This week at Hop Pilot

It’s Been less than a week since my last Milk Stout V1 brew. If I’m being honest, I think it all went really well. The malts came together offering lots of roast and chocolate characters whilst the lactose worked its magic on the sweetness.
The small quantity of hops I used offered some bitterness too.

Here is a quick photo of the progress so far.
There was some great fermentation action initially which formed the krausen ring you can see below. The colour and richness look great. I guess time will tell!



Next week will be the Tiny Rebel Homebrew Club meet for May.
Along with the usual bunch of awesome home-brew projects that everyone brings along, I’m looking to set an individual brew project, with the focus being on Rye.

Rye is quite a versatile brewing ingredient that can be used in projects dark or light. It adds an additional level of complexity to the brew and can generate some interesting flavours.

Rye will add a spiciness to the beer and becomes far more pronounced the lighter the beer. It will also add an additional level of dryness, so care is required when adding rye in any percentage to the project.
I’m trialling about 15% of the grain bill with rye.

That in mind, Here is what I’ve come up with :-



861g Maris Otter
181g Rye
36g Caramalt
36g Light Crystal malt
36g Dark Crystal malt


36g Flaked Wheat

Hops – Start – Bittering
5g Chinook
5g Willamette

Hops – Middle – Flavouring
5g Willamette

Hops – End – Flavouring
5g Willamette

US West Coast Yeast (Mangrove Jacks M44)

I’m going for a bit of a candy theme with my beer tastings for the coming week.
Two obvious candy related titles and one that is more shark than candy, but I’ve been assured it’s all lemon sherbet and fruit.
There was one more that I really wanted to include here, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be – Sad face.

Siren Brewery • Hop Candy • 9.2 % ABV • Finchampstead, England

Siren’s “Hop Candy” is a highly recommended DIPA from The Bottle Shop here in Penarth. I’ve no doubt that this is going to be a gem based on my previous experiences with Siren Brewery.

Siren Brewery say:-

“A double IPA exploding with hops! Hop Candy leads with a simcoe-forward pine and evergreen aroma backed up with deep tropical fruit and berry notes, brightened with fresh lime. Expect more of the same when drinking, with balanced tropical flavours in the foreground”.

Verdant Brewing • Even Sharks Need Water • 7 % ABV • Falmouth, England

There was a recent tap Verdent Brewing takeover in Brewdog, Cardiff. Admittedly, I wasn’t blown away by the offerings but I really want to give them an opportunity to wow me.
A recent purchase from the very same bar, Even Sharks Need Water could be the IPA to do that based on feedback I’ve seen from buddies online.

Verdent Brewing say:-

“Murky, thick, juicy and chewy. It’s like a packet of sherbet sweets drenched in tangy fruit layers cuddled by a comforting bready hug. Soft to drink with a slight creamy texture and medium dry finish, it’s tough to stop drinking it”.

Brewdog • Candy Kaiser • 5.2 % ABV • Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Finally, one from the depths of my beer haul and one that came from a Brewdog #bottlebox.
I can’t say that I’ve tried an altbier but I’m more than willing to give this one a go with its bright and vibrant label.  As I understand it, “alt” translates to “old”.
Simply put, this beer is conditioned for a longer period of time to mellow out the ingredients and allow for a smoother and delicate brew.

Brewdog Say:-

“In this northern German style retro altbier, we’ve dialled down the dry-hops to zero, but cranked up the malt to create massive aromas. Toasty, toffee and floral notes duke it out for supremacy in the headspace of your glass.
When this alt hits your palate, the steely bitterness combines with the rich dry malt and the subtle alcohol warmth in a full throttle attack on your taste buds”.

Finally, onto my feature for the weekend which will see me nursing a sore head, but trying some freaking powerful beers from a variety of brewers.
The theme for this weeks feature is Barrel Aged, and will see me enjoying a selection of brews that are either barrel aged themselves or contain an elements of barrel aging.


Stone Brewing • Arrogant Bastard Ale – Bourbon Barrel • 7.9 % ABV • Escondido, California USA

I’ve already enjoyed the American Strong elements of Arrogant Bastard and didn’t think things could get any better.
Through the Brewdog online shop, I was able to get hold of Arrogant Bastard – Bourbon Barrel. Everything I know and love about Arrogant Bastard but kicked up a notch.
You can check my review of Arrogant Bastard here.

Reviewers say :-

“California- American Strong Ale- 7.9% ABV. BARREL AGED in Bourbon barrels. As if Arrogant Bastard Ale weren’t enough to satiate the taste buds, Stone takes it to the next level here. Pours a deep red. Bourbon and oak on the nose and palate, with floral and citrus hops”.

Wylam Brewery • Barrel Aged Billy • 6.5 % ABV • Newcastle upon Tyne, England

With amazing brews like the fruity Jakehead IPA and the sharper Hickey The Rake, I’m looking forward to trying something a little more premium and aged from Wylam Brewery’s  range.
This barrel aged gem came from a Treasure Chest Box as part of my Honest Brew subscription.

Honest Brew Say:-

The first of Wylam’s barrel-aged series, the limited edition Barrel Aged Billy is a very special take on the brewery’s smoked black bitter, Puffing Billy. Rich with flavours of toffee, dark berries, and chocolate conjured from port wine barrels, this is one transient delight of a brew.

Siren Brewery • Maiden 2016 • 11.2 % ABV • Finchampstead, England

Back onto Siren and something very special indeed.
Something so very special, that I will let them explain the process and whats involved below.
It’s safe to say that I’m pretty damned excited to crack this open. I just need to come up with a clever solution to remove the wax before I can pop that cap open.

Siren Say :-

“On Wednesday 8th February we held our annual Maiden blending day, where we brought together all of the aged barley wine and fresh beer to create the final beer that will stand before you in bottles this year. We eventually settled on a blend that contains 16.66% fresh Maiden, 8.33% Armagnac, 8.33% Banyuls, 8.33% Heaven Hill, 41.66% Red Wine and 16.66% Rum. Guests on the day included some of the Wild Beer Co and HonestBrew team.

It’s an interesting blend, containing some of the most aged beer in the brewery (barrels include 007, 008, 011 and 016). It’s also using far less fresh Maiden than last year, and a very high percentage that has been drawn from red wine barrels. You’ll find out why when you taste it”.

On top of these reviews and features, I need to get some interview practice time in for a new role I’ve applied for at SA Brain.

Through a successful sifting process, I’ve got an interview on Wednesday 24th May to become a HR Coordinator.
Quite a long way from my technical background, fixing computers and generally helping to keep the business running.

Instead, it will take me out of my comfort zone and have me communicating with people more than ever before. Something that others believe I will be great at, as well a chance to build my own skills personally and professionally.

Scary stuff!


Lets not forget that Alien Covenant is out now too!

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