Our Own Cask Ale
At The Devonshire Arms we strive to set ourselves apart from the competition in many ways, whether this be our amazing policy on wines, our unique gin selection or the twists Darren applies to our food dishes.
With this in mind what better way to stand out than with our very own beer! Not just a rebadged, mass produced beer from a big brewery but our very own brew you can't get anywhere else!
In a collaboration with Eyam Brewery, a brewery which we use regularly, we have crafted our very own IPA with flavours and aromas that will both compliment the dishes we cook with such as our Beer Battered Fish & Chips or our Mushroom rarebit.
Gervaise, the head brewer and one man band carefully selected the hops to match the flavour profiles we had in mind, a combination of Hallertau Blanc, Cascade & Fuggles were used to achieve our brew but we’re keeping the quantities of each a secret!
I was up early at the brewery to get my hands dirty helping brew the beer myself. The first step is mashing; this involves getting all the sugars from our grain mix which combined with the yeast later creates the alcoholic portion of the beer. This is done in a large vessel filled with hot water to which bags of grain are added in and mashed together, hence the name, many big breweries would have this step automated in large machines but over in Eyam we do this by hand. Using what looks like a canoe paddle we manually mix the grains into the water to break them up and create a larger surface area, with a consistency like thick porridge. This is more of an upper body workout than a simple task and i'm not ashamed to admit i was sore the next day!
Once all our bags of grains are mashed into the mixture our now starchy sugar water is filtered out and pumped into the boiler. This process takes around an hour with regular checks to the mixture with a refractometer to measure the concentration of sucrose, this gives us a rough idea to what ABV% we will end up at after the fermentation stage is done.
Once this stage is done the boiler is turned on and now we create our flavours. It’s not as simple as just throwing your hops in and calling it a day, the timing of when you add which ones in the boiler plays a huge part in the outcome of your beer, the earlier you add your hops the more bitterness comes through in the end product. With this in mind we added our first hops straight away, the british Fuggles hops commonly used in darker beers, this will provide the main flavour profile of our beer giving it a nice amber colour with a floral aromas but a well rounded woody taste. We now leave the boiler for around an hour before adding our other two hops for a short boil to create the sweeter flavours. Hallertau Blanc giving us some wine like flavours such as cassis, grapes, & grapefruit and Cascade building on those with citrus flavours dominated by grapefruit which should give us a much dryer finish than a lot of the fruity IPAs around, combined with its darker than normal colour this will be a perfect pint for the colder Autumn months.
Once these hops have been boiled for further 15 minutes it is time for the long fermentation process, the solution is pumped through a heat exchanger to bring the temperature much closer to our desired 21C fermentation temperature where it is then pumped into a larger temperature controlled fermenter. Once the full solution has been pumped in we take some in a measuring cylinder in which we measure the beer's specific Gravity with a hydrometer, this gives us a much more accurate reading as to the ABV (alcohol by volume) we will end up with. We were aiming for an ABV in the region 4.0 to 4.3% and it looks like we will hit a nice 4.2% from the measurement. Now we add the yeast to allow the sugars to break down and ferment over the course of roughly 10 days, this really tests your patience!
The Wait Is Over
The beer has been conditioned - its looking great and its been put into cask and delivered. A few days in the cellar settling and we are good to go.
We have a delicious crystal clear IPA that we have named "10pm! Hop Off Now" and its ready for you. Keep your eyes peeled for a special social media offer that's coming soon giving you the opportunity to enjoy a pint with up to 50% off.
Which a fantastic project for me and I sincerely hope you enjoy what we have created.