When Sheffield and Leeds collide, usually there’s bloodshed…
But not this time. This time there’s EXLO!
The beer industry is one of the few professions where collaborations are commonplace. And, having been friends with the boys from Eyes Brewing for some time, we felt it was time for Sheffield and Leeds to put their differences aside and unite under one roof to create something exceptional.
Having enjoyed Double Dry Hopped IPAs since their recent emergence into the craft beer scene, we felt that combining this hazy style with a predominant wheat and oat grist bill would be a good idea…!
As always, these things seem like a good idea at the time, but – in reality – often present more of a challenge. The highly glutinous mash and additional first wort hopping (adding hops to the mash) made separating the wort from the grain a logistical nightmare, in a phenomenon known as a ‘stuck mash’.
We spent a good deal of time blowing water back through the bottom of the mash tun in what quickly became dubbed as ‘bubble time’. Come late afternoon, four hours behind schedule, we were boiling our wort.
Unfortunately, our problems were just beginning…
During the transfer, the hops in the kettle clogged up our inaccessible filters, meaning that casting off beer from kettle to fermenter took an inordinately long time. After several beers, a take away pizza, and a few episodes of extended head banging against the red brick walls of our building, we all had a very late night.
Still, at least the beer was in the fermenter. What could possibly go wrong?
Famous last words, indeed! Due to the extensive dry hopping in the fermentation, our up-stand clogged up and we were again forced to undergo some CO2 ‘bubble time’; only this time, one of the fittings shot off the CO2 cylinder like a rocket across the FV room when we inadvertently closed the wrong valve.
After several days recovering from the shock and a final round of dry hopping in the conditioning tank, we managed to wading through dry-hop soup, finally managing to get our beer into cask and keg.
When I debriefed with Chris and Dan from Eyes Brewing, we en-likened it to going on one of those awkward dates where you really like the person, but – in hindsight – you should never have dated each other.
Perhaps, in years to come, we’ll look back with fondness and even consider doing it again sometime. But for now,