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Adam Gibson


Review: Arrogant Bastard Ale

Arrogant Bastard | Stone Brewing Co.

Today, America is the front-line in the battle for great beer. With craft breweries opening daily in the land of the free,  more and more people are saying no to the beerhemoths of brewing, Budweiser, Miller, and Coors. Instead, the American public are choosing quality beer from small local breweries. A beer revolution is in full swing, and heading the fight are San Diego brewers, Stone Brewing Co. Today we will be reviewing one of their most famous beers, Arrogant Bastard Ale.

Firstly, a few facts. Arrogant bastard is a 7.2% ABV Strong Ale. First sold in 1997, the blurb on the side of the bottle reads, “This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth.” Arrogant, indeed.Arrogant Bastard Ale


The beer pours a deep caramel red with a tan head which is retained for the entirety of the drink. Large bubbles of co2 and a good bright pour.


Very sweet aroma, deep notes of blackcurrant and cherry which give way to fresh hops and a hint of alcohol harshness.


It’s certainly an aggressive beer as the label and name suggest. A panoply of complex flavours assault your taste buds, the usual dark berry, black chocolate and coffee notes are accompanied by charcoal and molasses flavours.  With my first sip I realised that this was a beer unlike anything I’d tasted before – it was challenging and raw, every time I tried to pin down a flavour it would evolve and change, confusing my unrefined palate. The beer has a certain earthy and feral taste, it’s a flavour I’ve experienced before with other dark american beers; I can best describe it as an earthy almost peaty taste which personally I dislike. Despite it’s high alcohol content of 7.2% there was very little alcohol bite to it.


There’s a lot of hype surrounding Arrogant Bastard Ale, it’s widely praised and has many many hardcore fans, but for me it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Perhaps my expectations were too high, if they were, that had something to do with the boasts of supreme quality and complexity printed on the label. For me, this beer just wasn’t the ‘unprecedented and uncompromising celebration of intensity’ which the blurb promised. I look forward to trying Stone’s more humble offerings, and will be taking a holiday to San Diego in September to visit their brewery (My girlfriend thinks it’s a beach holiday, don’t tell her!)…

DIY Budget False Bottom

We’re back with a new addition to the 10 gallon eHERMS brewery; a budget false bottom for the mash tun. Here’s how you can make one.

DIY Budger

Oxo ‘Good Grips’ Splatter screen with handle:

3x 16mm long M6 stainless steel bolts and nuts.

1 brass tank connector

Total cost = around £20 or $30 at most.

I cut the handle off the splatter screen and then cut and flattened the handle mounting point securely. I then cut the hole for the tank connector, and the 4 holes for the bolts (which are used as stilts to keep it from collapsing.) I fitted the tank connector and bolts fixed with nuts on the underside. I then grabbed the angle grinder and cut two slots in each side of the mash tun’s opening so that I didnt have to make the false bottom a folding one. I plan to fix it with 15mm copper pipe using a small length of hose to join it to the outlet. The weight of the grain bed will hold it down.

And that’s how you make a budget false bottom for a mash tun.


How to Harvest Yeast for Brewing

Hi brewers! I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought it was about time that I put another how-to guide up for all to see! :)

This guide was written by The Homebrew Forum member, ‘Oblivious’. It’s a superbly simple ‘how to’ guide which tells you how to harvest yeast for brewing.
You can find the original thread here.

How to harvest yeast for brewing

This is my method of yeast harvesting, this was done for my last brew a Saison with WLP550

After racking the beer to the keg pour the remaining liquid, trub and yeast into a sterilized container. I find one around 2 liters to be a good size. Place the full container in the fridge for a few hours.

The trub being heavier, will settle out faster than the live yeast. It is the liquid part we are interested in as this will have a greater concentration of viable yeast. Pour this liquid off into a new sterilized container, this can be of a smaller than the first and place in the fridge over night.

As the liquid we placed in the container is yeast rich, we want to harvest the sediment in this container. Decant of the majority of the liquid and transfer the rest includin the sediment to your storage vessel, I use sterilized 50ml tubes.

Decant off the majority of the liquid and pour the yeast in to your selected container. I find there is enough yeast  in each of these tubes to pitch into a starter for a month or so. Over that it I would add two of the tubes to a starter.


We’ve all been there – that horrible moment when we suddenly realised we’ve made a big mistake whilst brewing a batch of beer. Whether it’s remembering, after three days of no fermentation activity, that we forgot to add the yeast on brewday, or realising that we forgot to put the lid on our airlock and that our beer’s been sitting exposed to all kinds of airborne beer-ruining bacteria overnight!

What do we do in these situations? Panic.

“Is it ruined?! What if it’s infected? I must tip it all away down the sink because I messed up and ruined my beer! :(

What should we do in these situations?


Or in laymans terms: Relax, Don’t Worry, Have A Home-Brew!

There’s very little you can do to completely ruin a batch of beer. I once heard a veteran brewer give a panicking newbie the sound advice, “Unless you actually defacated into the fermentation vessel, your beer is going to be just fine.”

Whatever you do, do NOT dump a batch of beer. See how it turns out, and if it’s undrinkable after the full brewing process (after 3 weeks in the bottle!) you are then still not permitted to dump the batch. Beer gets better in time, and the yeast know what they’re doing. Besides, even if you do have an infected batch, it won’t do you any harm! No pathogens can survive in beer, due to the PH level. Even if your beer tastes like a small animal died in it, all it will do is give you an ‘icky tummy’.

So before you tip away that beer you ‘ruined’, give the yeast a chance to do their thing and clean up after your mistakes!…

Quicktip:Boil-kettle volume gauge

We’ve all seen those fancypants brewing rigs with welded in sighting-tubes for gauging the volume of water or wort in the kettle, but what do you do if you can’t afford a fancy boil kettle, or don’t have the skills to fabricate such an elaborate volume-measuring device?

The answer is a lot simpler than you might think: Use a sanitised metal ruler!

Before you brew, fill your boil kettle up in small increments. Each time you add another litre of water (or whatever your unit of measurement is) – dip the ruler into the boil kettle and take a reading of the measurement. Then when you need to know how much liquid is in your kettle during brewing, simply dip the ruler in and check what volume was recorded at that measurement!

You could also do the same thing but using a wooden spoon – score a line for each litre and a thicker line for every 5 litres to make it easy to read.…

Gelatin Finings

Gelatin Finings are used to ‘clear’ beer before kegging or bottling. Gelatin is the most powerful organic fining agent available in brewing.

Note: Gelatin is not vegetarian. If you plan to serve your beer to vegetarian friends, do not use Gelatin finings!

Across the Internet on the various brewing forums there is a massive amount of conflicting opinion on the correct way to use gelatin finings. One of the main things that people get wrong, is they boil the gelatin before adding it to the beer. Boiling gelatin will render it useless; do NOT boil the gelatin finings before adding them to the beer! I hope to clear things up here with a definitive method to using gelatin finings to clear a 5 gallon batch of beer. This is a tried and tested method which I have used for many brews with great success.

How To Use Gelatin Finings

1. Ferment your beer as usual. If you have dry hopped the beer with loose hops, rack the beer from under the hops into a sanitised fermentation vessel in order to remove any hop matter.

2. Boil a kettle.

3. Weigh out 1.5 grams of Gelatin for every 5 Gallons of beer.

4. Pour the hot boiled water into a heatproof measuring jug or other heatproof bowl. Add the gelatin powder and stir until dissolved.

5. Cover and cool until it reaches close to the same temperature as the beer.

6. Add to the beer, stirring SLOWLY so as not to introduce oxygen to the beer.

7. Leave for 5 days or until clear.

8. Rack to bottling bucket or keg as usual, being careful not to suck up the layer of yeast sediment.

I hope this helps you get a clearer beer.…

How To: Dry Hopping

What is Dry Hopping?

Dry Hopping is a technique used by brewers to increase the hop aroma in their beer. Usually hops are boiled with the wort to give it bitterness and aroma, however much of the aroma from the hops is lost by boiling them, so dry-hopping adds the aroma that cannot be extracted from the hops during the boil. Many inexperienced home-brewers come across recipes that call for ‘dry hopping’ and do not understand how the process works. Dry hopping is actually a very simple technique which can give your beer greater depth of flavour and aroma with very little work.

How do you ‘dry hop’ a beer?

To dry hop your beer, simply add the amount of hops specified in your recipe at the beginning of secondary fermentation.
1. Ferment the beer as usual until it has finished primary fermentation (take a hydrometer reading and ensure that the beer has reached its final gravity).
2. Using a racking cane and auto-syphon, transfer the beer to an empty, sanitised fermentation vessel being careful not to suck up any of the yeast sediment at the bottom of the beer.
3. Add your hops to the beer – either just chuck them in loose, or put them in a hop sock or muslin bag.
4. Leave for at least 3 days.
5. Using a racking cane and auto-syphon, transfer the beer to a sanitised fermentation vessel before bottling or kegging. Try not to suck up any of the hops during this step, as they will be present in the final beer if you do!

Do you have to boil the hops first?

No. Hops are a natural preservative and do not need to be boiled before being added to the fermenting beer. If you are using a hop sock or muslin bag, you may want to boil that to sanitise it first.

Which hops should you use for dry hopping?

Dry hopping does not add bitterness to the beer, but it does add the aromatic oils that are lost when the hops are boiled. Therefore the best hops for dry hopping are aroma hops with low Alpha Acid content. All of the noble hop varieties including Saaz, Hallertauer, Goldings, Fuggles, and Cascade are great for dry-hopping.