Back in October 2017 I did a small brew of an Old Ale and decided to make it an annual thing, so called it, with amazing originality, 2017 Old Ale. The single cask went on at The Victoria Inn in Colchester for a Tryjanuary event in January 2019, and it went down well then, benefitting from having been in the cask for almost three months. I’ve still got of the few bottles left, and I tried one in October, two years after bottling, and it was drop dead gorgeous (obvs I’m a bit biased).
I experimented with the recipe for the 2018 brew, going for a lower abv, and trying out Mangrove Jack’s Empire Ale yeast. That cask went down well at the South Benfleet Sports and Social Club, but for me the lower abv didn’t quite work as well.
This year I hatched a Cunning Plan and went for two separate brews. One is a potentially regular brew (well, as much as any brews of mine are ever ‘regular’) at a modest abv, and the other will be the annual vintage, but at a much stronger abv. Both beers benefit from additions of treacle, demerera and honey (sorry vegans!!). The bottles of the 2019 Vintage Edition won’t see light of day for quite some time.
As Experimentation is my middle name (no, really, it is) one beer has a Scotch Ale yeast, and the other has a Ringwood Ale yeast. Both were liquid yeasts, that had starters made for brew day, because that’s mostly the way I rock, yeast-wise, these days. The cask of the 2019 Vintage Old Ale is pencilled in for the Colchester CAMRA Winter Real Ale Festival at the end of January. The other cask tba.