Introducing Badfish Bitter…Plus Brew Day Tunes Pt.2

Badfish LabelWhat an awesome day yesterday was.

Finally, after weeks of waiting, I was able to officially christen my debut brew and toast it with my family.

I bring you… Badfish Bitter.

Very pleased with the results. It’s clear. It’s carbonated and has matured a lot since I racked off my first sample before it went into secondary.

20140524_144155Much of the sickly-sweet maltiness has now dissipated and instead, you’re left with smooth biscuit and caramel notes, before a long, dry finish. The hops are the hero, though. More citrussy than floral, it’s got a nice bittery tang which lingers long in the mouth after the liquid has gone.

Room for improvement, sure, but probably a bit better than I was aiming for when I started the project, so I am one happy homebrewer this morning.

The main thing I’ve learned is that brewing requires patience, trial and error and I am indebted to those in the community for their sage words of wisdom, advice and support along the way.

20140524_153131It’s only right I pay it forward by sending a little link love their way, so huge props and crucial thanks in particular to @KevsHead, Gary at Bionic Brewing, The Apartment Homebrewer, The Happy Homebrewer and the Homebrew Handyman.

Now, my family and friends who know I have been working on this beer for weeks have been asking me what it’s called and where the name came from.

I’ve left them all wracking thier brains trying to figure it out for a few days, but it’s time to put them out of their misery.

It’s named after one of the Sublime songs which was playing when it was conceived:

Speaking of tunes, my second mash – I’m aiming for something akin to this –  is bubbling steadily away in the kitchen, ready for some serious sparge in a few moments time. Here’s what’s on today’s brewday playlist:

20140524_144121Pixies – Surfa Rosa. There’s always been a lot of debate about which Pixies album is the best, this one or Doolittle. It misses the point. Both are awesome. End of argument.

No Doubt – Rock Steady. Harshly derided as radio friendly chart fodder here in the UK – in my circles at least – but I don’t agree. No Doubt kick ass and this is their best. Plus, before Katy Perry, Aguilera, P!nk, GaGa et al, there was Gwen Stefani, and she’s better than the lot of them!

Sublime – 40 oz to Freedom. This one kicked off my last brew day, so it must be a lucky omen.

Jurassic 5 – Jurassic 5. I’ve been listening to a lot of hip hop recently and while there is a place for some of the more darker elements of the genre, I love the positivity that oozes out of every single pore of this one.

That should take me until mid-afternoon. New Order, The Kinks and Blur may get a spin later on if there’s time. We’ll see.

Happy Sunday, folks!


Cloudy with a chance of yeast balls…

20140512_213939Bottled my first batch yesterday, following a couple of weeks in secondary.

It was a leisurely, if time consuming, activity, but I now have 30+ bottles of beer happily conditioning away.

The beer itself hasn’t changed too much since I dropped in the finings. It tastes more or less the same, although perhaps a touch sweeter, but the one thing which has left me a bit puzzled is what has happened to its clarity.

When I racked my sample off last week, it wasn’t perfect, but it was a damn sight clearer than it was when I racked it from primary.

However, since adding finings (gelatine and isinglass), it has gone much murkier than it was. I had been working on the assumption that it should go the other way.

It left a huge puddle of slop at the bottom after syphoning the whole brew off into bottles, so I know a lot of the crap has dropped out of it since adding finings, but I was expecting it to be much clearer.

So, my question to all you more experienced craft brewers out there is: should I be worried about this development (beer tastes fine, just cloudy as a puddle)…and will it clear in the bottle over time?

Interesting post-script is that I can see a definite break in the bottles now, 24 hours on. About half an inch of beer at the top of each bottle is near crystal clear, with the rest underneath cloudy as hell…it was about half a cm when I woke up this morning, so definite progress, but will the rest clear over time?

Over to you, guys, am I on the right track?

Brew Day Tunes

Happy Easter people and greetings from a cold and damp UK.

It’s brew day. I’m boiling a batch of water to brew with at present and plan to start my first-ever brew shortly. The plan is here.

Kitchen will be wiped down and my kit will be sanitised shortly. My yeast is already rehydrating.

The only essential missing ingredient for the day is the tunes. Here’s what’s on my playlist:

220px-Sublime40OztoFreedomalbumcoverSublime: 40oz to Freedom – This is a Sunday morning album by any definition, but is the perfect choice for brew day. I’m looking to create a chilled vibe in the kitchen while I’m toiling away and save for the odd blast of hardcore punk sandwiched in between Sublime’s unique blend of Hip Hop, ska, rocksteady and reggae, this will fit that requirement perfectly.

InBetweenDreamsJack Johnson: In Between Dreams – Building on from 40oz, another Sunday morning album. It’s got a wake up, roll out of bed and drink coffee on the patio kind of vibe and its strenght is its simplicity. It was his breakthrough album here in the UK and to this day, remains his best. Hoping the sunshine breaks through by the time this one comes on.

AugustusPablo-KingTubbyMeetsRockersUptownKing Tubbys meets Rockers Uptown – Heavy dub. Normally reserved for later in the day when the lights are turned down low and the bass is cranked up high. Not only is the musicianship first class on this album, but the use of the studio and its technology as an adjunct of the band is unmatched. One of the first ever pure dub albums, this was a pioneer of the genre and has few equals.

51h4UbjN7IL__SY450_Prince Buster: Fabolous Greatest Hits – This will lift the mood up a notch towards the end of the brew today. The godfather of ska, Buster’s influence runs large through most of the music I love. The Specials and The Beat – two of my all time fave bands – owe him a huge debt, as do the Fish and some of the other third gen American ska bands I’ve taken to my heart. Speaking of which…

TimArmstrong-APoet'sLifeTim Armstrong: A Poet’s Life – An interesting departure for Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong, who teams up with white reggae rabble-rousers The Aggrolites for his maiden solo effort. The result is A Poet’s Life, a sublime mix of Hip Hop, punk and the unique brand of dirty reggae his collaborators are famed for.


That’s the soundtrack for the day folks. I’m off to start brewing. I’ll be posting a review of the day later on.