Mayor of Mogadishu…

Posted: June 11, 2013 by jokeyjon in Uncategorized
...Looking (and tasting) very good

…Looking (and tasting) very good


Couple of months now since we found out about the chance to supply a beer to the Nightingale for their festival.  As I said before, this is exciting and scary in equal measure.  It also flushed out one issue that we had been totally procrastinating about.

First of these is the name.  We have been the Balham Brewery for a while but it’s fair to say that Simon was never entirely convinced that it was the best name to help us in our goal of total world domination (despite eponymous breweries like Brooklyn Brewery, St.  Austell, etc).  We considered and rejected quite a few before settling on ***drumroll*** Cult Brewing.  Why Cult Brewing?  We like the idea of our beer being good enough to have followers, there are tons of great opportunities for names (although the funniest ones are probably unusable*) and the graphical side could be great.  The URL was also free when I checked although when I actually came to register two weeks later, someone had registered and therefore we are now  We’ll just have to work to be more famous than they are…..


* We liked the idea of L Ron Hoppard, for example

Exciting news!

Posted: April 27, 2013 by jokeyjon in Uncategorized

On a recent visit to the Nightingale pub in Balham I was asked by George (who is organising a beer festival for them this summer) if I could supply them with a cask.  This is scary and exciting in equal measure.  Great opportunity, but there are so many parts of this that we haven’t done before.  We have only bottled  our beers and even then the priming has been a bit uneven.  Filling a cask is fine in principle, but we would want our beer to settle out perfectly clear.  I think the best bet will be to see if we can borrow a cask and try to do a dry run with what’s in the fermenter now.  There’s also the small matter of finalising names and designing the pumpclip.  I will keep you posted!

Brewday Number Six

Posted: April 22, 2013 by jokeyjon in Uncategorized

Another relatively uncomplex brew day.  We hit our mash temps on the nose which prompted an uncharacteristic high five.  One more time and I will be prepared to concede that we have conquered that aspect of our brewing.  One issue was that the gravity of the wort was a little under that predicted but I had expected that – the grain bill was a full 2kg less than the prior brew for a beer of about the same strength so there was some sort of hiccup in iBrewmaster.

The Cascade and Chinook hops smelt fantastic and pleasingly you could see whole hop cones in the boil.



The Hop Rocket was filled with 100g of Cascade hops and despite a few worries about it blocking or clogging, it actually worked perfectly. As the fermenter filled, the smell of hops was fantastic.

Brew #6 (as yet unnamed) has fermented fairly placidly since then and the yeast had to be roused, but we think we have brewed a real winer!


Lots of tubes

Posted: April 17, 2013 by jokeyjon in Uncategorized
The hop rocket is fab, but priming can be a little daunting

The hop rocket is fab, but priming can be a little daunting

The training wheels come off

Posted: April 12, 2013 by jokeyjon in Uncategorized
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Now that we feel that we know our brewery a bit better and the processes of brewing are not quite as mysterious as they were, we can start to experiment.  So what’s new about the next brew?  Different yeast (California Ale), new hops (Cascade and Chinook), new malts (Munich malt and CaraPils).  Only the water is the same.

Oh, some new kit too…hoses, connectors and this lovely bit of shinyImage

All of these lovely things are going to be swirled, boiled and mixed together and we hope to end up with a clean pale ale with tons of Cascade hop aroma as a result of using the Blichmann as a hopback.  I am a big fan of the better Aussie ales and although it seems a long way away as I look out of  my window at yet more rain I am hoping to grab a little Aussie sunshine and bottle it.

The starter is already bubbling away in an efficient with with less froth and show than our last.  All ready for brewday!Image

A quick look backward….

Posted: April 11, 2013 by jokeyjon in Brewing
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Number five, Mayor of Mogadishu is bottled and is slowly fermenting.  That’s not some gentle rhetoric implying a snuggled up bottle of goodness sleeping it’s way to maturity – it really is slow.  Given that we definitely overcarbonated last time, we were very careful this time and when I popped the first bottle there was a barely perceptible sigh.  It’ll probably get there, but we need to be patient (and I am not any good at that at all).

Nearly fifty litres, just as estimated

Nearly fifty litres, just as estimated

This is the first beer that we have produced where we hit pretty much all of the variables just as we expected. The mash was the right temp (after a false start where I got the hot liquor into the mashtun at exactly mash temperature rather than strike temperature). The boil volume and preboil OG were both almost exactly as predicted. The beer spent four weeks in the fermenter and we only racked off into bottling buckets the morning of bottling itself.

The result of this was that we hit what we set out to make. A brown, British best bitter of about 5% ABV. Fair amount of body from the pale ale, caramalt and crystal in the grain bill, no shortage of hops leaving us a satisfying, punchy beer.

So where next? A little bit of new kit and and entirely different idea – see the next post.

Brew number 5 – start to finish

Posted: March 26, 2013 by jokeyjon in Uncategorized

The darkest secrets of Balham Brewing laid bare.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, etc….

What happens when you open overcarbonated bottles of beer?

Video  —  Posted: March 24, 2013 by jokeyjon in Uncategorized
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We still haven’t screwed it up…

Posted: February 28, 2013 by jokeyjon in Brewing
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Yeasty beasties have done their job pretty well. We had thought that our fullest ever fermenter would lead to a wild overflowing of yeast down the side, but this yeast (Thames Valley) has got on with its job in a workmanlike way. No showboating or overstated, ostentatious fobbing everywhere, but a steady and significant daily hammering of the SG.

After four days the brix is a steady 7, giving us an estimated SG of 1.012 and an alcohol percentage of 5.24%. According to Simon it tastes pretty nice too. Going to leave it in the FV for another couple of weeks to condition and take the edges off it and then we will drop it to a little over freezing for a week to clear it.

Unless something unexpected happens during conditioning, it seems that the Mayor of Mogadishu might be our best yet.