries was out of the way we could crack on with the main event! Beers! Another brilliant selection was brought in this month with Charlie yet again making a strong push for the unofficial ‘longest beer name’ award with his Imperial Salted Vanilla Smoked Milk Stout! We also welcomed Dave who was joining us for the first time this month and brought along a lovely citrusy IPA hopped with Olicana – not a hop I or many of the group had used before, and a Robust smoked Porter he had brewed on his Grainfather system. Both were very nice beers – he can come back next month!

  • Ben: Cwtch Kit, Brewers Gold 3
  • Guy: English IPA
  • Mark: Schwarzbier, Plum Porter
  • Charlie: Imperial Salted Vanilla Smoked Milk Stout, Sorachi Ace Barrel Aged Saison, Liquorice Coconut Stout
  • Ed: Black Double IPA
  • Dave: Olicana IPA, Robust Smoked Porter

It was an extremely close run thing voting for the Brew of the Month as the quality of this months selection was so high. Ed’s Black Double IPA just pipped everyone to the post (by 1 vote)! Congratulations to Ed on another quality offering!


And that was January done! We’re back at Cellar Bar on February 23rd to see how everybody is getting on with their competition brews! See you there!

Brew of the month – October 2016

November’s Brew of the Month award was so well received that I had a number of requests for October’s winner to get a write up too!

In October the meeting was held at the Brewhouse & Kitchen Bar and one of the many beers sampled that evening was a Blood Orange IPA brought along by newcomer Ed who had brewed the to offer at his own wedding. It came in a specially labelled bottle and was really something quite special!

That’s just showing off!!


Ed’s recipe for the Blood Orange IPA is:

  • 14.75kg American 2-Row malt (85% of grain bill)
  • 1.6kg Flaked Wheat (9% of grain bill)
  • 1.2kg Crystal malt (20L) (6% of grain bill)
  • 55g Columbus Hops @ 60 mins
  • 25g Citra Hops @ 15 mins
  • 25g Citra Hops @ 5 mins
  • 86g Citra Hops @ flame out
  • 2 vials Wyeast 1056 yeast
  • 85g Citra Hops and 55g Galaxy Hops @ 7day Dry Hop
  • 1.2l Blood Orange juice & Zest added to FV @ 7days

Ed’s recipe is scaled for a 56l brew length and these grain weights are approximate as he only supplied me with percentages and the OG to aim for! If you want to brew this recipe please make sure you plug these numbers into your own brewing software to ensure they stack up for your system!

Ed used a simple infusion mash at 66C for 60 minutes and ended up with an OG of 1.074. The FG for this beer was 1.018 giving an ABV of 7.4% but this is totally disguised by the late additions of all that Citra and the Blood Orange juice and this drinks like a session IPA! Danger! Danger!

Ed’s Blood Orange IPA

Congratulations Ed for your Brew of the Month award and I know this is definitely a recipe that I’ll be trying out in the future! Cheers!

Brew of the month – November 2016

Brew of the Month!!!

Starting this month I thought it would be great to give some recognition to the brew which the consensus of the group considered the best beer sampled that session. Of course, me being me, I meant to do this a couple of months ago but instead left it until November, when the standard of beers brought along was phenomenal and the decision for Brew of the Month wasn’t as clear cut as it might have been previously!

Fortunately the split decision between Brew 1 and Brew 2 was made a lot simpler as both beers came from the same brewer, so it is nice and easy to say that the round of applause this month goes to…. Mark!

Mark brought along two Saisons to our November meeting. The first was a Rye Saison which was full of peppery spice and certainly ticked a lot of boxes for some of the group. The second was a Tropical Saison laden with New Zealand hops giving it a massive Citrusy fruity kick! Rye isn’t to everyone’s taste and as that beer split the group a little bit the award this month goes to the Tropical Saison!

Mark’s Tropical Saison


Mark’s recipe for the Tropical Saison is:

  • 4kg Dingemanns pils
  • 0.3kg Dingemanns wheat
  • 0.4kg Weyermann vienna
  • 27g Rakau Hops @ 60 mins
  • 40g Motueka Hops @ 10 mins
  • 20g Rakau Hopsat @ 5 mins
  • 30g Motueka Hops @ flame out.
  • 1packet Mangrove Jacks French Saison M29 yeast
  • 30g Motueka Hops and 30g Rakau Hops @ 8day Dry Hop

Mark brews on a Grainfather and this recipe was scaled for 20l final volume as he was planning for a quick brew day and this would fit nicely in a Corny keg and avoid any bottling! He makes good use of the Grainfathers high efficiency rates. OG was 1.050 and FG 1.003 making the ABV 6.2%

So there we go! The inaugural Brew of the Month award is, uh, awarded! I hope you enjoy brewing this recipe as much as we enjoyed sampling it! Congratulations Mark, we’re looking forward to seeing what you brew next!

November 2016 Meeting

Clearly there is no better way to spend a cold November evening than getting together with a bunch of like-minded people and sink a few good beers! That certainly seemed to be the case this month as we had 10 people down for the November meeting bringing with them an amazing selection of beers.

November’s Beers:

  • Ben (S): Russian Imperial Stout
  • Mark: Rye Saison, Tropical Saison
  • Guy: Toffee Apple Pale Ale
  • Simon: Fig/Date Stout, Belgian Punk
  • Ed: Simcoe & Citra Pale Ale
  • Charlie: Zadar Croatian Honey & Maraschino Imperial Stout, Smoked Raspberry, Quince & Chilli Ale
  • Top Rope Brewing: ‘Born to Lose’- New England Session IPA

Amongst all the beers above, Charlie pushed the boat out again with an amazing Zadar Croatian Honey & Maraschino Imperial Stout – where does he get these ideas from?? I brought along my 2015 Russian Imperial Stout that was now 18 months in the bottle (and significantly better behaved than the gushers we tried to sample last November!) and Mark supplied two Saisons – the first was a Rye Saison full of spicy peppery notes and the latter was a tropical New Zealand Saison crammed with fruity hoppy amazingness! It was a tough call to pick an overall beer of the night, but I think the Tropical Saison just about got the most plaudits in the end!

December’s meeting falls in the week between Christmas and New Year so the exact dates will be confirmed nearer to the time!