The Lanes micro pub, Dover

I did a lovely walk yesterday (Wednesday) from Sandwich to Dover along the Kent coast. 16 miles in all. Very easy two-thirds, but the last part was quite a killer with plenty of ups and downs along the White Cliffs. The weather was fine and sunny, although there was a distinct windy chill over the last 4 miles.

When I got to Dover I went into The Lanes micropub (15 Worthington St, Dover CT17 9AQ). I badly needed nourishment after what turned out to be a tough walk. It was just before the station. What a marvellous place! The beer was excellent and reasonably priced. The welcome I got from the owner Keith and his wife was tremendous, even though I had never seen them before. I can thoroughly recommend this place and I will certainly go out of my way to visit again.

A rival brewery?

The SWMBO and I went to visit a local brewery at Penge yesterday. It was called Southey Brewery

Tried a Wormcatcher IPA and a pale ale called Crack of Dawn. Both were served straight from a polypin. The beer was ok, if not a trifle cloudy, but nothing really marvellous. I have certainly tasted better, including my own beers. Unfortunately, no brewery  or ‘behind the scenes’ tours were offered, so I can’t comment on their brewing process.

“Bob” behind the bar and the few customers there were very affable and the hour passed away here was very enjoyable. Regrettably, Bob did not appear to have much knowledge of what was in the beers and was unable to answer simple brewing questions. Also bought some of their bottled beers. I will certainly go again and Bob asked me to bring him in some of my brews.

An 1850 recipe for Imperial Stout

I brewed an Imperial Brown Stout today. The recipe dates from 1850 and I believe it was brewed by the defunct Barclay Perkins brewery (1781 – 1955). The brewery was well known for its Imperial Stouts. Imperial brown stout was the precursor to the well-known Russian Imperial stouts, which continued to be brewed by Courage and later Scottish & Newcastle until 1993. The most interesting thing about these beers is the fact that nearly half of all black malt used is added directly to the copper. The hop bill for this was a monster – some 300g in all. It also used a strange sugar called Piloncillo, which is of Mexican origin. Piloncillo is made from pure, unrefined sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. It tastes very similar to brown sugar with a molasses flavor (even though it does not contain molasses) and you can use it for anything that calls for brown sugar. I think this particular sugar is used because it most resembles the old invert brewers sugars, which are very difficult to get hold of today. If all goes well, it should turn out at around 11% ABV!

Sorachi Saison

Brewed a batch of Saison today using Sorachi hops. Had a hell of a problem getting the alkalinity right of the mash and sparge water. Not sure why- I’m wondering if my alkalinity measuring tool is going wrong. Every reading I took varied so much. In the end I just relied on pH readings. Anyhow, all turned out well and got 43.5L into the fermenter.

Brewed an Oatmeal Stout

Brewed 40L of Oatmeal Stout on Sunday. Everything went well and actually ended up with 45L in the fermenter. Took my time stirring the mash and sparging and got 75% effciency. Pitched with SO4 yeast and it’s already bubbling away nicely. Must not forget to add the roasted Cacao nibs to the secondary.

Brewing a Mosaic Double IPA

Brewed a batch of Mosaic Double IPA today. Had some problems with efficiency and only got 60% instead of my usual 75%. This was a big grain bill – some 14kg – which pushed the Braumeister to its limits, even though I was using the malt tube extender from Bac Brewing (BacBrewing). I think maybe I should have added the dry malt in smaller bits at a time and stirred each addition more thoroughly. More successful was the use of their whirlpool shovel gadget – it really made a strong vortex and the hop pellet trub settled in the centre quite nicely. Mind you, I think I should have let the wort stand longer once the boil had stopped. Ended up with 50L in the fermenter and pitched with four packets of Safale US-SO5.