Monday, 27 October 2014

ALPHA ACID - An Ultra Bitter Experience

XT Brewery, Alpha AcidThere are a few ultra IBU beers out there, and it is a challenge both to brew these beasts and indeed a serious struggle to actually drink them.

It had been an idea burning away in my head for some time that we should try and brew up one of these horrors. Prompted and encouraged by our friend John Bishop from the St Albans beer festival I started planning how to meet this challenge ready for the festival in September 2014

The Alpha Acids in hops are the source of the bitterness we brewers use in our beers - the bitterness of a beer is generally measured in International Bittering Units IBUs - from no effect at 0 up to 100 which is the top level generally agreed to be max out point of human perception. A bog standard 'English Bitter' is somewhere around 30 to 40 IBUs for a 4% ABV beer.

So it had to be XT- AlphaAcid 

The Press Release:
Alpha Acid, is a heavily hopped IPA style beer with a mouth puckering bitterness which was available for the first time at the 19th St Albans Beer & Cider Festival September 2014. The beer measures in at 6.0% ABV and 1000 units of bitterness and is brewed by XT Brewery Company of Long Crendon, Bucks with masses of intense American Hops to produce what is possibly Britain's Bitterest Beer.

The beer makes full use of alpha acids. Alpha acids are the components in hops which gives beers their characteristic bittering flavours, normally balanced with the sweetness of the malts.
Beer Organiser John Bishop said "When one considers that an English IPA is normally between 40 and 60 IBU this beer definitely hits harder than your standard pint and tips the scales well into unbalanced and bitter! Definitely not one for a session or those with a weak constitution! I am certainly looking forward to sampling it myself. This beer is bound to create quite an interest on curiosity value alone and will undoubtedly be extremely popular by many of our more adventurous visitors so come early to the Festival if you want to try some".

It was planned as a pale beer - but actually ended up a rather interesting milky pale green.The IBU level was a calculated value based on standard brewing formula - we didn't have the opportunity to have it scientifically measured before the festival.

It is certainly a beer for the drinker who wants the challenge and bragging rights rather than a nice balanced session ale - I rather enjoyed making it and I hope the drinkers who tried it will remember it even if they didn't actually like it.

I  am not sure if it was Britain's Bitterest Beer - there are plenty of other green beasts out there but I hope it comes in the top 10 ... looking forward to 2000 IBUs