I was eating my breakfast, mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw my name pop up in this Turners Brewery status; I’D WON!! All that had been required was the sharing of a previous status update, my name added to and subsequently pulled out of a hat, then boom! I was on my way to making my own beer, something that I’ve been wanting to do for some time- as a passionate beer drinker with a creative streak, daydreaming often takes me to ideas for new brews, but I’m not a home brewer (yet), so this was to be my introduction to brewing.
First up though, what to brew? Something dark maybe, as the crisp autumnal air was pushing in, rich beers had been calling and a good, full bodied, decadent brew is something I find hard to turn down. A stout it would be. I contacted Kes at Turners and he gave me a list of specifics I was to come up with, I set about doing my research and produced something they could hopefully turn into a full recipe;
ABV – 5%
Style – Dry Stout
Colour – As black as possible!
Aroma Profile – cinders, espresso, dark fruits
Taste Profile – full bodied, chocolate, espresso, dry roast, blackberry, lasting finish
Type of Head – thick, lasting, creamy
Type of Bitterness – dry, lasting
Any specific hops- Brewers Gold or First Gold and a late addition of Bramling Cross
Any specific grains – Marris Otter, Roasted barley, Chocolate malt, a little wheat
I’m a West Sussex lass, Turners are East Sussex based and I focus a lot on the Sussex beer scene, so I wanted the county to feature in the title. I wanted the beer to be as black as possible too, so Silhouette seemed fitting (and a bit of alliteration doesn’t hurt).
So with the basic recipe foundations and title approved it was time to draft out a pump clip design. And draft it was, hastily sketched out on a bit of scrap paper, it did however manage to be translated into something more professional, and a second draft was produced, leaving the next stage to be the most fun bit; making Sussex Silhouette a reality; brewing it.
I can’t think of a better way to end a week than by grabbing your mates and road tripping to a brewery set in the beautiful Sussex countryside to brew your own beer on a professional kit. So that’s what I did. Friday 17th October was brew day. Four of us rolled up with a packed lunch and giddy excitement, like kids on a school trip. After a quick introduction Kes gave us the lowdown on the brewery, a tour and an intro to the all the ingredients we would be using, all with great gusto, before handing over to Head Brewer Les who was to be our mentor for the day.
There’d been a slight variation in the grain choice- Marris Otter isn’t a favourite of the Turners team, instead being replaced by other pale malts and Lager malt. As for the other grains, they were all present and correct, we weighed them out and set about mashing in…
Then it was on to the hopping. Breaking up the clumps in the hop bags was probably the best bit for me (simple pleasures), the Bramling Cross were throwing up a heady aroma of fruit cake and I would’ve dived right into one of those hop bags if they’d have been big enough. We started the boil, steam filling the brewery and misting up my glasses, and set about adding those beautiful hops. We used First Gold and Bramling Cross (with a late addition)
Everything was coming together and we transferred the wort to the Fermentation tank, taking a quick sample before the yeast was added. Seeing the beginnings of the beer like this was so exciting- it had all the hallmarks that I’m after, even at that early stage, showing a good head and, when shining a torch light through the side of the glass, allowing no light through at all (Silhouette!)
All I need to do now is try the beer and when I do I shall be updating this post with the tasting notes. But, for now I shall leave you with the finalised pump clip design- it took a detour on the concept, but all the better for it. The crown and Martlett birds now represent the county (both East and West Sussex), the QR code will link through to Look at Brew and importantly for me, I’ve included Mike, Jonny and Baz on the badge because they all had a hand in the brewing, the brew day was all the more fun for having them there to help, plus that community spirit and social side of beer is part of the Turners ethos and the heart of craft beer.
With a special thanks to Kes and Les for being so welcoming and open to our ideas. For more info on Turners Brewery, check out their website here: www.turnersbrewery.com