Migrator IPA 7.9% – a word from our Head Brewer

In my interview, I asked if I could brew a seasonal and after much negotiation I was challenged with brewing a big bold IPA in the American style. I started a recipe formulation and calculation process, incidentally trying out some really good beer from British and American breweries, tracing the recipes and writing what I liked and didn’t like about each.

I took a very successful recipe I had formulated for my previous brewery, which was more of an English IPA, 6% and all cask, and I played with that. I changed pretty much everything but kept the malt backbone of that recipe.

Once I came up with a prototype recipe, I did some experiments dry hopping 5 litres of Blonde to see if my combinations of flavours worked. The next challenge was sourcing the ingredients.

I was adamant at first to use dextrose to dry the beer out, like Pliny the Elder, and give it a cleaner flavour but I couldn’t source it organically. I also came to feel that it went against my German trained roots to add essentially refined sugars to a beer and it wasn’t quite fitting with the Back Isle ideology, so back to the drawing board…

Bottling 008Spent Grain 002WBrewery Boys 001W

In the end, I decided to use a long mash at low temperature to encourage higher fermentability and therefore that flavour I was searching for.

Malts used in making Migrator:

  • Extra pale
  • Munich
  • Low colour crystal

With hops I wanted to emulate the gung-ho hopping regimes of the American breweries but those hopping rates with organic hops, which are hard to come by, were near impossible. Also, in the Black Isle we don’t want to just waste such a beautiful ingredient by chucking heaps and heaps in. So together with my team and lots of textbook reading and consulting and seeing what other breweries were doing we looked at ways of creating that same hop flavour and hit with less hops, added in a much more efficient manner.

We finally decided on:

  • Simcoe
  • Cascade
  • Chinook

And a hint of Nelson Sauvin and Citra in the dry hop.Brewery Boys 20W

Next on the list was water, our water is very good for the beers we brew so it just need slight tweaking with salts to make the hop flavours sing.

As for the last but most important ingredient, yeast, we decided to try something new. At Black Isle we have our own special culture, a house strain, which gives Blonde its lovely estery notes and Red Kite its rich malt backbone, but for a hoppy IPA we decided to go with a classic west coast American yeast famous for its clean flavours and ability to showcase hops.

Brewery Boys 19W

All in all, the recipe formulation took about 2-3 months and involved endless chats/tastings about what we were aiming to create. On the brew-day the team was really excited to brew something new so we all started at 6am. It went beautifully with everything going to plan, which is a first in new recipes for me…

Once she was put to bed we tested every day to assess the fermentation and flavour formation. The beer had come out good but didn’t have the quite the right blend of hops flavours I was looking for. We were going to dry hop but a series of quick recalculations was needed to work out how to put it back into balance which meant all those little experiments with blonde helped immensely. We gave it a full month to cold mature, to mellow out all these flavours. Now it’s in keg and bottle it’s really a beer I can say I’m proud of (though I’m not saying I won’t tweak around a little if I get to brew it again… I am a brewer after all).

The finished product is a bold hitting cacophony of sweet grapefruit lychee flavour with a strong piney undertone and a pinch of tropical fruit with enough malt to hold those flavours in balance. 7.9% so it’s a good 1/3rd of a pint job.

Name wise, this is literally the hardest part of brewing. Many suggestions were aired, with Bullfinch to tie in with Goldfinch looking likely but I felt that we should link it with our other special strong beer, Hibernator. To showcase the links with our amazing Scottish malts, organic hops from New Zealand and the Yakima Valley, Washington, we finally decided on the name Migrator.
geese migrating_95431132_402x283

I have this image in my head of the artwork being a silhouette of the farm with a ‘v’ of geese flying overhead, which when we brewed it was all the sky was full of! But I have no idea what they are actually going to do yet. I have worked for a few breweries now and made a good proportion of the core recipes for their brands but I can honestly say that this is the one I’m happiest with. Hopefully the sales team knock it out the park so I can brew it again!

Soon to be available in the brewery shop and online. We will also have it on draft when we open our brewery bar in June!

Douglas Williams

Head Brewer at Black Isle Brewing Co Ltd

Try our latest beer – Goldfinch Gluten Free

 

Goldfinch W

Spring has sprung

The grass is ris

I wonder where them birdies is.

The little birds is on the wing

Ain’t that absurd

The little wings is on the bird!

Which brings us seasonally onto our newest beer Goldfinch 3.5% session I.P.A. launched this spring in Waitrose in Scotland and on draft across all Fuller Thomson bars.
Bursting with citrusy zing, this light, refreshingly hopped session IPA comes with the added bonus of being certified Gluten Free – good for you, good for the environment too and particularly good for your mate with the dodgy tum!
IMG_1429

Follow us on Twitter @BlackIsleBeer to be the first to find out the latest bars and venues selling Goldfinch and our other beers.

ATTENTION LONDON BEER LOVERS!

The Black Isle Brewery is pleased to announce that in addition to their Glasgow & Cheltenham stores our delightful organic Scottish brews are now available at all Whole Foods Market stores in London.

Whole Foods London stock the following Black Isle beauties:
Scotch Ale
Goldeneye
Hibernator Oatmeal Stout
Red Kite
Blonde

So why not pop along to one of their stores and treat yourself to a thirst quenching Black Isle beer. It’s good for you and for the environment too.

Click the link below to find your nearest Whole Foods Store store

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list

Photos taken at Whole Foods Market in Piccadilly Circus

 

Monsoon Porter

Recently the Black Isle Brewery has come together with the award winning Artisan Roast Coffee to produce a sensational storm in a beer cask now hitting the Stockbridge Tap, in Edinburgh, and other selected outlets in the city.

This huge dark front of caffeine and malt has been produced by a collision of Black Isle Porter, brewed with organic chocolate malt, mixed up with a heavy downpour of Artisan Roast Monsoon Malabar coffee beans, from Southern India.

These beans have been laid out to dry on racks after the monsoon rains and during this process the wet monsoon winds circulate around the crops turning the green coffee beans a rich golden yellow colour and absorbing the rich earthy, spicy flavours.

Black Isle Monsoon Porter 4.2% is a roasted, toasted, lip-smacker of rich bitter chocolate, cinnamon, espresso and cracked pepper – the perfect antidote for any rainy season.

A severe whether warning was issued this morning – whether, or not, to drop everything right now and head to the pub to avoid being marooned without it!

Monsoon Porter

Rudi Rye’ds Again!

This year’s Christmas cracker, Rudi’s Red Rye, comes in the form of a 6.8% Rye Ale brewed with Organic Rye malt, Organic ginger, cinnamon, and orange peel. “A rich, warming red ale, packed with aromas of candied peel and fruit.”

photo

New Pluscarden Abbey Blonde

Pluscarden Abbey Blonde

We have just released a special Abbey Blonde 5%, in association with the Benedictine Monks at Pluscarden Abbey, Morayshire.

The Belgian-inspired blonde beer is similar in style to those brewed by monastic communities in Belgium and Germany and traditionally drunk during the 40-day Lenten fasting period for sustenance and nourishment.

Brother Michael de Klerk has made several visits to the brewery and worked alongside the Black Isle team to brew the beer. It is a pale yellow in colour with distinctive notes of banana and vanilla on the nose. It’s perfect spring beer to toast the season of renewed life and rejuvenation. This is the only beer brewed with monks in Scotland.

Brother Michael said, “We are very happy to be associated with the Black Isle Brewery in this project. It has highlighted the link between monks and the noble craft of brewing, which our continental brethren have taken to a very high level of expertise”.

Pluscarden Abbey Blonde has a limited run in 330ml bottles and is available from our online shop and in selected Edinburgh beer retailers.

Introducing… Big Butt Oak Aged Barley Wine

We’ve just launched another limited edition winter warmer…. Big Butt Oak Aged Barley Wine (8.5% ABV).

Big Butt Oak Aged Barley Wine

Aged in oak sherry butts for 4 months prior to bottling, once poured this strong, deep peat-coloured beer opens up warm aromas of malt-loaf, spice, vanilla and alcohol. A nourishing seasonal winter beer perfect for sitting by the fire and getting the frost out of your toes.

It’s available now in 330ml bottles from our online shop. It will also be appearing shortly in selected Edinburgh pubs & beer retailers. This is a limited release, so grab it while you can!

New Smoked Porter

If you can’t get to Bamberg this autumn, bring Bamberg to you with this delicious, dark, dusky, smokey, Bavarian beauty… our new limited edition Smoked Porter is in our online shop now!

After a smash hit debut at Jocktoberfest, where it was by far the biggest selling cask beer, we thought we’d make it more widely available for those who missed out… or for those keen to relive the magic.

Black Isle Smoked Porter

It’s a blend of German roasted malts and our local smoked barley, which might even put a smile on a disgruntled German Chancellor’s face.

Order it while you can — it won’t be around forever! 

Here’s the buzz on Twitter…

https://twitter.com/Arthur_Duncan/status/399973570950201344

 

Barrel Aged Black Run

Black Isle Black Run

We like to treat all our beers with the same care and passion. Occasionally one comes out which we believe deserves to be treated a little differently. That was the case with the Black Run. Whilst this was an amazing beer in it’s own right Head Brewer, Colin Stronge, thought we could add something a little extra special. 250.5 litres of this 8.4% hoppy imperial stout were bottled in December 2012 with the remainder of the brew being given all winter to pick up flavours and mature in a range of casks borrowed from Tomatin. We have Sherry Butts that have had a single fill of Tomatin Whisky, Bourbon Casks that also had a single fill of Tomatin Whisky and triple fill Tomatin Whisky casks.

This aging has allowed each cask of this beer which is the strongest, blackest and hoppiest beer we have produced to date, to develop its own unique flavour:

Sherry butt – 4 months 8.4%abv
Starting with cedar wood and molasses in the aroma then leading to flavours of raisin, plum, liquorice, some smoke, coffee, oily green leaves and a slightly boozy finish.

Tomatin Whisky cask – 4 months 9.5%abv
A boozy nose with notes of eucalyptus & Demerara sugar. The flavours start with a little sherbet, oily green hops, leather, tobacco, oak and a lightly sweet finish.

Bourbon barrel – 4 months 9.7%abv
Aromas of vanilla, wood and red berry fruit. The flavours of vanilla, leather, oak and elderflower marry wonderfully. Finishes with a boozy and woody nose and full palate.

All three beers are available from our website

Here is a link to our friends at Tomatin.

Breakfast Delivered

For those who wish to reduce rather than rescind their alcohol intake for lent or purley for those who want to try a lower alcohol yet full bodied and full hopped we have the 2.8% Cold Turkey Breakfast Beer.

For the next 28 days this 2.8% beer will be available by mailorder from our website for just £2.08 a bottle.  Yes, we did let the percentage go to our head.