For six of the last seven summers we have rented a cottage or holiday let in Sunny Norfolk and 2018 was no exception. There was a large group of us so we rented a stunning 7 bedroom farmhouse in Coltishall.
This is the Google Streetview of the farmhouse we stayed in. If you want to rent it (and i’d thoroughly recommend it) check out the listing on the Norfolk Cottages website.
One of my favorite pubs in Norfolk is the Fur & Feather, Woodforde’s Brewery tap room. We do try and pop in each time we go – its a cracking country pub with some lovely beers served less than 50m away from where they are brewed.
As I’ve got into home brewing again recently, it seemed a shame to not pick up a beer kit while I was there. I’d looked for Wherry (one of my favourite Norfolk beers), but sadly that was out of stock to I plumped for Woodforde’s Bure Gold instead.
As I had a free Saturday morning, I thought i’d give the Bure Gold kit a go.
The Bure Gold Kit
The beer kit itself is simple, just two cans of malt extract, 2 sachets of hop pellets and a sachet of yeast. Each can is 1.5Kg in weight, giving 3Kg of malt extract as a basis of the brew. The two sachets each contain 10g of hop pellets, one of Amarillo and one of Cascade. A packet of unbranded dried yeast is also included. Brewing instructions are printed on the side of the box.
In summary the Bure Gold kit contains:
- 2 x 1.5Kg cans of malt extract
- 10g Cascade pellets
- 10g Amarillo pellets
- 1 x sachet dried yeast
Bure Gold Kit Brewing Instructions
Compared to my last all grain batch this beer kit was incredibly straightforward to put together – in fact it took longer to clean and sanitise all the equipment than it did to make the beer.
According to the instructions, this is the brewing process:
- Clean and sanitise all equipment. Stand cans in hot water for 5 minutes. Pour can contents into sterilised fermenter.
- Add 3.5 litres (6 pints) boiling water, top up fermenter with cold water to 23 litre mark and thoroughly mix.
- Sprinkle yeast onto the “beer”, cover and leave to stand for 7 to 10 days in a warm place (18 to 20 degrees C). Add hop sachets on day 4. Fermentation will be complete when bubbles cease. If using a hydrometer the gravity will finalise around 1.014)
- Transfer beer into bottles or pressure barrel with a little sugar (half teaspoon per pint, up to a maximum of 100g for a pressure barrel) to help condition the beer. Leave in a cool place for 14 days before drinking.
My Brewing Notes
Here are my notes on the process so far (at time of publishing i’m 8 days into the process):
- I’d recommend fully submerging the can in hot water for at least 10 minutes as the malt is very viscous and sticky when you try and pour, be very careful as its very, very hot.
- After emptying the cans I used the boiling water to clean them, swilling and emptying the contents into the fermenter. I then topped up with the remaining hot water. Mix the boiling water and malt before you add the cold water as the temperature differential will make mixing much harder if you don’t. My starting gravity was around 1.040 which, after running though an ABV calculator leaves a beer at 3.4% if the suggested final gravity of 1.014 is to be believed.
- After adding the water, the beer is cool enough to pitch straightaway. I mixed my days up and didn’t dry hop until day 5.
Impressions so far
Overall I really enjoyed the Bure Gold kit, it was fast and simple to make – from opening the cans to adding the yeast took around 20 minutes – a startling change from the 4 hours + on the all grain batches I’ve done before. I guess that the proof is in the drinking.
I’ll update this post once I’ve reached final gravity and bottled it.
Update 6th Sept 2018 – Final Gravity and Bottling
After a busy week I finally got around to bottling the beer and taking the final gravity of the beer (FG). As mentioned before, I was a little suspect of the expected final gravity of the beer at 1.014, seemed a little high to me. Thankfully the actual FG was somewhere between 3.9% and 4.1% ABV which isn’t too far off the style.
After racking the beer into a spare fermentation bucket I managed to get 40 500ml bottles or 20 liters with a little extra for a taste test.
Is it any good?
Obviously its early days and the beer is very young and unconditioned but first impressions are good. Its quite a smooth tasting beer without being overly bitter. I can happily state that even at this early stage its my best beer so far.
A fortnight in the bottle and a day in the fridge will do it wonders.
Update 11th Oct 2018 – Final Thoughts
Its been just over a month since bottling and 6 weeks since brewing, so I think i’m not in a position to give my final thoughts on the beer.
Overall, i’d say it was “ok”.. The beer itself is fair, although with a very slight aftertaste that I can’t quite put my finger on. This is a more subtle version of the “hot” aftertaste on my last brew, so I can only put this down to a similar, if not as extreme variation in the fermenting temperature. A fermentation fridge is on my shopping list for the near future.
One thing i have definitely learnt is to not brew up such large batches, especially this early in my brewing adventure. Having 40 bottles of a beer thats not quite right are hard to dispose of.
I think i’ll aim for 10 to 12 litre batches moving forward.
ABV: 3.9% – 4.1%
Ferm Temp: 19C to 20C
Brewed: Sat 25th August
Bottled: Thurs 6th Sept