Article

Isle of Man

Far out in the North Sea between England, Ireland, and Scotland is a pristine and unique island. Tiny — just 50 kilometers by 20 kilometers (32.5 x 13.5 miles) — it was settled by Norse explorers, Scots, and Irish. It has its own language, its own currency, and a 10,000-year history. Tynwald, its parliament (established in the Norse tradition) has lasted over 1,000 years. It is a place of glens and kirks, sheep-covered hillside pastures, fishing fleets, and of course, fairies.

The Isle of Man, home of Celtic god Manannan, is a UNESCO-protected biosphere known for tailless cats, kippered herring, and motorcycle races. The famous — or infamous — Manx TT races stretch two weeks from May into June each year, and doubles the normal population of 80,000. And those TT tourists are notoriously thirsty beer lovers.

Since the mid-1800s the Isle of Man has produced beers known throughout England; the Isle of Man was a Victorian-era holiday hotspot and a premiere tourist destination well into the 1960s. Manx beers are different from continental beers, as the Isle of Man has only surface water from impoundment reservoirs capturing rainwater. So, Manx beers tended to be rounder, fuller in the mouth than, say, the beers of Burton-on-Trent or Dublin, due to lower minerals and calcium carbonate. As a result, most beers historically were bitters and milds, and their ABV was well under what is most common in North America, typically hovering around 3.2% ABV.

When I visited a decade ago I saw no beer — Manx or English — stronger than 4.2 percent, and almost none in bottles with the exception of Bushy’s TT Lager. Public houses would advertise each beer, all in cask, by brewery and strength — and resulting price-per-pint. For instance, “Theakston’s 3.2%, £2.6d” written on the chalkboard. You were expected to know all the beers a brewery produced. As they were all session beers, you could.

On that decade-ago visit, I walked the promenade in Douglas, pub-to-pub, pint-to-pint relying only on shoe leather. While much has remained unchanged, years later as I once again visited Isle of Man, I still walked pub-to-pub, but the beers offered were of a greater variety. Pints pulled from beer engines are now more regularly as strong as 4.5% ABV, and occasionally well beyond. In that respect, the island has followed the UK, which has followed the United States . . . slowly. So, the Manx idea of a strong beer would be what passes for a North American session beer.

Perhaps unique, there is no large bottling facility at any of the four Isle of Man breweries. Earlier this year I visited three of these island breweries, but unfortunately ran out of time before having a chance to visit Bushy’s Brewery. Traditional cask beer remains the standard throughout the Isle of Man, as do hand pulls and beer engines. While bottled beer is available from all the Manx breweries, little is bottled on the island. Interestingly, that “green” beer is sent off the island to be bottled. An exception is Hooded Ram, which hand bottles a select few specialty beers, sending the others to be bottled in England.

From a brewer’s perspective, the island’s reservoirs contain very soft and pure water subjected to multiple daily purity tests. According to the Manx Public Works Department, 2017 water averaged 40 mg/L of total hardness as CaCO3 mg/L. Brewing authority John Palmer says 150 mg/L is necessary to brew typical beers. So, Manx brewers have no need to purify their water, only to adjust acidity and hardness and filter out requisite chlorination to suit their brewing process.

Similar to laws in some other countries centuries ago — most famously the German Reinheitsgebot — Isle of Man enacted the “Manx Brewing Purity Act of 1874,” which prohibited the use of certain ingredients early in the Industrial Revolution. The original law read:

“No brewer shall use in the brewing, making, mixing with, recovering or colouring, any beer or any liquid made to resemble beer, or have in his possession any copperas, coculus indicus, nux vomica, grains of paradise, guinea pepper, or opium or any article, ingredient, or preparation whatever for, or as a substitute for malt, sugar or hops.”

Every brewery on the island credits the Manx Brewing Purity Law with creating opportunity for great beer. Like the German Reinheitsgebot, the mandate for nothing but malt, hops, sugar, and water (recently updated to allow production of lager, wheat beer and fruit beer) is heartily endorsed by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). They, and most people on the island, believe this results in better beer.

Visiting Manx breweries (as well as distilleries and one winery, which I won’t be covering here) required travel from lodgings in Ramsey to Douglas, roughly north to south, often using the Manx Electric Railway and Douglas Bay Horse Tramway. That allowed sightseeing along the eastern coast as I headed out for my first Manx beer, a proper pint of Bosun Bitter.

Old Laxey Brewing Company

Old Laxey Brewing Company is the smallest brewery on the Island. The brewery is connected to the Shore Hotel on the northeast coast. Brewer Paul Phillips and a friend who brewed for Tetley’s started Old Laxey 22 years ago. Their intent was “To take over the world with our beers,” Paul told me. “It didn’t happen.”

“We’re not big enough to brew more than one beer,” Paul says. “We (have the brewing capacity) without a doubt. Still, this is the only cask beer we sell. You see, we have (mostly) the same patrons year around; it’s a nice village pub and I think the secret to good beer is to keep it moving,” Paul explained.

Paul brews on a 5-barrel, direct-fired brew system. Over the years his recipe has changed little. “Bosun Bitter is the beer we brewed first and we’ve kept it the same, apart from reducing the hops and the boil time. Everything else is exactly the same,” Paul told me. Atypically, Paul does not use dry hopping in the casks. “We only have cask beer in the house and I think Bosun Bitter is hoppy enough as is,” he said.

Brewing his traditional Bitter proceeds in accordance with the Manx Beer Purity Act, using a grist composed primarily of English pale malt, some crystal malt, and a hint of chocolate malt for color.

Hopping is also traditional, a combination of Challenger and Fuggle with additions at 40 minutes for bittering and 10 minutes before flame out for aroma. The beer, after chilling and fermentation using Thwaites Brewery’s yeast, goes into firkins the second day to create natural carbonation. Well, mostly firkins, in summer the sizes go up to 18-gallon (that’s imperial, so 21 US gallons/79 liters) kilderkins, or kils.

Talking makes for thirst, so a pint of Bosun Bitter was in order. Jill Phillips, Paul’s wife, poured “a proper pint,” which took nearly a minute using a traditional beer engine. The beer was bright, barely any sign of haze, and with a wonderful copper color. The head touched the rim of its traditional English beer glass, and there was modest aroma from the Fuggle and Challenger hops. In the mouth, Bosun Bitter was firmly hopped, with lingering hop bitterness, and clean. I could taste the malt (my best guess, Golden Promise) and modest crystal to deliver both sweetness and mouthfeel.

“I’m very pleased with what we produce. It’s what we don’t put in our beer that makes it different. We stop the beer from working (fermenting); we put it to sleep with some residual sugars by chilling and it carbonates naturally as it warms. We cannot aid the beer in any way; there are no CO2 additions,” Paul explained.

Hooded Ram Brewing Company

Departing Laxey, I boarded the Manx Electric Railway to Douglas’ Derby Castle Terminus, and then rode the 140-year old Douglas Bay Horse Tramway as it clopped and wobbled along Loch Promenade to the IOM Sea Terminal. I then walked along Kerrin Oonlee (Bath Place in Manx) and over the swing bridge crossing the River Glass, then meandered down Castletown Road.

Passing muffler shops, auto mechanics, and warehouses, I wondered if Siri was leading me astray. Then a large charcoal building with a giant ram logo appeared. At last, a clue! Once inside, I met Rob Storey.

Rob, while working in finance, had the good fortune to join CAMRA, became local secretary, and eventually organized the 2011 Manx CAMRA Beer Fest. Rob saw that there was a great quantity of beer imported. “Seeing a business opportunity, I decided to give it a go,” he told me.

In 2012, Rob booked a brewing course at Sunderland Brewlab in the UK, having never homebrewed. He left with a 300-page brief “that had almost no relevance to what happened, in the end.” Visiting Loch Ness Brewery in Scotland to look at their 2.5-barrel system, he then bought a second-hand brewing system from Three Kings Brewery in North Shields, Scotland. His first brew on the Isle of Man was September 15, 2013, Little King Louie IPA, named after his son, and a recipe he’d sketched while at the brew course.

It was bottled, kegged, filled into casks, and canned in a previous facility. On Hooded Ram’s first birthday they increased the brewhouse to ten barrels. “In the early days we would brew, bottle, and bottle condition. Mom and Dad would come and stick labels on the bottles; very much a family affair,” Rob explained.

From the start, Hooded Ram has set out to make its brand distinctive from other options on the island. “Beer on the island, before I started brewing, filled a narrow margin of what beer and real ale is. The exception is Okell’s, who have made some exceptional beers, even winning the World Beer Cup!” Hooded Ram does a lot of — by Manx standards — very hoppy beers. “Some people complain that we use too many hops — there is no such thing! If you want brown and wet, that’s made on the island as well.”

Hooded Ram is “now on recipe 68 in five years, some to be brought back, some not.” A previous brewery was accessible; people could visit, tour and smell the brewing process. That’s something the new brewery doesn’t (yet) offer.

The first recipe, Little King Louie, has remained unchanged since the recipe was drawn, Fat Ram (recipe #5) has undergone a hopping tweak, and Amber Ram (which Rob says makes up 40 percent of sales) “was recipe number six or seven.” They also make pilot brews that they refer to as “Funky beers, for the Manx palate on a 26-gallon (100-L) system.”

In addition to more hops, Hooded Ram also strays from the island’s norm with unique ingredients and styles.  As stated earlier, the Manx Brewing Purity Act is still in effect — that said, Hooded Ram is clearly pushing the limits with beers that include ingredient additions of chai, mint, chocolate, and other non-traditional brewing ingredients. When asked about the discrepancy related to the law, Hooded Ram’s Founder and recipe designer Rob Storey said it’s a gray area and the law is open to interpretation. “It’s a good question and one I have been seeking an answer to as no one is able to tell me what the repercussions are for not complying, but almost anything can now be added, and I believe so long as they are not “substituting” one of the four core ingredients they are “additions.”

Their Black Pearl Oyster Stout is one beer that stretches the limits. “We smashed it full of Scottish oysters. We brewed while eating oysters stewed in brewing liquor pulled from the kettle, and while drinking the previous oyster stout. It was all very decadent.” They have done other experimental brews — a Chai IPA, a spice-aged beer, a brew with a late pineapple juice addition, another with orange and black pepper, a key lime pie beer, and a chocolate mint stout, which Rob says, “worked quite well. We cask aged our normal stout with fresh mint and Madagascar cocoa nibs.”

In other ways, the brewery adheres to old-school British brewing. “Only leaf hops, which pushes our kettle to the limit as we have no whirlpool (yet), and no lauter tun. We use English grain, with some Manx rye, and our hops are partly English,” Rob said. “The majority of our hops come from the Yakima Valley.”

“What we do is so simple — until we start to bottle and have to worry about bacteria and wild yeast,” Rob confided. That concern will be magnified when Hooded Ram begins to can their beers, hopefully this year.

“English beers are so easy — and then we smash it full of American hops!” Rob says.

Okell’s Brewery

Okell’s is the island’s oldest continuously operating brewery. Its history begins in 1850 when Dr. William Okell opened his first brewery, at the time outside Douglas. Dr. Okell soon outgrew the original location and custom-built a new brewery, the Falcon Steam Brewery, which opened in 1874. As a scientist, he created a forward-looking, steam-fired brewery. Okell’s now brews a large array of beers for local consumption, and also distributes to pubs “over” on the mainland, supplying them in casks, bottles, and kegs from a new brewery built in 1994.

Okell’s has three beers on permanent cask, 13 seasonal cask beers, and three bottled beers. Their brewery is the island’s largest with a 20,000-barrel annual capacity (10,000 barrels of ale, another 10,000 barrels of lager). Okell’s is the most fully featured brewery on the island and is the least visitor-friendly, as it is contained within an enormous warehouse.

That didn’t stop Consultant Brewer Dr. Mike Cowbourne from welcoming me warmly on my latest visit by offering a handshake and a fluorescent lime-green safety vest.

We traipsed through the warehouse of Heron & Brearley’s, a major Manx hospitality industry importer and owner of Okell’s. After climbing multiple flights of stairs we reached Okell’s impressive brewhouse. Clad in wood and topped by stainless domes, were eight kettles. These are unique in all of the UK, as they are not heated by steam or direct-fired. Instead, wort is heated using “a wide-gap plate-and-frame heat exchanger, the only one in the British Isles,” Mike told me.

At first, Okell’s brewed only bitters and milds, similar to most English breweries. “Our Mild used to be 3.4% ABV, which was quite strong for a Mild, when most were 3.0–3.2,” Mike said. In 1996 Okell’s brewed their first special brew, a strong bitter, for the Onchan Commissioner’s celebration. From that modest beginning, their fleet of offerings has grown.

At the other end of the room filled with coppers was the computer-driven command center, offering Mike — a Doctor of Biochemistry — retrieval of all recipes and control over the mash tun — which is multi-step capable. In the original brewery design, lagers were important to both revenue and growth. Labatt Brewing Co. and Carling were willing to license their beer to be brewed at Okell’s, and Labatt was chosen because of its Formula 1 sponsorship. At the time, F1 driver Nigel Mansel lived on the Isle of Man, an obvious connection. When Nigel and the opportunity vanished, Okell’s tried their own “cooil” or cool in the Manx language, which was semi-successful at 4,000 barrels per year, while making and selling 10,000 barrels of ale. Lager is no longer made, as consumption has dropped on the Isle of Man. Thus, several bright tanks now sit idle.

Okell’s Bitter, their best seller, is a typical English bitter at 3.7% ABV. “There’s quite an art, I think, in making a beer that is very low ABV and drinkable, and sessionable. Not sessionable because of low ABV, but because you want another pint,” the brewer opined.

The next highest seller is Manx Pale Ale, or MPA, at 3.6% ABV, a hoppy-citrusy and light-in-color beer that is atypical of British bitters. It was developed for Okell’s Yorkshire pubs. That makes Okell’s a provider of non-standard beers (for England). Though Mike considers it unbalanced towards hops, it’s a big seller.

Mike says 5.5% ABV is the maximum Manx drinkers will approve. That said, his 1907 (first brewed to commemorate the centenary of the Manx TT races in 2007) is bottled at 6.1% ABV (a draft version is 4.5% ABV). The 2018 batch sold out all 20 imperial barrels in just four days! Perhaps the higher-ABV revolution is trans-continental?

“Our hopping regime is fairly conservative. When we’re about half way to copper-full we put the first lot in, and start heating. They’re pure bitterness hops of all sorts, mainly English, though we do use American, Australian, and New Zealand hops. When we moved here in ’94, we were using only English hops, mainly Fuggle and Goldings, some Challenger,” Mike continued. 

“Five minutes before the end of the boil we add more hops. When going to whirlpool we add more hops. For most of the seasonals and specials we will dry hop in the fermenter, at end of fermentation.”

The best beer Okell’s has brewed, in Mike’s opinion, is a smoked porter using distiller’s peated malt. “Aile” smoked porter won gold in Best Specialty Beer (against Sam Adams Utopias!) and Best Specialty Beer in the World at the International Beer Challenge (Sussex, England, 2016). However, “If I’m having only one or two, I’ll drink Triskelion, basically a West Coast IPA.” At 5-percent ABV it’s low on our scale, but it’s a higher ABV beer for Manx drinkers. For Triskelion, Mike uses Cascade, Amarillo®, and Citra® hops. Note that UK brewers formerly dismissed North American hops as unusable, but seem to have come around!

Looking Forward

Asked about the future of beer on the Island, Mike said, “We’re slowly following the UK, which is slowly following the States. Last year we did a Northeast IPA — cloudy, murky, citrus fruit bomb. (It was) the first time we’ve intentionally sold a cloudy beer; it’s sloppy brewing,” he said, ruefully.

New England IPA may be a passing fad on the island, or it may continue. At Okell’s, that will depend on the next brewer; Mike is retiring soon. According to Rob, Hooded Ram “Likely will see what we can do with the style.” It’s certainly not in the future at Old Laxey Brewing Company.

As to the future of native beer, midst the increase of alco-pops of endless variation, I like a comment Rob made while we were talking.

“I think the most important change is the attitude of younger drinkers. Instead of ‘How many pints can I get for 20 quid?’ now they want an experience to share on Facebook, WeChat, and Instagram,” he told me. That seems similar to what many brewpubs in the States are creating, “the experience.”

And oddly, while some of the Manx breweries explore higher-ABV beers and new styles, many of our domestic breweries are turning, at least partly, away from high-ABV products and returning to perfectly crafted session beers and traditional styles. Long live the revolution!

Recipes

Old Laxey Brewing Co.’s Bosun Bitter Clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.036   FG = 1.007
IBU = 30   SRM = 11   ABV = 3.8%

While the gravity and ABV might lead you to think this is a watery beer, it is not. Mashing in relatively warm and the addition of crystal malts make for a nice mouthfeel. The low ABV makes it an easy beer to enjoy pint after pint. And that’s the way it is meant to be.

Ingredients
7.5 lbs. (3.4 kg) Golden Promise or Crisp pale malt
4 oz. (113 g) British light crystal malt (10 °L)
4 oz. (113 g) British medium crystal malt (55 °L)
3 oz. (85 g) chocolate malt (340 °L)
2.5 AAU East Kent Golding hops (40 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 5% alpha acids)
6 AAU English Challenger hops (40 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 12% alpha acids)
2.5 AAU East Kent Golding hops (10 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 5% alpha acids)
6 AAU English Challenger hops (10 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 12% alpha acids)
1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 min.)
White Labs WLP005 (British Ale) or Wyeast 1098 (British Ale) or Wyeast 1026 (British Cask Ale) or Safale F-2 yeast
1⁄2 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Mill the grains and dough-in, targeting a mash of around 1.25 quarts of water to 1 pound of grain (2.6 L/kg) and a temperature of 156 °F (68 °C). Hold the mash at 156 °F (68 °C) until enzymatic conversion is complete. Sparge slowly with 170 °F (77 °C) water, collecting wort until the pre-boil kettle volume is 6.25 gallons (23.7 L).

Total boil time is 60 minutes. Add hops and Whirlfloc tablet as indicated. Chill the wort to 65 °F (18 °C) and aerate thoroughly. Pitch 1-quart (1-L) yeast starter if using liquid yeast or a package of dried yeast.

Carbonate the beer to around 1.5–2 volumes of CO2 if kegging or bottling. If using casks, you may consider transferring two days after fermentation begins, being sure to take as little trub into the pin or firkin as possible.

Old Laxey Brewing Co.’s Bosun Bitter Clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.036  FG = 1.007
IBU = 30  SRM = 11  ABV = 3.8%

Ingredients
5 lbs. (2.3 kg) Maris Otter liquid malt extract
4 oz. (113 g) British light crystal malt (10 °L)
4 oz. (113 g) British medium crystal malt (55 °L)
3 oz. (85 g) chocolate malt (340 °L)
2.5 AAU East Kent Golding hops (40 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 5% alpha acids)
6 AAU English Challenger hops (40 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 12% alpha acids)
2.5 AAU East Kent Golding hops (10 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 5% alpha acids)
6 AAU English Challenger hops (10 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 12% alpha acids)
1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 min.)
White Labs WLP005 (British Ale) or Wyeast 1098 (British Ale) or Wyeast 1026 (British Cask Ale) or Safale F-2 yeast
1⁄2 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Place crushed grains into a muslin bag. Heat 4 gallons (15.2 L) water to 160 °F (71 °C) with the grains submerged. Remove the grains and the pot from heat. Add the liquid malt extract in the brewpot, dissolving completely before adding heat again. Then top off with water to 6.5 gallons (25 L).

Total boil time is 60 minutes. Add hops and Whirlfloc tablet as indicated. Chill the wort to 65 °F (18 °C) and aerate thoroughly. There should be 5.5 gallons (21 L) of wort in the fermenter. Pitch 1-quart (1-L) yeast starter if using liquid yeast or a package of dried yeast.

Carbonate the beer to around 1.5–2 volumes of CO2 if kegging or bottling. If using casks, you may consider transferring two days after fermentation begins, being sure to take as little trub into the pin or firkin as possible.

Tips for Success:
This beer, from firkin, pin, keg, or bottle is meant to be served at cellar temperature, 47–55 °F (8–12 °C) and enjoyed by the imperial pint. Don’t over-carbonate and don’t over-chill.

 

Hooded Ram Brewing Co.’s Mosaic clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.043  FG = 1.005
IBU =  22  SRM = 5  ABV = 4.9%

This is a relatively simple beer, one designed to showcase Mosaic® hops. By North American standards, it is modestly hopped. Enjoy an alternative to aggressively hopped beers.

Ingredients
7 lbs. (3.2 kg) Golden Promise malt
1.5 lbs. (0.34 kg) rye malt
1 lb. (0.45 kg) light Munich malt
8 oz. (233 g) white wheat
6 AAU Mosaic® hops (60 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 12% alpha acids)
4.8 AAU Mosaic® hops (10 min.) (0.4 oz./12 g at 12% alpha acids)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 min.)
Safale US-05, or White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) or Wyeast 1056 (American Ale)
1⁄2 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Mill the grains and dough-in, targeting a mash of around 1.25 quarts of water to 1 pound of grain (2.6 L/kg) and a temperature of 156 °F (69 °C). Hold the mash at 156 °F (68 °C) until enzymatic conversion is complete, about 60 minutes. Sparge slowly with 170 °F (77 °C) water, collecting wort until the pre-boil kettle volume is 6.5 gallons (24.6 L). Total boil time is 60 minutes. Add hops and Whirlfloc tablet as indicated.

Chill the wort to 65 °F (18 °C) and aerate wort thoroughly. There should be 5.5 gallons (21 L) in the fermenter. Pitch 1-quart (1-L) yeast starter if using liquid yeast or a package of dried yeast. Transfer to secondary when fermentation is complete, adding dry hops for 1 week or less to avoid grassy flavor.

Carbonate the beer to around 1.5–2 volumes of CO2 if kegging or bottling. If using casks, you may consider transferring two days after fermentation begins, being sure to take as little trub into the pin or firkin as possible.

Hooded Ram Brewing Co.’s Mosaic clone

(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.043  FG = 1.005
IBU =  22  SRM = 5  ABV = 4.9%

Ingredients
5 lbs. (2.3 kg.) Maris Otter liquid malt extract
1.5 lbs. (1.36 kg) rye malt
1 lb. (0.45 kg) light Munich malt
8 oz. (233 g) white wheat
6 AAU Mosaic® hops (60 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 12% alpha acids)
4.8 AAU Mosaic® hops (10 min.) (0.4 oz./12 g at 12% alpha acids)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 min.)
Safale US-05, or White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) or Wyeast 1056 (American Ale)
1⁄2 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Heat 4.5 quarts (4.3 L) of water up to 168 °F (76 °C). Place crushed grains in a muslin bag and submerge in the water. Stir to make sure there are no dough balls in the grain bag. Try to maintain mash temperature in the 148–158 °F (65–70 °C) range for 60 minutes. Remove the grains and place in a colander. Wash the grains with 1 gallon (4 L) hot water. Dissolve malt extract into wort; and top off to 6.5 gallons (24.6 L).

Total boil time is 60 minutes, adding bittering hops at 60 minutes into the boil and again 10 minutes before flame out. Add Whirlfloc with 10 minutes left in the boil.

Chill the wort to 65 °F (18 °C) and aerate wort thoroughly. There should be 5.5 gallons (21 L) in the fermenter. Pitch 1-quart (1-L) yeast starter if using liquid yeast or a package of dried yeast. Transfer to secondary when fermentation is complete, adding dry hops for 1 week or less to avoid grassy flavor.

Carbonate the beer to around 1.5–2 volumes of CO2 if kegging or bottling. If using casks, you may consider transferring two days after fermentation begins, being sure to take as little trub into the pin or firkin as possible.

Tips for Success:
Because Manx water is so soft, the brewer Rob Storey Burtonizes the water for this beer (his schedule is Na+ 400, Cl- 200, HCO- 325-50, Ca+ 170 g/bbl). Yours will be different unless starting with reverse osmosis or very soft water.

For his lower hopped beers, Rob first chills to 64–65 °F (17–18 °C) to assist in cold break, then runs off into the fermenter at (65–66 °F (18–19 °C) before pitching. Several yeasts are used; a majority of Hooded Ram’s beers are fermented with Safale’s US-05 yeast, others with Lallemand’s Nottingham.

 

Okell’s Brewery’s Mild clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.029    FG = 1.006
IBU = 12   SRM = 10   ABV = 3%

Ingredients
5 lbs. (2.3 kg) Golden Promise malt
14 oz. (400 g) British light crystal malt (20 °L)
1 oz. (30 g) British medium crystal malt (60 °L)
1.4 oz. (40 g) black malt (500 °L)
2 oz. (57 g) treacle (100 °L)
5 oz. (140 g) invert sugar
1.1 AAU Fuggle hops (60 min.) (0.25 oz./7 g at 4.5% alpha acids)
2.2 AAU Fuggle hops (60 min.) (0.2 oz./6 g at 11% alpha acids)
0.15 oz. (4 g) Fuggle hops (5 min.)
0.15 oz. (4 g) East Kent Golding hops (5 min.)
1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 min.)
Safale S-04 or White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) or Wyeast 1968 (London ESB Ale)
1⁄2 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Mill the grains and dough-in, targeting a mash of around 1.25 quarts of water to 1 pound of grain (2.6 L/kg) and a temperature of 156 °F (68 °C). Hold the mash at 156 °F (68 °C) until enzymatic conversion is complete, about 60 minutes. Sparge slowly with 170 °F (77 °C) water, collecting wort until the pre-boil kettle volume is 6.5 gallons (24.6 L).

Total boil time is 60 minutes. Add hops and Whirlfloc tablet as indicated. Chill the wort to 65–68 °F (18–20 °C) and aerate thoroughly. There should be 5.5 gallons (21 L) of wort in the fermenter. Pitch 1-quart (1-L) yeast starter if using liquid yeast or a package of dried yeast.

Carbonate the beer to around 1.5–2 volumes of CO2 if kegging or bottling. If using casks, you may consider transferring two days after fermentation begins, being sure to take as little trub into the pin or firkin as possible.

Okell’s Brewery’s Mild clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.029    FG = 1.006
IBU = 12   SRM = 10   ABV =  3%

Ingredients
3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) Maris Otter liquid malt extract
14 oz. (400 g) British light crystal malt (20 °L)
1 oz. (30 g) British medium crystal malt (60 °L)
1.4 oz. (40 g) black malt (500 °L)
2 oz. (57 g) treacle (100 °L)
5 oz. (140 g) invert sugar
1.1 AAU Fuggle hops (60 min.) (0.25 oz./7 g at 4.5% alpha acids)
2.2 AAU Fuggle hops (60 min.) (0.2 oz./6 g at 11% alpha acids)
0.15 oz. (4 g) Fuggle hops (5 min.)
0.15 oz. (4 g) East Kent Golding hops (5 min.)
1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 min.)
Safale S-04 or White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) or Wyeast 1968 (London ESB Ale)
1⁄2 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Place crushed grains into a muslin bag. Heat 4 gallons (15.2 L) water to 160 °F (71 °C) with the grains submerged. Remove the grains and the pot from heat. Add the liquid malt extract in the brewpot, dissolving completely before adding heat again. Then top off with water to 6.5 gallons (25 L).

Total boil time is 60 minutes. Add hops and Whirlfloc tablet as indicated. Chill the wort to 65–68 °F (18–20 °C) and aerate thoroughly. There should be 5.5 gallons (21 L) of wort in the fermenter. Pitch 1-quart (1-L) yeast starter if using liquid yeast or a package of dried yeast.

Carbonate the beer to around 1.5–2 volumes of CO2 if kegging or bottling. If using casks, you may consider transferring two days after fermentation begins, being sure to take as little trub into the pin or firkin as possible.

Tips for Success:
The water used at Okell’s is soft, so they Burtonize their water with salts for best results in the Mild. The beer should be ready to drink only a few days after fermentation is complete, adding necessary time for bottle conditioning or keg carbonation. If kegging, I’d suggest natural carbonation in the keg.