Friday, February 26, 2010

Gold and Guinness

I like Bitter. I like Ordinary Bitter, I like Best Bitter, I like Extra Special/Strong Bitter, so of course I wanted to brew my own - ah the joys of being a homebrewer, being able (at least in theory) to make some of the beer styles you love and in essence grew up on. I have said it many times on here before, I was never much of a lager drinker before I went to Prague, for reasons I may have to delve into in order to ascertain whether I was in closet with regards eventually discovering craft beer.

Anyway, to my theme, brewing a best bitter. That was the plan at least, but the OG was slightly low and so it became an ordinary bitter, something low in alcohol and refreshing was the plan. Last weekend Mrs Velkyal and I went to visit her cousin and Sicilian husband in Greensboro, North Carolina, and I took a couple of bottles of my bitter with me for them to try, and they liked them, so I thought I should do a proper analysis of the beer I had called Ring of Gold - fermented with Ringwood Ale Yeast and hopped only with East Kent Goldings.

I am not sure the colour really comes through from that picture, but it was light copper, with almost straw like edges, the picture does though capture the head perfectly, white, thinnish and with plenty of stickability. As I had used EKG for my hopping, the nose was very lightly floral but Mrs Velkyal when asked for her opinion suggested, albeit through a slightly stuffy nose, a light citrusiness. Tastewise, again, being an ordinary bitter, it had touches of toffee and a certain grassiness that I put down to the hops, so not wildly sweet nor a hopbomination. Overall, a perfectly drinkable bitter that wouldn't disappoint if served on a warm summer's day as it was refreshingly clean, though a bit on the thin side.

One beer which did however catch my attention this week was Guinness Extra Stout, a six pack of which I picked up for a 3 way taste test to come soon, but I had a couple of bottles last night anyway. Extra Stout is the one without the nitrogen widget, and what a difference it makes, a light brown head, plenty of roasted goodness on the nose and the taste is just as a stout should be. Thank goodness this still exists, even though brewed in Canada.

This weekend will see lots of bottling and brewing work. Into bottles will go the Samoset Orange Barleywine, to condition for Thanksgiving, and the American Pale Ale which I brewed as part of the International Homebrew Project. Being brewed this weekend is another batch of Gael 80/- and then a dunkelweizen, for which I am yet to settle on a name. So a good weekend is in prospect, and a good weekend I wish you all! 



  1. Most of the many Guinness-branded beers are without widget. I'm guessing this is the 6% ABV one, confusingly given the same name as the 4.2% ABV beer in Ireland which is a non-nitrogenated edition of Guinness Draught, and is itself confusing called Guinness Original in the UK. I think.

    I've never tasted the Canadian one, but it sounds a lot like the Irish 7.5% ABV version of Guinness Foreign Extra, which I believe is difficult to get hold of in North America.

  2. From what I can ascertain over here, this is the only one without widget, and at something daft like $8 a six pack could become regular in the cellar.

  3. I am able to get Guinness Extra Stout as pictured above without the widget at my local supermarket. Its good stuff, I usually toss one in when building my own six pack. I prefer it to the standard draft and nitro widget versions. As you said it presents a much bolder and roastier flavor. Its not as bland as its more popular creamy cousin in my opinion.

  4. One more thing, I will also be bottling my batch of Int'l Homebrew Project APA this Sunday. Everything is looking good.

  5. Regular nitro Guinness is fine in a pinch, but this was head and shoulders above it - I am looking forward to comparing it to O'Hara's soon.


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