Saturday, 1 September 2012

A Smallholders Ale Cellar.

That's my stash of Scottish Heavy Bitter resting in our Utility room (Boot room if you're posh) and waiting for me to drink.  That picture was taken last week and quite a few of the bottles are no longer full of bitter.  I have attempted brewing ale in the past but never been really successful.  However due to encouragement from readers of this blog, I have finally managed to grasp the nettle and know how to make a reasonable pint of bitter.  

If you have never attempted to make your own bitter or lager or stout or mild.  Here's a fool proof way of making some of your very own ale.

Get yourself down to a home brew shop or somewhere like Wilkinsons.  Then get yourself a fermentation bin, an airlock, a beer making kit (I prefer bitter), some sugar, sterilize everything and just follow the instructions.  A week later or so your beer will have stopped sending bubbles up and it will be ready for bottling.  So sanitize your bottles and fill them with your grog.  Then leave them for a few days (about a week to ten days) and you will be ready to drink it.  Of course I don't wait that long (7 days) and I have to drink a few bottles.

If for some reason you're not happy with your brew do not despair.  Pour some in a jug and then pour it from an height into a glass and top up with some bought bitter.  I tend to use Theakstons or Newcastle Brown Ale.

C'mon folks.  If I can make my own ale, anybody can.  Plus you will have made yourself forty pints for less than twenty two quid and that's including a bag of sugar.  Not bad eh?


  1. Brilliant article, Dave. As I understand it, and I could be wrong, of course, if you wait two weeks for both fermentation (bucket and bottle) stages, you may well get an even better beer.

    It's years ago since I brewed beer (bitter and real ale, I found lager too messy), but two of the tricks of the trade are adding a little more sugar (e.g. a teaspoon full) for the bottling stage to get the second fermentation, and using small platic bottles with tight-fitting plastic tops (e.g. the small black tango bottles with orange tops if they still have them). The latter process will assure you of the build up of gas, and eventually, a reasonably healthy head on the beer. The latter tip is not rocket science, but I would say vital.

  2. Thanks Pat. Thanks to yourself and Cumbrian, it looks like I (we) have finally managed to make a good pint of bitter for very little money.

    Thanks again for the very welcome encouragement and advice Pat. Especially topping up any flattish bitter with some bought stuff and your advice about secondary fermentation in the bottling process.

    The great thing about living on a smallholding is that you can try to make it your goal to become self supporting. Be it raising animals for meat, growing vegetables, making ale, writing, painting, photography or even just talking about it... Not that you have to live on a smallholding to do it, but it helps.

    I really enjoy reading and looking at the photographs on your blog: Pat Papertown 2. I think you have got really something special there.


  3. Nice to see I'm not the only one with such a diverse collection of bottles. The ale tastes the same whatever the bottle though.

    Been a bit lax this last 2 weeks, off in Fuertaventura, so brewing's been on hold, got 2 empty kegs, so that's this weeks project to fill them.

  4. Yeah we have got one brew on the go and three lots bottled. Plus there is a delivery coming this week for twenty pints for 5 Euro and another 40 pints of Scottish heavy.

    Good luck with the brewing Cumbrian. What was Fuertaventura like?



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