Wednesday 10 March 2010

Home Brewer Makes Jolly Good Beer Shocker

All right, I know I'm going to get strung up for that headline but the last three home brews I've been daft enough to accept have (in order) made me vomit, made me gag at the smell and have not even made it across my threshold before exploding! So, forgive me if I'm a little wary of people giving me homebrew.

Fortunately, the last one that was handed to me was from Sean Ayling, who is an ex-hack and keen homebrewer, whom I caught up with in the Brown Dog in Barnes, .

He bought me a Cooper's kit beer brewed with Amarillo hops and it was delightful! Luscious lychee and tangerine aroma, a jaunty effervescence and a good grapefruity finish with a hint of kaffir lime peel all vied for my attention along with a lingering tropical fruit-yoghurt creaminess.

Not only does the man brew well, he also writes entertainingly about it - well worth checking out his blog and if he ever thinks of taking this up full time I can see a much bigger shed in his future!


Barry M said...

Melissa, you've been talking to the wrong home brewers! :D

Julie HG said...

You've definitely been drinking from the wrong home brewers!! My blonde ale won some high remarks from the ladies in my office who "don't like beer, but this is really good!"

Next time you make it to the states, you can come over, and we'll sample any of the home brew in our kegerator. Better yet, I'll send you to my husbands home brew club meeting. All of those home brewers outshine me by a mile, including last year's winner of Boston Brewing's Long Shot competition.

Nunfa1 said...

A very nice review. I occasionally meet up with Sean and swap home brew beers so can second your comments about his brewing ability, although this particular beer was a bit flowery for me. I confess to trying it one evening after several of my own though which is not ideal.

Rob said...

I would happily send you some of my home brews. OK I never seem to be 100% happy with them but they come out half decent at least.

Unknown said...

Never met this Sean character, but a thoroughly entertaining brewer who frequents the same forum as I. The reviews I've read about his modified beer kits is outstanding. Long live the Shed Brewery. My garage brewery has a lot to live up to.

Cyberpaddy66 said...

Met Sean a few times and he's as nice in real life as he seems to be on the forums, his brews are great for modified kits ;)

I hope he goes AG soon as he should be able to come up with some absolutely amazing brews :D

Sean Ayling said...

Cyberpaddy66, I may be nearer to AG than you think. Beer club is taking off and I've got to brew like the clappers to keep up. I've been looking longingly at chris_reboot's 10gal HLT project and I think I'll be going for it sooner rather than later.

Julie & Barry, there are many better home brewers better than I out there for sure, I'm lucky enough to have had some excellent advice from reliable sources and been sensible enough to follow it. I only wish there were more hombrewer's meet ups in the UK.

Barry M said...

Well done on changing Melissa's opinion on home brew! :D

I started out doing extract brews, as my brew buddy had bad experiences with kits in his youth. All grain looked daunting, but in hindsight, it's pretty easy, but takes a lot longer. I often thought I should have some kits or extract on standby to sneak a brew in when my wife's not looking. :)

Having meets is definitely a great way to get honest feedback. It's one of the things I miss since I left Ireland, as we used to have (well, they still do without me!) regular sessions in The Bull and Castle. Not many pubs would allow a dozen or more home brewers bring their own beer once a month!

Sean Ayling said...

No problem Barry, I understand your reticence to kit brew having first tried it back in the early 1980's.

I restarted about a year ago and started my 46th brew last weekend so I do have a bit of a rolling stock these days. I've found that the kits are streets ahead of what I used to brew as a lad and until very recently I've been fairly reluctant to go AG, mainly on the grounds of the time it takes to get a brew on (I can knock up 3 or 4 brews in the time it takes someone to put an AG brew on).

However, I'm now brewing for a monthly meeting of beer enthusiasts and, given the conditioning time on most kit brews, I'm considering a 10 gal set up.

However my next project is a Pacific Gem version of the IPA, just as soon as I have an available fermenter.

Barry M said...

Yep, it would have been perhaps the late 80s when he tried kits, and I do remember the results were poor, and now know it was probably because of that kilo of sugar and the hot press :D

By all accounts, kits have come along hugely in quality. I really should give some a go precisely because of the reasons you give! Started following your blog, so I can see what kit tweaking you've been doing. Sounds great! Planning to do a single hop Pacific Gem beer myself. Never used it before, so I'll be keeping an eye on your notes :)

Sorry, Melissa! Brew-geeking out on your blog :D

Melissa Cole said...

Hiya all, sorry for late responses, it's all been going a bit Pete Tong for me lately!

Anyway, thanks for all your responses and I'd just like to give you a heads up that myself and a group of others who think the homebrew community needs an outlet will be announcing a national competition very soon.