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Stone Supremely Self-Conscious Black Ale available at Wetherspoon

By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on

Mitch Steele weighs out hops - clearly meeting with approvalThe beer we brewed with Stone Brewing Company is now live exclusively in J D Wetherspoon outlets. The beer was given a name too long for our more mono-syllabic cask label printer, it was called “Stone Supremely Self-Conscious Black Ale”. Mitch Steele and Jeremy Moynier came over from San Diego to brew the beer - you can see pictures of their visit the the brewery on Flickr. As with the other exclusive Wetherspoon beers the usual back and forth of emails had resulted in the recipe being almost finished by the time we actually met up to do the brew. I had actually met Mitch once before, about 3 or 4 years ago whilst doing a tasting at our London Adnams Cellar & Kitchen Store. I didn’t know Mitch at the time, although I did of course know of him. I was explaining about our brewing process to the customers at the store and there was a stream of knowledgeable questions emanating from the back of the group. This isn’t usual, most of the time I can be fairly comfortable that I know more about brewing than the assembled guests when I do a tasting, however the details in the questions led me to believe I might not be. At the end Mitch introduced himself and alongside him was Steve Wagner, also of Stone Brewing, and the eminent Beer Writer Martyn Cornell. So no pressure there then. The beer Mitch and Jeremy wanted to brew was a version of a black IPA that they brew back home. Black IPAs are essentially very dark beers that have the appearance of a black stout/porter but the taste of a hoppy IPA. The brewing went fine with the one significant snag being that the amount of hops we added meant we blocked up our wort cooler. The wort cooler is what we use to cool the beer down after we’ve boiled it just before it goes into the fermenting vessel. Brewers Belinda Jennings, Jeremy Moynier, Mitch Steele and Fergus FitzgeraldThe wort cooler is made up of a series of metal plates with very small gaps between the plates to aid the transfer of heat. So when you start trying to put hops through it they block up very quickly and take a bit of unblocking. Although I’m sure Mitch is happy to take credit for it, it’s sort of his badge of honour as he had the same experience at Wadsworth, it was really our own fault as we should have stopped pumping when the flow-rate started to drop. I wouldn’t have minded too much but it did mean I had to leave Mitch and Jeremy in the midst of a dinner with Mark Dorber at The Anchor in Walberswick to help unblock the cooler. It’s also not the first time we’ve blocked it up, although that involved a lot of orange-peel and coriander, so we knew what was needed. Anyway, I’m happy to report the beer turned out very well, after the addition of a little extra dry hopping, so enjoy. Earlier this week we also had a visit from Dann and Martha from Pretty things  which was also for a beer for J D Wetherspoon. I’ll tell you a bit more about that another day. The Wetherspoon Real Ale Festival - United States meets United Kingdom - is on now and until Thursday 31st October 2013. You can taste a range of American beers brewed in the UK, and also Adnams Barley Mow - brewed to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of Autumn.  

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Fergus Fitzgerald

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