The Dizzy Pig Brewery is, as we mentioned in the Dizzy Pig Story, a Grainfather "all grain brewing system". The system allows you to mash, sparge, boil and cool in one contained unit, producing up to 5 gallons of ale.
The Grainfather was developed by the innovative New Zealand company - Imake Ltd, who also produces Mangrove Jack’s brew kits and Still Spirits distilling products. The Grainfather takes the best brewing practices from craft breweries and puts them into a simple to use, all in one system to ensure anyone can brew a professional craft beer, no matter their brewing experience, even us at Dizzy Pig Brewing.
You can also turn the Grainfather, into a micro-distillery by changing the top parts and adding the Still Spirits Alembic Pot Still Attachments. At Dizzy Pig Brewing we never, never, ever purchased the micro-distillery conversion and even if we had accidentally bought such a conversion, we would never never use it to make our own spirits, because that would be illegal in the UK, wouldn't it? But if we had it would look like this:
As we stated on the home page, we are not a commercial enterprise, we just enjoy good fresh beer with no sulphites or nasty additives. We don't sell our beer, we drink it.
We don't drink that much either (all things being relative)! Roughly once a month we set up the Grainfather and create an ale and between friends and family, a 5 gallon batch doesn't last that long, but while it does last, we are happy little smallholders and the woes of the world can be put on the back burner. As Homer Simpson once said:
"Beer: Now there's a temporary solution"
Our first few runs were from all grain kits, simply because of our lack of knowledge regarding the amount of grain we needed, what hops produce what type of beer, when to add hops for bittering, flavour, aroma and what about dry hopping? We learnt so many terms, we can mash, sparge, ferment and rack. We know the difference between grain and malt and we are getting the hang of what effect different malts will have. We now know stuff about IBU's, EBC, SRM and alpha acids and who, at the end of the day, doesn't enjoy a good flocculate! Some of our new found knowledge has come from trial and error, but we must give credit to Brew-UK a major supplier of all manner of brewing stuff and things. They also host a brewing forum which is packed full of information, FAQ's and brewing banter.
Whilst the kits got us going, we now buy in 25 kg sacks of Maris Otter malt as our base malt and add small quantities of other malts such as chocolate, crystal and cara malts, alongside experimenting with all sorts of "adjuncts" like torrified wheat and flaked barley. We are now brave enough to try out different hops to achieve the bitterness, flavour and aroma we like.
Our set-up now includes the Grainfather for brewing. A stainless steel fermenting vessel, housed in our own design of brew-box, which is double walled complete with sheep's wool insulation. The box is temperature controlled, allowing us to ferment at different temperatures dependant on the beer being made. Once fermented and cleared, we can then rack into Cornelius kegs for the perfect draught beer at home.
Ultimately we would love to grow our own barley and malt it ourselves, but that is possibly a step too far. However, 2018 saw us harvest our first crop of hops, including Cascade, Fuggles, Golding, Prima Donna and Northern Brewer. The Cascade was the most prolific and after picking, sorting and drying we have 260 grams of hops. This is enough for 2 possibly 3 batches of IPA. the others produced less, but we have plenty to experiment with over the coming months. All the hops are now vacuum packed and in the freezer. We can hardly wait to try them out. If you want to know more about our hop growing exploits check out the Pool Cottage Smallholding Blog.
We also have our own well at Pool Cottage Smallholding, maybe one day we will have the water tested and be able to rival the waters of Burton-on-Trent.
We have listed some of the beers crafted at Dizzy Pig Brewing, along with their vital statistics below. If you click on the headings or the photo's, you can download the recipes and find more details on each:
Our first ever brew at Dizzy pig brewing. It lasted less than a week!
First Brew Date: 17/09/2016
Initial SG: 1068
Final SG: 1020
Alcohol (ABV): 6.3%
Bitterness (IBU): 58
Colour: EBC 10, SRM 5
First Brew Date: 19/10/2016
Initial SG: 1052
Final SG: 1010
Alcohol (ABV): 5.3%
Bitterness (IBU): 42
Colour: EBC 12, SRM 6
A firm favourite for many years, we couldn't resist cloning this fine ale. It worked well and we reproduced it as a "Tyg" ale for a cancer charity.
Our second IPA, good but not as good as the Citra.
Brew Date: 19/11/2016
Initial SG: 1056
Final SG: 1014
Alcohol (ABV): 5.5%
Bitterness (IBU): 70
Colour: EBC 13, SRM 7
Golden Balls Ale
Named after our Son, Ben, who in the eyes of his Nanny can do no wrong. Hence his umentionables glitter like gold! A fine blonde ale, which was light and refreshing.
Brew Date: 07/01/2017
Initial SG: 1045
Final SG: 1012
Alcohol (ABV): 4.3%
Bitterness (IBU): 55
Colour: EBC 10.3, SRM 5.3
Some of Our Other Beers:
Kolsch. Made from a brewvolution all grain kit, this was our first go at "lagering" a beer and it produced an excellent continental style beer, stunningly clear, with a foaming head. A perfect summer ale on a hot day with the condensation running down the glass.
Heffalump Ale. A hefty 7.6% ABV "Scottish Wee Heavy". Immensely smooth the strength snook up on a lot of us.
Edgar's Ale. Brewed in honour of our favourite farmer neighbour, who still waxes lyrically about our first Citra IPA. A dry hopped masterpiece full of citrus flavour and aroma.
Wicked Pixie. This was an "Irish Red" ale that used a range of malts including Cara Red and roasted barley, giving the beer a deep ruby red colour and fine malt taste. It was named after my wife who is both tolerant and long suffering! We have brewed this beer a couple of times now, the latest was in July 2018.
Sassy Blonde. Based loosely on the Brew Dog “Trashy Blonde” recipe. This ale pays tribute to my wife’s best friend, who insisted on the name change for reasons that escape me!
Light Bomber. This ale was our attempt to take the best of Spitfire and Lancaster Bomber Ales and produce a traditional pale ale. Think twin Merlin engine power in a light airframe! The result was awesome.
Black Pig. It's our first effort using a little chocolate malt. Called “Black Pig” after our favourite
pig of 2017. A session stout coming in at a modest 3.9%, but with a huge flavour. It's also our
first ale to have a professionally designed label, courtesy of our great friend, Mike.
Santa's Sack. Is a Christmas ale using Maris Otter, CaraRed and Roasted Barley malts along
with torrefied wheat for added head retention. It comes with a seasonal twist of added cardamom
pods and mandarin zest. Santa's Sack was first tasted over the Christmas weekend, with it's deep ruby
colour and hint of Christmas spice it was an instant hit. It will be a Christmas brew for many years
to come. Thanks again go to Mike for the cheeky label design.
Amber Pig. Brewed using a range of malts including Cara Gold and American Extra Special Malt. We were aiming for a toffee/caramel flavour to the ale and that's just what we got. With an ABV of 3.8%, this is a most session-able brew.
Mikes Tartan-Dragon IPA. Based on our Sassy Blonde recipe and dry hopped with Citra hops, this IPA was made especially for Mike as a thank you for the label designs he has created, and hopefully labels to come. He was a very happy boy.
Honey Trap. Negotiating a reduction in the cost of fitting a log burner in the Dizzy Pig allowed us to try our hand at making a light golden honey ale based around the "Golden Balls" brew. Our friend Richard agreed that if we produce an ale specially for his forthcoming wedding he would fit the burner at a reduced cost, and he provided the honey! Coming out at a perfect 4.5% it looked and tasted awesome, so much so we immediately made a second batch for ourselves.
Imperial Pig Ale (IPA). This ale is largely based on our first Citra IPA, but with some added American special malt. We needed to brew this, as we were sadly lacking ale in the Dizzy Pig because we've been busy making ale for other people!
Rye'd That Pig. Dizzy Pig's first go at a rye ale, which apart from crushed rye, has a range of malts that fermented out at around 5% ABV. Heavy on the IBU bitterness scale, due to the liberal use of Chinook hops, this Rye IPA was not for the faint-hearted.
Spitfire MK IV. The fourth incarnation of our favourite ale, this time we lightened it in colour to look and taste akin to Spitfire Gold. It did not disappoint.
Ales in the Pipeline:
Shropshire Cascade IPA. Using our first ever home grown hops this will be an experiment in the use of fresh hops (sometimes called wet or green hops). Bittering and flavouring will come from the dried cascade and then we will pick more cascade hops directly from the plant and into the wort within 10 minutes to ensure the freshest taste ever.
Now we have harvested our first ever crop of hops, including Cascade, Fuggles, Golding Prima Donna and Northern Brewer. The next few ales will use these, so watch this space.
Future Planned Ales:
Shropshire Stalker. As the years advance, we all know it becomes more difficult to find birthday presents for family. So this year, my big brother received a voucher from us to brew any beer he wants at Dizzy Pig Brewing. Current thinking is to create a "Belhaven" clone, but things may change. Whatever beer we end up with it will be called "Shropshire Stalker", as deer stalking is his favourite pastime, (and Mike has already designed the label)!