In addition to the gear update (below) heres a vague low down of what i've brewed in the interim, starting with the most recent, because thats the easiest to remember!
June: Final day of the month saw my first foray in to morning brewing and a double hitter of 15L of Obama's porter, and King Bob(Goblin) - Hobgoblin clone brewed to approx 6%. 10L of porter is destined to be Coconutted (worth another try!) for a friends birthday party, and 5L is destined for my own 'private stock' because it was damn good last time.
A mere week before that i attempted to turn around a 'light summer beer' on request for a family-friends wifes birthday party. While i think i missed the mark on summer beer, starting with a tweaked Fullers AK recipe and dropping the hopping rate slightly the result was a 4.5% Toffee Flavoured Bitter that was well received and thanks to the miracles of protofloc, yeast harvesting, filtering and force carbonation was a very drinkable, crystal clear pint that went from grain to glass in 10 days.
Prior to that was a super-brewday seeing Tom and I take ludicrous leaps forward in the fields of recipe formulation, parti-gyling and brewing with fruit, making a 20L split batch of 7% porter and 3% Mild, which once fermented was split again in to 5L of each which were bottled and 5L of each which were transferred to secondary and added Damsons from Tom's Mums garden. God knows what its going to come out like, but i can confirm the (unfruited) mild is already excellent.
In addition to this on this Joyous day, Tom's Lady-friend Christine joined my Lady-friend Georgie in forming the 'brewsters' brewing up their own recipe of Golden belgian beer on my 5L kit. I was completely hands off on this one so can't tell you what went on, but it all looks very promising when bottled last weekend.
May: Saw me brewing numerous recipes for my own birthday party, served on an uncharacteristically hot day in our garden on my ebay acquired 3 handpump-bar. Putting it all together was a bit of a headache, but it was an excellent day and the beer went down well. 'On tap' was;
Fullers Old Harry & X Ale; my first foray in to parti-gyling. A bit of a headache to figure out, but easy enough thanks to my new 'jam' boiler rendering my stockpot and induction hob unused meaning i could have both batches on the boil simultaneously. Brewed to the letter of the recipe and pretty much nailed, the Old Harry was very well recieved - the X Ale maybe a little less enthusiastically but only because i served it second and everybody had already had a taste of the 'good stuff'...
Also on tap was my Sam Smiths Oatmeal stout - an excellent recipe, but really worthy of note in my own brewing experience due to the fact that having brewed a month earlier, i eagerly cracked a bottle to discover that something had gone horribly wrong in the boil and there was no hop flavour at all to balance the sweetness.Distraught i left them alone for 2 weeks until a few days before the party rolled around. Having a brainwave i figured i could try to add the hop flavour back in - Boiling up some fuggles for an hour with a few litres of tap water, i let cool overnight and then cracked a bottle and added the boiled hop-tea in different quantities. Georgie and i established the preferred quantity of hop-juice to add from 5 different samples, which i then scaled up to 5L. Being that this was about 2L of hop-tea itself i boiled it down to approx 100ml of dark green sludge, added it and decanted bottles in to a 5L Water bottle, screwed on the top and crossed my fingers. The day of the party i was astounded to say it came out perfectly balanced, no off flavours and was extremely well received. Good lesson there i think - beers can be saved!
I also produced some more 1952 mild which didnt end up on tap and is currently bottled and a Haus Pale which was sadly far too young at the party, and oxidised afterwards so was binned :(
UP NEXT: Tom's Birthday Beer Bonanza, so far featuring Kolsch, Citra Pale Ale, Black IPA, some kind of smoked beer & possibly more. Not sure what it says about me but i'm f'ing excited!