Guns of Navarone is a double mashed and (more than) double hopped DIPA which we brewed with help from real ale society beer enthusiasts at the University of Nottingham. It was a 16 hour brew day and one that project leaders Dan and Lewis remember well. “It wasn’t straight forward. We used the re-iterated mash method, which means we mashed in, transferred the wort to the copper, dug out and then mashed in again but using the first wort rather than water. The result was a super sweet wort that the US05 yeast could go to town on”, says Lewis.
The all-grain 10.3% beer was brewed with a reasonably large hop bill – 55kg in total of Motueka and Waimea, two juicy hops with lots of fruity character. Guns of Navarone, currently only available in cask, has a big malt body, underlying sweetness and big aromas of stone fruit and orange peel. The taste is warming, fresh and extremely drinkable. Brewer of the range Dan Gilliland says: “It was the first time they let me loose on the 40Bbl kit so I thought we had to do something special. The kit at Castle Rock just isn’t set up for that kind of thing, so there was a lot of taking pipework apart, redirecting flows and using vessels for things they weren’t supposed to be used for. It works surprisingly well in cask, and there’s less to hide behind when a beer is not chilled and heavily carbonated”. However, there are plans to bottle and trial keg part of the remaining stock. Dan continues, “we took Castle Rock’s 40bbl kit to the absolute limit, the sheer amount of hops (3kg per barrel) was nearly too much for the filters to handle, but it was totally worth it”
Sherwood Reserve, one of the newest additions to Castle Rock’s core range of beers also picked up a bronze in its category just a few weeks after picking up a Gold at the East Midlands Winter Ales competition at the Hinckley and Bosworth beer festival. Head of brewing operations Jon Edger said “it’s great to hear that Sherwood Reserve has been getting some recognition. We’re extremely proud of this beer which, recipe-wise, is influenced by two of our best-selling stouts: Sherwood Oak and Harold Larwood.” The beer, brewed with Colombian coffee beans, is smooth and opulent with a rounded roast character and notes of chocolate and coffee. “The use of coffee, plus the dark roasted malts provide not only the distinct flavour but also some of the bitterness”
The SIBA Midlands Independent Beer Awards was judged by brewers, local CAMRA members, supplier associates, members of the press and beer enthusiasts. There were over 200 beers judged in total. All Gold winners (including Guns of Navarone) will now go on to be nationally judged at SIBA’s yearly event BeerX in 2017.