Tuesday, 15 April 2014


I spent a few hours on Sunday (13 April) with the Driftwood Spars' head brewer, Pete Martin, at Granite Rock Brewery in Penryn.

The Driftwood's own brewery is being extended at the moment, so Pete had to become a gypsy brewer and find a temporary home.

Step forward Dave and Frances from Granite Rock, who played host to us while we created a special for MPAD's forthcoming party on 8th May.

When Pete and I had initially met back in February we discussed flavours and styles. A couple of days prior to the meeting I'd tried Brewdog's 5a.m. Saint, and been impressed by the flavours.

I found out during the meeting that this was down to the hops - Nelson Sauvin.

I arrived at Granite Rock at 9am on Sunday morning with my wellies and met Pete, who having already worked out a recipe, was busy measuring out the ingredients.

The recipe

Pete weighing out the malt

There was pale malt, chocolate malt, crystal malt and cara malt.

More malt

We had a quick cuppa while we were waiting for the water to reach its strike temperature. Once it was up to the correct heat we were able to add the combined malt and start mashing.

Adding the malt to the hot water


Me doing the mash

Once this was done I had to make a hasty retreat in order to take or eldest daughter to her third birthday party in three days, and so I left Pete and David to tinker with the machinery and chat about all things beer.

Having survived the party, I got back to Granite where the boil was taking place and the first set of hops - Admiral (for bittering) - had been added.

I'd only been in the building for a couple of minutes when an egg timer went off and Pete handed me some rubber gloves so I could bung a teabag full of Nelson Sauvin and Cascade hops into the mix. These were for the flavouring.

A 'teabag' of Nelson Sauvin and Cascade hops

There were also some other tablets that were added in here, I think it was something to do with protein, but there was a lot to take in and I forgot!

Once this was done, we waited and had another cuppa.

The egg timer went off again and it was time to add the last teabag of hops - Nelson Sauvin and Cascade for aroma - and turn off the boil.

Once it had cooled slightly, pipes and pumps were rigged up to a cooling system and the liquid was transferred into a fermenting vat (FV).

We waited for another 15 minutes for the liquid to cool down and for the yeast to be activated.

Before adding the yeast, Pete drew out some liquid and put it to one side to rest. He was then able to test the gravity (1043) and work out that the beer will be around 4.3% to 4.4%.

Dave from Granite Rock checking the gravity

The yeast was added, mixed around and the lid added to the FV.

Pete adding the yeast

It will now do its own thing for around a week when Pete will return, taste it and start the bottling process.

He's worked out that it will give us 400 bottles for our party, as well as other events, and leave the Driftwood with two kegs for use at the pub.

In terms of style, it was a little bit darker than Pete initially thought, but we decided it will be an 'American and New Zealand mix with a Cornish twist'.

An idea of what the beer will look like when finished

'What about the name?' I hear you ask, well Pete joked about calling it Admiral Nelson, due to the hops, but the you'll just have to wait until our labels are produced before you get to find that out.

It was a very interesting day and fun to get involved, and for anyone into their real ale I'd recommend giving it a go.

But, I think the most fun will be reserved for when we can actually sample it.....

Huge thanks to Pete from the Driftwood, and Dave and Frances from Granite Rock. 

They're just round the corner from Raise the Roof, so drop your kids off and go and try beer!

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