Moon Gazer 0.5% IPA…
UPDATE 8 FEB 24
We visited the Crisp Malting test brew lab and with some great help and support form their Technical Sales Manager, MIke Benson we brewed our first test. Hop and malt selection were key, brewing with malts that contain the right sugars for the low alcohol yeast is key, but you have to balance that with getting good flavour and malt notes. The same with the hops – you need the flavour and bitterness but you haven’t got the alcohol to balance it out so selection and quantiles were key.
The brew went well and a few days later we were down at Whin Hill cider who kindly pasteurized and bottled the test beer for us, as well as allowing us to add our secret ingredient for extra body and smoothness!
The results were a resounding thumbs up – we wanted a little more hope not – so its down to brew two for a very minor tweak, then over to a bolting and pasteurizing company – Holdens – to plan how we upscale our small scale packaging to a commercial run – taking into account the couple of unusual twists we are adding.
Keep watching but things are going well.
FULL STORY…HOW IT BEGAN
Well, you can’t push water up hill and there is no doubting that the popularity of no and lo alcohol beers is growing and is here to stay.
There are now many great examples out there and myriad of options now compared to even a couple of years ago.
So, time for Moon Gazer to tip its toe in the water.
We are currently working with Crisp malting on producing a 0.5% IPA beer – working alongside Michelin Star Chef and owner of Morston Hall, Galton Blackiston. Indeed it was Galton and his team who got us excited about the project when they asked us to collaborate to see what can be achieved.
So, on the 17th January we visited Crisp malting just down the road and used their pilot brew plant to brew up a small batch of our beer. When I say small batch think 20 litres! There had been a lot of work before hand – with Steve and Mr Moon Gazer working with Mike from Crisp Malting in advance to establish the malt profile and how the various sugar and enzyme properties of each malt can bring to the party – keeping a beery base and a strong flavour but avoiding any problems downstream. Consideration was also given to the colour each malt adds as we are looking for a clean, golden ale but not too ‘wishy washy’ so we had to be careful which malts to add to bring colour but not add coffee or chocolate notes from the malts or indeed unwanted sugars.
On the day we tweaked the malt selection from our original plan and decided to be a bit more ambitious in our combination – its a test brew after all so we can always tweak it back again!
The hops were decided with Galton on the brew day – with 4 hops put forward to bring in some big flavours but also some balance and complexity and something to offer wide appeal. We decided we needed some high alpha hops with high flavour intensity to give plenty of depth to the beer,
Think Mosaic ( Blueberry, Mango), Citra ( Grapefruit, Lime , Mango ), Belma ( Strawberry, Pineapple ) and Huel Melon ( Melon).
In the end the team were unanimous that it need to be a blend of 3 of the hops. With 2 used as the main contributors and one used to provide a supporting but valuable role. As to which three we selected we will keep that a secret until we see how the test brew turns out.
There were some technical changes along the way to how we would normally brew different temperatures and timings but all designed to get maximum impact without the alcohol and full fermentation which normally contributes so much to the character of a beer.
So, brew complete all we can do is wait a little while and get back to you.
Its not all going to happen tomorrow but we wanted to let you know we are on it.
A BIG THANK YOU to Crisp Malt for all of their technical and morale support – we are very lucky to have them on our door step. They have created a very good blog on the topic which you can read here.
More to follow