Better Late Than Never

In April Caveman Brewery celebrated its first anniversary of brewing at the George and Dragon. To celebrate we intended to brew a special beer for the occasion, either a 7.0% version of our Citra or a big Imperial Red Ale. After a bit of debate we decided that actually we would probably brew both. Its now June and you may or may not have noticed that neither has actually appeared. There are a few reasons for this, one just being the lack of time I have had to develop these recipes, we have had a busy couple of months on our core range which has kept me locked in the brewery producing beer. The second reason is that we are hoping to release these beers on Keykeg and possibly also in bottles as well as cask. 

The main reason for looking at different dispense methods is to provide pubs with more options. There aren't many pubs near us in Kent that would even consider a 7% IPA in cask as they simply won't sell it quick enough to avoid significant amounts of ullage, but given the additional lifespan of a keykegged beer, and the lighter mouthfeel of the added carbonation would feel comfortable taking a key keg. Bottles are even less of a commitment given their added shelf life and smaller volumes. In May we began experimenting with bottle conditioning, filling a number of bottles from each brew with various levels of residual sugars and checking their progress over time. The idea is to achieve the correct level of carbonation for the style and seeing how this is affected over time as the yeast continue to process the more complex sugars still left over in the beer. This process should hopefully result in us having a level of carbonation that is great when you first buy the beer, but doesn't become too much over 6 months or longer. This process has resulted in me having to sample a selection of bottles on a regular basis (its a hard life) and has also led to me stashing bottles in the boiler cupboard and various other warm spots in the house and the brewery to accentuate the affect of ageing. Ideally of course we would have a lab to do this work in a much more scientific way,or better still we would filter the beer and then dose it with a strain of yeast specifically suited to the task which would only consume simple sugars and therefore not continue the carbonation process beyond a certain point. Sadly however we are still only a very small brewery so my basic testing will have to suffice for the moment, as long as it provides the results we need we should hopefully be bottling in the very near future.

And so to the beers we are developing. The 7% Citra IPA is fairly self explanatory. Big IPA, loads of Citra, whats not to like. The second beer will be called Si Te Cah and as an imperial red ale. The name is based on the Si Te Cah legend of the Paiute Indians who tell stories of a giant red headed tribe who's remains were supposedly found in Lovelock Cave, Nevada in 1911. The beer itself will be a blend of caramel sweetness and juicy hops, with a dose of dry hopping to add aroma. All being well these beers should arrive by late June/Early July. Not exactly April but better late than never I guess!